Two years ago, Christian Conrad was a sophomore trying to fit in as a new offensive lineman at Cabrillo. Tonight, he will be a senior captain for Wilson when the Bruins visit Millikan for a second-place Moore League battle.
“Football stuck with me,” Conrad said. “No matter what was going on, I still always wanted to play.”
After being born in Utah, and raised in Long Beach, the 6’2” 250-pound Conrad moved back and forth with his family until he landed at Cabrillo High in 2016. Conrad had played pop warner football in both states, and struggled to get a feel for the game’s demands.
“I remember throwing up a lot after running a lot my first year of football,” Conrad said. “But it got me in shape, and I stayed with it because of pride. I don’t see myself as being someone who doesn’t want to challenge myself.”
Despite only playing defense in Utah, Conrad learned to play offensive line under coach Mike Ulufale at Cabrillo, and started as a sophomore. He came back as a valued junior starter, but life got in the way.
“My family and I were kicked out of where we were living, and we were kind of homeless for a minute,” Conrad said. “We moved into an apartment close to Wilson, and that was the best option for me at the time.”
Conrad was granted a hardship transfer by the CIF Southern Section, and ended up playing games for both Cabrillo and Wilson during his junior year. It only took two weeks of being on campus for Conrad to take the field as an offense tackle for the Bruins, but that wasn’t enough for the self-driven lineman.
“He was geared up to play center this year because he really wanted to take that leadership role,” Wilso coach Mark Ziegenhagen said of Conrad. “He’s really taken these underclassman lineman under his wing.”
Conrad said that coming to Wilson forced him out of his social shell after years of changing schools and keeping to himself.
“Because of everything I was going through I kind of shied away from everyone,” Conrad said. “At Cabrillo I was just going to school, playing football, and doing what needed to be done. But being family friends with (Wilson football player Andrew Galindo) made it easier to get involved at Wilson.”
Conrad said he quickly won the trust of his new teammates because he welcomed mixed company.
“Before it seemed like the lineman were with lineman, and everyone else was separate,” Conrad said. “Now we talk to everyone and blend in more. I show fight when it’s needed, and when it’s not I show love and respect to everyone playing along side me.”
That especially included Conrad’s opponents when Cabrillo visited Wilson earlier this season.
“I miss all of my friends there, and they all showed me love and respect during the game.”