There is nothing typical about Sebastian Kronberger’s football life. The Lakewood junior leads the Moore League in rushing because of his old-school running style, but he’s not that hard-nosed player off of the field.
“I’m childish,” Kronberger said. “My favorite TV show is ‘SpongeBob SquarePants.' My favorite movie is ‘Toy Story 3.' But when I’m on the field, it’s all business.”
Kronberger has only played five games this season, but he already has 864 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. The 5’11” 193-pound junior is averaging eight yards per carry, and Lakewood coach Mike Christensen said Kronberger’s style of play has changed the attitude of his football team.
“He brings an intensity and a toughness,” Christensen said. “I admire and respect the way he plays the game. He plays it like we’re trying to get everybody to play it. He runs hard.”
Off of the field, Kronberger is a history buff who likes to draw and listen to country music. He had no interest in sports at a young age, and struggled with his weight.
“When I was 5, I was kind of fat,” Kronberger said. “I never did anything. Kids used to bully me. One day it was really bad and I came home and was like, ‘I’m done.’ I started running every day and getting into sports. I didn’t even notice how skinny I started to get. I just worked.”
Kronberger didn’t really like football, but he got a taste for contact the first time he played with his cousin.
“On the first day we were going head-up hitting each other,” Kronberger said. “He smacked me, hard. And I remember I got mad, but I knew I had to learn how to get him back. I mean, I get to hit people and not get in trouble? This is better than any other sport.”
Kronberger played fullback and offensive line while playing Pop Warner football, but he knew one day he would be a running back. He took the lessons learned in the trenches, and runs like his favorite football player, Marshawn Lynch.
“I don’t like any soft stuff on the field because it’s all business, and I developed that by watching Lynch,” Kronberger said. “That playoff game against the Saints when he was just throwing dudes off of him. After I saw that I was like, ‘that’s what I want to be like.’ I want to be like Marshawn Lynch.”
Kronberger rarely goes down on the first contact, and has a knack for falling forward at the end of runs for extra yards. Christensen said he hasn’t seen a lot of hard-nosed running backs like Kronberger, who has averaged better than 130 yards in 13 games at Lakewood.
“That’s not really the norm anymore,” Christensen said. “He’s a little bit of a throwback.”
“I don’t like to be the person sitting still,” Kronberger said. “I just want to get up and do something. Cook, clean or anything to keep me moving. When I get my homework done, I just look around like ‘what can I do now?’.”
This season, Lakewood (1-6, 1-2) was unable to extend historic winning steaks over rivals Mayfair and Millikan, and it’s the first time in nine years the Lancers are without the Milk Bucket and Hamilton Trophy. The Lancers are also in danger of snapping their 15-year playoff streak, but Kronberger said it’s been hard trying to turn the season around.
“We really do feel bad about losing those trophies,” he said. “It’s kind of hard walking around school hearing everybody talk mess about the team. We all go to the same school, I would think that somebody would be trying to support us a little bit, but no they don’t.
“I tell my teammates to keep their heads up and don’t listen to what others say. At the end of the day they’re not out on the field. They don’t feel the pain, or see the progress we’re making.”
Lakewood hosts Compton on Friday in a must-win game for both teams in terms of the playoff race. Before the game, Kronberger will do what he does before every game.
“In the locker room I’ll go to the corner by myself and pray to my Godmother, Sandra,” Kronberger said. “She passed away a few years ago and she didn’t get a chance to see me doing this. She was the first one to say I’d be out here doing this. She had shirts made for me and everything, but she died before she got to see me play a game in high school. I thank God I’m out here and sill living. But she’s watching. She sees what’s going on.”