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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
1997 / ALL-VALLEY FOOTBALL TEAM : BACK OF THE YEAR

Hurns: Transition to Higher Level

January 07, 1998|MICHAEL LAZARUS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WOODLAND HILLS — Sedric Hurns loves to talk, but one look at his helmet shows all that needs to be said about his contributions to the Taft High football team.

Covered with nicks and scratches, Hurns' helmet is a testament of playing four years on the varsity for the Toreadors.

Hurns' statistics were not explosive, but his value to the Toreadors could not be underestimated.

When Taft switched from a one-back to an I-formation this season, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Hurns made the transition from tailback to fullback, rushing for 761 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns.

On a team which had four receivers with at least 20 catches and a tailback that rushed for 1,300 yards, Taft turned to Hurns in the most important games. That helped make him The Times' Valley back of the year.

Fighting through a downpour in the City Section 4-A semifinal against Sylmar, Hurns scored Taft's touchdown and caught a two-point conversion pass from K.C. Bounds after a botched snap in an 8-6 victory.

Even in his worst game of the season, a 24-9 loss to San Pedro in the 4-A title game, Hurns was the center of attention.

He caught a season-high eight passes, including a five-yard touchdown on a shovel pass. The play was saved by the Toreadors for the title game to take advantage of Hurns' speed.

Hurns was a force at free safety. He had only two interceptions, but he proved to be one of the best run-stoppers in the region, a skill he learned playing linebacker in 1996.

"Playing linebacker was OK, but I like playing corner and safety better," Hurns said.

After watching established standouts DaShon Polk and Jerry Brown his freshman year, Hurns rarely left the field the last three seasons, making bigger contributions each season as Taft made the last two 4-A championship games.

As a sophomore, Hurns was a starting wide receiver and defensive back, catching 31 passes for 666 yards.

Hurns switched to running back as a junior, gaining 749 yards, but he partially tore a ligament in his knee at midseason. Hurns missed only one full game but wasn't at full strength until this season.

Hurns was a team leader as well. He was a team captain for two years and seemingly knows everyone in the San Fernando Valley who plays football. Even senior transfers David Melo and Airabin Justin knew Hurns for years before coming to Taft.

"He's an ambassador for Taft High football," Toreador Coach Troy Starr said. "He's an exceptional talent."

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