Unsung Heroes: Upper Lake’s Robert Simondi

Upper Lake linebacker Robert Simondi (courtesy photo).

Editor’s note: The Press Democrat will spotlight a player from each Empire football team selected for the North Coast Section playoffs. Not every player is a star, but the contributions of each of these players are crucial to their teams’ success. Each was nominated by his coach.

UPPER LAKE
Robert Simondi
Linebacker

Notable: While watching film following early season games, Upper Lake coach Airic Guerrero kept seeing Simmondi, a second-string linebacker, in on tackle after tackle whenever he was subbedinto the game. The coach promoted him to first-team outside linebacker and, according to Guerrero, he turned out to be one of the defensive stalwarts on the team.

A CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT SIMONDI

PD: How was the playoff atmosphere for your team?
Simondi: It was good. We were really pumped and felt like we were going to win (Upper Lake lost to Tomales, 26-6, in the first round).

PD: When you were playing as a second-string linebacker, did you think that you deserved to be a starter?
Simondi: Yeah, I really did. I was excited for this year and to have a new spot on defense.

PD: When you were made the starter, how excited were you and how ready were you to get on the field?
Simondi: Every game I was really pumped and ready to get onto the field. I definitely felt good and ready to play.

PD: What did your coach see in you that made him put you as the starter?
Simondi: My aggressiveness and my heart and dedication on the field.

PD: What did you do to become the starter? What did you improve?
Simondi: I learned to be more aggressive and go hard every single day. Learning how to do different things.

PD: How supportive have the students at Upper Lake been to the team?
Simondi: They were supportive, they were also surprised how I got my new spot on defense.

PD: You are at a Division 5 school. Would you rather have played at a larger program or did you like a smaller scale school?
Simondi: I like the small school, but I would probably rather be in a bigger division.

PD: What is one thing that you have learned that you could teach the other high school athletes?
Simondi: Have heart for the sport and give it all you’ve got every single game.

— Jonathan Pierce, for The Press Democrat