Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lima now the big target for Camarillo

Nico Lima averaged 15.3 yards per catch and was a tough tight end to bring down in Camarillo's 28-10 loss to St. Bonaventure-Ventura on Oct. 10. Lima is expected to be the Scorpions' new top target with four regular season games left (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna)
Nico Lima was considered an afterthought by St. Bonaventure-Ventura while heading into Camarillo High's highly anticipated clash with the Seraphs on Oct. 10.

However, with one reception on a post route, Lima put St. Bonaventure on notice - and literally on his back.

The 6-foot-4, 255-pound tight end caught the short pass and had a majority of the Seraph defense latching on to him, hoping they could slow down the big tight end. But Lima galloped and dragged the clinging white uniformed defenders through the middle of Carl Thompson Field for a 21-yard gain.

"Every catch that I get, I have the attitude of 'don't die easy.' I've got fight for the team and keep them going," Lima said when asked about that reception. "Some people saw that my receptions were down before the game and that I wasn't considered that big of a threat. But once the game continued, I could tell that I started to get more looks from them (St. Bonaventure)."

Now - after his four reception, 61-yard evening in the 28-10 loss to the Ventura County kingpin - Lima is the Scorpions' newest big receiving option as Camarillo makes its push for the Camino League title.

Lima is now expected to get an increase in touches for the Scorpions' No-Huddle Pro Set offense, as CHS (4-2) heads toward its final four-game stretch, beginning first with a home contest against Calabasas on Friday, Oct. 17. The Camino League slate starts on Oct. 24 with a road trip against another Ventura County monster: Newbury Park (5-1).

Lima is stepping up as the Scorpions' top threat in the absence of Frankie Tostado, who had a season-ending right elbow injury in the 34-32 victory over Saugus on Oct. 2.

Lima said the Scorpion coaches are making better use of him.

"They're now putting me in situations where I can get more one-on-one match ups and I can win those battles every time," Lima said. "Or, they (the opposing defense) can get people to try and box me in, but that gets more of our people open."

The senior said his strengths as a tight end are "catching in space and my blocking." He added that his blocking has improved a lot.

He also said he admires NFL Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, who he emulates on the football field.

"He started with nothing especially growing up with a single mom, but he made all the right choices and worked his way up in life," Lima said. "I feel like I can relate to him with my work ethic."

Lima is one of a few NCAA Division I prospects on the CHS roster. He holds a scholarship offer from Holy Cross of the Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA) and said San Jose State, San Diego State, Arizona and Colorado have inquired about him. 

Lima - a 3.0 student - said he'll wait it out when making his college choice between now and National Signing Day in February 2015.


What to like: Lima already has the physique of a college football tight end and plays like it. His ability to keep his legs moving and carry defenders on his back is reminiscent of a young Mark Bavarro (former New York Giants tight end). Lima is excellent in space and isn't afraid of grabbing the middle reception. He carries this mindset: he's not going down on first contact, which is something teams want out of their tight end.

What to build on: Lima can get quicker off the snap in the final stretch of games for the Scorpions. He doesn't have breakaway speed and, despite carrying a bevy of defenders as he runs, can still get caught from behind. I'll need to see his consistency in the red zone during these final games, especially with CHS planning to get him involved more in the offense.

Overall: Lima is a late bloomer down in the heart of Ventura County. His throwback playing style as a tight end can make him valuable for a school preferring to line up with three or five wide receivers. He's not the complete package at tight end yet, but judging by his performance against St. Bonaventure, Lima is capable of energizing an offense and brings a nasty demeanor to the Scorpions.

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