EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

September 26, 2013

Reggies riding Pena power

Reggies senior makes most of chance to run QB with the big boys

ANDOVER — Ellicen Pena never strayed from the ultimate prize.

Chances to play defense or receiver or anywhere other than quarterback just never interested him.

“Everyone knows the starting quarterback, you see in the movies, the varsity starting quarterback is the most popular guy in school,” said Pena, the Greater Lawrence Tech senior. “These days, I get people coming to me, talking to me all the time, people that I don’t even know. So yeah, I would say it’s been my dream.”

Pena, who leads the Reggies into Saturday morning’s Commonwealth Conference showdown with rival Whittier Tech, certainly took the long route to reach that dream, and now according to his coach, Tony Sarkis, he’s looking to make the most of it.

“It’s certainly been a hard road for Ellicen,” said Sarkis. “I’m not sure we saw this from him as a freshman, but here’s a kid who never stopped working. He did everything we asked of him and more.”

So much more that Sarkis revamped his pro style and went to the wide-open spread.

“That, I was a little surprised by,” said Pena, who started on the freshmen team then spent two seasons as the JV starter behind Marcos Ortiz.

There was no panic on the pine, either, from Pena. He didn’t stray to another spot to try and break into the lineup. He just learned from Ortiz.

“He did his thing on varsity, and I just did mine at JV,” said Pena. “We both had pretty good seasons.”

He spent the summer, basically with his teammates, getting acquainted with the news offense. So far, the Reggies are off to a 1-2 start as they hit league play. And Pena has taken charge on the offense.

The 6-foot, 190-pounder has come a long way in four years, longer than he’d ever have believed.

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