*The 49ers High School Player of the Week Award for week 4 goes to #31, Paul Lautaimi of Aragon High School in San Mateo, CA. *
As the Aragon High School Dons run game generated four unanswered touchdowns in Friday Night’s game against the Palo Alto Vikings, there was no question that the Dons lived up to their team slogan, “Run the ball, stop the run.”
Outscoring the Vikings 48-14, Junior Running Back, #31 Paul Lautaimi, paved the way for the teams’ explosive run game racking up 18 carries for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Head Coach Steve Sell explained, “He is a great back…he runs low to the ground, is difficult to tackle and is a punishing runner.”
The Dons went up 14-0 early in the first quarter and got too comfortable in their lead. The Palo Alto Vikings responded with a quick touchdown and 2-point conversion to narrow the point gap to 14-8 in the second quarter. Lautaimi was the first to fight back for the Dons, running 27 yards for his first touchdown of the game. At half, Aragon headed to their locker room looking to regain momentum after allowing another Palo Alto touchdown to end the half.
Although the Dons were up 21-14 at half, Coach Sell was concerned. “Our defense wasn’t playing like we wanted them to in the second quarter and the Vikings were receiving after the half,” explained Coach Sell, “Our run game was strong but we needed to regain momentum.”
Cue a Vikings turnover. Coming out of the half, the Dons recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, found the end zone quickly and kept momentum on their side the rest of the game. Coach Sell later gave second half credit to the Don’s roster depth and their tough run game.
Sell explained, “None of our guys on the offensive line play defense and vice versa…in the end, Paul’s dangerous run game and our defensive line wore them (the Vikings) down.”
The Junior running back finished his impressive game with another trip to the end zone on an 18-yard run in the third quarter.
On defense, Lautaimi doesn’t spend much time on the field. Instead, on the sidelines his selfless leadership takes shape. Coach sell explained, “#31 happily plays a scout team role on the sidelines on defense and focuses on getting the team prepared.”
“I truly appreciate his unselfishness, willingness to share carries and his team oriented mindset,” explained Sell. “Coaching a talented kid who is both hardworking and unselfish is something I am grateful for. I am just lucky to get an athlete with that combo,” said Coach Sell.
Through his work ethic and complimentary attitude, Lautaimi has earned the respect of his fellow teammates.
“He is fast with compliments on the field, never blaming anyone other than himself when a play doesn’t go his way.” Sell continued, “he doesn’t take over in a leadership role, but his approach is productive for the team.”
Coach Sell looks forward to Lautaimi stepping up, saying more, and developing into a Senior leader as the season progresses.
As a second year Varsity player, the Coach Sell is eager about the prospect of having Lautaimi for his Senior year. “Not only am I excited because he is a great player, but he is a delightful kid to have on the team,” said Sell.
“His coaches, teachers and fellow students all agree, Lautaimi is a cheerful, gregarious, and wonderful guy to be around,” boasted Coach Sell.
As the home school of the 49ers High School Player of the Week, Aragon will receive a $500 grant for their football program from the 49ers Foundation. As part of this award, Lautaimi will receive two tickets to a 49ers home game where he will be recognized on the field during pre-game. At the end of the season, Lautaimi will be invited to the SAP Performance Facility to watch a closed practice where 49ers head coach, Kyle Shanahan, will officially present him with his award.
Congratulations Paul and keep up the hard work!