Playing effectively at free safety usually means never having to look over your shoulder. As the last line of defense, such action usually indicates a dereliction of duty, and/or a big gain or a touchdown by the opposing offense.
But Orange Coast College freshman Shad Baichtal said he never wants to get to the point where he isn’t looking over his shoulder, glancing back to see if the doubters, coaches, recruiters, or even some determined reserve, can get close enough to take away what has become a surprising football existence.
At a mere 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, his loved ones appreciate the fact that Baichtal is aligned farthest away from the line of scrimmage, where his biggest rivals can weigh up to twice what he does. But the Mission Viejo High product not only leads the Pirates (2-4, 0-1 in the Mission Conference American Division heading into today’s 5 p.m. division clash with visiting Fullerton) in interceptions with three, he is third in tackles with 47, one behind runner-up Dean DeLeone.