Another Cota rising at Irvine

Irvine Scene

David is the third Cota to play for Vaqueros, who opened the season with a 20-0 win over Rosemead.

September 01, 2012|By Joe Haakenson
  • David Cota
David Cota

Talk to David Cota about the Irvine High football team and the same word keeps coming up, over and over again.


Cota is Irvine's middle linebacker and the team captain. He's a senior, but his connection to the Irvine football program runs much deeper than his high school years.

Cota has two older brothers, Gabriel and Victor, who both attended Irvine and played football under legendary coach Terry Henigan. Gabriel is the varsity defensive ends coach and head junior varsity coach at the school this year.

"They're older brothers so you know how that goes, but they're very supportive," Cota said. "They've always helped me out, and helped me get through things, kept my spirits high. They're great people and will help me with anything, especially sports."

And it's that feeling of family that Cota also enjoys with his teammates.

"A big part of this program – it's an amazing program – is that it's like a family, everyone's so close," Cota said. "I just love the team and the program and everything about it."


This season, Cota is back in his natural position as a middle linebacker, calling the defensive signals. He'll also get time as a fullback on offense. Last year, though, Cota played defensive end, playing out of position because there was a need.

"Last year we had two great middle linebackers in Kevin Torres and Matt Canlas," Cota said. "They moved me to defensive end, but that was cool because my brother was the defensive end coach."

Cota responded with 48 tackles last season and was an all-league, honorable mention selection.

"He was our third inside linebacker but we said we've got to find a way to get him on the field," said Erik Terry, who is in his third season as Irvine's head coach. "David was too good to be on the sideline."

And Terry said it was more than Cota's physical abilities that made it a priority to get him on the field, even at a position he had never played before. It was his feel for the game and a positive attitude that rubs off on his teammates.

"That's just inherent in his makeup with his family," Terry said. "His brothers came through here and it's one of those families, from the top down, that believes in hard work and never doubting your abilities."

Terry said in the 15 years he's been at the school as an assistant and now a head coach, this year was the first year the coaches asked the players to vote for a team captain, and Cota was a near-unanimous choice.

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