November 22, 2019

To advertise with LGF, call Richard Hebert (225) 931-8711

"Changing Lives, Improving Communities"

Diamond in the Rough: Christian Mannino

Christian Mannino is defensive lineman from Central, Louisiana in the 2021 class. The junior, plays for Catholic High School located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Christian is a multi-sport athlete for the Bears competing in football, wrestling, and track. Standing at just over 6’1 and tipping the scales at 250 pounds, Christian has been a heating seeking missile to the ball this season for the Bears. Christian’s wrestling background has definitely helped him bring ball carriers to the ground this season. The junior tells me he has a max squat of 370 and can power clean 225, and currently has a 3.5 GPA.

 

When did you start playing football?

I started playing when I was five years old, for the Central Wildcats, my dad asked me if I wanted to play one day. I was watching it on TV when I was little, and said “Yeah”. He is really the reason I got started playing, and the reason I still play today. I really didn’t know how hard it was going to be in that first year, and wanted to quit. But, he didn’t let me quit, he said I still had to finish out the year. The next year, he asked me if I wanted to play again, and I said I did.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

I played basketball and baseball until I was 10 or 12. Then, I started wrestling and track with the Bears. I still do all three of those. For track I throw shotput, and for wrestling, my weight class is 220

Have you always played defensive end, or did you play any other positions?

I always played the line, since I’ve been in high school though I’ve played offensive and defensive line. But, it was always either defensive tackle or defensive end.

So how did you get your start over at Catholic?

I went to Central middle school, and my dad knew that Catholic was much better academically. He has always wanted me to go to college, he knew that Catholic was a better fit. I knew two guys from middle school that went to Catholic, and they were talking to my dad about their experience at Catholic, and it was an easy choice after I talked to everybody.

What has your experience been like this year playing on the defensive line.

It’s been great! Connor (Finucane) has kind of taken me under his wing and showing me what to do, and how to do certain things. Last year, was more of a growing year, just getting used to everything and playing with him. He really showed me how to play high school football. A lot of my success is because of him.

I know Coach Fertitta teaches the mantra of one game at a time, but going into this year, did you have any goals for the season?

Really just to get better, do better than last year. Last year being a sophomore, and not really playing any high school football besides JV, it was about getting better. I had a lot to learn last year with just the mind set and being comfortable with (Connor) Finucane and our linebackers that we played with last year just coming together more. I really think it shows this year us playing together longer, and our defensive being a better unit.

You say getting better, what are you doing to get better?

Really just knowing more about the game, being more of a student of the game. Studying more film on who we play, understanding what they do, what we do. How to do certain moves against one guy and different positions. The lineman camps I went to over the summer, they really showed me a lot, and being able to take that and put it to use has helped me a lot.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

Definitely my parents, and my coaches, and my team. My parents because they tell me what I can be, they push me every day more and more. My coaches for seeing everything that I can do, and continue to trust me with time on the field, and putting leadership on me with the team. My teammates for helping me get better, pushing me, so that we can be the best that we can be on the field.

What do you think has been a strength this year in your game play?

Definitely the experience, last year, I was getting used to everything. Before every game last year I would get nervous, I still do, but it is more of a happy nervous. Last year was more of not knowing what to expect in certain situations, and in this year, when that happens, I immediately start to think of what am I going to do, and how am I going to counter certain moves.

You guys went to Lafayette, and played a very good STM team, walk me through that.

The defense didn’t have a good game, and we were relying on the offense. After every series, we would always come back and say next series, next series, one more series. Then Connor Stewart got that fumble, and that was really what we needed. We just kept saying next series, next series and just not giving up. We just kept playing through the game. We knew we could all trust each other. The offense came in and ended up winning us the game.

If you could play any position on offense, what would it be?

Definitely tight end, when I was little, I played one or two snaps at tight end. I would run a route and that would be the funnest thing I did. When I got to high school I thought that might be a position I might want to play. I‘ve always played defense and I think it would be the coolest thing to get the ball in my hand, or to run the ball. So I think that tight end would be the position I would want to play.