Befunky Collage 2
Football Lakewood

FEATURE: David Voorhies Following Brothers Lead, Making Plays For Lakewood Football

Photos: David (left) and James Voorhies playing four years apart as Lakewood Lancers.

The562’s coverage of football in 2023-24 is sponsored in part by the MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center Foundation and Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Foundation.

The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013

When James Voorhies was an elusive senior running back for Lakewood in 2019 his younger brother David was the ball boy, and they would speak as brothers throughout the game.

“If he’d seen me frustrated or not playing to my ability he’d come over and be like, ‘Hey, you kinda suck, dog,’” James recalled with a chuckle. “It always gave me a pep in my step. We have a relationship where we talk crap to each other jokingly and it just cheers us up.”

The Voorhies boys also have the type of relationship where they’re never far from each others minds where football is concerned. This year it’s David Voorhies’ turn to play for the Lakewood Lancers and make his family proud.

“Anytime I’m looking forward to a football game, I’m really looking forward to my brother being in the stands and cheering me on,” David said. “That’s who I’m really doing it for. I want to give him the feeling I got when I watched him play. I just wanna make him proud and make him remember these moments because I’ll never forget his games.”

Voorhies has already made some memories this season as a senior safety, like coming up with the first interception of the year for the Red Swarm defense on the first drive of the season.

“I couldn’t believe it,” David said. “When I turned with the receiver and saw his eyes I looked back and I was like, ‘No way the ball is coming right to me.’ I just put my hands up, caught the ball, got up and started celebrating with my teammates.”

James said David came up to him after the game and echoed his advice about the little things leading to that play, and that his response was, “Yeah, I told you.”

“He’s taught me everything I know about football,” David said. “I always clown (James for being the shorter big brother) and we get in little fights… put him in a chokehold and mess with him. It’s always fun being around a little guy.”


David Voorhies is wearing #14 for the Lakewood Lancers this year, just like his brother James did as a senior four years ago.

The road to being a senior starter was a winding one for Voorhies, who grew up as a Heartwell baseball player that also played Lakewood Pop Warner football. His natural speed made him a great outfielder, and he played baseball up until this year in order to concentrate on football.

When Voorhies got to Lakewood as a freshman he wasn’t as defensive back.

“We didn’t have a quarterback and my mom told our coach that I could throw the ball,” Voorhies said. “I didn’t like it at all. I wanted to play wherever, but her telling coach I could quarterback, at that time I didn’t think I could do it.”

Voorhies remembers using his speed to keep plays alive, and started developing into a decent signal caller. Then COVID-19 hit during the offseason, and when Voorhies came back to be the junior varsity quarterback in the shortened season of 2020, he tore his ACL on a simple read option play.

“When I made the cut my knee just collapsed,” he recalled. “I got up, hopped over to the sideline… I went back in and did the same thing a couple plays later. I thought I was okay. The doctors always told me I have a high pain tolerance.”

What followed was a strange kind of torture for Voorhies, who had to wait four months for a doctors second opinion and eventual surgery in February of 2021.

“I was in a deep depression and I didn’t know what to do without football,” he said. “Then you learn to walk again after you tear year ACL, then you get your surgery and you can’t walk again. So you’re back in that dark place. I was always by myself just laying in my bed. I would eat dinner in bed, do everything in bed, for a couple months.”

When he got cleared and started physical therapy, David also started running with James at the local parks, and his motivation though the most frustrating times was always clear.

“It’s my family, they love to see me play sports and be the athlete I am,” Voorhies said. “That’s what I wanted to get back to, just being an athlete.”

“It was tough trying to help him and trying not to get frustrated because if it was up to him it would’ve been back in like three months,” James said. “We knew he’d be back before they said, it was more how can we get him back without re-injuring it. It was more mental than anything, just trying to keep him from going crazy.”

Voorhies was told it would take him nine months to a year to play football again after surgery. He was back on the practice field in seven months, but his quarterback job wasn’t waiting for him.

“It was a little disappointing, but I was out for so long I couldn’t expect to just be handed back a job,” Voorhies said. “I had to work for it.”

Monthly Subscribers to The562

By The562 Network Inc

While working his way onto the field as a member of the special teams unit, Voorhies learned to play defensive back. All of the time watching film with his brother and studying to be a quarterback helped Voohries develop quickly. By the end of the season he was playing safety in the postseason while the Lancers advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 8 championship game.

“It doesn’t always take a big physical person to play football, you have to play smart, know your job and get the job done,” Voorhies said. “Because I played quarterback, I know what the quarterback is looking at, what what he’s reading, and seeing plays develop from the other side is almost seeing it as I did as a quarterback. It’s actually a lot easier on the defensive side.”

Voorhies has 28 total tackles, three pass deflections and an interception his season, according to MaxPreps. He also stayed on special teams and returns kicks, so Lakewood coach and alum Justin Utupo calls him, “Our Swiss Army knife who can do it all for us.”

“He’s also someone that I would be friends with if I were his age,” Utupo said. “He’s chill, he’s selfless and he’s always looking out for his brother. Our team motto is “Count on me” and he’s someone his coaching staff and teammates can count on. He also comes from a good family. ”

Jessica Voorhies has been very involved with the Lakewood football program while her son’s have been players, and even made special keychains for the other moms on Senior Night last week.

Utupo is familiar with playing Lakewood football before his younger bother because he did it, and fondly remembers watching Jared from the sidelines.

“You are your siblings biggest fan, and I know James is David’s biggest fan,” Utupo said. “He’s out there watching him practice, and at every game rooting of him. That’s really all you can hope for, as the older sibling, is for your younger sibling to do better than you.”

Lakewood travels to Jordan Friday night for a key Moore League matchup.

Jessica Voorhies with David on Senior Night
JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.