Sondheimer: Cleveland’s Kory Hall cooks, cleans and tackles with best in City Section

Kory Hall, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior with strong hands, quick feet and the physicality of a boxer, might be the best high school football player few have heard about. He plays for Reseda Cleveland, not exactly a powerhouse in the City Section.

Coach Peter Gunny was so concerned another school might try to poach Hall during the offseason that he asked the kid if he was going to stay because, if he wasn’t, he needed to make new plans for Cleveland’s offense and defense.

Hall answered he’s staying, and told Gunny, “If I’m good enough, they’ll find me.”

There isn’t a position Hall can’t play. He’s primarily a receiver and safety but also punts, returns punts and kickoffs, can play defensive end, linebacker, cornerback, tight end, quarterback and running back.

“If my team needs me, I’ll play center,” he said.

He also could start in basketball. He said he’s never run a 40-yard dash for time but estimates he could run 4.4.

Last week in a season opener against Granada Hills Kennedy, he had 12 tackles in a 27-12 victory. Kennedy coach Troy Cassidy said, “We were always aware where he was. He definitely has strong hands. He’s athletic and physical.”

Hall grew up in Las Vegas with his mother and four siblings. He moved to Reseda two years ago. At the time he weighed 225 pounds and was chubby because he spent too much time sitting at home eating junk food and playing video games when students couldn’t come to campus because of the pandemic.

He joined the football team, lost weight and started showing his athleticism.

“I’ve got muscles now,” he said.

With a veteran quarterback in Emiliano Lopez, Cleveland could be a surprise team in the West Valley League.

“I love being out there playing with my boys,” Hall said. “I feel they all have my back.”

Gunny had every reason to be concerned that he might lose Hall because that has become part of life in the City Section. Promising young athletes are recruited away. Hall said several public and private schools approached him while he was playing seven-on-seven football and made their pitch.

“I’m good where I’m at,” he said. “Cleveland is an amazing school.”

Hall just might be an amazing 17-year-old. He’s the man in his house, helping to watch over siblings that are 7 and 10 and doing many chores.

“I clean and I cook,” he said. “I can wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, take out the trash, mop. I can cook seafood and pasta.”

Forget his football skills — someone needs to try his baked salmon and watch his vacuuming skills.

He said his older brothers were influential in preparing him for high school.

“I learned right from wrong from my older brothers,” he said.

He had seven touchdowns last season, six receiving.

Gunny said, “He’s probably the best player in the City.”

Gunny added, “He can play multiple positions and dominate. From a safety position, he’s extremely physical, knows his reads, flies around and and plays at an extreme high level.”

Time will tell if Hall lives up to his coach’s endorsement, but he said, “I have a deep passion for football. I’m stronger, I’m faster.”

And, if anyone needs a dish of spaghetti, he’ll deliver that, too.

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