If you're a high school football coach who has enough trouble disciplining your players and getting them to follow your direction, then throw this paper away right now.
Do anything but read the story of Grant's Marlowe Lewis, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior quarterback who bucked conventional wisdom-- any kind of wisdom--in leading Grant to a stunning 40-13 rout of Reseda last week.
The Lancers, traditionally a downtrodden club, are 5-0, the best start in school history.
But consider how close Lewis himself came to being filed in the history cabinet by his coach, Bill Foster. If Lewis' heroics had not worked out, he might have had a place in Grant's Tomb.
With the score tied, 13-13, at the start of the third quarter in the important Valley Pac-8 Conference game, Grant was faced with a fourth-and-four situation on its own 24-yard line.
Naturally, Foster sent in the punt team. And just as naturally, some wild-minded teen-agers chose to rebel against authority.
"On the punt team, I'm the safety man (lined up between the center and the punter)," Lewis said. "So when Coach said punt, I was walking into the huddle when (tight end) Anthony Melton said, 'Hey, let's fake punt.'
"So, I'm thinking about it and Anthony said, 'Pass it to me.' I said, 'No, I'll run it.' So we go into the huddle and I say, 'Fake punt, right.' I figured, right now we could use it. But if it didn't work, with the ball at our own 24, we would be in trouble.
"I took the snap and ran with it. Fortunately, everything came up on the good side."
Lewis scrambled for 17 yards and a Grant first down. The team was, well, delighted. As for Foster?
"Strangely, he didn't say a word to me," Lewis said. More on that later.
One play later, Lewis, the rebel with a cause--Grant hadn't beaten Reseda since 1979--was at it again.
As Grant lined up at the 40 for what was supposed to be a running play to tailback Shawn Booker, Lewis noticed a large patch of greenery sprawling out in front of him.
Said Lewis: "The safeties were lined up to the wide out, the linebackers were to the outside. It was wide open up the middle."
Ever the portrait of spontaneity, he took the snap and bolted up the middle, a 60-yard touchdown run that gave Grant a 20-13 lead. That play was easier for Foster to stomach, because Lewis has permission to call audibles.
Lewis, who is playing quarterback only because a broken ankle sidelined starter Andy Wells before the season, finished with five completions in nine attempts for 119 yards and one touchdown. He gained 72 yards and two touchdowns in nine carries, and, as a cornerback, recovered a Reseda fumble and returned it 38 yards for another touchdown.
And to think, Foster is still miffed at what could have been a colossal muff.
It turns out that Foster's reticence on the sideline was more than just silent admiration.
More in the way of, I'm-so-peeved-I-can't-find-the-words silence.
"If he tries it again, I'll kill him," Foster said after the game.
There was, of course, a trace of a smile. After all, these are high times at the Van Nuys school. The football team, once considered a mere lounge act to the school's recently successful basketball team, is the talk of the campus.
"Basketball has had the school hyped up the last couple of years," Lewis said. "Now it's our turn."