FOOTBALL PREVIEW | South Kitsap senior eyes Hollywood ending

Safety patterns himself after ‘Friday Night Lights’ star and lessons he learned from his older brothers

His favorite player is not portrayed on a bronze bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also won’t be found near a field during the week’s biggest game.

For South Kitsap senior Logan Guerrero, his gridiron idol is in a movie.

Guerrero patterns himself after “Friday Night Lights” star Brian Chavez, whose academic pursuits were just as — if not more — important than his success on the field when he starred at former Texas powerhouse Permian High School.

Similar to Chavez, who graduated from Harvard, Guerrero wants to stand out at safety, where he dons the same No. 4 jersey as his hero, and in the classroom. But Guerrero said he does not want to do that just because of Chavez, who was depicted in Buzz Bissinger’s best-selling 1990 novel and 14 years later on the big screen.

Guerrero said both of his older brothers lamented their lack of focus and excessive partying during their time at South.

“They’ve just taught me life lessons that they’ve gone through and experienced that I don’t have to go through if I just do things the right way,” he said.

Guerrero said his brothers’ perspectives have resonated. Even with his busy football schedule, Guerrero is enrolled in four Advanced Placements classes — calculus, U.S. Government, computer science and physics — along with honors language arts and third-year Spanish. He maintains a 3.7 grade-point average.

He hopes that will translate to an engineering career, whether the route is computer, mechanical or nuclear. Guerrero, who plans to attend the University of Washington, said he favors the field for several reasons, including the availability of jobs.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Guerrero’s passion to succeed in both the classroom and on the field quickly drew the attention of new coach Gavin Kralik. Kralik named Guerrero as one of the Wolves’ captains a week before the Sept. 4 opener against Central Kitsap.

“He’s got tremendous leadership abilities,” Kralik said. “You can win a lot of football games if you have a team with a bunch of kids with that mindset.”

Guerrero long desired to play safety as Chavez did, but started at cornerback last year. Enter Kralik, who was hired March 30, and liked Guerrero at strong safety.

“As a safety, he plays the pass really well and the run really well,” Kralik said. “He’s not one-dimensional there.”

South lacked any sort of dimension on defense in 2014. The Wolves surrendered at least 40 points in four games last season en route to a 3-7 record.

“I think one of the biggest problems we had last year was it was a little too complicated on defense,” Guerrero said. “Just getting adjusted and getting the calls out fast enough is difficult enough.”

Kralik perhaps is best known for his spread, no-huddle offense that produced 705 points in 14 games last year at Texas’ Bay Area Christian. But Guerrero, who also might see playing time at running back, said his presence is felt on the defensive side, as well.

“Coach Kralik made it a lot more simple,” Guerrero said. “It’s easy to get the calls out; it’s easy to understand your alignment and your responsibility on defense. I think that’s going to help us play faster and be more beneficial for us in the long run.”

If that is not enough, Guerrero and his teammates face a workout most weekdays when they scrimmage against their offensive counterparts.

“It’s definitely going to help us, especially playing other teams that do huddle up,” Guerrero said. “It’s going to give us a lot more time to breathe and our cardio is becoming phenomenal because of this no-huddle team.”

But being a well-conditioned unit is only part of what Guerrero wants his defense to be known for

“Hard-hitting, smash-mouth football,” he said. “I just want us to focus on tackling, getting the job done and swarming to the ball.”

Guerrero said he embraced that physicality from his brothers. One of them, Peter-Jay, played linebacker at South before he graduated in 2007.

“My brothers have always told me to hit hard and don’t let anyone push you around,” Guerrero said. “Always be humble on the field. Talk with your actions and not your mouth.”

Senior linebacker Mikey Garcia has played with Guerrero said their days as linebackers on a peewee team. “It’s fun to watch him play because I like to think he’s a linebacker crammed into the size of a safety,” Garcia said. “He didn’t get as big as everyone else, but he still has that same kind of fire and still has all that power he’s had growing up.”

Guerrero has lived in the area throughout his life and is well-versed on the tradition of the program. He sees the plaques commemorating the Wolves’ All-American selections and their 1994 state championship. And if history were not enough, Guerrero just has to look across the locker room to see Garcia.

“I think that all together has shaped me into becoming the best football player and person I can be just because South Kitsap is my home and I want to do my best for my team,” Guerrero said.

Kralik shared similar sentiments.

“He understands the importance of South Kitsap football to this community,” he said. “It means a great deal to him.”

And the value of leaving a legacy.