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GOLDEN WEST LEAGUE : Bedard Getting Rave Reviews Now


ANAHEIM — To get an idea of how far he had come in the last year, Servite running back David Bedard sat down to watch some film. But the pictures were too gruesome, and Bedard quickly left the room before the film ended.

"It made me sick," Bedard said. "I couldn't bear to watch it."

Servite receivers coach Rick Garretson said it looked like an impostor was playing Bedard.

"There's no comparison in the David Bedard this year and last," Garretson said. "On the film, it didn't even look like the same person."

Actually, it's not. The 1994 version of Bedard is 30 pounds heavier, three-tenths of a second faster in the 40-yard dash, 10 times more confident and most of all, 16 touchdowns better.

Yes, 16 touchdowns .

After never breaking the plane of the end zone his junior year, Bedard has crossed it 16 times this season. Well, make that 19 times. Bedard has had three long touchdowns called back, including two of more than 55 yards last week against Saddleback.

Like Cleveland Browns all-purpose back Eric Metcalf, Bedard has scored from every offensive position. He has scored eight rushing, four receiving, three on kickoff returns and one on a punt return. He has even run for two two-point conversions.

Overall, Bedard has scored 100 points and accumulated 1,454 all-purpose yards, 558 rushing in 88 carries, 292 receiving in 13 catches, 136 in eight punt returns and 468 yards in 14 kickoff returns.

But clearly Bedard's most significant and satisfying yardage came on his first touchdown, a 71-yard swing pass against Mater Dei on the third play of the season. Later in the game, Bedard ran back a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.

"That made me feel good," he said. "After that, I knew what I did in the off-season paid off."

Bedard's off-season began almost the day his miserable junior season ended. He immediately began working on his running form with Inglewood Morningside High sprint coach John Estrada.

"He teaches you how to drive your legs through," Bedard said. "I couldn't break away last year, not once."

On his father's advice, Bedard also began working on his body form with a friend of the family, who put him on a strict carbohydrate diet.

"I ate a lot of pasta, red meat, eggs, whatever I could find and plenty of it," Bedard said.

By late summer, Bedard barely recognized himself. He was 5 feet 11, 195 pounds and he was running a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash. And he had a feeling the coaching staff wouldn't be kidding him anymore about not being able to reach the end zone.

"We teased him unmercifully during the summer about not scoring," Servite Coach Larry Toner said. "He'd get us down there in position and then somebody else would score."

But this season, Bedard hasn't left anything to chance.

"I haven't been caught from behind this year, not once," he said.

Said Toner: "He looks like he moves effortlessly. It doesn't look like he's going that fast, but nobody catches him."

Westminster will try catching up with Bedard tonight in a game that will decide the Golden West League title. Although the competition figures to be tougher than it has been during Servite's first four league games, Garretson said he doesn't expect Bedard to stop scoring now.

"He's done it against the best we've played," he said. "He's a very versatile player. We'll get him the ball as much as possible."

And Bedard has proved he knows what to do with it.


Featured Game

When: 7 tonight.

Where: Cal State Fullerton.

Records: Servite (6-2, 3-0); Westminster (6-2, 3-0).

Rankings: Neither team is ranked.

Noteworthy: The game will decide the first Golden West League title.

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