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Desert High School senior inducted into National Football Foundation Hall of Fame

Andrew Antonio, a Desert High School senior, was inducted in the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame. Aside from being an outstanding football and volleyball player, Andrew is also a consistent honor roll recipient and DHS junior ROTC group commander.  (Photo by Airman 1st Class Delos Reyes)

Andrew Antonio, a Desert High School senior, was inducted in the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame. Aside from being an outstanding football and volleyball player, Andrew is also a consistent honor roll recipient and DHS junior ROTC group commander. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Delos Reyes)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A Desert High School student here was inducted into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame, March 7.

Andrew Antonio received the Scholar-Athlete Award beating out other San Fernando Valley Chapter college and high school students.

The award certifies that Andrew was voted outstanding in football performance, academic achievement and school leadership.

"To be nominated, a student-athlete must accomplish great things in the football field," said Chris Hinton, DHS football coach. "He must also be a model citizen, complete a lot of community service and be a great leader around the campus. Andrew has definitely exceeded all those requirements."

Andrew said he made an effort to balance academics, sports and junior ROTC. Football practice was held almost every school day and took most of his summer. During the school year, he starts class at 7 a.m. and then has to balance his classes and training. When all his classes are over, to give an example, he only had 10 minutes to prepare for practice, which usually ran three hours.

He managed to do everything by taking one step at a time and through time management, he said.

"My induction to the hall of fame took a lot of hard work," the offensive tailback and defensive cornerback said. "When I look back, it's a hard journey but it's worth it. Everyone was very proud of me. It is hard to believe that I am now part of the hall of fame. It feels good because the award recognizes what I have done."

Aside from football, he also plays volleyball for the DHS volleyball team.

During 2005, Andrew was selected as athlete of the year, varsity football's most valuable player, all-California Interscholastic Federation Division XII Football First Team Offense, volleyball MVP and led the Division XII League in rushing with 1,275 total yards.

"Andrew is one of the better athletes who I have mentored since I coached the Desert High School football team," Mr. Hinton said. "He is a gifted kid, and on top of that, he works extremely hard. Andrew has an amazing work ethic and does everything that you ask. He is a leader around campus and the football field. He is an all-around kid."

A consistent honor roll recipient, Andrew maintained a grade point average of 3.6 -- higher than the minimum GPA required for DHS athletes, Mr. Hinton said.

"Being in the hall of fame is extremely rare," he said. "This is the first student-athlete that I have had who received this accolade. I am proud of him. I feel blessed that I am part of his life and got a chance to work with him for the last three years."

With all the football practice and academics, Andrew still managed the responsibility of being a group commander for the DHS Junior ROTC's 350 cadets.

He signed up for JROTC to gain experience in preparation for the collegiate ROTC program, Andrew said.

Sharing the same core values with the Air Force; integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do -- Andrew said he uses that everyday to learn the meaning of leadership.

"People think that football is my life," the 17-year-old senior said. "It is just a hobby for me -- something I like to play. I prioritize the academics. I make sure that academics are first and sports are just a privilege."

Andrew started playing football when he was eight years old and joined the Edwards Youth Football team. Prior to his football stint, he joined the DHS track and field team. He later joined the DHS football team when he was a sophomore.

"My biggest influences are my parents," Andrew said. "My parents taught me the hard way and the easy way. They let me know what is wrong and right and that has helped me in choosing the right decisions I've made."

He learned the love for the Air Force from his father, Chief Master Sgt. Angelito Antonio, logistics superintendent with the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron.

"Andrew is a focused individual," Chief Antonio said. "Once he sets his mind on the things he wanted, nothing is going to stop him. He is unstoppable. I am very proud of him."

Andrew's overall goal is to become an officer with the Air Force. He said he plans on acquiring his bachelors in computer engineering at either California State University in Long Beach, Calif., or CSU in San Diego, Calif., and attend ROTC with the Loyola Marymount University detachment in Los Angeles.

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