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One to Watch

October 17, 2002|Ben Bolch

EZRA BEATON

School: Calabasas

Ht.: 6-3 * Wt.: 250 * Year: Senior

Few are better than Ezra Beaton when it comes to breaking the tension of a pressure-packed moment.

Two years ago, in his first junior varsity football scrimmage, the Calabasas High defensive tackle and his teammates were gearing up to stop North Hills L.A. Baptist on a fourth-and-one situation. During a timeout, Coyote Coach Jeremy Sherman told his players they had to toughen up because it was fourth down.

Beaton asked the coach, "What's a fourth down?"

The kid wasn't trying to be a wise guy. He really didn't know.

"He came to us from South Africa as a rugby player," varsity Coach Larry Edwards said. "The first football game he saw was the one he played in."

What Beaton lacked in knowledge he more than compensated for in ability. Calabasas stuffed Baptist on the play, and the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder has since blossomed into a standout linebacker who is being recruited by many Pacific-10 schools as a senior.

"I get a feeling when I hit someone, and I want more and more," said Beaton, who has also played cricket and soccer but considers American football his favorite sport. "I have great coaches. That's how I got to know the game real fast."

Edwards said Beaton, who has six sacks and an interception heading into the Marmonte League game between Calabasas (3-2) and Thousand Oaks (3-2) on Friday, "always seems to find the guy with the ball. He's a dynamo with great speed and quickness."

Beaton said his dream is to play for Miami, the top-ranked college team in the country and the alma mater of Baltimore Raven linebacker Ray Lewis, but the Hurricanes haven't shown interest. Beaton met Lewis backstage after a concert put on by his father, Jonathan Butler, a rhythm and blues musician.

Wherever he ends up, the good-natured Beaton is likely to put a smile on the faces of his teammates and coaches.

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