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There's No Shortage of Ability, Speed in Los Amigos' Fausto

November 17, 1994|GABE LACQUES | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

FOUNTAIN VALLEY — If you blink, you could miss him.

Since he's 5 feet 8 and 140 pounds, it would be easy to overlook Los Amigos junior running back Greg Fausto on the football field.

But Fausto has forced opponents to notice his ability this season. He has rushed for 1,183 yards and scored 29 touchdowns--third in the county--entering Friday night's Division VII playoff game against West Covina South Hills.

Fausto's success might be a result of his speed--he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds--but he says it's because of his attitude.

He made his first varsity start Sept. 10 against Century, and said his heart, as much as his legs, got him through it.

"I wasn't scared," Fausto said. "When I went on that varsity field for the first game, I wasn't scared, I was ready. Even though I'm only 5-8 and 140 pounds, I knew I had a big heart."

Fausto rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns that night, including a 27-yard score with six minutes left that sealed the Lobos' 20-7 victory.

"I knew afterward that I wasn't small," Fausto said. "I was good enough to keep up with the big guys, and I knew I was talented and could play against those guys. The line opened those holes for me, I read them, got in the hole and went off.

"It was a point where I was saying, 'I'm not small. I'm big.' I felt big."

And Fausto was just getting started.

The next week, against Tustin, he rushed for 275 yards in 19 carries and scored five touchdowns in a 38-21 victory.

He scored three touchdowns each in victories over Santa Ana and La Quinta, then rushed for 157 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-13 triumph over Aliso Niguel.

But Fausto was held to 91 yards in 22 carries in a 28-9 loss to Rancho Alamitos, which cost Los Amigos the league title.

"It was a tough loss, but we learned our lesson," Fausto said. "It made us better than we already were. We just weren't ready.

"We're ready now. We just want a shot at the (section) championship."

And should the Lobos have a solid playoff run, Coach Roger Takahashi said Fausto must be an integral part of it.

Los Amigos (9-1) has quarterback Ape Tuato, a threat running or passing the ball, but Takahashi said Fausto's speed can turn a game around.

"Ape's a dual weapon, but he can make a big play with his speed," Takahashi said. "That's what we look for from Greg, and he's delivered that all year."

Takahashi said Fausto's size is a drawback, but it does have advantages.

"The minus is he's not going to give you that power game," Takahashi said. "He's not going to get you those two or three yards when you need it. The plus side is it's hard for the linebackers to find him. He can find a crack where a big back couldn't. We don't look for two or three yards from him, we look for 20 to 30 yards.

"Greg has the ability to sidestep the big hit. People can't really get a good shot on him. If you're too aggressive, he'll make you pay."

And Fausto, who is averaging seven yards per carry, is hardly a 140-pound weakling--he can bench-press 235 pounds.

But Fausto says you are only as small as you think.

"I never consider myself small," he said. "I always considered myself being as big as my teammates. I came out on the field not being a chicken. I just want to run the ball and hit people, and show them I am a big guy.

"I know I am running at them. They are not running at me."

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