January 25, 2022
"Changing Lives, Improving Communities"

Diamond In The Rough: Ray Stoltz

Ray Stoltz a middle and outside linebacker of the 2021 class at Slidell High School in Slidell, Louisiana. Stoltz stands out with his energy levels and is driven to help his teammates succeed on the football field. With his height measuring in at 6’0” even and weighing in at 195 lbs, Ray possesses the ability to squat 445 pounds. On the field, he does not hesitate to tackle his opponents and is able to fill the gap. Stoltz is driven to play and is in love with the process of improving not only himself but his teammates. 

When did you begin playing football and what made you want to play?

I started playing football when I was nine years old, I started at Slidell Youth Football Association. I was already playing football in the neighborhood and with all my friends, along with watching my stepbrother play. I decided to go from two-hand touch in the yard to contact football.

How do you prepare for an upcoming game?

Music plays a big part while I’m preparing for the upcoming game already having a playlist set up and to go to beforehand. Prior to the game, we do bed down as a team. As soon as I wake up from my nap, I put on my headphones – locked in, focused, and ready for the game. While everyone else is actively talking, I have my head down listening to my music and focusing on the upcoming game.

What would you bring to a college program?

Leadership; in the form of leading by example, but also being a person that can verbally motivate others to play better. I’ve been leading that way since I was a freshman. I love contact and would love to run special teams and help bring energy to the team. 

What did you learn about yourself last season, and would you have changed anything?

I learned how to handle adversity last year. In week three of my junior season, I suffered an injury to my knee that nagged on throughout the season. Even though it nagged on, I pushed through with determination and a mindset that nothing would stop me from competing with my team.

How has the lockdown affected your training?

From this adversity, I feel like it has helped me become more well-rounded. No gyms were open. We were not doing anything with the school and Ochsner as well. So, I had to do everything on my own. I already have a weight bench at home. So, that helped along with having a pretty large neighborhood to run around. While training alone has helped me, it was not as good as training with my brothers. 

What motivates you or what does motivate you to play?

I want to put my team and myself in the position to win a state championship. In doing so, I want to be the best in all aspects of the game for the upcoming season, and going forward into college.

Last year, what would have been your signature moment? 

After the injury in week three, I was concerned I wouldn’t be the same player – thought I would be slower and facing the possibility of missing games. When we played Mandeville, on the second drive, I got a really big hit on the quarterback and sacked him. Once I got to the sideline, I knew nothing was going to stop me.

How would your teammates and coaches describe you?

Energy all the time. As I said earlier, I am a very energized individual. No matter what we are doing, I’m always giving one hundred ten percent and leading by example so my team will follow and meet the same energy as well. 

What would you tell younger players who aim to play high school football one day?

I will tell them it’s a four-year deal;  not to rush it and only focus on playing under the lights on Friday nights. The game flies by and you should take the time to cherish each part of playing in high school – from the practices to every game. Embrace it and enjoy the moment because it will go by quickly. 

Are there any college or NFL athletes that you look up to or try to model your playing style after?

Ray Lewis – his playstyle and presence on the field. He sets the bar when it comes to being a linebacker and his level of physicality and determination is what I strive to be as a fellow linebacker. 

Is there anything else you want people to know about you?]

My overall competitiveness: I am going to do whatever it takes to win no matter what might be going on in my day-to-day or family life. As soon as I get onto the field, the only thing that matters is what is happening on the field.