Liberty High Football 5

Carlos Lorenzo takes part in a scout team drill prior to the start of the season at Liberty High School. 

BEDFORD Carlos Lorenzo walks from the athletic trainer’s room at Liberty High School, where he has just finished rehab for a pulled hamstring, and sits down in the school’s fieldhouse. He’s ready for a return to the gridiron after getting injured in a mid-August scrimmage. It’s a fast return, but for Lorenzo, everything seems to happen quickly. Like football, for instance. Lorenzo didn’t start playing the sport until eighth grade. Now he’s a leader, one of the most experienced players on the varsity roster, a downhill runner who bulldozes through the pack. And there’s the English language. Within about two months of learning it, Lorenzo could hold detailed conversations. With the desire to learn quickly comes confidence, and the 5-foot-10, 200-pound senior exudes it. There was a time, though, when he wasn’t so sure of himself. In 2014, when he was 12 years old, Lorenzo stood at an airport in Puerto Rico, ready to board a plane destined for Virginia with his mother, Yitza Escobar, and his brother, Caleb. His father and step-sisters stayed behind. This wasn’t a vacation; it was permanent, a major move. Lorenzo didn’t know when he’d see those family members again. The journey to Bedford Yitza lost her job. Then the family lost its home. So Yitza, Carlos and Caleb moved from Luquillo, a city known for its shimmering sands and pale blue waters, to Virginia. They settled briefly with family members in Williamsburg, then Roanoke and finally in Bedford. “It was just a decision my mom made out of the blue,” Lorenzo said. “Hey, we can’t do anything here. We’ve got to move.” The times were uncertain. “We didn’t have anything, just a mattress and the things that came with the apartment,” Lorenzo said, recalling the time when his family first moved to Bedford. Yitza’s coworkers heard about her situation and decided to collect money and help the family stock the apartment. It didn’t take long for Lorenzo to find football. The Seattle Seahawks were on TV one night. Marshawn Lynch was barreling down the field. Lorenzo was hooked. “I was like, ‘Hey, I wanna do that,’” Lorenzo remembered. “In eighth grade, I was much bigger than some of the guys in middle school, so they were like, ‘Come out for football.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I would like to try that and see what happens.’” Last year, the running back was influential in Liberty’s long playoff run to the Region 3C championship. It was an unexpected run, since Liberty entered the playoffs with a 5-5 record and was the region’s No. 7 seed. The 17-year-old didn’t play in Liberty’s first two games of 2019, but Lorenzo was there when his teammates dropped their heads in frustration. “You keep playing,” he’ll tell them. “You come back, score, keep your head up. That’s one thing I do when I’m on the field. I keep everyone alert at all times.” Liberty coach Chris Watts has watched Lorenzo grow throughout his varsity career. Lorenzo chose not to play his sophomore year. “He’s smart, and I think he picks things up quickly because he has a desire to learn it,” Watts said. “He wants to be the guy that people can look to to know the answers.”

A helping hand

No man is an island. Lorenzo learned that at a young age, when his mother’s coworkers decided to help a migrant family. He’s also learned it from friends, like Logan Orange (“If I ever need anything, [Logan’s family] is always there for me,” Lorenzo said.), former teammates who passed their football knowledge on to him, his coaches, his English teachers. “I’m never the guy who asks for help or anything,” Lorenzo said. “I have to go out and do it on my own. But I would never tell no to somebody when they want to reach out and help. So whenever I see somebody that needs help, I’m gonna help them no matter if they want it or not.” He currently has an internship spending time with elementary students. Some are quiet. Some don’t have friends. Others sit alone. “I was that kid,” Lorenzo said. “So I always make sure and talk to those kids, because I didn’t speak the language when I got here and I was alone until I started to speak it. So I want to make sure those people, no matter who they are, they know: You’re never alone.” Lorenzo has been back to Puerto Rico one time, two years ago. Since he moved away, Hurricane Maria ravaged the island and caused mudslides in Luquillo. An aunt and uncle’s home was destroyed. Lorenzo’s grandfather lost his food truck, his only source of income. He didn’t hear from his grandparents for days after the storm, then breathed a sigh of relief when he found out they weren’t harmed. He’s watched as family members migrated to the mainland. He’s watched as immigrants from other counties seek better lives in the United States. “I had the opportunity to come here free,” Lorenzo said of leaving life in the U.S. territory. “I just got on a plane and now I’m here. Some [immigrants] they have the same problems. They lost their family, their money, they lost their houses. They want to have the same opportunities we have. … People use stereotypes about [migrants] but at the end of the day, everybody wants the same thing, which is to put food on the table for your family. Turem et laut ut rectat. Dolut occus eos aut et hicipis mintur sinimol; lasj; lfjas;fja;slkdfjas;ldfj;alskjf;krit lab in cus, optatem verit vent reratur? Ihit odiciist la ped ulla elis providus dolorit recus iderepudis isciis perro eum audi aut autam qui reni aspicie ntionem qui vollor sunt que offici qui doluptam faccat volupti sam aut is ad que volupistem recum dollut di dolo maioriatur sume num experum ad eost eossi omnis corum volorem nobis aliquosam, quas sum aditia si autem quam, ut hit enihiliqui comnis voluptas es doluptiunti qui dolupient, sit hil mollita eperro volessin perestiur minto esti ut etur? Agnis nem et exceper rovidel lupiciatem ilique volor accatia vendae. Itaque cuptius sum hil modicae dolorum quatius, temquias excea qui a etur, tenim que res magnati onecta dolut aut rem vendi berios nimi, nonectorum imuscius, torem di num ut doluptatem niandae eos viduciusdae. Uptates non estiae nat faccabo. Ratiam, testecto te omnihil issitaspera niminulla pos ut omnis dis eum quia quuntiur, odis earum asperunda doluptia vendiae. Um ipsa delliquos et aut quatur? Et, ut ut pelis inctaqui que ped quaturem. Nam, ullecusam, volupis sitat quiaturio molum hitatum simpos non nonse non porende reritaquas dit autectatet doloriam eosaest quunt aditiasperi dolori cus adi aut dus modigen imusam fuga. Itatur aute dus eatur aut adisquam, core quideni modita ea quaecaepudit et ella quidi ut ex eratum cus vel invenda nturerio maxima quam quid eaquae cus mo dipsus, tectem consequi soloreperit quiandeseque restiat odit et estium con nonem sitiis alicidi gnitate ctaturit officium ipidusam susam, quatempos ni cuptiun tiones deritiatia voluptatis explacipsunt et et el et et aut ut volorrumquis et hitam expedic tecuptae molore, simendam reium vendund estianderum hit enecabo rerovit asperciis dolorernam facestio volupta tassunt iorero el imus quas vel iliqui comnis doloreped explab im que idus, undant explatem cullique nit, cus quate ea sit Ben Cates covers high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5527.

BEDFORD

Carlos Lorenzo walks from the athletic trainer’s room at Liberty High School, where he has just finished rehab for a pulled hamstring, and sits down in the school’s fieldhouse. He’s ready for a return to the gridiron after getting injured in a mid-August scrimmage. It’s a fast return, but for Lorenzo, everything seems to happen quickly.

Like football, for instance. Lorenzo didn’t start playing the sport until eighth grade. Now he’s a leader, one of the most experienced players on the varsity roster, a downhill runner who bulldozes through the pack.

And there’s the English language. Within about two months of learning it, Lorenzo could hold detailed conversations.

With the desire to learn quickly comes confidence, and the 5-foot-10, 200-pound senior exudes it. There was a time, though, when he wasn’t so sure of himself.

In 2014, when he was 12 years old, Lorenzo stood at an airport in Puerto Rico, ready to board a plane destined for Virginia with his mother, Yitza Escobar, and his brother, Caleb. His father and step-sisters stayed behind. This wasn’t a vacation; it was permanent, a major move. Lorenzo didn’t know when he’d see those family members again.

The journey to BedfordYitza lost her job. Then the family lost its home. So Yitza, Carlos and Caleb moved from Luquillo, a city known for its shimmering sands and pale blue waters, to Virginia. They settled briefly with family members in Williamsburg, then Roanoke and finally in Bedford.

“It was just a decision my mom made out of the blue,” Lorenzo said. “Hey, we can’t do anything here. We’ve got to move.”

The times were uncertain.

“We didn’t have anything, just a mattress and the things that came with the apartment,” Lorenzo said, recalling the time when his family first moved to Bedford.

Yitza’s coworkers heard about her situation and decided to collect money and help the family stock the apartment.

It didn’t take long for Lorenzo to find football. The Seattle Seahawks were on TV one night. Marshawn Lynch was barreling down the field. Lorenzo was hooked.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I wanna do that,’” Lorenzo remembered. “In eighth grade, I was much bigger than some of the guys in middle school, so they were like, ‘Come out for football.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I would like to try that and see what happens.’”

Last year, the running back was influential in Liberty’s long playoff run to the Region 3C championship. It was an unexpected run, since Liberty entered the playoffs with a 5-5 record and was the region’s No. 7 seed.

The 17-year-old didn’t play in Liberty’s first two games of 2019, but Lorenzo was there when his teammates dropped their heads in frustration.

“You keep playing,” he’ll tell them. “You come back, score, keep your head up. That’s one thing I do when I’m on the field. I keep everyone alert at all times.”

Liberty coach Chris Watts has watched Lorenzo grow throughout his varsity career. Lorenzo chose not to play his sophomore year.

“He’s smart, and I think he picks things up quickly because he has a desire to learn it,” Watts said. “He wants to be the guy that people can look to to know the answers.”

A helping hand

No man is an island. Lorenzo learned that at a young age, when his mother’s coworkers decided to help a migrant family.

He’s also learned it from friends, like Logan Orange (“If I ever need anything, [Logan’s family] is always there for me,” Lorenzo said.), former teammates who passed their football knowledge on to him, his coaches, his English teachers.

“I’m never the guy who asks for help or anything,” Lorenzo said. “I have to go out and do it on my own. But I would never tell no to somebody when they want to reach out and help. So whenever I see somebody that needs help, I’m gonna help them no matter if they want it or not.”

He currently has an internship spending time with elementary students. Some are quiet. Some don’t have friends. Others sit alone.

“I was that kid,” Lorenzo said. “So I always make sure and talk to those kids, because I didn’t speak the language when I got here and I was alone until I started to speak it. So I want to make sure those people, no matter who they are, they know: You’re never alone.”

Lorenzo has been back to Puerto Rico one time, two years ago. Since he moved away, Hurricane Maria ravaged the island and caused mudslides in Luquillo. An aunt and uncle’s home was destroyed. Lorenzo’s grandfather lost his food truck, his only source of income. He didn’t hear from his grandparents for days after the storm, then breathed a sigh of relief when he found out they weren’t harmed.

He’s watched as family members migrated to the mainland. He’s watched as immigrants from other counties seek better lives in the United States.

“I had the opportunity to come here free,” Lorenzo said of leaving life in the U.S. territory. “I just got on a plane and now I’m here. Some [immigrants] they have the same problems. They lost their family, their money, they lost their houses. They want to have the same opportunities we have. … People use stereotypes about [migrants] but at the end of the day, everybody wants the same thing, which is to put food on the table for your family.

Turem et laut ut rectat. Dolut occus eos aut et hicipis mintur sinimol; lasj; lfjas;fja;slkdfjas;ldfj;alskjf;krit

lab in cus, optatem verit vent reratur?

Ihit odiciist la ped ulla elis providus dolorit recus iderepudis isciis perro eum audi aut autam qui reni aspicie ntionem qui vollor sunt que offici qui doluptam faccat volupti sam aut is ad que volupistem recum dollut di dolo maioriatur sume num experum ad eost eossi omnis corum volorem nobis aliquosam, quas sum aditia si autem quam, ut hit enihiliqui comnis voluptas es doluptiunti qui dolupient, sit hil mollita eperro volessin perestiur minto esti ut etur? Agnis nem et exceper rovidel lupiciatem ilique volor accatia vendae. Itaque cuptius sum hil modicae dolorum quatius, temquias excea qui a etur, tenim que res magnati onecta dolut aut rem vendi berios nimi, nonectorum imuscius, torem di num ut doluptatem niandae eos viduciusdae. Uptates non estiae nat faccabo. Ratiam, testecto te omnihil issitaspera niminulla pos ut omnis dis eum quia quuntiur, odis earum asperunda doluptia vendiae. Um ipsa delliquos et aut quatur?

Et, ut ut pelis inctaqui que ped quaturem. Nam, ullecusam, volupis sitat quiaturio molum hitatum simpos non nonse non porende reritaquas dit autectatet doloriam eosaest quunt aditiasperi dolori cus adi aut dus modigen imusam fuga. Itatur aute dus eatur aut adisquam, core quideni modita ea quaecaepudit et ella quidi ut ex eratum cus vel invenda nturerio maxima quam quid eaquae cus mo dipsus, tectem consequi soloreperit quiandeseque restiat odit et estium con nonem sitiis alicidi gnitate ctaturit officium ipidusam susam, quatempos ni cuptiun tiones deritiatia voluptatis explacipsunt et et el et et aut ut volorrumquis et hitam expedic tecuptae molore, simendam reium vendund estianderum hit enecabo rerovit asperciis dolorernam facestio volupta tassunt iorero el imus quas vel iliqui comnis doloreped explab im que idus, undant explatem cullique nit, cus quate ea sit

Ben Cates covers high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5527.

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Ben Cates covers high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5527. 

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