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Sports : Kicker Barsuhn Keeps Football Goals in Sight

July 14, 1994|GARY KLEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dana Barsuhn cannot be blamed for wanting to have a few kicks before he takes off for Seattle to attend the University of Washington.

Barsuhn, a recent graduate of South Pasadena High, has been one of the top kickers in the San Gabriel Valley the past two seasons. In the fall, he will attempt to join the Washington football program as a walk-on.

On Friday night, he will be out to have some fun--and split the up-rights--when he participates in the 15th annual National Football Foundation Hall of Fame all-star game at Citrus College.

"I'm looking at this as another opportunity to play and show the (Washington) coaches what I'm capable of," Barsuhn said. "It's a good way to get ready for the tryout I'm going to be going through when I get up there."

The Hall of Fame game, which serves as a fund-raiser for the Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, has served as a springboard to scholarships and college opportunities for many players, said Jim Brownfield, the chairman of the event.

"Every year, two or three kids pick up scholarships from this game," Brownfield said. "College coaches who have players that are hurt, or players that are not coming back for some reason, will call us and say, 'We're looking for a wide receiver,' or another position.

"They come out to the game, and if a kid plays well, boom, he's on his way."

The Hall of Fame game began in 1980 to provide players from high schools located West of the 605 Freeway with a chance to display their talents. Two years later, after the Citrus All-Star Game folded, schools East of the 605 to Chino were added.

This year, 80 players from an area that includes 80 high schools will compete on the East and West teams.

Bob Mount of West Covina will coach the East, which has a 9-3-2 advantage in the series. Don MacKinnon of Arroyo will coach the West, which broke a four-game losing streak last year with a 27-14 victory.

Multitalented West Covina quarterback Miguel Meriwether, who will attend Washington State in the fall, leads an East team that includes Washington-bound running back Jason Harris of Bishop Amat and Nebraska-bound linebacker Sheldon Jackson of Damien.

Arroyo quarterback Gabe Agredano leads a West team that also features Oregon-bound receiver/defensive back Damon Griffin of Monrovia and Wyoming-bound linebacker Albert Camou of Marshall Fundamental.

But the Hall of Fame game, and most other summer football all-star games, is really designed to showcase the talents of less-heralded players who will attempt to walk-on at Division I schools, attend small colleges or community colleges or conclude their careers.

Barsuhn, for one, intends to take advantage of the opportunity as a member of the West squad.

"Ever since I was a kid, it's been a dream to play Division I," Barsuhn said. "My mom used to go jogging at Glendale High and I would go with her and fetch balls for a guy who was practicing kicking field goals.

"After awhile, he let me kick a few. I kept getting better at it and really began to like it."

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Barsuhn began emerging as a outstanding kicker during his sophomore season when he was summoned to the South Pasadena varsity after league play began. He made all three of his field-goal attempts, including two in a playoff game against La Mirada.

As a junior, Barsuhn converted six of 10 field-goal attempts. Last season, he was seven of 10, including one of 47 yards.

Barsuhn was approached by several small colleges such as Azusa Pacific and Redlands and considered walking on at Oregon, Colorado and USC before deciding on Washington.

"I've always liked the school and their kicker just graduated," said Barsuhn, who also played soccer and baseball at South Pasadena. "The (Washington) coaches told me there are going to be about four or five kickers trying out.

"I'm not worried. I expect to do well."

Barsuhn kicked a 39-yard field goal last week in the Fiesta Bowl all-star game. He's hoping to do at least as well Friday night.

"This is a nice way to finish and get ready for the next level," he said. "You always want to finish something on a high note."

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