When #32 takes the field for Hesperia Christian School, the running back sometimes has to deal with a little extra smack talk from opposing players.

"You just shove it back in their face with a touchdown or knock their helmet off," said Luke Guastadisegni. At 5' 5", the 18-year-old HCS senior is used to being underestimated, and has dragged would-be tacklers into the end zone to score.

"I've always been the smallest in my class, but I've always been the strongest, because I've had to try harder."

Last year, "Guasti" scored 18 touchdowns, had more than 1,100 rushing yards and hundreds of passing yards, and was named all-league running back in the Agape League and offensive player of the year by his team.

"I just try harder; I just don't want to go down."

Guastadisegni has only been playing tackle football for four years, and flag football in junior high, but grew up watching his brother Anthony, seven years his senior, play.

"I watched him and played on the sidelines. I wanted to be as good as him, or better."

Ever since he could play, he was aware that he was a better natural player than many of his peers.

"I'd be playing flag football, cutting all over. It was easy."

After graduation, Guastadisegni intends to attend Victor Valley College and study Fire Science in preparation for a career as a firefighter.

"I've always wanted to be a firefighter, ever since I was little."

Victor Valley College has a football team, but doesn't know if he'll play.

"I might play, I don't know," he said. "If I don't, it's not the end of the world."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.