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

Pierson Grows Into Full-Time Force

January 07, 1998|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

OXNARD — As games wore on and Chad Pierson wore out the opposition, the Oxnard High senior steadily grew on those watching.

First his punishing blocking would be noticed, knocking down defensive ends and linebackers as the lead blocker for tailback Desmond Davis.

Next, Pierson would be handed the football, and defenders bounced off him like rubber balls off a garage door. He rushed for 1,028 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 7.5 yards a carry.

Pierson would stay on the field for special teams, then turn around and flatten ballcarriers from his outside linebacker position.

The solid rock in the middle of all the action, Pierson led Oxnard to an 8-3-1 record and the Southern Section Division III quarterfinals. His efforts made him The Times' Ventura County player of the year.

"Chad was the guy everyone could count on at all times," Oxnard Coach Wes Morimune said. "He never wavered. If we needed a block, or some big yardage or a key tackle, it seemed like he always came up with the play."

Pierson really stepped up his game in the playoffs. He set the tone for Oxnard's 28-27 first-round victory over Lompoc by galloping 73 yards on the first play from scrimmage. He pounded for 191 yards and also sacked the Lompoc quarterback with less than two minutes to play to secure the victory.

"Winning in the first round and having the game I had was a big excitement for me," Pierson said. "I love those type of games, with the score close and it taking everything you have to win."

In a loss to Notre Dame in the second round, Pierson made nine tackles and scored two touchdowns, including a catch of a short pass in the fourth quarter that he turned into a 28-yard touchdown by shedding four tackles.

It was his consistent effort, regardless of the score, that caught the attention of opposing coaches.

"He's a throwback to another era," said George Contreras, the Rio Mesa coach. "He's the kind of tough, no-nonsense football player coaches dream about having."

Baseball coaches too. Pierson, who has played first base, third base, outfield and designated hitter, carries a .400 average over two varsity seasons and is already playing on weekends to prepare for the spring.

He is also working with a tutor to improve on his first crack at the Scholastic Assessment Test. Pierson has the grades for Division I, but needs a better test score. Cal, Boise State, Utah and Cal State Northridge have shown interest.

"I definitely want to keep playing," Pierson said. "I prefer fullback but I could concentrate on linebacker if that's what a coach wanted."

Wherever he continues his career, at whatever position he plays, no doubt Pierson will provide the same all-out effort and quiet leadership he exhibited at Oxnard.

"I didn't show my emotions much, but I showed my heart and played as hard as I can," Pierson said. "I hoped everyone would follow my example."

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