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Lista-Brinza hopes to fall in line of successful Central Catholic tailbacks

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:22 p.m.
Central Catholic's Luigi Lista-Brinza looks to run through a gauntlet of players during running back drills on Wednesday August 15, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Central Catholic's Leo Loughrey during linebacker drills on Wednesday August 15, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review

Luigi Lista-Brinza waited his turn to become the latest in a long line of talented tailbacks at Central Catholic.

Now, Lista-Brinza hopes to match the productivity of predecessors Eugene Jarvis, Lamont Smith and Damion Jones-Moore.

“I've been working real hard, trying to be that next back and keep the tradition going,” he said. “I'm real excited to start again.”

Central coach Terry Totten warned that there will be a distinct difference in the Vikings' backfield, because the 5-foot-9, 175-pound junior is a “drop-your-shoulder, downhill runner who doesn't fit their jitterbug mold.”

“He's a little different,” Central offensive coordinator Dave Fleming said. “He fights for every single yard, making guys miss. He's not a breakaway back, but he gets the tough ones for you.”

Lista-Brinza ran for 779 yards and eight touchdowns in 2010, while filling in for an injured Jones-Moore.

Those numbers dipped dramatically last fall, when Lista-Brinza ran for 363 yards and four scores while backing up Jones-Moore, a Toledo recruit who rushed for 1,673 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Lista-Brinza played multiple positions and starred on special teams, returning the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown against Peters Township. The Vikings believe it made him more diverse — and dangerous.

“It helped him to watch and learn the offense,” Fleming said.

“His freshman year, he played on feel. This year, I'm expecting him to play with feel and knowledge. I can line him up anywhere.”

Lista-Brinza should benefit from running behind senior fullback Leo Loughrey, a battering ram who stars at outside linebacker, and an offensive line led by 6-2, 250-pound junior tackle Steve Wood.

“He has all the intangibles: hard work, toughness, dedication, leadership,” Totten said. “He's someone we'll count on.”

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