Sharp as damaged glass, unexpected damage tempers victory which is a part of what makes soccer greater than pinball on turf. The sport isn’t simply the ranking.
Idaho’s 45-21 homecoming win towards Idaho State Oct. 19 despatched the season’s greatest crowd out of the Kibbie Dome browsing a wave of elation. However within the procedure, the Vandals misplaced their easiest defensive participant, most likely the Giant Sky Convention’s easiest defensive participant, Charles Akanno, to a season-ending Achilles tendon tear.
An additional irony: loss brings alternative. “It’s the character of the sport. You’ve were given to get the following man able. That’s the way in which it’s,” Idaho defensive coordinator Mike Breske says. After Akanno was once harm, Leonick Tamba changed him because the greenback – the boundary facet defensive finish – in Idaho’s protection. “He’s for sure a participant I glance as much as,” Tamba says of Akanno. But if it was once Tamba’s flip, he stepped up. Close to the shut of the 3rd quarter the Vandals’ grip on a 10-point lead was once taking a look tenuous towards a all of sudden energetic Bengals offense when Tamba made a strip sack towards ISU quarterback Matt Struck that Idaho cornerback Lloyd Hightower was once in a position to get better and go back for a landing.
“The (ISU) take on did what he did, and I got here loose. (Struck) stopped, and I simply needed to pass get him,” Tamba says. Every other Vandals’ landing on Sedrick Thomas’ interception go back at the next collection totally drowned the Bengals’ fireplace.
Till homecoming, extra had long gone mistaken than proper for Idaho, which got here into the sport 2-5, 0-Three within the league. However Tamba has a historical past of seizing alternative.
“We couldn’t have enough money sports activities rising up,” he says, so he didn’t start taking part in soccer till his sophomore yr at California prep powerhouse Undertaking Viejo Prime College. As an undersized in addition to green defensive take on, Tamba slightly performed at the junior varsity as a sophomore and performed best sparingly as a varsity linebacker as a junior. Then again, a transfer to defensive finish his senior yr allowed him to change into his faculty’s defensive participant of the yr and an Orange County All-Superstar. A 5-11, 200-pound defensive finish and linebacker infrequently attracted realize from school coaches, regardless that, and Tamba took the one be offering to proceed taking part in introduced to him, from the School of Idaho. At the soccer box, Tamba did smartly sufficient for the Coyotes, making 34 tackles as a freshman, together with 7.Five for loss and three.Five sacks. However he discovered the price of attending C. of I. beaten his monetary assist.
“His folks had by no means been via recruiting sooner than. He had by no means been via it sooner than,” Breske says of that surprise.
“I needed to forestall going there for monetary causes,” Tamba says. He went again to California and to junior school, shifting to his native land Saddleback School, understanding the one method he would be capable of whole a faculty schooling was once with a Department I full- journey scholarship.
“I knew it was once my ultimate probability to move D-I,” Tamba says. “I used to be mentally locked in.”
In 11 video games at Saddleback, he made 40 tackles, together with eight for loss, with 2.Five sacks.
Breske says Vandals coaches noticed in Tamba a junior school participant who was once sturdy for his measurement and who performed with nice leverage. When Idaho introduced him a scholarship, “I didn’t glance in different places,” Tamba says.
He has additionally grown to about 6-1, 235 kilos. Via 8 video games, in his first season for the Vandals, Tamba has 21 tackles, 5 for loss and 3 sacks.
At Idaho, “he’s quiet,” Breske says of Tamba. “he understands what his task is. He leads via his movements. Guys simply love him. He performs arduous. He’s the Energizer Bunny.”
Tamba began as a greenback however after a number of video games was once moved to the broad facet defensive finish, jack, sooner than returning to greenback when Akanno were given harm.
“I truly like greenback,” Tamba says. On account of the chance to on occasion drop into protection at greenback, “I will be told extra in regards to the recreation,” which is necessary together with his abbreviated soccer resume, Tamba explains. “I’m now not like a large number of guys who’ve been taking part in since they have been five or six.”
As a greenback, Akanno, who had 44 tackles this season, 13.Five for loss and three.Five sacks sooner than his damage, is the extra explosive participant, in step with Breske. “Chuck is extra fast- twitch.” Tamba “is a a lot more bodily participant than Chuck. Chuck makes use of his athleticism,” Breske says. However each can do the task. Idaho’s subsequent opponent, Cal Poly, Nov. 2, is the primary true possibility crew the Vandals can have performed in different years, and towards the choice an impressive defensive finish is a brilliant factor. Tamba “is a sturdy child. It is a best possible recreation for his belongings,” says Breske.
Taking a look forward to subsequent season when Akanno and Tamba go back as seniors, Breske speculates on the place Tamba will play. “It’s a pleasing downside to have,” he says. “We’ll get him at the box.”
For his phase, Tamba is excited to move the place the Vandals want him, greenback or jack. He will get to play soccer and get a faculty schooling.
“Various folks would kill to be in my place,” he says. “I really like this recreation and the entirety it has introduced me.”