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Bruising La Canada Runner Ignores Pain--He Wants Action

October 10, 1985|DAVID MORGAN | Times Staff Writer

Finally, he could stand it no longer.

So Rob Myers stopped standing and started to play.

The La Canada High senior, sidelined with a deep shoulder bruise last Friday against Burbank, decided that the pain in his shoulder was nothing compared to the pain in his heart that inactivity had wrought.

With his team facing a critical third-and-one situation late in the fourth quarter, Myers answered when Coach Steve Silberman called for his power team.

He got no argument.

And he got the first down.

'It Became Overwhelming'

"It was hard to stand on the sideline and watch all the plays go by that I'm usually a part of," Myers said. "Late in the game it became overwhelming.

"I went up and asked him (Silberman) to go in, and after I got the first, he pulled me right out. It was frustrating."

Silberman, in his second year at La Canada, had more than Myers' mental state in mind.

"From his point of view, I'm sure that's the way it was," Silberman said. "But from our point of view, it was a critical point in the game and we needed the first.

"We had only a 3-point lead and I didn't want to give the ball up. He got the first and we just sat on it."

Myers sat for the rest of the night, too. His night's work consisted of one play.

He spent the rest of the game, and most of the last two weeks, resting a shoulder that was first injured against Canyon High and aggravated the following week against St. Francis.

The injury is described as a deep bruise to the right shoulder, which Myers said formed a blood blister under his collarbone. He expects to be back at full strength Friday night against Hoover.

He's Needed Badly

"It's just a nagging thing, but it can keep you out for weeks if you're not careful," Myers said.

That is something La Canada can ill afford.

With Myers on the sideline, the Spartans lose more than just their top player. They lose three of their chief offensive weapons.

The 6-2, 212-pound fullback leads the team in rushing with 250 yards on 51 carries and three touchdowns.

He also is the Spartans' second-leading receiver with 10 catches for 85 yards.

Myers also punts, averaging 41.3 yards.

"He can do so many things," said Silberman, a graduate of and former player and assistant coach at Cal State Northridge. "That's why he is so valuable.

"He can place-kick if he has to, he punts, he has excellent hands as a receiver, he is a powerful, crushing type of rusher and an outstanding linebacker."

For La Canada (3-1), that adds up to a winning combination.

Before Myers' freshman year at La Canada, college recruiters were already at his house.

At the time, however, he was nothing more than the kid brother of Chris Myers, who wound up at Harvard on a football scholarship.

One of the Harvard recruiters was Pat McInally, punter for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. When McInally had finished his recruiting pitch to Chris, he told the family that if he could ever be of help to give him a call.

That fall, Rob Myers made the football team at La Canada and decided to give punting a try because the team didn't have anyone else to do the job. He wasn't a smash hit at first.

Gradual Improvement

"I wasn't that great, so I tried to kick away from people," Myers said.

As a sophomore, Myers was a starting linebacker and a backup punter. In his junior season, his kicking was no longer a secondary effort.

He averaged 44.6 yards, and suddenly punting was a serious matter.

Myers wanted to attend a kicking camp last summer, which prompted his father to take McInally up on an old offer.

"My dad called Pat and asked him what camp he would recommend," Myers said. "He said that it was no use wasting money on kicking camps because there are only about six things you need to know."

Instead, McInally suggested that Myers work out with him on a daily basis at an Orange County high school. It was an offer Myers couldn't refuse.

"He did the same exact thing every time," Myers said of McInally. "He said consistency is the most important thing.

"Just by watching him punt I learned a lot."

Myers' punting average is down by about three yards a kick this season, but he considers himself to be a better punter.

'I'm a Better Kicker'

"I had one blocked and I tried to angle another one and I missed, so there are a couple of things that have brought my average down," he said.

"But my hang time is better, and overall I'm a better kicker."

Myers also has come to understand the importance of the kicking game at the high school level.

"Most of it is field position," he said. "If you get one team with kind of a weak punter, you can make up 15 to 20 yards on every punt with him, and that's going to give you good field position."

Which helps Myers to help himself.

If there was a bright spot to Myers injury, it came on the field Friday night against Burbank.

Without its star and co-captain, La Canada found that it was more than a one-man team.

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