Ortega brothers, Hernandez guiding Bobcats’ defense

RIO HONDO — Football in the Ortega family just comes natural. This season the Rio Hondo Bobcats’ defense has a pair of brothers in sophomore middle linebacker Joey Ortega and junior safety Josiah Ortega. Both siblings have contributed to the Bobcats’ D, which despite being young is beginning to take shape.

Both Ortegas have followed in the footsteps of their older brother, Joseph, who played cornerback for the Cats and graduated last year.

But the Ortega football bloodline doesn’t stop there as they have a younger brother, Jonah, who is the quarterback on the Bobcats’ freshman team.

“It’s a lot of fun playing together and it means a lot to our family to see all of us on the field,” said Josiah. “Our dad is always getting us ready for the season. He is big on high school football; he’s always pushing us to get better each day.”

While Josiah has experience at the varsity level, it was younger brother Joey who had to step in as a sophomore and learn on his feet while also adjusting to the speed of the varsity level.

“Over the summer when I found out I was going to be on the varsity, I was excited and anxious,” said Joey. “I have played football all my life and I have been waiting for this moment to be on the varsity. The biggest challenge for me has been the speed of the varsity and getting ready for bigger linemen. I’ve also had to work on my endurance and speed to not get craps, and keep in shape.”

Two weeks ago Joey made his varsity debut at La Joya Juarez-Lincoln and checked in 12 total tackles followed up by a 20-tackle performance in their Week Three win at Brownsville St. Joseph. Joey currently leads the team in tackles with 32.

HERNANDEZ PROVIDES VETERAN LEADERSHIP IN SECONDARY: The Rio Hondo secondary has the most experience on the defense and senior Ruben Hernandez is the main catalyst. Through two games, Hernandez has 19 total tackles on the season.

“As one of the leaders on defense, I’ll watch film and go over it with the younger guys on what to watch for and how to pick up on different things,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez is teamed up with Josiah Ortega in the secondary and has been quite the combo for the Bobcats. Ortega has 23 tackles on the year and one interception.

Hernandez does enjoy playing alongside the Ortega brothers.

“It’s kind of fun,” Hernandez said. “They get all pumped up and excited when they make a play and it’s all good. I enjoy playing with those guys.”