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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | KEEPING TABS

Bailey Is Receiving Credit for His Giving

October 03, 2000|STEVE HENSON

James Norris required a shot in the arm. So the Kennedy High receiver did what he always does in a time of need. He picked up the phone and began dialing, 1-408- . . .

The receiver was picked up in San Jose.

By a receiver.

Waking Bailey, Norris' brother, knows all about the vagaries of playing wideout. Sometimes the ball finds you, sometimes you go get the ball.

Norris, perhaps the most electrifying receiver in the region, was discouraged because Taft held him to five catches last week. Bailey, a San Jose State senior, could have told him he'd take that production any day, but instead offered quiet brotherly advice on staying the course and working hard.

"Waking always says the right thing to calm me down," Norris said. "He's been there. He's had ups and downs and knows what it takes."

Bailey is living up to his name, which means "Wise King" in Swahili. And he is joining the royalty in the San Jose State record book.

With five catches in a 29-16 victory over Rice on Saturday, Bailey became the 10th Spartan to reach 100 career receptions. He has 103 and is tied for eighth.

"He's not a guy who will blow by you with speed," said Carl Dean, the San Jose State receivers coach. "He has real quickness in his feet. He can put a defensive back where he wants him and create the separation the quarterback needs to put the ball there."

Bailey lost his starting position this year to Casey Le Blanc. Instead of moping, he practiced what he preaches to his younger brother.

"Waking had to be patient this year in terms of playing time," Dean said. "He's played really well and is just as important to our offense as ever."

And to the special teams. Bailey averaged more than 10 yards per return last season and broke off the longest return in school history, an 81-yard touchdown against Texas El Paso.

Best of all, he is on track to graduate with a degree in sociology by December 2001.

"I'm real proud of him," Dean said. "He had trouble early in his career getting to class. He's since matured and done a nice job with academics."

*

The season is a bonus and Ted Iacenda is working overtime to make it pay off.

In an unusual move, the NCAA did not require the former Hart High fullback to sit out a year when he transferred to New Mexico from USC in January 1999.

Iacenda was able to play last season as a junior and is back as a versatile weapon for the Lobos, who have won three in a row after opening with three losses.

Lining up as a fullback and a slot receiver, Iacenda is New Mexico's third-leading rusher with 98 yards and one touchdown in 19 carries and third-leading receiver with eight catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.

Those aren't close to the numbers Iacenda put up as Hart's "Touchdown Teddy" from 1993-95, when he set a Southern Section record with 99 touchdowns.

But it's not bad for a second chance.

The NCAA gave Iacenda the extra season because of the emotional hardship resulting from a rape charge brought by a former girlfriend that was dismissed.

*

The depth chart at New Mexico is stacked with sophomore receivers from region high schools. But they aren't catching any passes.

Justin Mobley (Antelope Valley) was a quarterback last season who specialized in the option. He rushed for 89 yards but threw only 23 passes in limited playing time.

Mobley was converted to safety but injured his neck during the preseason and moved to receiver. He has not caught a pass, but is on special teams.

Jake Farrel (Newbury Park) has played in all six games but has no catches. Last season, Farrel had four catches for 78 yards and one touchdown.

Joe Manning (Antelope Valley) appeared to be on the rise last season, making 13 catches for 122 yards, including a six-catch game against San Diego State. However, his role has been reduced and he hasn't caught a pass this year.

Another Lobo sophomore from the region, running back Quincy Wright (El Camino Real), also spends most of the games on the sidelines.

A key special-teams performer, Wright saw his first action at tailback Saturday in a 45-10 victory over Wyoming, gaining six yards in three carries.

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