PREP FOOTBALL: Running back Limosnero remains a small wonder for unbeaten Banning. By Tony Ciniglio STAFF WRITER Josh Limosnero may only be 5-foot-6 and 170 pounds, but the junior running back has been carrying the resurgent Banning football program on his back. As a freshman, Limosnero was one of the few bright spots of the 2005 season as a midseason junior varsity call-up in an otherwise dismal 1-9 campaign in which Banning fired its coach after just two games. Limosnero was witness to the return of legendary coach Chris Ferragamo as a sophomore and saw the start of Banning’s reclamation project. Now Limosnero is the driving force for a Banning team that is 4-0 and on the cusp of breaking back into the L.A. City Section’s elite heading into tonight’s showdown at Venice (4-0). “This is his team,” Ferragamo said. “It’s a team that he has nurtured as we’ve come along. Our guys fell in love with him, and our line blocks like crazy for him. They normally block well, but they’ll block a little more for Limo, that’s what we call him.” Limosnero has been on cruise control this season, racking up 601 yards and 11 touchdowns on 53 carries for an average of 11.3 yards a carry. Limosnero said he knows what is at stake against Venice, especially for a program that is hungry to reclaim some of its glory. “It’s important to help the program rebuild,” Limosnero said. “It takes time, a lot of time. And patience. I’m working hard and I know everyone else is too. We’re starting to see that hard work pay off. “My goal is to win a championship – this year. That’s everybody’s goal, to get back to the top of the mountain. This is one of the biggest games we’ll ever play in, besides maybe a championship game. We believe we can beat Venice, but time will tell.” Limosnero has an appreciation for Banning’s history. His older brother, Michael Limosnero, was a running back for the 1998 team that went to the City title game and the 1999 team that plowed to the City Invitational title. Michael Limosnero later was a running backs coach for the 2000 team that made an improbable City title run, the last of Banning’s nine City championships. Josh Limosnero said he and his brother are close. “He always has something to tell me,” Limosnero said. “We go over game film and go work out together. We have a good bond. He always tells me to keep my legs moving and to look to score every time I touch the ball. “He thinks he’s faster than me, but no, that’s definitely not the case.” Limosnero’s speed is one of his greatest assets. However, the shifty runner isn’t afraid to run up the gut of the field, especially with a big and effective line that includes All-City returner Sam Tupua, All-Marine League returner Rocky Garibay, Matthew Kriste, Giovanni Tejada and David Fuentes giving Limosnero plenty of running lanes. “He’s Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside. He can run both inside and outside,” Ferragamo said. “Plus, it’s hard to see him on the field. When he gets behind our line, the linebackers have a hard time seeing the kid. You just can’t let your guard down against him. “And the amazing thing is that I don’t think he puts any pressure on himself.” So how would Limosnero describe himself as a running back? “Nifty,” Limosnero said. “I’m small, but I’m pretty quick and I’m a get-upfield kind of guy. Luckily, the line is pretty big.” Limosnero, also a standout baseball player for Banning, said his true passion is football. He said he tries to not let the expectations at Banning affect him. “I don’t feel any pressure, and they don’t put any pressure on me,” Limosnero said. “I just love football. I’ve always believed in working hard for what you want.” Ferragamo said Limosnero is the kind of player any coach would want on his team, especially when trying to turn a program around. “He’s an amazing kid,” Ferragamo said. “He’s so quiet, you never even know he’s around. The only way you come off the field during a game is if someone taps your shoulder in the huddle, and when we tap him, he runs off the field without saying boo. “That’s an ultimate team player right there, and we’re very fortunate to have him on our team.” [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!