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Kim keeps pushing Nitros straight ahead

Despite a season of struggles, Glendale senior fullback and linebacker keeps moving the pile forward.

November 11, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

Chan Kim takes a lunch-pail approach to his job as the fullback on the Glendale High football team.

When the ball's in his hands, he's a wrecking ball rolling downhill, absorbing hits with legs churning all the while, unquestioningly fighting for every precious inch of sweat-soaked turf.

"When it's fourth and two, I have to get it done and get the first down," Kim says.

In the Nitros' run-dominated offensive playbook, Kim is just as likely to get the ball on first, second or third down, as well — if not all of the above — with the simple directive of lowering his head and trying to move his team forward one carry at a time in quintessential three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust fashion.

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"He's exhausted after every game," junior quarterback Alex Yoon says of Kim, who doubles as the Nitros' strong-side inside linebacker. "That just proves how hard he works. He's willing to do anything, even if he has to endure pain."

Even as it saps his energy and takes a grinding toll on his body, Kim picks himself up out of the pile, dusts himself off and gets ready to do his job all over again without a second thought, whether it ultimately leads to a reward or not.

"You don't think about it," Kim says of the fatigue late in games.

Kim truly embodies the spirit of the 2010 Glendale Nitros, a team with a thankless job to do that still shows up for work week in and week out and punches the clock, even when it's getting punched in the mouth.

There's no getting around the weekly struggles the team has endured this season. No matter how many close games they've been in or good teams they've been competitive with, 0-9 feels like 0-9 and that's where Glendale finds itself with Friday's "Battle for the Victory Bell" against archrival Hoover the last remaining shot for redemption.

The Nitros aren't as polished and, at 31 strong, certainly don't have the depth of some of the teams they've lost to, but continued to come to play with heart and effort even long after the season began to slip away. While they may get gassed in the second half of games, they don't quit.

Kim, a senior captain, wouldn't let them anyway.

"[It comes from] each other, our teammates," Kim says of the Nitros' motivation to keep fighting. "We've got each other's back.

"I have to keep them up to get motivated and get pumped up for games."

Fellow captain Anthony Platero says Kim is a big reason why the Nitros' intensity hasn't waned throughout the long season.

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