Jordan Battaglia can barely keep track of the all-league honors and varsity letters he stacked up during his high school playing days. The impressive numbers he put up as a three-sport standout at San Diego Jewish Academy have become a blur.
It’s the special moments, when he and his teammates played for something bigger than themselves, that he treasures most.
“When the team really comes together and makes something happen that you don’t think will happen, it’s a magical moment in a way,” Battaglia said. “That happened a few times senior year during the football season. It was a pretty special season.”
Battaglia hopes to help create more of those moments.
He has gone from SDJA to Pomona-Pitzer. He’ll start his sophomore year on the program’s Division III football program this fall.
Battaglia, who played quarterback all four years at SDJA, played on special teams as a collegiate freshman at Pomona-Pitzer and is being developed as a slot receiver.
“I want to make an impact on my team,” Battaglia said. “I’ve worked really hard up to this point and I’m going to keep working hard. I want it to pay off.”
Hard work is no stranger to Battaglia.
He learned to manage his time out of necessity competing at SDJA, where he kept up his grades at the academically-demanding school while barely missing practices in any sport. In addition to the demands of football and basketball from the fall through the winter, he played club basketball while competing on the baseball team.
“In the beginning of high school it was definitely tough, but I got used to it and it turned into a positive for me,” Battaglia said. “Just knowing that I have to get stuff done put me in a good mentality to always keep working really hard in the moment.”
Battaglia has no regrets.
“My busy schedule during high school turned me into the person that I am, a responsible young adult,” he said. “I definitely don’t wish it to be any different.”
Battaglia is among a handful of SDJA football players who’ve gone on to play collegiately, including Drew Ferris, a long snapper who has gone on to play in the NFL after a Division I career at Florida.
“What impressed me most about Jordan was his tenacity and determination to be the best football player and athlete that he could be, and how that translated on game day to an extremely competitive person,” former SDJA coach Skip Carpowich said.
Battaglia’s determination helped keep the program going when it wasn’t clear the Lions would field a team in his junior and senior years, helping recruit players.
“I was just honest with the kids that were on the fence that playing football is tough,” Battaglia said. “It’s time consuming, it hurts, but there’s definitely a big reward at the end of the season or the end of your career if you play multiple seasons.”
Battaglia is enrolled in a combined philosophy, politics and economics major at Pomona and hopes to someday use his powers of persuasion in a legal setting.
Battaglia plans on going to law school and wants to practice contract law. An experience in which Battaglia said his family business was taken advantage of by a bigger company is among the biggest motivating factors in his pursuing a career in law.
“I want to help people and I want to be intellectually stimulated,” he said.
Battaglia planned to pursue a collegiate career in basketball, and considered transferring to Torrey Pines to focus on his preferred sport before starting high school.
Battaglia made an immediate impact on the varsity at SDJA, becoming the starting quarterback his freshman year, when the Lions played 11-man football. They played 8-man football his last three years.
Battaglia had played just one game of tackle football in fourth grade before starting his career at SDJA, an experience he acknowledged was intimidating at first.
“Those moments are definitely the scariest because you’re going against juniors and seniors in one-on-ones and you have a lot of time to think before the play starts,” he said.
Battaglia plans to remain part of an SDJA community in which loyalty runs deep. He recalls visits from former players, including Ferris, and former coach Joseph Gurfinkiel.
He went to last season’s homecoming and delivered a pre-game speech.
“He had grown even bigger, stronger and spoke so passionately and effectively,” Carpowich said. “The man standing in that locker room had become a college football player, and an even greater source of inspiration to those around him.”