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Brainy SF quarterback records team’s stats while throwing touchdowns

Lowell quarterback Angelo Ornelas (10) scrambles during the second quarter of the Cardinals' 33-15 win over Galileo in San Francisco on Nov. 4, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Lowell sophomore quarterback Angelo Ornelas isn’t just throwing touchdowns. He’s also charting them as his team’s statistician.

On most high school football teams, the statistician plays an important role, but never sees the field. The position is usually filled by a student manager, an injured player, a parent or perhaps even a math teacher who just loves football. It’s not usually done by one of the team’s best players.

The passer in the Cardinals’ two-quarterback system, Ornelas took on the statistician role after the team’s first game.

“The first game, we didn’t really have a stat person,” he said. “(Head) coach (Danny Chan) asked somebody to take the stats, so I just did it.”

Lowell quarterback Angelo Ornelas (10) faces pressure from Washington linebacker Rigoberto Hernandez during the third quarter of the Cardinals' 52-34 loss to the Eagles on Oct. 14, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Each week, Ornelas combs through his team’s film, tracking yardage, tackles and everything in between, even going so far as to calculate his QB rating.

Chan joked, “I have some nerdy kids that will rule the world someday.”

Would Ornelas, a two-sport athlete who also plays baseball, consider himself a nerd?

“Let’s just say I’m nerdy when I want to be,” he said. “I’m not really into math or those kinds of things, but when it comes to math in sports, I’m all in.”

It’s fitting, then, that Ornelas also plays baseball, a sport that’s as math-based as it gets.

He said, “I was always into calculating my batting averages and on-base percentages.”

Ornelas plays shortstop and pitches, but it’ll be another three months before he’s on the diamond for Lowell. For now, he’s utilizing his role as his team’s statistician to better himself as a quarterback.

“I get to see the whole film, see what I did wrong, see what the team did wrong and correct my mistakes,” said Ornelas, who’s thrown for eight touchdowns and rushed for six.

The Cardinals started the season with three non-league losses, but are 3-2 in Academic Athletic Association (AAA) play. Their win over Galileo on Friday, paired with Mission’s loss to Balboa on Saturday, ensured a third consecutive playoff berth.

Friday’s game at Balboa will break a tie for third place; the winner will secure the third seed and face Washington (7-2, 4-1 AAA) in the semifinals, while the loser will finish fourth and face regular season champion Lincoln (7-3, 6-0).