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One To Watch

October 10, 2002|JOHN CAULFIELD

School: Pasadena La Salle

Ht: 6-3 * Wt: 240 * Year: Senior

John Caulfield assessed the risk factor and it was a no-brainer. As the top returning shotputter in the state, he briefly weighed the decision to play football at Pasadena La Salle this fall or skip the season to protect his future in track and field, boosted by a commitment to UCLA.

Then he looked at the team's schedule.

"There's a big difference between Division I and Division XI [high schools]," Caulfield said. "If I went to a Division I school, I probably would have had second thoughts."

The Lancers were happy they fit into Caulfield's plans this fall.

They are off to an 0-3-1 start, but it hasn't been Caulfield's fault. He is a vital two-way starter for La Salle, alternating between fullback and tight end and anchoring the defense at linebacker.

Coach Sab Manente understands some of the pressure Caulfield might have been feeling to skip his senior season and concentrate on the shotput, where he finished sixth in state last spring.

"It would have been easy for him to not play," Manente said. "But he made the decision on his own. He showed a lot of character and is an integral part of this team."

Noah Bryant didn't play football his senior year at Carpinteria High, then won the state title in the shotput in June. Unlike Caulfield, he had not made a college choice before his senior year, committing to USC three weeks after the state finals.

Caulfied said there's a big difference between his and Bryant's out-of-the-ring interests.

"For Noah, his whole family is also big into [power] lifting," Caulfield said. "I just like to be able to do it all. Playing football is a big part of my life."

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