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Los Altos kick returner flies under the radar

At only 5 feet 4, Hacienda Heights Los Altos' Estuardo Marcos has surprised opponents by returning three kickoffs for touchdowns already this season. He credits his teammates, but it doesn't hurt that, as his coach declares, 'He can scoot.'

September 05, 2012|Eric Sondheimer
  • Estuardo Marcos runs the ball against Salesian.
Estuardo Marcos runs the ball against Salesian. (Eric Virnala / For The Times )

Someone needs to check whether Estuardo Marcos, a 5-foot-4, 154-pound junior at Hacienda Heights Los Altos, is wearing a Mighty Mouse T-shirt under his football jersey, because he keeps producing superhero-like results.

How else to explain someone his size returning kickoffs 98 and 95 yards for touchdowns last week against L.A. Salesian? He also had a 27-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown and a 15-yard touchdown run.

"I've got a real good kickoff return squad," Marcos said. "They're setting up blocks for me. I'm a little bit faster than most. I make a move and let my blockers do the rest."

Los Altos is 2-0, and teams had better start taking Marcos seriously. In the opening week, he had a 76-yard kickoff return and an 85-yard return was nullified by a penalty.

It takes a fearless attitude to return kickoffs, and considering his size Marcos is beyond fearless.

"It never bothers me," he said. "People say I look short, but I never feel short."

Said Coach Dale Ziola: "He can scoot."

Marcos also starts at cornerback. He was beaten for a touchdown during Los Altos' 48-34 victory over Salesian but retaliated with one of his kickoff returns.

"It's the best feeling ever knowing you did something for your team," he said. "I had to return the favor."

After games, opponents get an up-close look at Marcos and have a hard time understanding that he caused all of the trouble.

A Salesian player said afterward, "You're the one who actually ran that back?"

Yes, he did, and look for more to come.

"If you want something, you have to go for it, and that's what I'm pretty much doing," Marcos said.

Change at Servite

Servite Coach Troy Thomas has fired offensive coordinator Matthew Mitchell, who was with the program for four years. The Friars had been struggling on offense in their first two games this season.

"It comes down to us not being philosophically on the same page," Thomas said.

Servite has an open date this week, and Thomas said he hasn't decided who will be calling plays when the Friars face Huntington Beach Edison next week.

$2.4-million judgment against LAUSD

A former North Hollywood football player has been awarded $2.4 million in an arbitration judgment against the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Johnny Rider suffered a broken neck during a football tryout at North Hollywood in July 2008. He was not wearing a helmet or protective gear during the tryout when he ran headfirst into padded bags.

Rider is a senior at North Hollywood.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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