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Ebell's Yardstick Reaches 400

High school football: He scores six touchdowns in Ventura's 41-28 victory over Arroyo Grande.

September 30, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VENTURA — If Tyler Ebell were starring in a play, he would have been pelted with roses Friday night and given a standing ovation for a performance nothing short of extraordinary.

He took the ball 44 times on a handoff or pitch from Andrew Lovier. By game's end, he had rushed for a school-record 400 yards and scored six touchdowns in Ventura High's 41-28 victory over Arroyo Grande.

Ebell exceeded 300 yards rushing for the fourth consecutive game and obliterated the school's single-game rushing record for the third time.

"What can you say?" Coach Phil McCune said. "He's great. How can you be better than 400 yards against those guys?"

Arroyo Grande (2-2) won the Division IV championship in 1997 and 1998. The Eagles have a history of shutting down top running backs, including Justin Fargas of Notre Dame.

But Ebell's 4.3 speed for 40 yards combined with a dominating offensive line has created an environment for rushing records to fall en masse and take a chunk out of Ebell's wallet. He has been spending $30 a pop on Saturday mornings to pay for burritos for his hungry linemen.

"It's an expensive habit," he said.

Center Bill Griffin, tackles Casey Andrews and Jason Gruber, guards Kris Vasquez and Brandon Bailey and tight end Bryan Easterly are having as much fun as Ebell.

"It's so cool," Andrews said. "One minute, he's supposed to go left, then all of a sudden he's going right. It's awesome."

In the fourth quarter, after Arroyo Grande closed to 28-21, Ebell became a one-man show. On drives of 80 and 57 yards, he carried on 16 of 17 plays, scoring on runs of two and six yards.

The only player to carry the ball for Ventura (4-0) was Ebell.

"I think it proves a lot," McCune said of Ebell's effort. "It proves how tough he is. It proves how quick he is."

Ebell has rushed for 1,413 yards in four games. Those who wonder how durable he might be in college at 5 feet 10, 185 pounds better take a look at Friday's videotape and see how he took hits and kept going.

"It's the size of your heart and not your stature that matters," Ebell said.

Ventura could be emerging as the prime rival to Westlake in Division IV. Another bright spot was the passing of Lovier, who completed 10 of 17 for 126 yards.

Arroyo Grande made it close on two touchdown passes by Sean Shields, the last to Joe Wighton with 3:19 to make it 35-28.

Ventura outplayed the Eagles in the first half but had to settle for a 14-14 tie because a roughing-the-kicker penalty set up up Wighton's 64-yard touchdown run.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

March of Tyler Ebell

Simi Valley

12-330 yards, 4 TDs

Moorpark

26-375 yards, 5 TDs

Royal

21-308 yards, 4 TDs

Arroyo Grande

44-400 yards, 6 TDs

Totals

103-1,413 yards, 19 TDs

HIGH SCHOOL COVERAGE INSIDE

MISMATCH: John Valdez made sure Sylmar had no problem with Washington, 49-0. D14

SPIRITED VICTORY: Curtis Brown's four touchdowns helped Paraclete rout Monroe, 42-12. D15

HALF-HEARTED: Alemany led early in the third quarter before Notre Dame pulled away. D15

Field Report: D14

How the Top 10 Fared: D14

Summaries: D16

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