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Brickhandler exudes toughness on football field

Eli Brickhandler throws a pass at a March 3, 2021 Pittsburg practice. Gregory Moreland-Tuhn / Staff Photo
Eli Brickhandler throws a pass at a March 3, 2021 Pittsburg practice. Gregory Moreland-Tuhn / Staff Photo

Pittsburg senior quarterback Eli Brickhandler was born to never quit.

No matter the situation, no matter the outcome, Brickhandler will never back down. He will never quit, even if the odds are stacked against him.

He’s going to battle until the very final second – something that was ingrained in him from a young age.

“My dad has honed it in on me since I was young,” Brickhandler said. “He used to rough around ever since I was little, and I just grinded and grinded for my dad. But my dad has really put it in me. He’s pushed me every single day to get better and not let one play get off you.”

Even while taking some big hits this season – which is his first at Pittsburg after moving from Rocklin’s Whitney High School – Brickhandler is finding ways to make plays and help the No. 3 Pirates win ballgames.

Brickhandler is 36-of-54 passing for 361 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions, and he’s part of a loaded quarterback room next to four-star sophomore Jaden Rashada. Brickhandler also has 71 rushing yards and two touchdowns. 

All Brickhandler does is compete, which is something he’s shown at every stop.

“When I was younger my mom told me one day, ‘Don’t ever let somebody else pull you off the field. If you’re going to pull yourself off the field, get off the field.’” 

“I’m always going to come back in and battle, no matter if the circumstances aren’t going my way,” Brickhandler later added. “I’m going to figure out a way to get a team win, not just a personal win.”

At Whitney High School, Brickhandler engineered one of Northern California’s most remarkable turnarounds. 

The year prior to him being a varsity starter, Whitney went 0-10. The year he was a starter, Whitney went 7-7 and appeared in the Sac-Joaquin Section championship game.

In that illustrious 2019 campaign, Brickhandler tossed for 2,259 yards and 18 touchdowns, adding 743 rushing yards and eight scores.

And, in recent months, Brickhandler picked up a pair of Division I offers from Presbyterian and the University of San Diego, which tags alongside other offers from  Black Hills State, Iowa Wesleyan, La Verne, Lawrence Tech, Rocky Mountain College and Saint Anselm.

“They’re both high on my board, and I like both of the coaches that I correspond with,” Brickhandler said. “They’re both great programs. Wherever I feel the best fit is where I’m going to end up.”

Wherever Brickhandler ends up, that college will simply get a winner and a bonafide leader.

Just look at the wins – a section runner-up last season at Whitney and an undefeated record for Pittsburg this season. He also went 4-2 as the quarterback for Xclusive Speed in the Winner Circle Athletics Champions League.

“They’re going to get a hard worker – a kid that’s going to grind and be the best player,” Brickhandler said. “I’m going to run through a brick wall if you really want me to run through a brick wall. I know a lot of kids say that, but I’m going to put it all on the field and I’m not going to quit. Never going to quit on you no matter the circumstances or the situation. 

“I’m going to do whatever I can to get a team win and push forward and make everybody a better player, not just myself as an individual.”

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