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With a hole to fill at center in the Lancaster High School offensive line, Bruins’ offensive line coach Joe Watson knew what was the right turn.
All Watson did was look to the LHS right tackle for the player to handle the duties.
That player is senior lineman Josh Cato, who is in his third season with the Bruins as a starter.
“The move was for the betterment of the offensive line,” said Watson.
“Josh fit what we were looking for at center. He’s consistent in his play and picks up things well,” Watson said. “We knew he could make the move. Josh is a hard worker and a smart kid.”
So Cato, with Watson’s urging, moved from right tackle to center.
It didn’t hurt that Cato had played center in middle school and in his freshman year at LHS.
“I know the position,” Cato said. “I knew I needed to step up and help the team. I think coach Watson knew I would do what was best for the team.”
Cato, in his first game in the middle of the LHS offensive line, did well, grading out at 81 percent against Andrew Jackson last week.
“If a lineman grades 75 percent or better in our system, he’s doing a solid job,” Watson said. “If Josh continues to grade in the 80s, then we’re going to be fine this season.”
Cato also wants to be equally solid as a leader.
“A football team needs leaders,” Cato said. “I’m trying to be a leader and a role model. Being a leader is helping other players out. You want them to do the best to their ability.”
Cato recalls his early days when a senior teammate provided key guidance.
“That was Dustin Belk,” Cato said. “Whatever questions I had, he would always try to answer them and help me. A few times, he stayed after practice to help me with different parts of playing in the line.”
Cato noted it’s a role seniors should seek to follow.
“It might be the last hurrah, so you want to do the best you can,” he said.
Watson noted Cato is the type of player a team needs.
“He’s always dependable,” Watson said. “Josh is what a player should be. He does what is asked of him and gives it his best shot. His goal is to help the team in any way possible.
“He’s a good one to have because he’s going to give it his best shot.”
Watson added Cato is blessed with a “good family.”
“His parents (Jeff and Casey Cato) are behind him and the program all the way,” he said. “They’re going to be there no matter what, through thick and thin. They always speak and give encouragement.”
Cato said it makes a difference.
“I think my parents have missed one game since I started playing,” he said. “It’s a good feeling to know they’re in the stands and no matter what, they’re going to be there for you and the team. It gives you a good feeling.”
Cato said he hopes for more nights of celebration.
“If we execute, we will be alright,” he said. “The offense has to score and the defense has to provide stops.
“After last week and the win over Andrew Jackson, we have momentum going into the Ridge View game,” he said. “After that first win, you’re hyped up and ready to go to the next one.”