Joseph Torres is a guy who knows what he wants and goes for it.
He wanted to be the starting center for the Hurst L.D. Bell football team this season. Now, eight games in, he has been in the starting lineup since the season opener.
“It’s been a struggle, but I’m here,” Torres said with a laugh. “It was relentless battle.”
Torres, a junior, came into his first varsity fall workouts second on the team’s depth chart. He weighs 270, but at only 5-8 is short for a lineman.
This is why he moved to center in the eighth grade.
“I had stopped growing, and the shortest guy on the team is almost always the center — if he’s big enough,” Torres said.
Torres is certainly big enough, both in weight and heart. Though he went through the team’s lone scrimmage as a backup, he was confident he would convince the coaching staff he should start.
“I had to impress them with what little playing time I had, but I was feeling confident I could change their mind,” he said.
And he was right. The Thursday before the season-opening Friday night against Coppell, he was told by coach Mike Glaze that he would start.
“To be honest, it was a little overwhelming,” he said about finding out. “But it was a dream come true.”
Glaze said Torres is impressive because not only is he physical, he’s also a smart player — and given his height, he has to be.
“He’s got to do everything right. He really has to focus on his technique, do all the little things right,” Glaze said. “But he wants to get everything exactly right.”
Glaze said that though the team is senior-laden, Torres is already showing the qualities of a leader in his first varsity season. For example, he was late to a recent practice because he misunderstood the starting time. Though never late, he accepted the punishment and did not use his normal punctuality to try and talk his way out, Glaze said.
“He said, ‘It’s important to me. I want to be on time,’ ” Glaze said.
Torres said he wants to step into the role of senior leader next season.
“The responsibility is tremendous, but I can be a role model and I want to be,” he said.
“You can’t make someone into a leader. You have to be born with it, and he has the character, attitude and desire,” Glaze said.
Torres would like to play in college, but he’s also smart and wants to focus on academics. He said he is in the top 5 percent of his class and has his sights on studying computer programming in college.
In the meantime, however, he said there is unfinished work at Bell. While the varsity has less than 20 juniors, several are starting, and the junior varsity was 6-1 heading into this past weekend.
Among the juniors are Torres and quarterback Austin Brougham. Glaze is thrilled to have his signal caller and snapper back for one more season to capitalize on that chemistry.
“That’s important to have that connection,” Glaze said. “And I’m so glad to have the two of them back.”