For the past two seasons, wide receiver Steve Carballo has been the heart-and-soul of the Glendale College football team.
Overlooked when he came out of Crescenta Valley high school, Carballo, came to GCC, and was the team’s offensive MVP, and earned second team all-WSC honors.
“Last year was a little scary because I was a freshman,” Carballo said. “I wasn’t ready for the college level. I didn’t think it would be such a change of pace.
“Being a freshman was a little hard because we had a lot of sophomores who were starting from the year before. It also molded me to what I am now because they taught me leadership, and how to become a leader.”
Last year, he was the Vaqueros’ offensive MVP, catching 32 passes for 459 yards and two touchdown receptions. His average of 13.7 yards on punt returns included a 73-yard touchdown against Santa Monica City College.
“He is so versatile,” head coach John Cicuto said. “He is one of the top players on our football team, but he is a great leader because he has a great work ethic.”
Carballo is in the position that when somebody does something wrong he has to let them know what they need to do so they don’t make that same mistake again.
“It has its ups and downs,” he said. “When something goes wrong it will always come back to me because I am a captain and a leader, but it also gives you a sense of power, and it helps out for the freshman.”
Along with being a wide receiver, he has been used as a running back, as the punter, the holder on extra point and field goal attempts, and has even played safety, where he made the game-clinching interception in the team’s 23-18 win against L.A. Valley College on Oct. 6.
“I haven’t played defense since high school,” Carballo said. “It felt pretty good to go out there and get an interception. I’ve never really asked why they have me do all the things I do. I guess they like the way I play. Every time I’m on the field I try to give my best.”
Though his stats will be diminished by his expanded role, it doesn’t matter that much to Carballo.
“It doesn’t really bother me about the stats,” Carballo said. “I’ll do anything on the field. I really don’t care if I was a holder for the whole year, just as long as I got on the field.”
With the team playing well, and with the win against Valley College, the team was 3-0 in conference for the first time since 1994, and there is talk about going to the first bowl since 1992.
“The first two games were a little sloppy, but after each game the team has progressed,” Carballo said. “I think we’re going to continue to do that, and I think we will go to a bowl game.
Even though Carballo, 20, didn’t play organized football until his days at CV, he has always been fascinated by the game. His main objective is to help the team to win, and have the team come together.
Through six games, Carballo is tied for fifth in the conference with 33 catches for 339 yards.
In the teams 34-16 win over Compton College on Saturday, Carballo sprained his knee, and will be out for Saturday’s game against Ventura College, and perhaps another game after that.
After this year, Carballo plans to transfer to the University of Oregon, and reunite with his friend, and his former quarterback