YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Running In Tandem

Lewis, Price Team Up in UCLA Backfield in Victory Over Texas

September 13, 1998|ERIC SONDHEIMER

PASADENA — Jermaine Lewis is so compact he would be unbeatable in a game of hide-and-seek. At 5 feet 7, 180 pounds, he's fast, determined and elusive.

On a warm, cloudless Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl, the former Antelope Valley High tailback rushed for 113 yards in 22 carries and scored two touchdowns in his first college start for UCLA.

"That's cool," he said of surpassing the 100-yard rushing mark.

Gone is Skip Hicks, the Bruins' rushing leader the past two seasons. Enter the diminutive Lewis, who showed no jitters and lots of potential in UCLA's 49-31 victory over Texas.

"Awesome," is how fullback Durell Price, a Sylmar High graduate also making his first college start, described Lewis' running Saturday.

"He was playing with an 'S' underneath his shoulder pads," Price said. "He was like Superman when we needed him."

Lewis scored touchdowns on runs of three and seven yards in the first half when the Bruins surged to a 35-3 halftime lead. The offense had its lapses in the second half, but Lewis passed his first test as Hicks' replacement.

"I had to give my all," he said. "Physically, I was prepared. Mentally, I was prepared. All through my life, I've had to be elusive with some power behind it. I hit the holes fast and try not to let people get a shot at me."

Price served as Lewis' protector much of the afternoon, leading Lewis through the holes as a blocker. Price also was asked to contribute as a runner. Four times he picked up first downs on short-yardage runs.

It was an encouraging performance for a proud, hard-working ex-tailback who's still learning the fullback position.

"I was just happy to be on the field," said Price, who was starting in place of injured Craig Walendy. "I'm still not as good as I'm going to get blocking, but I've made improvement."

Shawn Stuart, a Saugus High graduate who has started 24 consecutive games at center, said Lewis and Price did their jobs.

"I love both of them," Stuart said. "If they run hard and they're not getting yards, it's our fault."

Lewis is just happy to have the 295-pound Stuart in front of him.

"He knows defenses like the back of his hand," Lewis said. "He's telling the other offensive linemen who to block. He's a drill sergeant."

Next up for the Bruins is Houston on the road, but Price and Lewis also will be paying close attention to a high school game Friday between their alma maters--Sylmar and Antelope Valley.

"He's either going to have to wear some Sylmar gear or I'm going to have to wear some Antelope Valley gear," Price said of the bet he intends to make with Lewis.

Said Lewis: "Durell always thinks Sylmar is going to win. The past two years, same story, Antelope Valley comes out on top. City Section can't beat CIF." . . .

Tight end Mike Seidman of Westlake High received a warm greeting from Bruin Coach Bob Toledo during pregame warmups. Other potential Bruin recruits at the Rose Bowl included wide receivers Jerry Owens of Hart and Travis Campbell of Westlake, and tight end George Wrighster of Sylmar. . . .

Alemany High hasn't made the football playoffs in the 1990s. But when the school hired former Hart High and UCLA quarterback Jim Bonds as its coach last season, everyone knew the program would be turned around.

Now the Indians are ready to start inflicting damage.

Their 46-21, season-opening victory over Hueneme on Friday night was a clear sign Alemany has become a top-10 team.

"I knew we had a good team," Bonds said. "I just didn't know how good. We still have questions on the line, but our skill people I'll put up against anybody.'

The Indians received a lift from defensive lineman Josh Barretto, a 6-foot, 245-pound junior. Quarterback Casey Clausen, another junior, has improved greatly. He passed for 318 yards and five touchdowns Friday.

"Casey was unbelievable," Bonds said. "A year's experience did wonders for him."

Alemany is playing in Division III this season, which could put them on a collision course with top-ranked Hart.

"It would be exciting," Bonds said of the possibility of playing his alma mater. "I just hope it's in the finals and not in the first round." . . .

El Camino Real football Coach Rick Hayashida needs to find a kicker. His team had to settle for 12-12 tie with Dorsey because no one can make a conversion kick.

Here's some advice: Bring back last year's kicker, baseball star Conor Jackson. He was a ticket taker Friday and feeling miserable in street clothes. He said he regrets not playing football and plans to return next season. . . .

Pepperdine baseball Coach Frank Sanchez is recovering at home after undergoing his third operation for a benign brain tumor. Sanchez's voice has returned after an earlier problem with his vocal cords. . . .

At 23, former Crespi pitcher Jeff Suppan is part of baseball history. He gave up two of Mark McGwire's 62 home runs when he was pitching for the Diamondbacks. Former Grant pitcher Rod Beck and former Crescenta Valley pitcher Jim Parque also surrendered home runs to McGwire. . . .

Josiah Johnson, a 6-6 junior who's the son of Marques Johnson and brother of former UCLA basketball player Kris Johnson, is transferring to Montclair Prep from Crenshaw. He played on the junior varsity last season. . . .

Crespi assistant football coach Mike Siletti saw a stranger standing on the sideline during a summer practice. "I walk up to him, 'Hey coach, how are you doing?' The guy goes, 'I'm not a coach, I'm a freshman,' " Siletti said. Freshman lineman Mike Tripiano is 6-3, 225 pounds and has a goatee.


Eric Sondheimer's local column appears Wednesday and Sunday. He can be reached at (818) 772-3422.


Jermaine Lewis vs. Texas

1: Number of college starts

113: Number of yards rushing

2: Number of touchdowns

Durell Price vs. Texas

1: Number of college starts

15: Number of yards rushing

11: Number of yards receiving

Los Angeles Times Articles