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Local phenom defies odds

Tennyson quarterback Christian Silva warms up during practice in Hayward on Tuesday.

Tennyson quarterback Christian Silva warms up during practice in Hayward on Tuesday.

Photo | Pierre Cineas

Tennyson quarterback Christian Silva warms up during practice in Hayward on Tuesday.

Photo | Pierre Cineas

Photo | Pierre Cineas

Tennyson quarterback Christian Silva warms up during practice in Hayward on Tuesday.

Local phenom defies odds

November 5, 2014

South Hayward is known for a lot of things but producing elite athletes is not one of them.

The neighborhood only has one public high school, Tennyson, which has never been a hotbed for college recruitment of athletes. It is rare that a Tennyson athlete will go straight to Division 1; most go the junior college route.

However, South Hayward native and Tennyson High School varsity football quarterback Christian Silva is starting to change the culture at Tennyson, proving that the area can produce top-level talent.

“I have lived here my whole life and anybody from here knows it can be tough,” Silva said.

In recent years, Tennyson has been taken over by the state due to poor academic standards.

Silva, a junior, is having an incredible season for the Lancers passing for 1,713 yards, rushing for 1,092 yards and amassing a whopping 30 touchdowns with one regular season game remaining.

That last game for Tennyson (5-3-1) is for the West Alameda County Conference Foothill Division championship against San Leandro High School (5-5) at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

Silva will be relying on the strength and knowledge he received growing up in South Hayward to help him through a tough game against a strong opponent. Silva is not a huge guy by any means listed at 5 feet, 10 inches, 175 pounds.

“Growing up in South Hayward taught me how to be independent and not rely on other people for everything,” Silva
said. “That’s just what we did when we played. Always playing football or some kind of sport.”

Silva was referring to his situation growing up where his mother tried to raise him with his father in and out of his life.

Silva began his football career in sixth grade when he played for the Hayward Youth Football and Cheer League.

Silva spent three seasons with the HYFCL before beginning his playing career at Tennyson as a freshman.

Initially Silva was set on playing running back but a lack of depth at the quarterback position early in his high school career led to a position change for the dynamic athlete.

It wasn’t long before Silva knew making the switch to quarterback was the right move for him.

“My ability to run and use my legs is a problem for defenses,” Silva said. “I’m not back there just standing around. Throw or pass, I don’t care I just want to make a play.”

Silva has been making plays all year, especially in a tough conference game against Castro Valley where he threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns while adding 260 yards rushing and three more touchdowns.

The seven-touchdown 564-yard performance ranks as the second highest scoring game in state history with the Lancers edging out the Trojans 85-77.

“He’s absolutely killing it right now,” Tennyson varsity football head coach, Terry Smith, said in an interview in October. “He’s one of the best (quarterbacks) in the Bay.”

Silva is hopeful that his skills on the football field will translate in to opportunities during and after his playing career. He hopes to play in college, hopefully professionally and possibly become a coach or a trainer.

Silva said he would love to continue his playing career at San Jose State once he graduates from Tennyson however, the statistics he is compiling may have him on the recruiting radars of some bigger schools by next season.

“No matter what happens out there on the field I keep my heart in the game,” Silva said.

With one regular season game and the postseason still remaining Silva still has plenty of time to add to his statistics and win total.

Silva has already cemented his legacy at Tennyson as one of the best players in school history.

With his entire senior season still remaining he could rewrite the record books before his high school career comes to an end.

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