Acosta making a name
September 13, 2020
Clovis High School graduate Stephen Acosta has made a name for himself among Friends University sports fans in Wichita, Kansas.
Named to the all-USA New Mexico football team as a CHS senior, he was a two-sport standout last year as a Friends freshman.
His football and powerlifting coaches expect more success this school year.
The 6-foot, 255-pound Acosta started every game at right offensive tackle last year. "For me to be able to get that opportunity to start all the games was amazing," he said.
Friends assistant coach Brian Byers, who oversees the offensive linemen, said Acosta adapted quickly to the college game. "He probably surprised some people on how good he can play," Byers said. "He has a very quiet confidence."
"Stephen's really a very good player," he said. "He is extremely mentally tough. He's physically tough."
Acosta said he's improved his blocking technique "to square up more on the defender to push him back on double teams or one-on-ones."
He also became comfortable in a two-point stance after previously starting plays from a three-point stance. The two-point stance makes it easier for linemen to pull on blocking assignments and to pass protect, he said.
This season he will play right guard, which means he will match up more against interior linemen, such as the nose guard, rather than the defensive ends he faced last year. "He'll pull more at the guard," Byers said. "He's very mobile."
Acosta's assets go behind physical abilities, Byers said. "He has a feel for the game. He can anticipate," he said. "He has really good control of his body and space."
Acosta was among the football players to compete for the new powerlifting program last year. He competed in the 264-pound or heavier class and will remain in that group this season, which begins after football.
During competitions he lifted more weight in the squat and deadlifts than in the bench press. "Each one I put a lot of effort into," he said. "I really enjoy lifting all three."
Acosta placed second in his division in the program's first ever meet, the USA Powerlifting Kansas State Championship. His total of 1,322.7 pounds included 534.6 in the deadlift.
He set a personal best in the squat at the Missouri State Collegiate Championships and was among the Falcons to qualify for the Powerlifting Collegiate Nationals, rescheduled from the spring to fall because of the pandemic.
"He's very reliable. He's coachable. He brings a great work ethic," Friends powerlifting coach Joe Belden said.
Acosta is learning to widen his stance so that it "engages his outer hip" and generates "more force production," according to Belden.
The football season was scheduled to begin Saturday night at Kansas Wesleyan University.