Arlington’s Jamon McGlory (1) dives into the end zone to score against Temescal Canyon in the second half of the non league game Friday in Lake Elsinore, CA. September 8, 2017. (TERRY PIERSON,THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG)
RIVERSIDE — Jamon McGlory comes from a big family where everything is earned and quiet success is the best kind. “My brothers showed me that you have to work and you have to earn it, and when you see an opportunity, you have to take it,” McGlory said. Needless to say, he’s had to grow to accept attention as one of Riverside County’s emerging high school football talents.
“It’s kind of weird, every one congratulating us — even the teachers — saying we’re changing the program and we’re turning it around and making a good culture for the people that come after us,” said McGlory, who has rushed for nearly 200 yards per game this season for Arlington High. The Lions are 5-0 for the first time since 2001, and a long way from just four years ago, when Arlington’s struggle to recover from a football-related death became national news. “We have to play with a chip on our shoulder every game,” McGlory said. “So that’s what we’re doing.” Tyler Lewellen’s sudden death in 2013 affected the Lions in so many ways, and only a complete culture change could offer a recovery. Long-time coach Pat McCarthy stepped away in December, 2014 and Rich Lunsford, an out-of-state hire, was hired for the 2015 season. A freshman in McCarthy’s final season, McGlory became a full-time varsity starter as a sophomore in Lunsford’s first season, albeit at receiver and wing back. The offense has changed incrementally at first and then drastically in Lunsford’s third season, morphing from a spread to the Lions’ current version of a single-wing formation.
“(Coach Lunsford) has helped us find ourselves,” McGlory said. And while it might not be the best suited for McGlory’s talents, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound senior ball carrier has totaled 950 rushing yards (190.0 per game) with 12 touchdowns. “Coach came up with a new offense, and we’re doing something different, and it’s working,” McGlory said. “We’re a team, so it’s always about what’s best for the team.” Senior quarterback Cameron Abts said McGlory has been invaluable to the Lions. “You really can’t measure what he does, man,” Abts said after Arlington defeated San Jacinto, 21-14, on Sept. 22. “He breathes life into our team and we move forward.” Seniors Joe Johnson, Cyrus Martin and Jose Mercado and the Lions’ other offensive linemen, “never get enough credit,” McGlory said. “And be sure you recognize the defense. They’ve been holding it down and getting us the ball back.” The Lions defense (16 points per game against) eliminates the point of attack and gets after opposing quarterbacks. Senior defensive end/linebacker Louis Sistos and senior defensive back Nate Guerrero share the team lead with 25 solo tackles apiece, while McGlory and big-hitting senior safety Deion Richardson often have been found munching on gummy candy together after wins. “You don’t see many players at this level that can do what (McGlory) does,” San Jacinto head coach Aric Galliano said. “Some kids have special talent.” McGlory is hoping college football program will notice, but he’s not worried about it. “I’m worried about league play,” he said, looking ahead to Arlington’s Inland Valley League opener at North on Friday. “That’s all I’m worried about right now.”