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Prieto’s strength, resolve inspires South City

Angel Prieto trains at South San Francisco on Oct. 26, 2020. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Angel Prieto trains at South San Francisco on Oct. 26, 2020. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

Everything Angel Prieto does, his South San Francisco teammates follow.

Prieto, a senior safety, linebacker, running back and receiver for the Warriors, isn’t the loudest player on the field. He won’t make a ton of noise. He won’t be someone you can hear wherever you are.

Instead, he’s a quiet assassin, a quiet leader who everybody follows and molds themselves after.

“He’s the kid who when he talks, everybody is going to do this,” said South City head coach Dion Evans. “Look right at him. And when he runs, everybody is going to do this. Whatever he does, he commands attention because he’s this kid that’s like, ‘Man, this kid looks like he can go D1.’ Now his size will probably not allow that, but his heart will.”

There isn’t a spot Prieto can’t line up either.

Offensively, Evans sees him playing some of their A-back spot, which is South City’s fullback position. He sees him tapping into some tight end work simply because his route running skills are on full force.

“I don’t know a linebacker from the film that I’ve seen, I don’t see a linebacker that will be able to handle his route running, and the reason why we’re looking at him at tight end is because our slot and our X position – those receiver positions are being dominated by guys who run nearly a 4.5,” Evans said. 

“So we have that level of speed in the slot, and in the X we’re going to be able to stretch the field, widen the field and then place Prieto anywhere from the tight end position in that open space, so creating opportunities where he’s matched up against a linebacker or a smaller DB. Prieto gets a step on a smaller DB, he’s running that DB over. If he gets a step on a linebacker, nobody is catching him. Period.”

Defensively, Prieto can slide himself anywhere as well.

Evans said Prieto boasts the cover skills and tackling ability to be a dominant strong safety, and his speed is there to be able to cover any quick receiver he’s tasked with facing.

Prieto’s strength and endurance is strong, as he’s one of those rare athletes who could play nearly every step of the game.

In simple terms, Prieto is the iron man.

“He’s one of the few athletes on our team that I really believe could play offense and defense a lot of snaps,” Prieto said. “Ninety-five percent of our athletes will be playing on one side of the ball or the other side of the ball and then sharing special teams. Angel is that kid that will get a lot of play on the field. He’s a strong kid.”

That strength was put to the test over the past few seasons, ever since Prieto began football his freshman year – a story all its own, with his friends’ parents convincing Prieto’s parents to allow him to be involved in football.

As a sophomore, he couldn’t obtain the necessary grades. As a junior, he got hurt and endured two offseason surgeries after an injury in the first game of the year.

Before the injury, Prieto garnered college interest. He said he received emails by multiple Division II, Division III and NAIA schools.

He’s trying to regain that interest again and find an opportunity to play somewhere at the next level.

“Honestly, (it would mean) everything,” Prieto said. “I’ve been training so hard ever since my freshman year. Sophomore year I couldn’t make grades. I got moved up to varsity, couldn’t play. Third year got injured. Just trying to play a full season.”

What Prieto wants is the allure of an entire season and to do something he’s never accomplished before at South City – reaching the end zone at the varsity level.

“I want to get a winning season most of all and then just have my first varsity touchdown – something I didn’t get to experience my past few years,” Prieto said.

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