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Feterik Is Upholding a Passing Tradition at Los Alamitos

October 20, 1994|CHRIS FOSTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LOS ALAMITOS — Kevin Feterik still has a thing or two to learn about being a Los Alamitos quarterback.

You walk onto the field with the linemen, Kevin. It's a tradition, kid.

"I forgot," Feterik said. "I was so excited that I ran onto the field the first game."

He's young, forgive him. He'll learn.

Other than that, Feterik has this Los Alamitos-quarterback thing down pretty good. The torch has been passed and the Griffins are still burning opponents.

Feterik, a junior, stepped into the premier job for the No. 1-ranked team in Orange County, and shined.

He has handled all the pressure and the scrutiny and the notoriety of being Los Alamitos' quarterback. He has been so efficient that he's the No. 1-rated quarterback in Orange County despite missing 3 1/2 games with a broken hand--his throwing hand.

Feterik had never started a varsity game before this season. But, oh, was he ready.

"He was born to play this position," Coach John Barnes said. "He thrives on it. It gives me a real comforting feeling."

Barnes has had it before.

It's a long, distinguished line, dating to J.T. Snow in 1985. Todd Gragnano, Tim Carey, Mike Good and others have followed, all piling up big numbers at quarterback.

Now comes Feterik. He has thrown for 775 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2 1/2 games. Not one of his passes has been intercepted.

It's easy to see why the Griffins' unbeaten streak keeps stretching--41 games now and counting. It spans four quarterbacks, including sophomore Sean Stein, who filled in when Feterik was injury.

"The focus is on the quarterback here," Feterik said. "Coaches expect me to be perfect. I have to know everything."

Especially his escorts.

Los Alamitos' starting linemen have led their quarterback onto the field the last three years. Carey knew it. So did Good. Somehow, it slipped Feterik's mind.

"That started with (lineman) Caleb Kemp," Barnes said. "He said that Carey was their little puppy and they had to protect him. Well, Kevin just ran onto the field and I thought, 'Hey, come back here and do it right.' "

It was the only thing Feterik gaffed on in the season opener. He completed 18 of 20 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. But he broke his hand just before halftime.

It cost him 3 1/2 games but not momentum.

Feterik threw for 254 yards and four touchdowns in his return and the Griffins beat Long Beach Millikan, 56-0.

"He just really enjoys being the quarterback here," Barnes said. "He thrives on the pressure. It doesn't bother him. He thinks it's neat."

That's a quality Barnes looks for in quarterbacks.

A Los Alamitos quarterback has thrown for more than 2,400 yards in four of the last five seasons. Carey, now at Stanford, threw for 3,397 yards in 1992. Good passed for 2,969 last season.

"Everyone wants to know who's my quarterback and how good is he going to be," Barnes said.

But living up to your predecessor can be difficult.

"Being the quarterback at Los Alamitos is not an easy thing," said Good, now at Northern Arizona. "You always have eyes watching you and critiquing you."

Feterik, well versed on the Griffin lineage, knew that going in.

Feterik was called up to the varsity as a freshman for the playoffs and got a sideline view of Carey's work. Last season, Feterik was Good's caddie.

"I've been coming to Los Alamitos games since I was in the fifth grade," Feterik said. "I loved watching Gragnano, but I never envisioned being down there."

Others did, however.

Every summer, Barnes spots an incoming freshman, sometimes a couple, during his football camp. He usually knows then who will be his quarterback in years to come.

Feterik was tabbed, though he didn't know it. He guided the freshman team to a 9-1 record, losing only to Esperanza, but he was not prepared for the anointment.

"I watched Carey throw and everything was a perfect spiral," Feterik said. "I remember thinking I wasn't going to be half as good as this guy."

Then the training began. Barnes has lunch with his quarterbacks four days a week during the off-season. Twice a week, they work on throwing technique.

"We are so prepared," Feterik said. "Our practices are like games."

Tougher, even.

"A lot of coaches treat quarterbacks with kid gloves," Barnes said. "You can yell at your linemen, but not your quarterbacks.

"I expect my quarterbacks to be perfect. If they make a mistake, I yell at them just like I would a lineman who missed a block. If they can't take my pressure in practice, they can't take the pressure of the game."

It works, even if the number of proteges dwindles. Los Alamitos has only three quarterbacks in the entire program.

"It used to be every kid wanted to be a quarterback," Barnes said. "Now it's like if they don't think they can measure up, they want to play some other position."

But Feterik was a survivor. He was ready to be the quarterback and all that it entailed.

Said Barnes: "It's starting to get to the point where the kids who come here remember watching Gragnano play. They saw Mike Good and Tim Carey and want to be just like them.

"Kevin was prepared for this. I bet there's some kid who comes to our games who wants to be just like Kevin Feterik."

LOS ALAMITOS VS. EDISON

Featured Game

When: 7 tonight.

Where: Orange Coast College.

Records: Los Alamitos (6-0, 1-0); Edison (5-1, 0-1)

Rankings: Los Alamitos No. 1; Edison No. 4.

Noteworthy: Los Alamitos has a 41-game unbeaten streak.

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