News

Esperanza Senior Bursts on Scene With Video-Game Rushing Numbers

Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
Esperanza Senior Bursts on Scene With Video-Game Rushing Numbers

Esperanza High School running back Aaron Forsgren (2) in an undated photo. (Courtesy of JP Presley)

Dan Wood

Dan Wood

9/12/2023

Updated: 9/12/2023

Few, if any, Orange County high school football fans paid much attention to Aaron Forsgren or Anaheim’s Esperanza High School when the senior running back rushed for 67 yards as the Aztecs dropped a 28–19 decision at Diamond Bar in their Aug. 17 season-opener.
In retrospect, that was a big mistake.
With Esperanza falling behind early and forced into passing mode, Forsgren carried the ball only seven times that night. Those numbers translate to 9.6 yards per carry, and provided a hint at what was to come.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Forsgren has put up video-game numbers in the three weeks since, commanding attention from all directions as the Aztecs have won twice to match their victory total from last season.
After back-to-back efforts of 250-plus rushing yards, Forsgren went off Sept. 8 with a monster 325-yard game and six touchdowns in a 63–34 win over visiting Dana Hills.
“Everybody says, ‘Just stop him,’” one Dolphins coach said to a reporter at halftime. “That’s easier said than done. That kid is really good.”
Entering a Sept. 15 contest at Westminster, Forsgren leads all CIF Southern Section ground-gainers with 909 yards through four games, ranking fourth in California and 10th in the nation, according to MaxPreps.com.
He’s also tied for second in the Southern Section with 13 touchdowns, while averaging 10.4 yards per carry and 227.3 yards per game.
“This kid has a shot to play on Saturday afternoons,” Esperanza Coach JP Presley told The Epoch Times. “I’m sending his film to every college out there. I keep telling everybody, ‘If he’s not on your board, someone’s going to find themselves a keeper.’ He’s got grades. He’s got it all.”
Esperanza High School running back Aaron Forsgren (2) in an undated photo. (Courtesy of JP Presley)

Esperanza High School running back Aaron Forsgren (2) in an undated photo. (Courtesy of JP Presley)

Already, Forsgren has received significant interest from schools in the Mountain West and Big Sky conferences, as well as some from what might be considered lower-tier members of the Pacific-12, even as the long-venerable conference disintegrates before our very eyes.
“I’m keeping my options open right now, looking for some bigger schools,” Forsgren told The Epoch Times. “I just go out there and play my game, try to make it to college. That’s the goal right now.”
Forsgren certainly enhanced his resume against Dana Hills with 5-, 55-, 2-, 8-, and 1-yard touchdown runs, as well as a 27-yard reception for a score. In addition, he broke off two 27-yard runs, as well as nine others of at least 10 yards each among his 37 carries.
Operating behind a veteran offensive line that “knows the importance of getting the run game going,” according to Mr. Presley, Forsgren certainly recognizes his good fortune.
“It’s just awesome, hitting that hole wide open, with no one in front of me,” he said. “It’s amazing. A lot of it is the O line, the wide receivers blocking, and just a lot of hard work being put in in practice.”
Tackles Ty Meyer and Dillon Green, guards Jason Graffia and Jacob Fallon, center Quentin Mack, and tight end Diego Bautista paved the way for Forsgren against Dana Hills.
“If we hit our blocks, he’s off to the races,” Fallon told The Epoch Times. “You’re just watching a guy that’s naturally gifted at football do his job. He knows how to read the defense. He’s great at hitting the gap. He’s a hard runner, the hardest runner in the league, I think. He’s so fast, so agile, so strong. He’s just an overall great player. It’s a blessing to be able to block for him, for sure.”
Forsgren has gained more yardage in each of the past three games than he did all of last season, when he totaled 217 yards on 39 carries and scored one touchdown in 10 games.
He carried 24 times for 264 yards and four touchdowns Aug. 25 in a 25–0 victory over Walnut, and picked up 253 yards on 19 carries, and scored three times Aug. 31 in a 40-30 loss at Valencia.
“The guy is a workhorse,” said Mr. Presley, who is in his second season coaching the Aztecs after four years as the head man at Trinity League power Orange Lutheran. “When we’re in the weight room, he’s the first one in, last one to leave. In meetings, he’s the one leading, telling guys where we need to go, where to be. He is a front man for everything that we need to get done in the program. He’s learning how to be a verbal leader. It used to be by actions. That’s the maturity that I’ve seen.”
The challenge now for Forsgren and Esperanza is to maintain their upward trajectory.
Formerly a two-way player, Forsgren has obviously shouldered a heavy workload the past three weeks, but it has been eased by the fact he is now seeing only occasional duty at linebacker.
The Aztecs’ remaining schedule, meanwhile, includes difficult non-league games against Foothill and Villa Park, as well as North Hills League dates opposite El Modena, Canyon, and El Dorado.
“Presley is just an amazing guy, a great coach,” Forsgren said. “He’s going to make Esperanza good again.”
Dan Wood

Dan Wood

Author

Dan Wood is a community sports reporter based in Orange County, California. He has covered sports professionally for some 43 years, spending nearly three decades in the newspaper industry and 14 years in radio. He is an avid music fan, with a strong lean toward country and classic rock.

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.