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Cardinals’ Baca shines in Combine

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By The Staff

Las Vegas’ Mathew Baca, 14, earned rave reviews in the recent Schuman’s National Underclassmen Combine held in Farmington.

National Underclassmen Combine is a football competition where athletes showcase their football skills and talents in such activities as the 40-yard dash, shuttle, broad jump, vertical jump, jump reach, standing reach, and bench reps.

The athletes are also tested on their position-specific football skills and knowledge. They are then ranked by former NFL players and college coaches.

Baca earned the Overall 8th Grade MVP and was named to the All-Combine Team. His time in the 40-yard dash is the third highest among other 8th grade MVPs in the Western U.S.

Baca, who plays running back and linebacker, drew the following praise from evaluators: “Excellent feet in and out of breaks ... solid speed ... Could also play as a slot receiver.”

His next competition is an invitation-only event on June 21 in Los Angeles.

Baca said he wishes to thank former coaches Morgan Montaño and Richard Martinez.

A Memorial Middle School student who has begun competing in varsity track as well as football for the Cardinals, he is the son of Victoria Baca and Gary Lopez of Las Vegas.