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One to Watch

October 31, 2002|Ben Bolch


School: Culver City Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 180 Year: Junior

Culver City High wide receiver Michael Bumpus has put up a lot of impressive numbers this season. He has 38 catches for 667 yards -- an average of 17.6 yards per catch -- for a team that is 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the Pioneer League.

Yet there is one number that transcends his statistical contributions on the football field: five.

That's the number of sports the multitalented junior plans to play this year. In addition to football, Bumpus said he will participate in soccer and basketball in the winter and track and lacrosse in the spring. He's already played most of the sports, just never in the same school year.

In ninth grade, he played on the freshman football team and was a midfielder and forward on the varsity soccer team, scoring 15 goals. As a sophomore, he was a starting receiver and free safety on the varsity football team, a starting guard on the varsity basketball team (averaging 15 points) and a starting right fielder on the varsity baseball team (with a batting average around .300).

He also figures to be successful at lacrosse and track because of his superior speed and hand-eye coordination.

"I love anything that has to do with sports," Bumpus said.

Bumpus' drive to play five sports will necessitate the consent of a handful of coaches. Football Coach Tom Salter has already given his blessing.

"I would be all for whatever he wants to do," Salter said. "I encourage kids to play more than one sport. It's good for the high school and it's what you should do."

Though he excels at every sport he plays, Bumpus said his overwhelming favorite is football, where he also displays his talents as a punter and backup quarterback.

"I like playing on Friday nights," said Bumpus, who didn't play organized football until high school but likely will parlay his skill in the sport into a college scholarship. "There's a lot of people at the football games and it's exciting."

This Friday will be particularly thrilling for Bumpus because his father, Mark, is traveling from his home in Biloxi, Miss., to see his son play for the first time in high school. Culver City's homecoming game against Torrance starts at 7 p.m.

Bumpus is also excited about Culver City's matchup with undefeated league rival El Segundo on Nov. 8 in a game that will likely decide the league champion.

"That's a big game," Bumpus said. "We've never played each other [Culver City played in the Bay League until this season], but it's already being billed as a rivalry."

-- Ben Bolch

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