But despite the fact you won’t see his name in the box score on Saturday morning, Calvin Cox has been a cornerstone of the Reed football team’s 4-0 start this season. Starting at defensive end, offensive right tackle and long snapper, Cox features one dynamic skill set that makes it hard for coach Ernie Howren to take him off the field.
“He’s just a workhorse,” Howren said. “He does everything we could ask of a kid in our program and he does it at a very high level. He’s our best defensive lineman and he’s one of our best offensive linemen. That’s all you can ask for a kid that’s going both ways for you.”
Fitting the mold of the lineman stereotype, Cox admitted that he wouldn’t mind picking up a fumble, rumbling into the end zone and getting a little love. So it comes as no surprise that he enjoys playing defense over offense.
“I just like hitting people,” Cox said. “It’s a little bit easier for me. I know where I’m going more. I like reacting and making a football play. Or sacking the quarterback, you get more stats that way. It looks cooler. On offense it’s just, ‘good job.’”
In the team’s opening game at Foothill, Cox said he was “pretty much dying” by the second quarter playing both sides of the ball but he has come into his own from a conditioning standpoint. Teammate Tyler Roukie relieves Cox on the offensive line when he needs a breather.
As a senior captain, Cox is not one who blasts screams in his headphones before games for the whole team to hear. He prefers a more soothing approach to preparing for Friday nights. Don’t look for the senior to be head-butting his helmet on the sideline.
“I’m always a chill guy, I’m just relaxed,” Cox said. “I can get hyped with the team and get rowdy but to me, I’m more chill. I take a calm approach to it. I’m not one of the guys that likes to go crazy.”
Already halfway through his senior season, the reality of the culmination of his high school career is starting to sink in.
“This season seams like it’s gone by a lot faster than any other season ever has in my life,” Cox said. “Even the school year, and I feel like everything’s going by fast. I just want to savor it.”
If the stars align for Cox, his football career won’t be over when the clock hits triple zeros on the Raiders' season later this fall. He does not know what he wants to study yet so he doesn’t know where he wants to go to college, but he does see collegiate football as an option.
So does his coach.
“There’s no doubt he could play at the next level,” Howren said. “What that level that is right now, it’s all up to him. (If he) keeps working hard like he is, his work ethic is going to put him at a level that is untouchable as far as some of the guys in our league.”
When he’s not harassing opposing quarterbacks and long snapping dimes, Cox said he just likes hanging out with his buddies and making memories with the realization most will be going their separate ways after spring’s graduation.
So what memories did you make with your friends last weekend, Calvin?
“We went to Pizza Plus and got some wings. You can never go wrong there,” Cox said. “We’re linemen. We like to eat.”
Wings aside, Cox is dead serious when it comes to high aspirations for the 2013 Raiders.
“As a team, the goal every year, region champs. No doubt about it,” Cox said.
If the Raiders can win the North Region, Bishop Gorman will likely await them in the state playoffs and Cox welcomes the potential matchup. He believes his team could compete with the perennial power.
Unless he gets that fumble recovery for a touchdown he craves, Cox’s name is unlikely to show up in the box score. But as most big games are decided by turnovers and the battle in the trenches, the senior stud will play a pivotal role in Reed’s push for the High Desert League crown and into the playoffs.
“You have to give all credit to Calvin,” Howren said. “He’s the one that has put himself in this position just based on how hard he’s worked all year round.”