He’s always been a team player, willing to work and sacrifice, to improve, regardless of whether he ended up in the headlines. And all that blood, sweat, and tears action has paid off for Brandon Guzman, who is headed to the next level to play college football.

Guzman, the elusive and versatile slot receiver who was so vital to the Vela charge the past few seasons, will join the team at McPherson College in Kansas, seeking to continue his development as a playmaker.

“They talked to me some about that, special teams, so I think I have the chance to be a punt returner and run back kicks,” said Guzman, whose 98-yard kickoff return score against Austin Westlake in the regional quarterfinals was surely a highlight that the McPherson folks got a gander at.

Always on the spot with a key play, the tough-edged senior caught 41 balls for a 16.6 yard average this season, scoring six times. He had 168 yards and two TDs against EHS. Sometimes he got the glory, sometimes not. On a 12-1 team with myriad stars, there’s only so much ink to go around.

“But I have never really been the type who needed to see that,” he commented. “I mean, anything I can do to help the team win, that’s fine with me. I always just want to do my part.”

Now that he’s headed off to the heartland to play, Guzman will be reunited with older brother Orly, a starter last year at the school on the offensive line, and a SaberCat of note from back in the day.

“That was part of it, getting to be up there and know someone, be familiar with the place,” said Guzman, who has visited Kansas before, obviously. “I already have a football cheat sheet working, just put it that way.”

Guzman comes from a tight-knit family, a bond made even more special by regular attendance at St. Joseph Catholic Church in town. Brandon’s younger brother, Eddie, is a sophomore track prospect at Vela. The Guzmans stick together!

“For years we all shared a room, as long as I can remember, we’ve been together,” Brandon said. “And I gotta admit, Eddie is faster than me right now.”

Brandon Guzman is running track with the SaberCats and says that once the spring slate is complete, he will start working out in earnest for his shot at college football. He was very thankful for parents Hector and Norma Guzman, his biggest supporters.

“I don’t know, it’s close,” he demurred, laughing when asked who has been the bigger fan. “Right now, I have to go with my mom, though.”

Guzman’s father, a steady presence at all his kids’ sporting events, was a noted runner in high school at EHS, an ace in the middle distances.

“He always encouraged me in track because he wanted to make me better in football,” Brandon reported. “It would make me faster in football, he always said.”

No. 13 was plenty fast enough, as it turns out, and during his high school career developed a knack for the clutch catch, the well-timed gain on the jet sweep or return, and was one of the program leaders for two fine seasons. He marked 23 yards per kick return as a senior.

“It was a real good senior season, very memorable,” said Guzman, who expects to compete for a starting spot at McPherson sooner than later. “Right now I am looking forward to the challenge.”