EL CENTRO — Central’s Joseph Hargave is another Peña-era Spartan who recently inked a commitment to play football out of state in Plymouth, Wisconsin for the Lakeland University Muskies Tuesday, July 6, at the Central Union High School (CUHS) gymnasium before family and friends.
In three seasons on varsity, Hargave played a total of 21 games where he netted 52 total tackles, according to max preps data.
Hargave’s final game as a Spartan may have been his most well-rounded outing statistically, as he logged three of his seven season solo tackles to his Bell Game stat-line.
Listed at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Central Spartan Athletic Director Joshua Wise referenced the defensive linemen as a wall.
Many of Hargave’s family, friends, and former teammates went to see the signing ceremony.
“I see a lot of friends, teammates, and faculty members,” said Wise. “You guys are all here for a special day — for the next journey. What an accomplishment to get to the next journey where you get to discover who you are, continue to learn, and continue to get better.”
Spartan football Head Coach David Peña attributed Hargave’s success as a student athlete to his work ethic.
“Joe has worked very hard over the past four years,” said Peña.
Hargave’s Class of 2017 was also Peña’s inaugural season as Spartan head coach.
“Joe was that class that I began my first four years here with at Central, so he’s part of that first batch in 2017 that was here when I took over the program,” said Peña. “It’s a very special moment, even for myself and for my coaching staff, to see Joe grow up as a freshman to a senior.”
Peña reminded future student athletes of Hargave’s commitment to being process based even through the pandemic.
“Especially this year with the COVID and everything else, Joe applied the work ethic even during times of uncertainty,” said Peña. “You did a great job and you worked really hard even when you didn’t know if we were going to have a season. Just continue to stay focused, continue to weight lift, and continue to keep the same work ethic as you’ve done.”
Hargave’s family reiterated how he is beloved to them and how proud of him they were.
“Thank you all very much for taking care of our grandson,” said Hargave’s grandmother to teammates, coaches, and faculty.
Hargave’s grandfather reminisced about the final 40-yard dash and arm-wrestling match and joked about Joseph’s man-like speed and strength at 13 years old.
Before sending Hargave off, coaches reminded him to invest in a good quality jacket and outdoor hobbies in anticipation of the mid-west winters.
“It feels amazing to further my athletic career to the collegiate level at a four-year university,” said Hargave. “It’s always been a dream of mine to go play football Saturdays. Playing for Central under Coach Peña provided me the chance to do so.”
Hargave credited life skills he developed while at Central to helping him maintain commitment.
“I’m leaving with all the principles I was taught here (Central) as a man and as a football player,” said Hargave. “It just means the world to me to be able to go play college football.”
Hargave didn’t visit the campus physically but did have remote meetings with his coaches at Lakeland.
“I just wanted to choose the right school that was best for me and my family and what had the best values for me as a person,” said Hargave. “Lakeland had a homely type of feel and I really like Wisconsin from what I could see through FaceTime with my coach. Glad I’m going to see a different part of the country that actually has all four seasons.”
Hargave elaborated on how the pandemic impacted his collegiate journey.
“The pandemic gave me a lot of uncertainty in recruiting especially but I furthered myself personally,” said Hargave. “Lakeland was one of the colleges that took notice in the personal gain I developed during the lockdown. It was always my dream to play college football and I had it in the back of my mind that going to school is part of the process. If I wanted to go play football and further my education at a college, I knew I had to go to school now, get the good grades, and keep working out.”
Hargave had a message to all underclassmen and aspiring football players.
“Never stop working even when you think it’s pointless, even when you think you shouldn’t be working, there is someone always out there working harder than you,” he said. “You always have to have that mentality that someone is always out there who wants your job and wants to work harder than you and take that scholarship.”