The stuff of legends: All about #33

Posted on 27. Feb, 2015 by in education

study in America | China

#33 at far left in front of Coach

By Michael Ashcraft

Number 33 was Pastor Rob Scribner’s number when he played for the L.A. Rams, four years in the NFL.

Then, his brainchild, Lighthouse Christian Academy, started a football program. Since it was a small school, they played 8-man CIF league.

Of course, among the new jerseys was #33. And one of the best players picked that number. He would continue the tradition of legends. Twice, the lowly Lighthouse, with a fraction of the enrollment of its competitors, nearly snatched championship from the entire Southern Section.

The #33 was honorably bequeathed to another great player – and then another.

study in America | ChinaAll the while its aura of greatness grew. Opposing teams could have figured out who to double-guard on offense, who to avoid on defense. Who would blast past them with a 90 yard sprint into the End Zone? Who would tackle them so hard that they would see stars from the sidelines – for the rest of the game?

Yup. Number 33 was not to be messed with — ever.

Then, the mighty number — which spoke volumes of history — was handed out to 107-pounder Chinese student who had never played football before.

Chinese in American high school

On the left, ready for action.

When Henry Sihao Yu, our not-too-formidable tight-end, donned the prophetic mantle, was he our best player?

“He WAS the best player – in character,” said Coach Zach Scribner, a son of Pastor Rob. “He was a leader. He didn’t miss a practice… hard work, consistency, never giving up in the sprints. It was his first year playing football, and no matter what the score was, he was always eager to play and keeping up the morale of the other players.”

By the end of the season, LCA had only won one game. And Henry had contributed to that victory.

In the first place, without him, Lighthouse wouldn’t have mustered enough guys to field a team. Last year, enrollment was at its lowest (it’s currently rebounding big time). With Henry and three other Chinese players he convinced to play, we had 11 guys – barely enough to throw together a semblance of a squad.

With so few players, it’s understandable that Lighthouse lost. Our guys play offense AND defense. There are virtually no substitutions, no breathers. While other teams could replace their entire squad every play on a cycle of three plays, the Lighthouse boys had to hunker down and find the will to continue from a burning desire deep within.

The 2014 season won’t be remembered for meaty guys. In fact, when Lighthouse quarterback handed off to Henry in one play, opponents very gingerly picked him up and moved him backwards. They — graciously — didn’t clobber him.

“It was really good to be together with the other students and try to win a game,” Henry said. “We formed friendships. We grew up together through all the difficulties. At times, we wanted to quit. We were really scared to hit, really scared to dive to tackle. But we overcame the fear. We grew up.”

This is the Henry’s second year at Lighthouse. As a senior, he’s preparing to enter an American college. Foreign students love to come to America for the cultural experience and to attain a high proficiency at English. Lighthouse has eight Chinese students alone.

Henry has demonstrated excellence of Christian character around campus. Not only are his grades sterling, he’s always got a smile and a friendly encouragement for anyone struggling, academically or otherwise. He’s willing to pitch in with any work that needs to be done for the good of the school.

In addition to being his coach, Zach Scriber is Henry’s host dad, giving him a room, rides and three meals a day.

“He’s always encouraging the other international students to be involved and not to be separated in a Chinese clique,” Zach Scribner said.

henryHe’s learned a lot at Lighthouse — not just academics.

“It’s good to see more of the world, to make different types of friends,” Henry said. “American students are crazier, more active, more self-reliant than Chinese kids. I can learn a lot from them. When I was in China, I just studied, studied, studied. Here I’m learning life skills like relationship, how to understand people and how to communicate – to try to comfort them when they are angry, sad or annoying.”

LCA’s single victory was a hard-fought 60-51 win against La Verne Calvary Baptist in which the Chinese figured prominently. Raymond Kong intercepted two passes, and Chris Lin made two sacks to turn the tide.

And Henry? “He got pushed on the ground on every play,” Coach Scribner said.

“I didn’t lose the ball,” Henry reminded him in a joint interview.

“Yeah, you didn’t lose the ball.” Coach conceded. “That was good.”

“It felt so good to win,” Henry reminisced. “After working so hard for so long with the same people to try to win one game, I literally jumped up in the air.”

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One Response to “The stuff of legends: All about #33”

  1. […] When Henry Sihao Yu, our not-too-formidable tight-end, donned the prophetic mantle, was he our best player? Read the rest of the article. […]

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