Pomona High School followed their formula of running the ball and playing tough defense to secure a place in this year’s 5A state championship game. On offense, the Panthers have a young, but very talented group of playmakers including junior running back Cameron Gonzales as well as speedster, sophomore athlete Max Borghi and sophomore QB Ryan Marquez. Making this work is an offensive line highlighted by Colorado’s top offensive player, junior tackle Jake Moretti. The defense is older, highlighting multiple experienced players.
One of the keys to the defense is DE/OLB Elijah Leyva. The 6-2 235 pounder is the epitome of the Panther defense, playing a physical, high motor style of defense. Equally disruptive playing with his hand on the ground or from the two point, Leyva has nine sacks, five passes defended and four fumbles caused.
Looking at his team and this weekend’s title game against Valor Christian Leyva says, “Right now I think the team is really playing together, having each other’s backs while doing their job.” Way back in early September, Pomona wore down Valor, scoring 21 2nd half points to defeat the Eagles 28-14. Leyva knows the Valor squad and their multiple big play performers paced by junior quarterback Dylan McCaffrey. Talking about the game and limiting the Valor O Leyva says, “The key to the game is to limit the number of Valor’s big play opportunities.”
Fans of play in the trenches will, at times, get to see a great one on one matchup when Leyva lines up across from Valor offensive tackle and Virginia commit Dillon Reinkensmeyer. Leyva, will, no matter who he lines up against, bring it in his physical style. It is this style, along with his versatility, that has garnered Leyva college attention, North Dakota, Colorado State and CSU-Pueblo are showing interest.