ELK GROVE (CBS13) – This was a heart-pounding and heartbreaking Super Bowl for many San Francisco 49er fans, but the pain of the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs felt a little different for Joe Cattolico.
Cattolico coached the 49er’s Arik Armstead on Pleasant Grove High School’s Friday night games. Watching him play on this Super Bowl Sunday felt more like a dream.
“It’s a dream come true for Arik to be doing, especially for a local team and it’s really neat for us to see somebody who’s such a great player and really an even better person,” Cattolico said.
Big number 91’s high school coaches have followed Armstead since his high school days. Armstead graduated in 2011, attended the University of Oregon and then was drafted in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Getting to watch him on the big game’s world stage is special.
“It’s super exciting and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Just a quality human being,” Sean Waddle, a former coach, said. “He has worked so hard to hone his craft and do everything right.”
One of Armstead’s old coaches and teachers happens to also be Chiefs fan, making the emotions of the game a little conflicting.
“Very difficult to root against my team. But it’s one of those things where I’m trying to balance, I hope he does well and I’m rooting for him as a person,” Jeremiah Taylor, Armstead’s former coach, said.
Armstead and the 49ers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 31-20 on Sunday in Super Bowl LIV.
The hometown kid didn’t walk away with a Super Bowl ring and hoisting the Lombardi trophy. But his coaches know he’s had the heart of a champion all along.
“Everything he’s done on the field is great,” Dale Ellingsworth, Armstead’s former coach, said. “But it is not surpassed by what he does in the community.”
Taylor told CBS13 that he believes that Armstead will have more chances to earn his first NFL title in his career.