You don’t have to look very hard to find Alejandro Ramirez on the football field.
The Springdale (Ark.) Har-Ber defensive tackle is only a sophomore, but he stands 6-foot-2 and 310 pounds. He didn’t make many tackles in the Wildcats’ 31-21 win over Bentonville Friday, but his presence was felt.
“I’ll have to see film for sure, but what Alejandro does in the middle, he takes up gaps for us,” Har-Ber head coach Chris Wood said. “He lets those linebackers run because he forces double teams. They can’t get off him; they can’t chip off him.
“He’s such a presence on the inside, it allows our linebacker to run free.”
His impact was perhaps no more evident than when he wasn’t on the field.
Har-Ber held Bentonville scoreless for almost the entire first half, thanks in part to the Wildcats’ defense putting pressure on Tigers quarterback Kasey Ford, who is committed to play baseball at Kansas State and has a football offer from Louisville.
With less than 30 seconds left in the half, though, Ford threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to pull Bentonville within 17-7. He was nearly sacked by Ramirez, who ended up hurting his hip on the play and had to be helped off the field.
While he worked out his hip on the sideline in the third quarter, the Tigers stormed back and pulled within three points a couple of times. However, that was as close as they would get, as Ramirez returned to the game and the defensive pressure picked back up.
“I think I did pretty good,” Ramirez said. “When I got hurt, I didn’t think I was going to be able to go back in, but I got it done.”
Despite being only a sophomore, Wood said Ramirez has played a large role in the Wildcats’ 5-1 start, including a 3-0 record in the 7A-West.
“Alejandro is a great kid,” Wood said. “I remember him from Hellstern Middle School, that big sucker walking around the halls. He’s a great kid with a humble hear and he loves the game and he plays the game very, very hard.”
That said, Ramirez knows he still has several areas of his game that could be improved, including his hands and getting off blocks faster.
If continues to improve, college coaches could be showing up for the next big-time Har-Ber defensive line prospect. In the last three years, the Wildcats have produced four-star Josh Frazier (Alabama), three-star Jake Hall (Arkansas) and Rickey Dobbins (Central Arkansas).
“We’ve had some good (defensive) linemen come out at that position,” Wood said. “I think he has a chance to be high-level DI.”