Joseph Alaniz is a two-year starter on the offensive line for Harker Heights, which boasts one of the leading rushers in 8-5A in senior Marcus Anderson II. After lining up at right tackle in his first year on varsity, Alaniz now mans the right guard position for Heights and is ready to do everything he can to help the Knights build momentum for a district run.
(Coach Jerry Edwards’) system is more I-formations compared to the spread that you were running before. What’s blocking in this system like?
It’s pretty much the same thing. It’s more running (oriented), but it’s pretty much the same thing. We’ve got to do our jobs either way. Whether we’re running the ball or throwing the ball, we’ve got to get our receivers and our quarterbacks what they need, so I feel like we’re going to try our best either way.
Marcus (Anderson II) has rushed for more than 100 yards the first two games of district, so do you guys feel like you’re doing a good job right now?
We’re trying our best, and not all of it’s us — it’s Marcus, it’s the quarterback, the receivers, everybody has to block. And Marcus is a great running back, he tries all that he can do. And we’re there to help him out through whatever. But we do practice hard and we try as hard as we can.
What is it like to have a guy like that who can make you look good?
It’s great. It’s better than having a guy that doesn’t put his all into it. Having a guy that makes you look good even the plays you mess up, come back and make you want to work harder the next play.
What is it like playing one of the overlooked positions?
If it gets the team the victory, that’s all that we need. We don’t need glory, we don’t need all the talk, as long as our team gets the victory, whether it be the quarterback throwing for 400 yards or the running back running for (300).
How was it coming up on varsity and, boom, they want you to start on the O-line?
It was something to adapt to. It was exciting. The first couple of games we started out slow, but having four out of the five varsity returning members, it was great. We also had a lot of guidance last year with our senior that was on the line. So, it wasn’t too bad.
What happened to your nose? (Alaniz had a gash on the bridge of his nose)
Oh, it was during practice. I tried to block somebody. (I) lifted up and his shoulder pad got me.
You lifted him up and you ended up with the cut?
Yeah (laughs). He came up with his arm, so he cut me in the eye.
Do you feel any similarities between this year and last year?
Unfortunately, we started off slow in both years, but the main thing was, as seniors, trying to get the sophomores and the freshmen and all the other people who were on varsity younger than us to realize that it’s going to (take) a little while for it to start, whether it be the fourth or the first game — as long as we win the games that matter most.
You said you were looking up to a senior last year. What’s it like being that guy this year?
It feels good. And a lot of the younger people are really mature on our team, so it’s not too bad dealing with immaturity, and we all keep our eye on the same goal.
How does it feel coming off a win for the first time this year?
It feels great. It makes us a lot hungrier, and we’ve been practicing hard since summer when coach Edwards came in, and it hadn’t really showed. But now, finally getting our first victory, hopefully, it jump starts something new and brings a streak with it.
What’s it like getting (Edwards) his first victory here?
It was great. The energy after he came in, that wasn’t something we were used to. It was great when he came in, and he was excited. To put a smile on his face, not only the team, it was great. I feel like we all deserved it.