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Football profile: Trojans linebacker Sam Tuscnak

<p>Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Sam Tuscnak as a freshman football player.</p>

Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Sam Tuscnak as a freshman football player.

<p>Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - Sam as he is today.</p>

Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - Sam as he is today.

<p>Charlotte Uyeno / Special to Pahrump Valley Times - Sam Tuscnak as a junior linebacker and about 20 pounds lighter than he is today.</p>

Charlotte Uyeno / Special to Pahrump Valley Times - Sam Tuscnak as a junior linebacker and about 20 pounds lighter than he is today.

They say good things come in small packages, but don’t let Sam Tuscnak’s lack of size deceive you. The young linebacker is 5 foot 7 inches tall and 195 pounds.

Last year Sam Tuscnak led the linebackers with 40 solo tackles and 48 assists. This small tackling machine depends on his quickness and strength to get to the man with the ball. He is not what you would call a Mack truck by a long shot, but he’s no Toyota mini either.

Since wrestling ended in spring, the senior has bulked up and added on a few pounds — 45. He wrestled at 152 pounds last year.

During wrestling he had to fight to keep at 152 by not eating as much food. Now that the wrestling season is long gone Tuscnak says he eats no less than six meals a day.

“My strength suffered a little bit but not too much during wrestling. I started putting on the weight as soon as wrestling ended. I started bulking up. I eat a lot of chicken and I drink whey protein to build up on the muscle,” Sam said.

His father Mark said he bought a whole turkey one day just for his son to eat. Mark and his wife, Melanie, do not eat meat.

Tuscnak will be playing both ways for the football team. Last year he was an all-conference and all-league linebacker and his goal this year is to be an all-state linebacker.

Craig Rieger, Trojans wrestling and football coach, describes Tuscnak has one of the hardest working players on the team. He said Sam lives in the weight room.

The team lost Scott Maughan in the offensive backfield when Maughan graduated. Tuscnak is hoping to fill shoes as the lead fullback. Maughan had a career high of 158 carries for 716 yards.

Tuscnak is confident about his defensive play. With the new concussion rules some say that football has lost its aggressiveness on the field and that linebackers and defensive backs are not as aggressive as they once were. Despite the new concussion rules and some changes in the way the game of football is played at the high school level Sam still feels it is the same game. The new rules have not affected the way Sam plays the game on the field.

“I think you still can be as aggressive. You just have to keep your head up. You can’t go helmet-to-helmet. If you get a penalty, you get a penalty. I am not going to say it’s a well-earned penalty, but if you make a good hit I still think it’s OK to hit someone helmet-to-helmet just because it’s the game of football,” he said.

Sam plays defense with the following motto in mind: “It hurts them more than it hurts you.”

The young player plays hard on the field and works hard to maintain his school work. He said he gets nothing less than a 4.0 each semester.

“I go 100 percent at practice every day and during conditioning to prepare my body for going both ways during the football season. I also hit the gym every night,” he said.

Instead of doing long distance running he does a lot of sprints. Long distance builds endurance but slims you down. He wants to maintain the bulk.

“I also do a lot of super sets,” he said. This is where a person would do a set of one workout and then one would go to the next workout and do a set of that. The person would go back and forth between them.

He agrees that he may be quiet in wrestling but in football he is very vocal. “I am a team player. I like to get involved with my team and what they do,” he told the PVT.

He said he likes to fire up the defense.

At the end of the year, Sam plans on going to college and hopes to play football wherever he can.