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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Terrazone Produces With Brains, Brawn

August 30, 2000|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LA CANADA — Few high school football players can out-muscle Nathan Terrazone, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior tight end for St. Francis.

Perhaps fewer can outthink him.

Terrazone, a two-way player on The Times' No. 2-ranked team in the region, is strong and moves well for his size. Yet smarts and a soft pair of hands are his greatest assets, according to Coach Jim Bonds.

"I knew he was an outstanding athlete," said Bonds, in his first season at St. Francis after coaching at Alemany from 1997-99. "But he's exceeded everything I was told about him. His intelligence has really impressed me."

Bonds met Terrazone--whose father Terry is a counselor, athletic director and football coach at St. Francis--when he was an assistant at the school from 1993-96. But Bonds didn't realize how smart Terrazone is until he began to implement a new offense.

"He learned it surprisingly quick," said Bonds, an All-Southern Section quarterback at Hart who played for UCLA. "I'd call a play in practice and he'd say, 'Coach, we can't run that play out of the formation we're in.' He's not the first player to tell me that, but he just caught on to the entire offense so quickly."

Terrazone has been raised in a household that stresses academics. He has a 3.9 grade-point average and feels his work in the classroom helps him on the football field.

"I take pride in knowing where I'm supposed to be on the field," he said. "I know what my responsibilities are on every play."

Said Bonds: "He always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He doesn't try to do it all. He just does his job."

Terrazone, who has been offered a scholarship by Arizona State to play linebacker, caught only four passes as St. Francis' No. 2 tight end last season. But things are different this year.

His brother, Tyler, the Golden Knights' starting tight end last season, is playing for the junior varsity at Air Force.

In addition, Terrazone will frequently be one of four wide receivers in St. Francis' single-back offense.

"We'll stand him up and flex him out," Bonds said. "We'll let him find the openings in the defense and catch the ball."

Bonds has so much confidence in Terrazone's ability to get open that St. Francis has a play in which he's allowed to choose his pass pattern.

"I call it Y option," Bonds said. "He can go down the field and curl to the inside or curl to the outside. Or curl outside and break upfield. It's his decision. It's basically a sandlot play, but I trust him because he has a knack for finding the open spot on the field."

It helps that Terrazone and Sciarra have been friends and classmates since they were 5.

"They know each other so well and have been playing together for so long that John can usually tell where Nate's going to go by the way he [moves]," Bonds said. "That is such a plus knowing what your buddy is going to do because you've played together so long."

Sciarra, son of former UCLA quarterback John Sciarra, describes Terrazone as a gamer who is a phenomenal athlete with great eye-hand coordination.

"He can catch anything you want," Sciarra said. "He's got good speed. . . . I think Nate's the new type of tight end coming up in that he's not a 6-6, 280-pound blocker who's a decent athlete. He's a [6-3, 220-pound] good athlete. He's a smart, strong, fast and quick tight end."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

SNEAK PEEK

Fifth in a nine-part series.

Aug. 23: Quarterbacks. Kyle Matter of Hart

Aug. 25: Running backs. De'Andre Scott of Alemany

Aug. 26: Offensive linemen. Philip Clark of Newbury Park

Aug. 27: Wide receivers. James Norris of Kennedy

Today: Tight ends. Nathan Terrazone of St. Francis

Friday: Defensive linemen

Saturday: Linebackers

Sunday: Defensive backs

Sept. 6: Kickers

HOW THEY RATE

A look at the top tight ends in the region:

With comment by Eric Sondheimer

*--*

Rk Player School Ht. Wt. Yr. 1. Nathan Terrazone St. Francis 6-3 220 Sr.

*--*

Opponents struggled covering him in summer tournaments

*--*

Rk Player School Ht. Wt. Yr. 2. Joe Lemma Westlake 6-4 200 Sr.

*--*

Has long arms, good hands and isn't afraid of contact

*--*

Rk Player School Ht. Wt. Yr. 3. Jesse Taylor Chaminade 6-2 235 Jr.

*--*

Keeps getting bigger and better

*--*

Rk Player School Ht. Wt. Yr. 4. Jason Lance Alemany 6-5 218 Jr.

*--*

Is there a tougher, more physical player?

*--*

Rk Player School Ht. Wt. Yr. 5. Israel Perez Canoga Park 6-2 185 Sr.

*--*

Might be the fastest tight end

*--*

Rk Player School Ht. Wt. Yr. 6. Robert Lowenthal Harvard-Westlake 6-2 200 Sr.

*--*

All-around athlete who doesn't drop passes

*--*

Rk Player School Ht. Wt. Yr. 7. Guillermo Garcia Granada Hills 6-3 195 Sr.

*--*

Big target, good hands

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