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49ers PREP Selects Justin Ibarra as Player of the Week


With a score of 44-20, the De Anza Dons, led by head coach Tyree Reed, beat the Salesian College Preparatory Pride.

Justin Ibarra (#8) helped lead the Dons to victory through some big defensive plays against the Pride. He is a senior linebacker who finished off the night with 18 tackles and three sacks.

Ibarra has always been a big fan of football ever since he was younger. He grew up watching football with his dad every Sunday, and was inspired by players like 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis. He decided to play football in 8th grade and modeled his game after the physical and aggressive nature of Willis.  

The pandemic was the shift that Ibarra needed to reflect on his goals. He started thinking about where he wants to be in five years and worked towards getting bigger, faster and stronger. Over the covid year, he went from 170 to 210 pounds from all of his hard work. Being in the house forced Ibarra to get creative with his workouts. At the time, he did not have any weights, but he did not let that stop him. He decided to make his own weights by putting cement in mold.

Ibarra's offseason training has showcased in his play during practice and games. Coach Reed was hyped to see Ibarra's transformation, and could tell how hard he has been working. Not only did he work on the physical piece, but he also really got into his playbook and film as well. "His film preparation is off the charts," said coach Reed. "He knows how to read blocks and where everyone is supposed to be on the field."

One of Ibarra's favorite plays on Friday was when he got his third sack of the night. The Pride were driving down the field in hopes to score again, but the Dons had other plans. On fourth down, Ibarra got in the backfield to sack the quarterback and end the game. 

As the school of this week's recipient of the 49ers PREP High School Player of the Week presented by U.S. Bank, De Anza High School will receive a grant from the 49ers Foundation to put towards its football program.

Congratulations, Justin!