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St. Francis quarterback settling in to new surroundings

Jared Lebowitz says the transition from Vermont to Southern California is 'going great,' and his new coach likes what he's seen this spring.

May 12, 2011|Eric Sondheimer

Having arrived at La Cañada St. Francis from the hometown of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream in South Burlington, Vt., quarterback Jared Lebowitz can always offer his new group of offensive linemen a tasty treat from his old stomping grounds if they protect him well this fall.

"Everything is going great," he said. "St. Francis has made it the easiest transition possible. The guys on the team have welcomed me with open arms."

Coach Jim Bonds might be ready to do a somersault or two if the 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior-to-be turns out to be as good as he looks in spring passing drills. He had five touchdown passes in a game last fall for South Burlington High and possesses a strong arm, good instincts and some mobility.

"It's going to depend on if it all translates into the games in the fall when he puts the pads on and guys are rushing him and he has to make those decisions a little quicker," Bonds said. "Just watching him throw the football and watching his feet, I've been impressed."

Spring practices start this month for football teams across the Southland, and developing a good quarterback is a must for teams with ambitious plans.

Lebowitz has been in the Southland since January, though he made a return trip to Vermont during spring break.

"I was surprised how pale everyone was," he said. "The California sun and an open campus, I love it."

Lebowitz still wants to check out some rumors about Southern California.

"I hear you can ski and go to the beach in the same day," he said. "I haven't done that yet, but it sounds interesting. You can't do that in Vermont."

He said he moved because his parents wanted to come to Southern California to explore business opportunities.

"I'm here for the rest of my high school career," he said.

That's good news for those St. Francis linemen who like ice cream.

Tesoro making progress

Beware of Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro. The team went 8-4 last season using lots of sophomores and juniors, and Coach Brian Barnes said, "I'm excited. As a team, it's the strongest we've had."

There are 36 players benching more than 225 pounds.

And most impressive has been senior linebacker Blake Rodgers, who is 6-3, 225 pounds and is benching 375 pounds.

This spring, junior quarterback Matt Adam will be given more responsibilities as Tesoro prepares to take on rival Mission Viejo in the fall.

"He's really maturing," Barnes said. "We've got an OL to block for him. Our kids are working their butts off."

Tesoro opens its season with a zero week game against Newhall Hart at College of the Canyons, then plays what could be one of the games of the year in facing neighborhood rival Santa Margarita. Tickets will probably sell out as soon as they become available. It will be similar to Westlake-Oaks Christian.

Show me the spiral

Oaks Christian Coach Bill Redell is still waiting to see highly touted transfer Luke Falk play quarterback. Falk, a junior-to-be from Utah, will have to win the starting job during spring practice over sophomore Brandon Dawkins and junior Cody Cordell.

Falk hasn't attempted a single pass at Oaks Christian but supposedly has a scholarship offer from Florida State.

Other schools in Ventura County are waiting to see if the losers in the quarterback competition end up transferring, similar to what happened several years ago after Nick Montana arrived from Northern California. Jake Geringer and Nick Isham left for Newbury Park and Westlake, respectively, and became standouts.

Redell said he wants to name a starting quarterback by the end of spring practice in June. Then the real intrigue will begin.

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