By John Murphy
Wolfie Rehbock doesn’t have the biggest name on the Bellarmine offense, just the most interesting one.
Rehbock on Friday night will line up at left guard for Bellarmine (13-1) when his team meets Mission Viejo (15-0) at Sacramento State for the state Division I-AA bowl title game. It will be the final chapter of an odyssey that’s taken William Wolfgang Rehbock from son of an Archbishop Mitty star athlete to the cusp of state glory.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Rehbock (6-foot-3, 255 pounds). “Our goals were to win the WCAL and CCS. We knew with so many returnees that if we played our best game, nobody could beat us. It’s great to come back from last year and achieve our goals.”
Last season the Bells had a chance to share the WCAL title but lost their league finale to Serra and had to settle for third place. They also fought their way into the CCS Open title game against upstart Sacred Heart Prep with a dramatic win against Milpitas. But SHP stunned the Bells 14-0.
The disappointments just steeled the resolve of the seniors coming back.
“We’re a brotherhood,” Rehbock said. “All summer we worked out at 7 a.m. and it was tough, but we worked together, side by side. We have a bond.”
That bond and resolve was tested time and again this season, never more so than last week. Bellarmine was down by seven points with three minutes left and had a fourth-and-12 on the 49-yard of Folsom, winners of 30 straight game overall and 43 on their home blue turf.
No prob. Troy Martig hit Vince Fernandez for 24 yards and then Rehbock’s buddy Antonio Garcia scored on the next play to tie the game en route to an eventual Bell victory, the historic 270th of coach Mike Janda’s career.
“We’re comfortable in those situations,” Rehbock said. “I never thought to myself ‘We could lose the game here.’ We just stayed calm and Troy made the pass and the rest is history.”
The Bells’ three-year varsity players: (L-R) Josh Bringuel, Kyle Macaulley, Jacob Bergstrom, Wolfie Rehbock.
Speaking of history, Rehbock’s unusual middle name is a nod to his German ethnicity and also emanates from the movie “Amadeus” that portrays musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
“We wanted to name him Wolfgang, but made his first name Williams in case Wolfgang was too edgy,” Heidi Rehbock, mom of the player. “So he’s named after Mozart. It’s a good, strong German name. But he’s always just been “Wolfie.”
Rehbock’s father, Bill, was a star football and basketball player at rival Mitty (the only team to beat the Bells this season), but son obviously did not follow in dad’s footsteps.
“I grew up in Los Gatos, but I shadowed (observed classes) at Bellarmine my eighth grade year,” Rehbock said. “I had more friends going to Bellarmine and that was the last time Bellarmine made state in football and so I decided to go to there.”
He hasn’t looked back and has been rewarded for his choice many times over this magical season, including when he helped veteran coach Janda reach a milestone. The Bells look up Janda as both a coach and as a person.
“Coming here was the best thing that could have happened to me as a player,” Rehbock said. “It meant so much to help coach Janda win his 270th game and become the all-time win leader in CCS. It was an incredible moment. He’s so knowledgable about the game and he helps mature us on and off the field.”
The Bell offensive line has been vital. Left tackle Jacob Bergstrom, Rehbock, center Isaac Oshana, right guard Bobby Facchino and right tackle Noah Clark have helped Bellarmine score 33 points a game this season, including 37.8 per game during their past five games.
“We have a lot of experience and we’re good friends off the field,” Rehbock said. “We have chemistry.
“The guys that make the plays (Martig, Garcia, Kyle Macauley, Devon Buenrostro, Vincent Fernandez etc.) deserve the credit, but they know they wouldn’t have the same success without the linemen doing the dirty work. It’s a team sport and we all do a great job representing Bellarmine.”
The two-way lineman and baseball player also reps the Bells off the field. He has a 3.8 grade point average,loves kids and spends some of his free time working with the disabled and impoverished.
Rehbock was a big kid growing up, too heavy to play Pop Warner without dieting. His mom fed him sugar-free popsicles as a youngster and picked him up early from birthday parties before the cake and ice cream.
The big guy still likes his groceries, too.
“OMG,” Heidi Rehbock said. “I have a freshman (Wyatt) too. There are days I have to go to the grocery store twice. Wolfie takes an Igloo cooler to school every day, filled to the top with food. On the days with morning workouts, he’s gone for 10-11 hours.”
Growing up the kids was a sports nut who can still name every NCAA Division I mascot, including Air Force (Falcons) where he plans to play next. Though at 260 pounds, it’s anybody’s guess how he’ll fit into one of those leather flight jackets.
The guy they call Wolfie can be a bit of a squirrel as well. Before his first high school game against De La Salle, Rehbock was on the bus when he realized he forgot his cleats.
“He was PANICKING!” Heidi Rehbock said. “Try finding a store with size 15 football cleats in stock, especially before 9 a.m. on a Saturday. One of the trainers was still at school, found (the cleats) in the locker room and saved the day.”
Rehbock has repaid the school and then some. The team has already had its awards banquet and Rehbock and Bringuel were co-winners of the Billy Schmidt Award, which goes to an athlete in each sport who displays the morals and leadership that Bellarmine looks for in a young man.
“Winning the award was a huge honor for Wolfie,” Heidi Rehbock said.
Friday night at Sac State, another honor awaits. Rehbock is ready.
“Practices have been electric this week,” he said. “Everyone’s excited – players, students, alumni. I can’t think of a better way to go out than to play at such a great venue with so much on the line.”
John Murphy is the Web Content Manager of Prep2Prep. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PrepCat
Wolfie Rehbock has had reason to smile during a banner 2015 season.