Archive for November, 2010



As I stated in the first leadership skills blog, leadership is an important skill all student-athletes should possess. You should be working on improving your leadership skills regularly, which is why I have included even more great tips on leadership below.

1. Learn from all of your experiences

An important asset many leaders have is the ability to learn from all experiences, good or bad. Think about certain situations in your life, whether a practice, game, or something else, and recall what happened. Did everything go as perfect as you had hoped? What improvements would you like in order to make the experience more enjoyable or rewarding? Aside from taking learning value from your own point of view, also get feedback from teammates and coaches. No one may like hearing criticism, but a vital skill leaders possess is the ability to take feedback and use it positively to improve the next experiences.

2. Work on your communication skills

One of the most difficult skills for a leader to perfect is the ability to communicate well and effectively. Many aspects can get in the way of good communication, so it is important to keep a few things in mind when trying to communicate effectively. Always know what the purpose of what you are trying to communicate is. If you are not completely sure what you want to convey, how will anyone else? Also, be proactive and make sure that your peers and coaches understand what you are trying to communicate. By practicing two-way communication, you leave little room for discrepancy and will have an easier time achieving your goals.

3. Listen, listen, listen

The biggest mistake a leader can make is not showing well enough that they are listening. If you do not show that you are actively listening to peers and coaches, your credibility as a leader is diminished. When listening to others, make sure you are engaged in what they are saying. Body language is key; establish eye contact and make sure you are not doing other things. Also, make sure you are using two-way communication. Actively listen to what your peer or coach is saying show that you were listening by providing some sort of feedback, whether it be your own opinion on the topic or asking for clarification or more information. When others actually feel like they are being listened to, they tend to respect you more and feel more respected.

4. Be Assertive

One of the more obvious qualities people look for in a leader is assertiveness. Leaders need to be assertive in order to accomplish what they want. If a leader doesn’t speak up, then who will? However, it is important to make sure you don’t abuse this skill. A leader who is overly assertive is often times unpleasant to work with. So, make sure that you are being assertive, but not to the point that your teammates and coaches do not like working with you.

5. Manage your stress

Stress is an aspect that, if not managed well, can greatly affect others. Teammates look to a leader for help and guidance, so if a leader cannot manage their own personal stress, it will spill over negatively to peers. Some ways to cope with stress are to talk it out with loved ones, not procrastinate, and to be realistic with what all you can handle. By managing your own stress, you will have a more positive demeanor and you teammates will enjoy working with you more.

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–All content courtesy our friends at 619Sports.net

SAN MARCOS–Let a good team hang around long enough on their home field in the playoffs and it’s bound to bite you.  Compound your mistakes with a goal line fumble and a missed extra point, and your season’s probably going to come to an end.

The Mission Hills Grizzlies took advantage of Rancho Bernardo’s mistakes, then made their own luck along the way, coming up with a handful of clutch plays to pull out a 14-13 win at Jack Ashby Field on the Mission Hills campus in San Marcos.  Quarterback Hunter Moore’s 21 yard touchdown pass to Aaron Salas on a fourth quarter 4th-and-16 play gave Mission Hills (9-2) the lead with 7:10 remaining in the CIF San Diego Section Division II quarterfinal contest.

“That’s a doggone good football team over there,” said Mission Hills head coach Chris Hauser, “All along we thought it would be this kind of football game.  For whatever reason, we seemed to play better the closer they got to the goal line.  ”

And to the finish line.

Rancho Bernardo (9-3) dominated the first half but came away with just a six point lead to show for it.  Setting the tone on Tyler Gomogda’s 51 yard run on the first play from scrimmage, the Broncos racked up an astounding 259 yards of total offense before halftime.  But two red zone fumbles, including quarterback Trent Sessions fumbling on a keeper from the one-inch line, held RB to just 13 points for all their trouble.

After the half, it was a whole different story.  The Mission Hills offense was able to control possession and the clock, while the Grizzlies defense held Rancho Bernardo to just 39 total yards after intermission.

“I love our defense,” said Moore, “they come together as a team, no showboats, and they get the job done.”

Postgame video interviews: Chris Hauser/Hunter Moore

Both teams used big running plays to get their offense started.  After RB scored first on senior quarterback Devin Saunders’ 1 yard QB plunge (immediately following Gomogda’s 51 yard scamper), Mission Hills answered right back on a 56 yard scoring run from junior tailback Adam Renteria.

In a 7-7 tie, the Broncos then manufactured a pair of extended marches.  An 11 play drive took RB down to the Mission Hills 20, where senior wideout Evan Mattern caught a square out pass and then fumbled when he was hit.  The Grizzlies gratefully recovered at their 19 yard line.

“Whether they made the mistake or we caused the mistake, we’ll sure take that,” said Hauser.

Rancho Bernardo has used a two-quarterback rotation all season, and when junior Trent Sessions enters the fray (moving Devin Saunders to wideout), the Broncos have a much more balanced look.  Sessions hit on 9 of 10 second quarter passes for 105 yards.  He led an 11 play, 78 yard drive to open the quarter, twice hitting Saunders for big passes.  Setting up on first and goal at the one, RB head coach Brad Elrod decided for a quarterback sneak instead of handing the ball off to Gomogda, who had 17 touchdowns on the season.

The result: a fumble, recovered by Mission Hills in their own end zone for a touchback in the key turning point of the game.

“We had opportunities to get stuff, but…it was a great football game,” said a downcast coach Elrod after the game.

Brad Elrod postgame interview:

Next, it was Mission Hills’ turn to cough up the football, as Moore and center Elias Choufani botched a center-QB exchange on fourth and one from their own 44 yard line.  It took just five plays for the Broncos to march downfield and score, with Gomogda taking it in this time from the six-yard line for a 13-7 RB lead.  The extra point, however, was a pop fly by kicker Jeremy Hutchins which drifted right of the goalposts.

The Grizzlies thought they would catch yet another big break right before halftime, as Mission Hills punted and Broncos’ punt returner David Jones muffed the kick after signaling for a fair catch.  Luckily for Rancho Bernardo, the line judge anticipated the fair catch and inadvertently blew his whistle early, denying the Grizzlies a fumble recovery.  In fact, after a long conference the crew decided to have a do-over, giving RB another chance to return the punt.

Hauser was apoplectic on the sidelines, and the Broncos moved down to the Mission Hills 11 yard line before the half expired on a Hutchins missed field goal from 30 yards away.

In the third quarter, the roles reversed.  Mission Hills took control offensively but then made a crucial red zone error.  Senior wideout Josh Stephens (3 receptions, 81 yards) caught a 36 yard pass on third-and-13 heading into the end zone, but he fumbled on the five yard line.  RB senior defensive back Tyler Davey scooped up the fumble and returned it to his 30 yard line, ending the threat.

Zachary Andrews-Worline sacks Hunter Moore.  Both defenses played well for most of the night (Danny Heilprin/619Sports)Zachary Andrews-Worline sacks Hunter Moore. Both defenses played well for most of the night (Danny Heilprin/619Sports)

The second half remained scoreless into the fourth quarter, and looked like it might stay that way overall.  While the Grizzlies had success all night on third down (8-for-13 conversions), they failed on back-to-back passes from the RB 21 yard line midway through the fourth quarter.  Facing a fourth-and-16 and out of field goal range, Hauser elected to go for it, lining up four wide receivers spread across the field for Moore.

With excellent pocket protection, Moore (11-20, 173 yards, TD) looked off the safety and then brought his gaze back to the middle of the field, where top target Aaron Salas sprung wide open on a post route.  Moore hit Salas in stride for the game-tying touchdown pass, and Gio Garcia’s extra point gave Mission Hills a 14-13 lead.

“His route is a double move,” said Moore, “The safety couldn’t cover him and I was looking the other way as a decoy.  Then I looked back to Salas and saw him wide open.”

The Broncos had one more chance to take the game back on the road.  After Saunders (7-for-10, 45 yards) got the chance to play quarterback in RB’s two fruitless third quarter possessions, Sessions re-entered the game in the fourth quarter for one more extended drive.  Led by hard running from Gomogda (15 carries, 121 yards, TD) and Jones, the Broncos drove to the Mission Hills 27 yard line.

Suddenly, the Mission Hills pass rush made their first appearance of the night.  Sacks by Dominic Darby and Aaron Leauma pushed the Broncos back to the 39, where two passes went awry to end the possession.  On fourth and 23, Sessions was drilled by Anthony Lira, his final pass fluttering harmlessly to the turf.

Renteria (21 carries, 147 yards, TD) then picked up the final first down needed to burn through Rancho Bernardo’s timeouts and bleed out the clock.

The Grizzlies now escape this frying pan, only to walk into a den of angry Cougars next Thursday.  The 2nd seeded Steele Canyon Cougars await in East County, with the winner advancing to Qualcomm Stadium and the Division II finals on Monday, December 6th.

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Sport: Football Position: Kicker/Punter Height: 6’0″ Class: 2011 School: Scripps Ranch San Diego, CA

Falcons kicker, Nick Sloan is an extremely talented and passionate player. He told SportsForce that as a player, “my job is to make your job as the coach easier.” Nick delivered on his promise once again in a 30-0 win over Morse High School in the Division II first playoff round. Nick nailed three field goals from 44, 37 and 29 yards, the 44 yarder just 2 yards shy of his personal best. Nick also sent seven kicks deep into the end zone, holding Morse from any big return runs. Nick rounded out a great night by contributing three extra points.
To view Nick’s complete SportsForce profile and video click here – http://www.sportsforceonline.com/athletes/nsloan

Video and scouting report courtesy of SportsForce – Home for college Sports Recruiting Videos, Tips, Tools and Premium Services – www.sportsforceonline.com

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SportsForce got news this week that Oceanside Softball catcher and SportsForce alum, Tianalia Faasua has accepted a full ride to the University of Northern Colorado. Tialania is part of Division I UNC’s first recruiting class under new coach, Mark Montgomery. Tianalia’s mother, Suluoo Faasua shared the exciting new us:

“ Tianalia’s hard work in the classroom and athletic gifts on the field wards her a full ride DI softball scholarship to University of Northern Colorado.  She is a left handed catcher that has a riffle as an arm, throwing at 1.43 seconds to 1st base and 1.83 down to 2nd

Tianalia’s  mother also shared with us the University of Northern Colorado Softball program’s press release on the new softball recruits:

Montgomery’s first recruiting class includes eight NLIs

Montgomery’s bio | NC softball roster

GREELEY, Colo. – University of Northern Colorado head softball coach Mark Montgomery announced today, the signing of eight players to National Letters of Intent for the 2011-12 season.

Kelci Cheney, Mikayla Duffy, Melissa Marcovecchio, Tianalia Faasua, Nicole Hudson, Kaitlin Flynn, Ashleigh Waterland, and Janelle Lopez have committed to the play for the Bears in the spring of 2012.

Tianalia Faasua, 5-10, Catcher, Oceanside, Calif. (Oceanside High School)
Faasua has lettered in all for her first three years while playing softball for the Pirates … She is also a one-year letter winner in basketball, where she plays center…  During her junior years, she batted .365 with 18 RBI and six homeruns … She has also been named to the honor roll the last three years … She plays club softball for the San Diego Breakers … She is set to being her final season as a Pirate in the spring.

“Tianalia is unique because she’s a left-handed catcher,” Montgomery said. “A lot of people don’t think that catcher is a left-handed position, but she will prove any doubter wrong because she has such a strong arm and is so quick behind the plate. She is also a power lefty-hitter and we expect big things from her during her career as a Bear.”

Congratulations to Tianalia and her family! Take a look at Tianalia in action in her SportsForce highlight video below:

Article courtesy: http://www.uncbears.com/sports/sball/2010-11/releases/111610_sballnlirelease

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Content courtesy of our friends at 619Sports.net

The only thing constant in life is change. Or maybe just the fact that things may never change for the San Diego State football team.

Stop if you’ve heard this one before: the Aztecs play their hearts out in a game in which they have a chance to make a huge leap forward in their program’s history. They run up and down the field, make magical, highlight-reel plays, set records, scare the daylights out of a top team, and…well, you’ve heard this one before.

So you know how it ends. They lose.

On a rainy Saturday night at Qualcomm Stadium, SDSU (once again) did everything but beat the Utah Utes, a team that just a couple of weeks ago was the undefeated fifth-ranked team in the country.

A win, and the Aztecs themselves may have been ranked come Monday morning for the first time in 15 years. Instead they fell, 38-34, the result leaving the Red and Black faithful wondering what they usually are forced to wonder after games like these…What if? How come? When are we ever? Why us?

So SDSU is 7-4 with one regular season game remaining in a season in which so may strides have been made, but also a season that — put simply — could have been so much more astonishingly remarkable and amazing.

They lost to Utah despite sweeping down the field on their opening possession of the game and scoring for a 7-0 lead just 1:59 into the contest. They lost despite scoring on three more possessions in the first half, breezing downfield with ease on drives that covered 98, 79 and 84 yards. They led, 20-3, and then again by 17 points, 27-10.

They lost despite quarterback Ryan Lindley passing for a career-high 528 yards, the fourth-most ever in Aztec history. Their two spectacular wide receivers, Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson, combined for 20 catches, 338 yards and three touchdowns, yet it wasn’t enough.

Brown’s third TD of the game was one of the best plays you’d ever see a receiver make. Lindley, scrambling out of the pocket at his own 10-yard-line, threw the ball up for grabs towards Brown at the SDSU 40. Two Utah defenders were there to intercept, but Brown leaped above both of them, tipped the ball over their heads to himself and raced toward the end zone, out-running three pursuers to the goal line to complete a 90-yard touchdown that gave the Aztecs a 34-24 lead in the third quarter.

Yet, they still lost.

“In the end, we didn’t do enough for the full 60 minutes,” said Coach Brady Hoke, who has done so much to awaken this previously moribund football program yet is still searching for a way to get his team over the hump.

They won’t get there until a whole bunch of the following stuff stops happening. Utah scored on a 57-yard TD pass, beating a broken coverage, and it scored on a hail-mary 47-yard TD pass on the final play of the first half when five Aztec defenders couldn’t keep the ball from finding its way into the hands of Utes tight end Kendrick Moeai.

DeMarco Sampson reaches out to try and reel in a one-handed catch (619 Sports photo/Danny Heilprin)DeMarco Sampson reaches out to try and reel in a one-handed catch (619 Sports photo/Danny Heilprin)

In the fourth quarter, SDSU punter Brian Stahovich dropped a perfectly good snap from center, picked it up and then had his kick blocked, with Utah recovering at the 3-yard-line. Four plays later, running back Eddie Wide swept into the end zone to give the Utes their first lead of the game, 38-34, with 10:25 remaining.

Winging downfield twice on Lindley’s arm, the Aztecs still had chances to win, but both drives ended in Utah interceptions. The three SDSU turnovers in the game — plus the blocked punt — were ultimately the difference. As well as the Aztecs played, they still made key mistakes. Utah, which improved to 9-2 with the win, did not turnover the ball once.

One tough loss like this would be hard enough. But all of the Aztecs’ losses this season have been like this. They lost, 27-24, at Missouri when they allowed a 68-yard, game-winning TD pass in the final minute — the play only occurring because officials missed a blatant block-in-the-back that wiped out two Aztec defenders and cleared the way for the Tigers’ T.J. Moe to race down the sidelines.

They lost, 24-21, at BYU in part because a clear Cougars’ fumble was not called on the field nor overturned by a replay-booth full of BYU officials (supporters). They lost, 40-35, at third-ranked TCU despite jumping to a 14-0 lead and then, later, rallying for three late TD’s in the fourth-quarter.

Now this one. Four losses this season by a total of 15 points. And, just for good measure, there was a bit of controversy to deal with here as well. On the final, fateful Lindley interception — with Brown open in the end zone to perhaps win it, Utah’s Derrick Shelby delivered a forearm shiv to the face of Lindley as he let the pass go.

The illegal blow, called in football games every Saturday and Sunday of every season, sent Lindley’s throw wobbling off target, allowing Utah’s Brian Blecken to pick if off. Of course, no call was made.

For SDSU, considering where it has been, there is nothing wrong with 7-4, and perhaps an 8-4 finish if the Aztecs can beat UNLV — which they should — next weekend. One more chance for glory would await after that, in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23 against Navy.

Frustratingly, though, this season could have been so much more. But, at least for now, they’re still the Aztecs.

–Courtesy of our friends at 619Sports.net

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Sport: Football Position: Quarterback Height: 6’4″ Class: 2011 School: La Costa Canyon Carlsbad, CA

Mavericks Senior Garrett Krstich threw the game winning touchdown in a back and forth battle with top rival Torrey Pines. Garrett connected with Nick Fraustro with less than two minutes left in the game to score the touchdown that would put the Mavericks over the Falcons, 24-21 and secure the win. Garrett played outstanding throughout the entire game completing 25 of 27 passes for 277 yards.
To view Garretts’s complete SportsForce profile and video click here – http://www.sportsforceonline.com/athletes/gkrstich

Video and scouting report courtesy of SportsForce – Home for college Sports Recruiting Videos, Tips, Tools and Premium Services – www.sportsforceonline.com

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All Content Courtesy 619Sports.net

SAN DIEGO-Before a stadium filled to capacity at Mesa College in the final regular season game before the playoffs, the St. Augustine Saints defeated their long time rivals the Cathedral Catholic Dons, 28-21.

“This was big, they beat us the last two-three years. This has been the game that has been circled on our calendar all season,” said Saints quarterback Evan Crower.

Watch Saints head coach Richard Sanchez get dunked during the 619 Sports postgame interview!

With less than three minutes left in the game, it was Senior Sean Davey who secured the Saints’ win by blocking a pass to the end zone from Cathedral Catholic’s quarterback Garret Bogart to receiver Chance Early.

What used to be termed the Holy War is now referred to as the Holy Bowl, annually one of the most anticipated games in San Diego county prep football. This game lived up to the billing, with the stands packed on both sides of the field, the crowd cheering and horns blowing throughout.

Cathedral Catholic leads St. Augustine in the all-time rivalry matchup 30-19. It’s been 5-5 in the last ten years.

St. Augustine (8-2, 4-1 Eastern Football League) accumulated a 21-0 lead before Cathedral Catholic (5-5, 4-1 Eastern Football League) put their first points on the scoreboard late in the second quarter.

The Saints scored on their first three drives in the first half. Junior running back Aaron Anderson rushed 16 times for 138 yards and scored the opening-rushing touchdown of the night. Saints senior quarterback Evan Crower had scoring passes to Darren Critchlow (11 yards), Nicholas Gonsalves (44 yards) and Sean Davey (33 yards).

Evan Crower said in regards to their 21-7 lead going into the second half of the game, “We wanted to set the tone early. We needed that touchdown on our first drive to start the momentum and get us through the game. Defense came up big, offensive line played great and receivers caught the ball. It was a team effort.”

Holding on to the lead was not so easy in the second half for the Saints. Cathedral Catholic quarterback Garrett Bogart had a 26-yard rushing touchdown late in the third quarter. Dons’ junior running back Andrew DeMaria caught a 14-yard passing touchdown to make it a one-possession game in the fourth quarter.

The Dons’ defense came up big in the second half only allowing the Saints to score on one of their five drives. This allowed them to rally some points up on the scoreboard and make it into a one-possession game.

With 4:52 left in the fourth quarter, Cathedral Catholic began the last drive of the game. They started on their own thirty-two yard line and moved the ball down to the Saints twenty-one yard line. Fourth down and minutes to go, the Dons went for the tie. Saints defensive back Davey came up big with a blocking a pass that would have tied the game.

“This is an unbelievable feeling. They (Cathedral Catholic) are champions and they have been champions for a long time, so we knew it was going to be a nail biter at the end. My players definitely wanted the win tonight and they got it,” said head coach Richard Sanchez.

The Saints and Dons finish the regular season as Eastern League co-champs. However, it is possible, maybe even likely that they will meet again in the Division III playoffs.

All Content Courtesy 619Sports.net

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All Content Courtesy 619Sports.net

LA MESA–The balance of the Helix offense makes the Highlanders an exciting team to watch.  The dominance of the Helix defense makes the “Scotties” the top team in the county.

Forcing four Steele Canyon turnovers, 2nd ranked Helix throttled the #7 Cougars 26-7 at Jim Arnaiz Field on the Helix Charter High School campus, clinching a perfect 10-0 regular season and the Grossmont Hills League championship.  Dynamic junior quarterback Brandon Lewis threw for a pair of touchdowns, his 24th and 25th of the season, and the Helix (10-0, 5-0) defense took it from there to shut down one of the section’s most physical teams in the 619 Preps Game of the Week.

“We can go far with our defense,” said Lewis, “We don’t want to rely on our defense but sometimes we have to and they help us out a lot.”

The Cougars (8-2, 4-1), who came into the night averaging close to 200 yards rushing per game, were held to 52 yards on the ground in 26 attempts.

“The Helix defense, you can tell why they’ve only given up six touchdowns all year,” said Steele Canyon head coach Ron Boehmke, “They play really hard, they’re quick and fast, can’t say enough about them.”

While the Cougars were able to slow down the Highlanders on the ground for the most part, Steele Canyon’s defense was put in a bad position multiple times thanks to turnovers.  Senior quarterback Brad Boehmke completed 16-of-34 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown, but his three interceptions doomed the Cougars to defeat.

Steele Canyon star running back Jake Wragg had a forgettable game with 18 rushes for 37 yards.  An 1,100+ yard rusher in the Cougars’ first nine games, Wragg lost an early fumble which led to Lewis’ 24 yard touchdown pass to Cameron Lee and a 7-0 Helix lead.

“We put our defense’s back against the wall a few times,” said Coach Boehmke, “I told our guys, we hadn’t see a fast-flowing, aggressive defense like that in a long time.  This is the kind of game that gets you ready for the playoffs.”

The Highlanders were forced to adjust to an injury mid-game but didn’t lose their stride offensively.  Junior tailback Darien Hancock, a 1,000+ yard rusher, carried 15 times for 59 yards, including a 23-yard scoring run on an inside draw midway through the second quarter which made it 14-0 Helix.  Hancock left the game after taking a hard hit early in the third quarter, and senior Raymont Nailon stepped in for his final regular season home game.

Nailon crashed the line for 85 yards in 17 carries, helping Helix grind out their perfect regular season.

“When our team plays together and with one heartbeat, this is what you see,” said Nailon.

Vann Sabin kicked a pair of field goals late in the second quarter to give Helix a 20-0 halftime lead.  In the third, Steele Canyon fought back for their lone touchdown of the night, as a shanked punt set up the Cougars on a 41 yard field.  Seven plays later, Boehmke hit Chanceller James on a 14 yard scoring pass, making it 20-7 Highlanders.

When the Cougars stopped Helix on a fourth and inches for a turnover on downs one possession later, it looked like Steele Canyon was going to claw its way back into the game.  That’s when Kenny Keys took over.  The 6′3″ senior defensive back stepped underneath a deep pass from Boehmke to wide receiver Britten Wright for his first of two second-half interceptions.

“I had been out with injury the last couple of weeks and wanted to come out tonight with a bang,” said Keys.

Seemingly dispirited by their offense’s mistakes, Steele Canyon gave ground on the next drive for the first time all game, as Nailon carried four straight times for a total of 51 yards.  Lewis then arced a gorgeous square out to senior wide receiver Austin Gonzalez in the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown and a 26-7 lead.

Helix stopped Steele Canyon twice on downs from there, and Keys’ second interception of the game snuffed out a last gasp drive.  The Cougars wound up with 248 yards of total offense but could never sustain a drive.

With Oceanside losing 24-14 at El Camino, the path to the #1 seed in Division-II looks good for Helix.  They will undoubtedly earn a bye and wait for their opponent in two weeks back home in La Mesa.

“It’s our first Super Bowl game, but there’s many to go,” said Nailon.

Steele Canyon, despite the loss, will likely remain a top-four seed in the stacked D-II playoff field.  Their only two losses have come to the top two teams in the county, #1 Eastlake and #2 Helix, two 10-0 programs.

All Content Courtesy 619Sports.net

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Sport: Football Position: Runningback Height: 6’2″  Class: 2011 School: Christian High School El Cajon , CA

Christian Senior Tyrone Sauls tied the San Diego Section record for the most touchdowns in one game by scoring an amazing 7 TD’s in the Patriots 48-26 win over San Luis Obispo Mission. Sauls rushed for 365 yards and 464 total all-purpose yards. Sauls had scoring runs on 65, 12, 3, 8, 35 and 8 yards and also caught a 42 yard touchdown pass, accounting for all of the touchdowns scored by the Patriots.

To view Tyrone’s complete SportsForce profile click here – http://www.sportsforceonline.com/athletes/tyrone-sauls-football-2011

Scouting report courtesy of SportsForce – Home for college Sports Recruiting Videos, Tips, Tools and Premium Services – www.sportsforceonline.com

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Most student athletes have the dream of successfully being recruited and getting to play for their favorite Division I school. However, it’s a hard fact that this isn’t going to happen for everyone. Courtney shared last week about the benefits of DII, DIII and NAIA schools, but there was another great option we didn’t get a chance to learn about: junior college. Junior college does not have to be looked at as a last resort. In fact junior college can be a great time to knock out some core classes while developing your game to play at that DI school or wherever the next level might be for you. Below you will find some reasons junior college might be the right fit, and why not to rule it out.

Develop Yourself Academically

Like a four year school, you have to remember that your junior college experience isn’t just about sports. Junior colleges (JUCOs) offer an amazing opportunity for smaller class sizes and more professor interaction. The jump from high school to college can definitely be challenging academically, but junior college acts as a great bridge between the two. You’ll get used to the college workload, but your chances of being lost among hundreds of other students in a lecture hall are a lot slimmer.

Develop Yourself Physically

Sure, there are cases like LeBron James, who stood 6’7” weighed 225lbs as a 17 year old, but for many of us, we’re not so lucky (or such freaks of nature). Junior college is a great time to develop yourself physically and develop your game.  The junior college sports scene will give you a chance to play against some top athletes and develop a skillset to handle them. Staying engaged in your sport in the two years following high school will help you to increase your abilities and give you a chance to get your body in top performing shape as you continue to grow into it. Maybe it will even help you become the next Aaron Rodgers.

Show the Four Year Schools Your Commitment to Your Sport

Playing at a JUCO will show colleges how committed you are to your sport. The willingness to continue to train and compete show cases determination. JUCO gives you a chance to up your game, and in turn show college coaches how much you have improved and how dedicated you are.

Get a handle on your courses

Take advantage of the smaller class sizes and close knit environment by taking core classes to help you be prepared when you make the jump to a four year school. It’s important not to look at junior college as a lost opportunity and spend your time taking pottery classes (though one might be fun!) and find out core requirements or Gen Eds for you major and take those classes.  Many classes transfer over, but be sure to do your research about which credits will transfer to a four year school, so you don’t find yourself taking Writing 101 twice, because your first attempt didn’t transfer.

Lastly, Save Some Cash in the Process

Junior Colleges offer cheaper tuition than four year schools. As you play your sport for two years and knock out some core classes, you’re saving big bucks. Some state schools even offer programs for reduced tuition if you have completed your associate degree at an area junior or community college.

JUCOs are a great choice to ready yourself academically and physically for four year programs, they aren’t just a last chance option, they are a great option for many athletes. Don’t forget about Aaron Rodgers, either, he’s just one of many JUCO success stories.

Visit the below links for more information on Junior and Community Colleges

National Junior College Athletic  Association (NJCAA) : http://www.njcaa.org/

Junior College Football rankings, programs and more: http://jcfootball.scout.com/

Search for Two year programs at College Board: http://collegesearch.collegeboard.com/search/adv_typeofschool.jsp

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