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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

Man of Many Letters

Villa Park's Arguello Is an All-Around Ho-Hum Hero

September 16, 2000|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bryan Arguello's all-purpose performance in Villa Park's season-opening 21-14 victory over Valencia earned him athlete of the week recognition in The Times.

It was a night most athletes only dream about. Two touchdowns--one on a 62-yard reverse, the other on a six-yard reception--two interceptions, three extra points, a 45-yard punting average and a 15-yard punt return.

But at Villa Park, the reaction was rather ho-hum.

"I'm not surprised at all,," said Tom Tereschuk, offensive coordinator for the Spartans, who meet Katella in a nonleague game tonight at Glover Stadium. "It's very typical. Bryan is a great athlete and the thing that makes him so special is he's a very competitive guy. He's very savvy, he has great instincts and he has a knack for knowing what's going to happen.

"He's the guy I'd want with the ball when the game's on the line. I don't care what sport it is."

If you give Arguello the ball--any ball--he will gladly take it. In three years at Villa Park, Arguello has earned seven varsity letters--two in football, three in basketball and two in baseball. Somehow, he has also managed to maintain a 4.0 grade-point average.

Before his high school career is over, Arguello will probably earn 10 varsity letters, including one in soccer.

He hasn't played competitive soccer since the ninth grade, when he played for his club team, but don't be surprised if he's starting at center forward for the Spartans this winter.

"I grew up playing soccer," Arguello said. "It was my first love. But then all these other sports came along and pushed soccer aside. I wanted to give it one last chance before I graduate."

What kind of soccer player is Arguello?

"I was pretty good," he said.

In Arguello-speak, that means he's better than good. Arguello isn't much of a self-promoter. After single-handedly beating Valencia, he wanted to talk about anything but himself.

"That's personal stuff," he said. "This is a team game." Four days later, Arguello finally admitted he had a decent night.

"It was one of those games where everything seemed to fall into place," he said. "It's fun. I enjoy it."

Arguello also had a few things fall into place on the baseball field last year. As a second baseman, he hit .400 and helped lead the Spartans to the Southern Section Division III title.

What did he do with the season on the line against West Torrance in the final? He went one for two, scored a run, had a sacrifice bunt and stole a base.

"Bryan just finds a way to get things done," said Tereschuk, also Villa Park's baseball coach.

Arguello hasn't been quite as spectacular on the basketball court. But the 5-foot-9 point guard has played varsity for three seasons on one of the county's perennial basketball powers. However, he won't play a fourth--opting instead for the soccer field.

"I'm not going to be playing college basketball," he said. "I was only going to be the sixth or seventh man and basketball was something I just did for fun."

As spectacular as Arguello has been on the football field--he was the Century League MVP as a junior--he might not play Division I-A college football either. But it has nothing to do with his skills. It's all about size and speed. At 5-9, 165 pounds, Arguello runs about a 4.75 40-yard dash.

"He plays faster than what it seems," Villa Park football Coach Pat Mahoney said. "He separates himself from the defenders. There's a lot of body motion and it's not real smooth, but it's effective."

He has received a few letters of interest from small Division I schools, but most are coming from Division I-AA, II and III coaches.

"I can't control that stuff," Arguello said. "I do what I can and hope that's enough. I know I'm not the fastest guy or the tallest guy."

But he is the most versatile guy. In most games, Arguello never comes off the field. He plays wide receiver, slotback, running back and cornerback. He kicks, punts and returns punts.

He's also the Spartans' third-string quarterback.

"He would be an extremely effective quarterback if we didn't have two good quarterbacks ahead of him," Tereschuk said. "He could do anything. If we wanted him to play guard, he'd be our best guard."

If Arguello makes it at the Division I-A level in football, it might be as a kicker or punter. He kicked a 47-yard field goal last year and he averaged more than 40 yards per punt. His brother, Jerry, who played at Orange, kicked for Utah State.

If possible, Arguello wouldn't mind playing two sports in college--preferably football and baseball.

"Why not?" he said. "I've been doing it my whole life."

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