QB1: James Mazuera


by Steven Portillo

Junior James Mazuera working hard on his craft this offseason.

Nick Holt, Editor-in-Chief

On Friday, October 2, the Hillsborough Raiders took on Montgomery in the opening game of the season.  Though, something was different, a new face at quarterback, a new number, someone new taking over the team.  It didn’t take long for fans to get a taste of his talent, throwing a beautiful touchdown to junior tight end, Will Dixon, in the first half, and later securing his first varsity win at quarterback.  Though you may still ask, who is this new Quarterback?

From a young age, James Mazuera has always been in love with the game of football.  Starting his young career off playing football for the local Dukes youth teams, Mazuera recalls fond memories of his time playing.

“Playing Dukes Football was something I will never forget,” he said. “I formed many friendships that will last forever. Every Friday, the team would go to the high school games and I just couldn’t wait until I would be able to one day play at that stage. To think that I started playing football nine years ago is crazy to me. It seems like it was just yesterday I was getting ready for my first flag football game.”

Mazuera has always been one of those kids that you just knew was going to turn out to be a star.  From my own personal memory, I remember playing ball with him in elementary school and he was always the first pick, most athletic kid out there, and everyone wanted to be like him.

However, Mazuera has always been humble, never gloating or broadcasting his success, while always giving props to those who have gotten him to where he is right now.

“My dad has been training me since I was little so he is definitely someone who has helped me get to where I am now,” he said. “My mom as well has always made sure I stayed on top of other things outside of football and just wants me to be the best version of myself. Finally, my quarterback coach Matt Bastardi has helped me elevate my game tremendously and has prepared me for varsity football mentally and physically.”

In addition to his family and coaches, Mazuera gushes over his NFL role model Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, who Mazuera can be seen drawing a lot of comparisons to in his early high school career. 

“The way he sits back calmly in the pocket and just makes great throws is incredible to me,” Mazuera said. “His ability to scramble and make plays with his legs is also what makes him so good.”

However it’s not all about football for Mazuera. Coming from a great family, he makes sure to never lose out on that aspect in his life, and can always be seen with his friends or family, a true team first guy.

This season will not be easy for the Hillsborough Raiders, or Mazuera, given the conditions due to Covid-19. However, the expectations Mazuera has are still through the roof.

“I don’t want to lose a game this year,” he said. “We have so many weapons on both sides of the ball and we all have the same goal, and that’s to win.” 

Mazuera’s confidence in his teammates oozes, listing various names such as playmakers Thomas Amankwaa, Andrew Santa Barbara, Tyler Michinard, and more, stating they are all posed for huge seasons with him leading the team.  Mazuera also showed love to the big guys, showing his belief in the offensive line, claiming he has “no doubt in my mind,” they will be able to step up this season.

So who is the quarterback for Hillsborough High School? Well, the sky is the limit with this one, and you’re going to see a lot more of him this season.

Welcome to the show, Hillsborough’s beloved, QB1, James Mazuera.