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Ben Anitelea is anchor of Hawks’ defense

Ben Anitelea is anchor of Hawks’ defense

Ben Anitelea has been named one of the Central Valley High School varsity football team’s captains for the 2013 season. The 5-foot-10 215-pound linebacker was named to the Western Athletic Conferen...

POSTED August 29, 2013 10:11 a.m.

Soft spoken off the field, Ben Anitelea's persona changes on Friday nights during the fall sports season when he puts on his helmet, pads and team's colors.

The 5-foot-10 215-pound Central Valley High School linebacker transforms into a hard-hitting, boisterous tackling machine.

"Football is an emotional game," Anitelea said while resting in the shade under trees at the Modesto Junior College 7-on-7 passing tournament on July 13. "Sometimes, you have to let it out. I've always played like that."

"He's able to flip that switch when it's time," Hawks head coach Jason McCloskey stated. "He hit a guy so hard last season he gave himself a concussion. He's a violent tackler."

Anitelea was named one of Central Valley's team captains for the 2013 season.

"He just deserves it," McCloskey said. "He put in a lot of work and started showing leadership qualities during the offseason. He matured a lot. He's a natural leader. The kids really respect and look up to him."

Anitelea had a productive junior season with the Hawks in 2012.

Ben was named to the Western Athletic Conference Second Team.

He ranked second overall and first at his position with 75 tackles in league play.

Anitelea had five tackles behind the line of scrimmage on the year, including a six-yard loss versus Central Catholic quarterback Garrett Ardis.

He tallied one sack, one fumble recovery, one interception and one pass deflection.

Ben returned a fumble 38 yards for a touchdown against Livingston.

"I'm expecting him to do great things," McCloskey said. "He has that knack for diagnosing a play and getting to the ball. He's a very smart kid. He just plays so fast. He only knows one speed. He brings everything he's got every play. The other kids admire that. You watch him on film and he has so much natural ability."

Central Valley enjoyed a 4-1 start to the 2012 season. The Hawks dropped four of their final five games.

Central Valley lost 21-20 to Patterson, 29-0 to Los Banos and 38-6 to Central Catholic before closing out the year with a 40-13 win over crosstown-rival Ceres High.

The Hawks just missed securing their first playoff berth last year. Central Valley needed just one more victory.

"You can never have a losing mentality going into something," Anitelea said. "I believe in my team. We're like family. We're going to be a lot better this year. Last year, he (new head coach McCloskey) came in late. We were still learning. We got our system in place in now. As a team, we don't want to give up more than 12 points a game. I'm going to try to hit that triple-digit mark with 100 tackles. I just want to help the team win."



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