High School Football: Unity important for rivals

Costa Mesa players work with Estancia at Canyon Park, with thoughts on Carlos Vazquez,who was diagnosed with leukemia.

June 20, 2010|By Steve Virgen,
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

COSTA MESA — There was a face missing among the football players/workers during the inaugural Battle of the Brush clean-up at Canyon Park Saturday.

When his name was brought up, the faces that were there turned sad.

Carlos Vazquez of Costa Mesa High couldn't be with his teammates, as they joined forces with Estancia for a day to landscape the park. He has more going on in his life. On Monday, Vazquez was diagnosed with leukemia, Costa Mesa Coach Jeremy Osso said.

It's been an emotional week for the Mustangs. Still, they capped the week with some community service, as they worked with their rivals.

"I was just devastated," said Tyler Biggs, a Costa Mesa football player and a friend of Vazquez. "I cried and everything. It was the worst thing I could ever hear."

Last week during spring practices, Vazquez experienced fatigue, Osso said. Vazquez, who will be a senior in the fall, woke up Monday with pain in his jaw and he also noticed some sort of rash break out on his skin, Osso said. He went to his doctor and was sent to Children's Hospital of Orange County, where he was diagnosed with leukemia.


He's gone through his first round of chemotherapy and is expected to be released from the hospital on Wednesday.

"It's been a tough week," Osso said. "Keeping the kids focused and trying to deal with it yourself is never easy. We've had some good talks about it. Carlos is a strong kid and there's no doubt in my mind or the rest of the kids' minds that's he's going to be OK and that he's going to fight it and beat it."

Osso said the 5-foot-6, 170-pound Vazquez is known as the Mustangs' toughest player who doesn't back down from anyone. He played as a noseguard in his junior season. He was moved to linebacker in the final game when he recorded 11 tackles. He was expected to play linebacker and fullback for Costa Mesa this season.

Costa Mesa's football team is doing its best to support Vazquez, who is passionate about the game. He was not available for an interview Saturday as he continues to regain his health.

"When we do our break as a team, we all say, 'Los,' for him," said Ryan Barnett, another teammate.

Barnett's like a brother to Vazquez, who lived with Barnett for about year, until moving back with his mother last month.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles