By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
The list is a who’s who of some of the best running backs in the area over the past decade. It includes Jason David, Patrick Fuller, Aaron Capers and Kanaan Snowden.
All former Charter Oak High School tailbacks.
It’s not lost on the Chargers’ Adam Muema, the latest protege for what is becoming Tailback High School. “He’s also one of our better historians of Charter Oak football,” said Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar, who coached all the above and more. “Since he was a sophomore, he’s taken home all the game films of the previous running backs and watched them all. He knows every move, watched all the big plays from those guys. He wants to know more about the guys who came before him.” To continue, click thread
Muema is adding to the catalog. The senior has been one of the top running backs in the area the past two seasons, helping Charter Oak to its fourth CIF- Southern Section divisional football title last season, and is a key cog in the Chargers’ quest to repeat as divisional champions for the first time.
Muema, who played behind Snowden as a sophomore, has kept the tradition going the past two seasons, rushing for nearly 3,500 yards while scoring 44 touchdowns, and leading Charter Oak to a 10-1 record this season heading into a CIF-SS Southeast Division second-round showdown at West Covina on Friday.
“This is what I’ve wanted to do since my freshman year,” Muema said. “I’ve always wanted to be the starter here. The hard work has paid off.”
That work has come in the offseason, where Muema has assumed the role of one of the team leaders, knowing it was his turn, as it was area player of the year and Charter Oak senior quarterback Chris Allen’s last season.
“I think Adam, in relation to the tradition we’ve had at tailback, has developed his own identity,” Charter Oak offensive coordinator Dominic Farrar said. “No. 1, he did break Jason David’s career rushing record, so in his body of work, he’s a complete back. But also, he’s proven to raise the standard of expectations, and really his work ethic and his discipline in the weight room. I’ve never seen anyone champion the cause in the offseason like he did.
“Every year, we talk about identity in relationship to the offense in terms of roles and responsibilities. Adam, I think, realized last year that his role was to be a follower, with the group of senior leaders we had. This year it’s vice versa. He’s really become the catalyst and focal point, and he’s earned it, because he’s put in the time. He’s definitely established himself as the guy this year.”
Muema has shown it on the field, ranking among the leaders in the area by rushing for 1,472 yards and 15 TDs.
Those are solid numbers for any running back, more remarkably for the senior because he’s had to do it while being the marked man by opposing defenses, who have hoped to put pressure on sophomore quarterback Travis Santiago by taking Muema out of the equation.
“I felt Chris was a good leader last year,” Muema said. “Travis is learning, so I’m just trying to run as hard as I can, trying to beat the defense.”
His ability, and experience, also make it easier for the Farrars in deciding how to attack opposing defenses that have schemed to stop the senior.
“He’s the veteran in the backfield,” Lou Farrar said. “The emphasis hasn’t been to run more, bur rather to take what they give you. (Muema’s) handled 30-35 carries in a game. It just depends how teams defense us.
“When they put eight, nine, 10 guys in the box to stop him, it forces you to throw the ball more. But he’s a great guy to run a play-action fake off of.”
But Muema has continued to get his yards, including slipping past David’s career mark of 3,379 earlier this year against Wilson. He’s increased the mark to 4,086.
“That felt good, especially with Jason there,” Muema said. “He congratulated me and thought I did good. It felt good.”
But Muema isn’t ready to rest on his laurels. He knows all about continuing the tradition he’s become a part of at Charter Oak, and would love to add to it by helping the school win a divisional title in back-to-back years for the first time.
He also knows West Covina stands in the way Friday.
“West Covina is a pretty good team,” Muema said. “We have to go hard. It’s not going to be easy. We just have to be disciplined and not have any mental errors.
“It would be great to win CIF again and make history here. It would be great to be part of it.”
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