Los Angeles Preps: Jordan Farris

Upland's Lawler attracts attention

November, 22, 2011
UPLAND -- Kenny Lawler emerges from the huddle at midfield, and immediately, the receiver hustles over to his position on the outside. The first order of business for the senior from Upland is taking a quick glance through his facemask to see what the defense has in store for him.

A cornerback moves right up in front of Lawler, seemingly with the intent to somehow disrupt the route with bump-and-run coverage. A linebacker takes a step to the immediate left, presumably in an effort to help slow down the burst of speed he possesses. A safety proceeds to roll over to his side of the field as well, in what figures to be an attempt to double-team him over the top.

[+] EnlargeUpland High School Kenny Lawler
Upland High School Kenny Lawler committed to Arizona State months ago, but is still taking recruiting trips.
No big deal. Lawler has seen plenty of this pre-snap shuffling in the not-so- distant past. Gimmick-type schemes designed around stopping him is something that simply comes along with territory, especially when you are considered as one of the Southland's premier players at the position.

“I don't think anything surprises me anymore. Honestly, nothing does,'' Lawler said.

With the ball set in motion, a stutter step at the line of scrimmage creates much-needed separation. A head-and-shoulders fake by Lawler freezes the would-be tackler at the second level. A sprint toward the end zone follows as he blows by the last line of defense in the secondary.

Lawler is celebrating seconds later, having hauled in another highlight-reel worthy touchdown catch. The opponent looks on, of course, wondering about what could have been.

Odds are, the 6-foot-3 and 185-pound senior will be in a similar situation in Friday's Southern Section Inland Division playoff game against Covina Charter Oak. And if the Highlanders hope to make a postseason run, Lawler must continue to excel in his role of being the difference-maker.

“I know I have a target on my back, I'm cool with that, it's a sign of respect,'' Lawler said. “My goal is to work hard, and when teams try to stop me, that's motivation. Nothing in life is easy. You'll never be able to accomplish anything if there isn't some kind of challenge put in front of you.''

Overcoming obstacles has become commonplace for Lawler considering playing time on the varsity level was difficult to come by in his first two years with the Highlanders. They were loaded with talent during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Nevertheless, Lawler managed to persevere.

When the opportunity to contribute on a more consistent basis presented itself as junior, he made sure to take advantage. And then some. Lawler emerged as the go-to-guy for Upland and finished with 42 catches for 887 yards, a 21 yards-per-catch average. He also had nine touchdowns.

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Football: No. 10 St. Bonaventure

August, 26, 2011
Shaun WickJohn Lazar/Special to ESPNLosAngeles.comShaun Wick was a key component for St. Bonaventure in 2010 and now he's back for his senior year.

St. Bonaventure has made the CIF Southern Section Northern Division semifinals the past two seasons. For any other program, those would be pretty successful years. For St. Bonaventure, they were disappointments.

When asked what goals he has set for his team, coach Todd Therrien said, “Championship.” Short and to the point. That looks like the approach this team will take this year. Make quick work of opponents and move on.

This is a focused and experienced team with something to prove.

Here's a closer look at the Seraphs:

Team: St. Bonaventure

Coach: Todd Therrien, fifth year.

2010 Record: 11-2, lost to Westlake, 37-27, in the semifinals of CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

Returning starters: 13. Seven on offense, six on defense.

Key players on offense: QB Marc Evans, OG David Barajas, RB Shaun Wick, QB Nick Arbuckle, OG AJ Bennett, WR Jordan Farris, RB Zach Green.

Key players on defense: DB Paul Thompson, CB Bobby Marquez, CB Cameron Penny, LB Dalton Rocha, LB Patrick Kenny.

Difference makers: Wick and Arbuckle. Wick rushed for 1,095 yards and scored 15 touchdowns in his junior season. He also caught five passes for 54 yards and scored a receiving touchdown. Arbuckle was the back-up quarterback to Evans last season and was 21-for-27 passing for 184 yards and a touchdown. Arbuckle is expected to be more involved in the offense and on special teams this season.

Newcomers: RB Zach Green, WR Jordan Farris, WR Elijah Henderson.

Not to be missed: St. Bonaventure at Oaks Christian, Sept. 23. This game has quickly become one of the most anitcipated match-ups in the Marmonte League. The two teams have been in the league for only a year, but both teams have established themselves as the two of the top programs in the league.

Coach’s comment: “We need to figure out who we are on defense the first couple of weeks. We’re going to go as far as our seniors will take us.”

Final analysis: St. Bonaventure has a tremendous senior class and the most experienced team in the Marmonte League. Two weeks before the start of the season, the starting quarterback position was up for grabs. Marc Evans started at quarterback as a junior, but a bout with strep throat cost him five days of practice. Nick Arbuckle is challenging Evans for the starting job. If Arbuckle doesn’t start at QB, he will be in the offensive mix at tight end and on special teams. With a backfield that includes Shaun Wick and Zach Green, plus David Barajas and AJ Bennett on the offensive line, the Seraphs have quite an arsenal on offense.

Follow Tim Haddock in Twitter @thaddock.