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Senior running back Michael Obiangwe is a power in the backfield

Posted by Ryan Butler  September 23, 2013 12:49 PM

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West Roxbury running back Michael Obiangwe (center, carrying the ball) is a force out of the backfield. (Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe).

West Roxbury senior running back Michael Obiangwe celebrated his 18th birthday Sunday much the way any other high school football player would. He met up with some teammates, they headed to a buffet, and their night finished at a bowling alley.

“Me and some other guys from the Westie team went to Tin Tin Buffet and then we went to Boston Bowl,” Obiangwe said. “But then after all that, I had to go to work.”

When Obiangwe is not bruising his opponents on the football field, he’s working at the Legacy Place movie theater or hanging out with his buddies. He’s also a member of West Roxbury’s varsity basketball squad. But it’s football that drives this two-sport athlete. And it has driven Obiangwe since his freshman year.

“I started off playing fullback and middle linebacker,” Obiangwe said. “Then I got to play running back my sophomore year."

At 6 feet, 250 pounds, Obiangwe looks more like a middle linebacker than a running back. But once he starts moving down the field with the football, it usually takes two or three defenders to bring him down.

This season, he has logged a rushing touchdown and has his Raiders right in the middle of the Boston City League North Division with a 1-1 record. However, Obaingwe had to overcome some adversity early. In a Week 1 loss to Latin Academy, Obiangwe didn’t play in the second half because of a slight neck sprain. But any doubts of his health were squashed when he took the field against Madison Park last week and scored his first touchdown of 2013.

Obiangwe scored that touchdown during a crucial point in the game. With his Raiders down, 6-0, in the second quarter and their offense playing sloppily, Obiangwe powered his way 6 yards into the end zone to tie the game.

Minutes later, he scored the 2-point conversion after another second-quarter touchdown, this one by teammate Raymond Tejeda. This gave West Roxbury a 14-6 lead, which proved enough for the victory.

“We knew what was on the line when we played Madison Park,” Obiangwe said. “They kind of embarrassed us last year, so we had to come out and take care of business. I mean, this is my senior year, too. So this is the last time to do it.”

Obiangwe grew up in Roslindale and has great aspirations for life after graduation. But he still wants the gridiron in his future.

“After West Roxbury, I plan on going to a four-year college,” he said. “Preferably out of state to study psychology. Just in case football doesn’t work out as planned.”

The immediate plan for Obiangwe and the rest of his West Roxbury team is to make the playoffs and keep improving. This week, they’ll square off against South Boston.

Obiangwe is lucky enough to play in front of his idol every game. And who better to idolize than your head coach?

“Coach Derek Wright is my idol,” Obiangwe said. “I want to be better than he was, back when he was a playing at Dorchester.”

Ryan M. Butler covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @butler_globe or @BPSspts.

About Boston Public Schools Sports Blog

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.