As a kid, he was "too small" for the little league team. He didn't even play competitive football his freshman year. Now, senior Felix Ruiz, at 5'9'', 200 pounds, is one of the most feared fullbacks in the county.
When he moved to Silver Spring from Los Angeles ten years ago, Ruiz was eager to try out for football after watching it on television with his father. At the age of seven, Ruiz came out for the local Takoma Park club football team, but the coaches told him he wasn't big enough. A determined Ruiz returned the next year and made the squad as a lineman. Over the next four years with the club, he gained a wealth of knowledge of the game that he says ultimately got him where he is today.
Ruiz began his Blair career as a sophomore on junior varsity. Because of a hole in the fullback spot left by the graduation of a talented senior class, Ruiz was thrust into a starting position on varsity the next year.
Varsity coach James Short feels he can trust Ruiz to get the job done. Short has modified the position of fullback, which is traditionally a blocker, so that Ruiz can strike complementary to the running back.
Short puts a lot of weight on Ruiz's shoulders, giving him an unusually high average of 20 carries per game.
For the past few years, Blair has been known for its running game. Senior right offensive tackle Chris Giovanniello believes that Short's modification is what makes Blair's running game so deadly.
A blend of raw talent and a natural drive to succeed have made Ruiz one of the most productive fullbacks in the area. Short believes that Ruiz can attribute much of his success on the field to his work ethic. "He is his worst critic," Short says. "He makes sure he will get that extra yard."
Short also believes that Ruiz owes many of his accomplishments to his sister Rosana. "I think of all the people he is around, he respects his sister [most]," he says. "[She] is the driving force behind him."
Ruiz is meticulous about his personal game but remains humble. "Everything that I am able to do is because of my offensive line. I feed off of them," he says. "I just do my part on the team."
But the numbers are there: Ruiz is a key component of the Blazer running machine, accounting for more than half of Blair's total rushing yards this season to date. According to Short, Ruiz has rushed for over 700 yards and seven touchdowns in the first six games of the season.
Short knows he is not the only one with great faith in Ruiz. "What makes him who he is his heart," Short says. "He is a tough kid, and I think that is what most people leave our games saying."
Lincoln Fischer. Senior sports writer Lincoln Fischer was born in Manhattan, New York on May 1st 1985. He presently lives in Takoma Park with his mother, father and sister. His father, Craig, is an editor for Pace Publications, which produces a number of newsletters related to criminal … More »