By Aram Tolegian, SGVN
Bryce Bobo is merely the latest in a long line of great Charter Oak High School wide receivers.
Before Bobo, there was Chris Gilchrist, Dennis Rufus, Mikey Harrell, Michael Johnson, Matt Austin, Will Harris, David Boler and Steve Stevenson, to name a few. Heck, even on Bobo’s current team there’s a Tribune All-Area receiver from last season in Aaren Vaughns, who now also plays running back.
This season, it’s Bobo’s turn to further make a name for himself. He can take a big step in doing just that Friday when the Chargers (2-0) host Bishop Amat (2-0-1) in one of the area’s biggest nonleague games in years.
“I don’t feel any pressure at all to live up to the past players when I’m on the field,” Bobo said. “I just think of playing the game and getting the W.
“The coaches always told me to keep my poise and contribute to the team in any way I can, and not too much about me striving to live up to the other receivers who came before me.”
Bobo’s stock has shot up more than just about any other player in the area, considering that as a sophomore he caught only one ball. Last season, as a junior, Bobo took full advantage of quarterback Travis Santiago’s passing abilities to haul in 53 balls for 834 yards and nine touchdowns.
Those stats, combined with his 6-foot-3 frame, led to offers from Idaho and Colorado. Bobo gave an oral commitment to Colorado this past summer and can now concentrate on simply making his senior season the best it can be.
So far so good.
The Chargers are 2-0 and Bobo already has three touchdown receptions. But none of that really matters if Charter Oak isn’t able to get over the Amat hump on Friday.
“It’s going to put Charter Oak on the map,” Bobo said. “We’ve been practicing hard this week because we know how much this win would mean. I feel like we’re starting to get our name on the map. I don’t feel like we get enough credit, but we’re going to make you work.”
Beside catching passes and making big plays, another key part of Bobo’s role is to help Charter Oak’s inexperienced quarterbacks Kory Brown and Ross Barrera in their maturation process. Having a weapon like Bobo helps, but there’s other things he can do to speed the process along.
“I will make reads for them,” Bobo said. “I don’t try to do too much that will make them have to spend a lot of time in the pocket. All in all, they’re really good quarterbacks, but we just have to find our groove faster.
“When we start the first quarter of a game, it’s kind of hard for them to come in and just find their rhythm.”
Charter Oak also needs Bobo’s talent on defense where he’s seeing more and more time at cornerback. On Friday night, that means he’ll probably be asked to cover his friend Darren Andrews, or vice versa. That’s part of the game within the game that makes this clash of locals so intriguing.
“I know Darren because he was at Charter Oak before he went to Bishop Amat,” Bobo said. “We were really good friends our freshmen year. We’re still good friends now, but this game is going to be personal.
“We always go at it because we think we’re better than each other. This will be a good test to see who can carry their team further.”
Bobo has done more than the normal amount of research on Bishop Amat.
Beside ample film study, he was at the Lancers’ season-opening win against Servite, sitting in the student section behind the end zone along with his cousin Khari Garcia and friend Brian McIntyre, who also both start for the Chargers.
“I wasn’t wearing anything like that,” Bobo said when asked if he was wearing any Charter Oak gear in La Puente. And he claims nobody noticed the Chargers trio either.
As for his thoughts on Amat’s big win over the Friars: “I don’t like to give the teams I play too much credit about anything. I was just looking at the type of coverage they played.”