Varva ignites Lake Orion to 5-0 start

Posted Sep 28, 2003

There seems to be no stopping Lake Orion High School. The talents of two-way lineman Trent Varva have been among the main reasons.

Lake Orion improved to 5-0 overall Thursday with a 44-0 rout against Rochester.

Going into the game, Varva, a 6-foot-2, 325-pound offensive guard-defensive tackle, made it clear the Dragons weren’t going to look past anyone.

“We don’t look past our next opponent,” he said. “Rochester has a lot of good players.”

But Lake Orion, in establishing itself as among the best teams in the state, has also proven to have its share of excellent players.

“We have players who can make plays,” he said. “That’s all we can do, just go out and do our best.”

After five games, Lake Orion’s “best’ has been impressive.

“We’ve done very well,” Varva said. “We’ve had people step up. There’s always room for improvement. We’ve gotten better every week.”

Lake Orion suffered a blow in preseason when linebacker-offensive tackle Will Johnson suffered a season-ending ACL injury.

“You just can’t replace a Will Johnson,” Varva said of the Michigan-bound prospect. “But we’ve been able to cover for his loss. We have a lot of guys who have come out and stepped up.”

This marks the second year Varva has played both ways

“I played offense only my sophomore year,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’m a better player at offense. But I like defense. Who doesn’t? You can go out and hit people. Talent-wise, I’m probably better on the offensive line. I’m definitely a little stronger compared to last year. I can do more things. I’m probably faster.”

Speed isn’t the only factor that has made Varva a more dangerous football player.

“I put on 20 pounds but haven’t gotten slower. A lot of that is muscle mass,” he said.

“I feel my technique is better than it was last year. I’m just in a lot better shape this year. I’ve gotten stronger.’”

Varva is confident his team is strong enough to do well in the Oakland Activities Association and in the state playoffs.

“We just need to keep executing on offense,” he said. “If everyone runs their assignments, we’ll do fine.”

But it won’t be easy.

“Any team can go up against anyone in our league,” Varva said. “Other teams we’ll be playing have some phenomenal athletes.”

Prior to summer camp, Varva verbally committed to play at Penn State.

“I always had a good feeling about their program,” he said. “That’s always been my top pick, besides Michigan, which wasn’t interested in me. Penn State had two offensive linemen committed and had one lineman spot left. I was pressed into making my decision and decided to go that way.”

Varva’s primary concern now is helping Lake Orion win a conference title and do well in the playoffs. But getting ready for the college level is also on his mind.

“I need to drop some weight,” he said. “I’d like to get it down to 290. I want to increase my strength, too. I have to do everything better and increase my flexibility.”

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