Three years ago, Stephen Stromsborg entered Notre Dame High as a 5-foot-5, 120-pound freshman. His nickname was "The Pup."
There was much to live up to. His brother, Ryan, was a baseball star at Notre Dame and USC.
Another brother, Kevin, made UCLA's football team as a walk on linebacker. His cousin, Danny Farmer, was a star receiver at UCLA.
Stephen kept playing and waiting for a growth spurt.
"I didn't start growing until my junior year," he said.
Now a 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior, Stromsborg has started the last three games at defensive end for the Knights (9-1).
"He's really come through for us," Coach Kevin Rooney said. "He's been good against the run and made some big plays knocking down passes."
Stromsborg is doing something none of his relatives did--studying acting.
He was in a school musical last semester and could be in another next year. He loves to dance.
"If I can get an end zone touchdown dance, that would be great," he said.
Here's a scary thought: Junior quarterback Kyle Matter of Hart, who has completed 67% of his passes and thrown for 2,706 yards and 41 touchdowns, is getting stronger.
"[Last week] in practice I started to notice," Matter said. "I threw a couple balls over 60 yards in the air, something I didn't do in the summer or earlier this year."
Matter's numbers are below Kyle Boller's 1998 passing totals, but there's a reason.
"Our defense is killing our statistics," offensive coordinator Dean Herrington joked. "They're playing too well."
Successful lower-level programs should provide immediate help to Crespi and Taft next season.
Crespi's freshman team went 10-0 and outscored opponents, 358-58, with five shutouts. Running backs Charles Burnley and Robert Landrum, receiver Kevin Crane and lineman Jonathan Morquecho figure make the varsity as sophomores in 2000.
At Taft, freshman receiver-free safety Steve Smith scored 27 touchdowns for the Toreadors (9-1) on the freshman-sophomore team. Freshman quarterback Clarence Simpson passed for 35 touchdowns.
They would be playing varsity if they were old enough. Rules prohibit players under 15 from playing varsity.