It’s homecoming week for the Irving Tigers, and senior Victor Cantarero is looking forward to making an impact on defense – something he’s been doing since he was 4 years old.

“Since I was little, I grew up watching the Dallas Cowboys, and I would always say I wanted to play football,” he says. “However, my family wanted me to play soccer, and I liked it, but because I was a bigger kid, I wanted some contact.”

Cantarero began playing football on the defensive line as a member of the Irving Boys Football Association (IBFA). He and his father worked diligently on his technique, which has helped shape him into the player he is today.

“To me, it’s an art,” he says. “Little kids at that age just focus primarily on a bullrush. My dad had me practicing different hand and arm techniques like swipes, dips, rips, etc. He has always been there for me, pushing me and motivating me to get better, and in fact, he went on to become our team’s head coach in my final year with IBFA.”

His father’s coaching, and Cantarero’s work ethic, have certainly paid off as he has been a member of the Varsity football team all four years at Irving High. While his high school playing career may be coming to an end, his passion for football still burns strong. After graduating high school, Cantarero hopes to continue playing football at a college or university. However, if that doesn’t pan out, he’s got a couple of backup plans in place.

“I love football, so if in the future I’m no longer able to play, I would enjoy becoming a coach someday,” he says. “I also enjoy cutting hair, so I might even start my own business and open up a barber shop one day.”

Prior to the start of his senior year, Cantarero made a goal for himself to record 100 tackles this season. With only three games remaining, Cantarero knows what he has to do in order to hit that mark.

“All I have to do is keep hustling,” he says. “Even if it is an assisted tackle, it all adds up. I just need to make quick decisions on defense and go after whoever has the ball.”

Cantarero is proud of the players on the team and feels that if they can communicate effectively, they’ll be able to take the dub in their homecoming game matchup against Richardson High School.

“Our two closest games this season, our team had a really good connection going,” he says. “We were all communicating out there and we were making plays. We have some dogs on our team that love to make big hits. If we can keep that up, I know we can win.”

Make sure you come out and cheer on Cantarero and the Irving Tigers as they take on the Richardson Eagles this Friday at 7 PM at Ellis Stadium.