He is not the hulk by any means. In fact, he is on the small side when it comes to football linebackers at 5 feet 7 inches and 170 pounds. Nevertheless, size does not stop junior Trojans linebacker Sam Tucsnak from being the best he can be. What he lacks in size, he makes up for with heart and speed.
Trojans Coach Joe Clayton disregards Tucsnak’s size too. He has coached this young man on and off since Pop Warner.
“Tucsnak happens to be one of the hardest working football players on the team,” Clayton said during a summer practice.
Tucsnak is the lead tackler for the Trojans defense with 29 tackles after three games. He is averaging 9.7 tackles per game. In his last game against the Boulder City Eagles he had 13.
Tucsnak started playing football at an early age.
“When I started football, Clayton was my coach for two years in Pop Warner. He also coached me when I was in JV a couple of years ago. I started football at 7 or 8 and football is my main sport. I started young and I have a love for the game. I love putting the hit on somebody,” Tucsnak said. “I would like to play someday in college and really don’t care where I go.”
The linebacker is a three-sport athlete. He also wrestles and runs track.
“I was on junior varsity wrestling last year, but I have been working with two of my friends so I should be a lot better this year. I am going to wrestle 152 weight class. After the wrestling season, I slim down a lot and just become a good runner. The longest I have done in track is the mile,” Tucsnak said.
He got used to the physical exercise at a young age, something he owes to his father, Mark.
“My dad loves to ride bikes and that is his sport,” Sam said.
Mark rides everywhere he goes. If he needs to go to Las Vegas he hops on his bike and rides. His father bikes competitively and he is so much into biking he refuses to ride in a car and lets Sam drive his pickup truck. His passion for bikes has kept Sam physically active his entire life.
“Once in a while I will go out with him on a bike ride to Las Vegas and last year I did a race with him. I hate being indoors. When I was younger, I did BMX riding for four or five years and then I started football. I don’t like being at home much. I like being out and doing stuff,” Sam said.
When he is not playing football Sam is in the weight room pumping iron. He said in the last month he has improved his overall lifting by 200 pounds.
“I work out twice a day at the gym. I am usually over there working out,” he said.
Sam said he eventually wants to take his game to college. He said he gets his desire for wanting a higher education from his mother, Melanie, a teacher at Rosemary Clarke Middle School.
“My sister and I get the competitiveness from Dad, who is highly competitive,” he said. “I have no idea what I want to major in, but maybe something to do with math. I almost kind of have to get good grades because my mother is a teacher. It’s a rule. I never had a problem with good grades.”
He laughed when asked if he had his mother in middle school and replied, “It was probably a good thing I didn’t have her as a teacher. I have seen what my mom does. I have never wanted to be a teacher. It just does not seem to be like a fun job,” he said.