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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOLS

St. John Bosco running back Sean McGrew shows his speed in track

Braves sophomore Sean McGrew, who has set school mark in 100 meters, looms as an even more dangerous football player than he was last season, when he had memorable game against Corona Centennial.

April 06, 2014|Eric Sondheimer
  • St. John Bosco running back Sean McGrew breaks away for a touchdown against Trinity League rival Mater Dei last season.
St. John Bosco running back Sean McGrew breaks away for a touchdown against… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

It's with great trepidation that I announce news that's going to create more nightmares for the defensive coordinators who must figure out how to stop Bellflower St. John Bosco on the football field this fall: Sean McGrew is getting faster, stronger and even better.

Yes, he's the same running back who rushed for 367 yards in 17 carries and scored seven touchdowns in the CIF Open Division regional bowl game against Corona Centennial last season.

Last month, he ran the 100 meters in 10.67 seconds, setting a school record. Not bad for a 16-year-old sophomore with scholarship offers from UCLA, Colorado and Washington State.

"It's strengthening my legs and lengthening my stride and giving me more endurance," he said of running track.

Last week, he experienced something he rarely has — defeat. He was beaten in the 100 by the state's fastest runner, UCLA-bound Curtis Godin of Santa Ana Mater Dei, who set an Orange County record with a time of 10.42. McGrew ran 10.70.

"It was probably the second race in my entire life I've ever lost," he said. "I knew I was racing the fastest kid in the state and was trying for a [personal record]. I didn't get it. It was disappointing, but I'm going to have to race him in the Trinity League finals."

Said Godin: "He's the fastest runner I've run against this year. It was exciting. It was the first time I've been pushed."

McGrew is someone to root for, because he's only 5 feet 7, but he's gaining respect from college recruiters despite his size. That's what speed does. It changes people's perceptions of what can and cannot be done.

He ended last season weighing 158 pounds. He's up to 171. Yes, St. John Bosco's powerful offensive line helped him rush for 2,076 yards last season, but the Braves are supposed to be as good as ever with the return of Matt Katnik, a prolific shot putter and discus thrower in track, and improving Zach Robertson.

McGrew accomplished something last season Coach Jason Negro has never seen — a running back making it through the Trinity League without getting hurt.

"Next season I'll go out and prove again I'm tough enough," he said.

Watching McGrew's speed as he comes down the straightaway or runs away from a defensive back is impressive.

"I would say I'm running faster on the football field getting chased, but it's a lot easier running on the track," he said.

Look for more carries from McGrew and more screen passes allowing him to turn on the afterburners when the pads come back on in August.

Arcadia Invitational

Hundreds of athletes are set to participate in the best track and field event of the season — the Arcadia Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Arcadia High School.

Relays will be held beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The open running events will be held Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. The invitational portion starts Saturday at 5:25 p.m.

Mater Dei's Godin will get the chance to show his speed in front of the usual sold-out bleachers.

Early offers

USC offered scholarships to a group of sophomores over the weekend in football, according to Scout.com. They included receiver Dylan Crawford of La Cañada St. Francis, defensive backs Trevon Sidney and Tyler Vaughns of La Puente Bishop Amat and linebacker Lokeni Toailoa of Rialto Carter.

Mission Viejo freshman receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr. was offered by UCLA. Newbury Park freshman defensive back Darnay Holmes has offers from UCLA and Arizona.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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