The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas · Page 26Click to view larger version
September 6, 1984

The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas · Page 26

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The Baytown Sun i
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Baytown, Texas
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Thursday, September 6, 1984
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THE BAYTOWN SUN - w ^ ~' *nur»g«y, September 6. 1984 Ranger Forbes faces Garcia only worried m .? re tou § h decisions about REL chances By MICHAEL KEARNS The world had apparently caved in on a few Pony League coaches one summer day six years ago. A pitching phenomenon, barely past his 13th birthday, had decided to eschew summer baseball in order to get a job and nave some spending money. . The boy showed so much promise in Little League and junior high that people had him throwing 80 mph fastballs and winning state championships when. > he finally did blossom into what his potential held. But the summers were a special time for this not-quite-so- ordmary teen-ager. School held mm captive, either in class or on the practice field in three sports During the school year he jwas everyone's property, quarterbacking in football, hauling in rebounds in basketball and throwing that fastball oh the diamond in the spring. '. .;, Summer was a time when'he could exert what little power He : had over his actions.' He cqUld say ho, and he could do what just about every other kid his. age' did: relax and have fun doing what he wanted to do. '; \ But on this day in June 1 six years ago, this teen-ager was'be- : mg cajoled to play baseball because he was that good- because it would have been a crying shame to waste such talent. The boy burst'into tears- and guided by his sports-loving father, signed the dotted line';' gave up his summer and made everyone happy. Six years later Donovan Forbes, the teen-ager in that tale, can still remember the tears flowing. He wasn't angi$ '•• Kids weren't supposed to get angry with adults. It worked the other way around. Later in this school year Forbes, Ross S. Sterling's starting quarterback, will -be immersed in a similar situation. In-' stead of having summer baseball coaches breathing down his neck, he'll have a bevy of college recruiters beckoning They will ask him to sign on the dotted line, attend their school and perform on the gridiron and baseball diamond. DONOVAN FORBES But this time around Forbes touted as one of the best high school quarterback prospects in this football-crazed state, will be the master of his fate. , He'll dictate the when and how of the situation. He may shed a .few tears and experience indeci- ;sion. But the choice .will be his . Forbes has been'a community asset. ;in Baytown since he started playing organized sports. And it's probably safe to -say he's been a hero in most games-he's played. He's read what's been written about him shucks, off the adjectives and doesn't let his image or aura get any larger than he can handle. Just this past summer he was ;vo.ted as the best quarterback in • ; .25 years of Bay town football : Heavy : praisjj for^a player, just . 17 years-old who has yet to begin his senior year in high school. Jn the seventh grade, Forbes was told by many just how good he was going to be when he finally got to Sterling. But though the echoes of well-wishers registered, they didn't balloon the image he held of himself. In that lies the essence of Donovan Forbes. "I remember in about seventh grade they all told me that I'd be great when-I got to Sterling" Forbes said. "And they said I would get a big head. "I just concentrated on that not happening. Sure, I get excited about all of it, but I know that I can't let it take over." Forbes seems to take great pride in being able to downplay his image, in being able to keep it under wraps. He thanks his father, Sanford, for telling him early that humility weighs high on the scale of life. "My dad always told us to be polite. He told us to be a gentleman to our peers," said Forbes. "I guess he was saying be ordinary. "Without sports, I probably wouldn't get a lot of recognition and I wouldn't know as many -people. But it takes a lot of, dicipline to get to the high point of life. It takes a lot to get there and get better. I try to go out there and make it." Forbes was born the third and last son in a family of six children. Sports were part of the basic schedule at the Forbes household. "My dad, he was into sports but mainly boxing. We'd be out in the yard playing ball until late m the night," said Forbes 'Spons was a big thing in the family. He liked sports and he tried to make us excel in them." Though a sports phemonmena while still in junior high, Forbes began to show a glimmer of his talents as a sophomore. Aside from pitching in the starting rotation for RSS coach A] Hawthorne's squad, Forbes was up on the varsity playing a bit at defensive back for coach Al Dennis' last football team in 1982 He stuck by Dennis and learned the finer points of the game A District 23-5A championship that year gave him a taste of what was to come. Heading into his junior year Forbes' reputation preceeded him. With the graduation of John Tom jack, he appeared to be a lock for the starting quarterback job. But first-year head coach Bill Bundy, sensing that competition brings out the best in athletes, didn't give the highly- touted junior the berth outright "That spring coach Bundy told us that even though everyone's heard of Donovan Forbes he still had two other guys trying out for the position," said % be£ t^ He wasn>t 8° in g t° say (See FORBES, PagelO-AA) By DAVID BERKOWITZ Don't shed a tear for Louis Garcia. He doesn't mind being the "other" quarterback in town. Even when it means having to play second-fiddle to a crosstown rival. There's something about a quarterback controversy, that brings out the levelheadedness m Garcia. Talk about Donovan Forbes, and he'll be glad to sine his praises. But one thing Garcia won't do is get into a comparison fight. "I never compare myself with him," Garcia, a Robert E. Lee Gander, said of Forbes, a Ross S. Sterling Ranger. "He's his own person. He's good, I'll grant him that. But I'm more concerned about what I'm going to do for my team." In other words, Garcia doesn't sit up.nights worrying about his lack of exposure as compared to Forbes. ' "They can play up Donovan all they want," Garcia said "I'd rather be a surprise to somebody. I like to get better every week. I don't like to say I m the best now and then get worse. I want to work hard and continue to improve.'' The Garcia-Forbes topic doesn't rank in Louis' Top Ten When Forbes' name is mentioned, Garcia acts as if he'd like to change the subject. What he'd much rather address himself to is his senior season at REL, and the Ganders' chances of reaching the playoffs for the second straight year Most of the odds-makers are giving the District 23-5A championship trophy to Bill Bundy's Rangers. And these same people are trying to force-feed a sixth- place finish down the Ganders' throats. Ask Garcia for his opinion, end you'll get another one of those "I like it" answers. "In a way, I like being picked like that," he said. "I feel it gives you more momentum going into the season to prove yourself." While starting 11 games at quarterback for the Ganders during his junior season went a long way in proving Garcia's LOUIS GARCIA ability as a varsity quarterback,, there are skeptics. They say he may be a good runner, but that he has no arm for passing. These doubters rely on statistics to back up their claims. After all, Garcia connected on only 27 percent of his attempts in 1983. He was intercepted eight times. And he passed for only 291 yards — an average of less than 27 yards per game. But when analyzing the situation, REL coaches say that one must take into account the circumstances. Garcia was receiving on-the-job training, and he got little help from a fleet of pass-catchers that had problems finding open spaces and then holding onto the football. This season should be different. Not just because Garcia worked hard during the summer to strengthen his right arm, but because it appears the Ganders have some capable receivers Although the best of the crop surprised everyone with his announcement that he would not play football for • REL this season, John Byington's absence can be absorbed. Head coach Ron Kramer feels several other athletes can help pick up the slack left by the talented junior. Among them is senior Andy Duke, who figures to be most valuable to the Ganders on defense. When he's not working in the defensive secondary, he'll •]*•• I 1 -.^^~~; , itmg way m proving Garcia . s in the defensive secondary he'll ™\*£$&£ l Moore s numbers are difficult to ignore . r, TI ^l?.P. CAMPBELL He Often parHpcfhnKoii^..- .... - •-.. ^"""^ be lining up at wingback. Also oir^ hand to catch passes will be people like juniors Eric Hamilton, John Hildreth and Brad Bonin. • Garcia would have loved the opportunity to work with By-,., ington, though, since he became i accustomed to his abilities last.. spring and during the summer. ,-• "I like to throw, and I like to : throw to him," Garcia said, prior to Byington's announce- • ment. "I know he can catch theT/ ball. As far as how much we'll r throw this season, we'll just ' have to wait and see." Last season, it was a certainty. that the Ganders would rim the football more often than not.' That's elementary when you" have a tailback the caliber of.~ Leroy Brooks (1,094 yards). Now that Brooks is gone to. graduation, what sort of attack will REL feature?/ Garcia is. leaning toward a more balanced . offensive. " •': "•'•'.' "We knew he could dd it if we" ; gave him the ball. But: we don't'.':' have a Brooks this year," Gar- " cia said. "Really, I think r it might even help. Since we ca'n't count on him all of the time, we' " can keep them guessing' with the ^ pass and run." " ; ; As far as the running portion '' of the attack is concerned, count V Garcia among the weapons. His' 535 yards rushing last season" ranked him second on the team '-v to Brooks. •'• "?j.- Much of that yardage came on "': ' one of coach Ron Kramer's" favorite plays - the option"" Garcia would roll but to his left or right and either pass the bail hand off or tuck it under his arnv ; - : ; and scoot around the end. . : "It wasn't planned that way at " first. It wasn't one of our big . Plays," Garcia said. "But as *, things worked out, we started using it more. It was a double- ' threat type of play." Garcia's ability to elude -defenders was spectacular, con-- — sidenng he was carrying more ••weight than ever before At season's end, he checked in at 188 pounds. . "It just came from being lazy and eating more," Garcia said I ve lost six or seven pounds now, though, and I feel more (See GARCIA, Page4-BB) " HUFFMAN - Greg Moore worked, off and on this summer, on rebuilding an old Toyota pickup truck. It sat, in various pieces, in Moore's backyard. The cab was relatively complete, though, and a foam rubber can cooler sat on the front seat. The logo on the cooler said, "It's still not weird enough for me." Weirdness often goes hand-in- hand with the world of the Texas high school football player. But in Moore's world, "weird" would be getting a bad grade. Battling with coaches over discipline or position, struggling with academic eligibility, or the first encounter with the college recruiter that offers your da'd a job; these are the oddities that a high school gridder must cope with today. Huffman's Greg Moore just isn't weird enough. His situation is only a little bit He often carries the ball 40 times . or more in a.ballgame, but still has a career average of 575 yards per carry. As a'sophomore, Moore gained 1,624 yards and found the end zone 21 times. Last season, with opposing teams lying in wait, he topped his sophomore year by totaling 1,702 yards and scored 13 times. Every time Moore ; touches the ball, it's not unusual for all 11 enemy defenders to converge upon him; 1 Despite being virtually the only offensive 1 weapon in the Falcons attack, Moore's honors continue to How in. After his • junior year, he was first"team - District 20-3A running back and linebacker. He was the district's outstanding offensive back and linebacker. He's a two-time winner of The Baytown Sun's Area Player of the Year award, and •was the leading rusher in the Houston area for all classes fidence has made Moore the best football player on every team he's ever been on. He started out in New Caney, where his family lived for eight years. They moved to Huffman when Greg was to enter the fifth grade, which was a big surprise. "Shoot, I didn't even know we were moving," said Moore. "I came home one day and we were packing. That's where I played .my first football, little league ball. It was a lot of fun. My first year, 1 was a right guard. They had a weight limit, and I had to lose weight so I could play with my grade class. "I've always been about the biggest guy on the team. When I was in the seventh grade I played eighth grade football I was a starter, and I was the only seventh grader. That's also when I became a running back." It was in junior high when tsaw" " *ss&ssz£«* ""- a " pleteiy ignored by major col leges. Very easy. It's happened to a lot of them. Moore's older brother, John, is a prime example. A 1981 Huffman graduate and tight end, John holds all the Falcons' pass reception records. But Huffman wasn't, and isri't, a ; u u . , though, has numbers hat even the obscurity of play-' football in Huffman can't, -~ » vt •*,•.».•«*. * k, OH. t-ilgtl-H. and you have a class 3A superman. He said he thinks he's good enough to play major college football as well. "Some schools will probably want me to play linebacker" .said Moore. "But I want to play rfullback. I realize there will be a big school; but I can "run a 4.6.1 think that's enough speed for a college fullback. It takes a lot to bring me down, too. I've got a • football, Moore has rushed 3,376 yards and 34 touchdowns; 'doit. That same sense of quiet con- a district championship team " he said. "Jn the eighth grade we were co-champs. Then our junior varsity team in 1981 went 40-0. But when it came time to play varsity ball, we lost a lot of guys. "They'll lose interest, or go out and get jobs. It's hard to find work out here, and a lot of guys need jobs because they need cars. Cars are very important here because we're so far away from everything. "But that's how you go down after real good sub-varsity classes. The guys just find things that are more important, for them, to do." Huffman head coach Benny Mitchell's 1983 Falcons staggered through a 3-7 season a year ago, but Moore said he's optimistic about the 1984 season. "We had four or five sophomores starting last year " said Moore. "We had some young talent, but no experience This year, there's some fire in the offensive line. More fire than Ive seen recently, anyway That's a first. No, wait; my sophomore year we had some of- fensive linemen with desire. "We won't have enormous size on the line, but I think they'll work. And the line hasn't always worked. I remember the Barbers Hill game last year I was getting the ball from Thor (Traylor, 1983 Huffman quarterback) and our offensive linemen were up there looking back at me! I couldn't believe it "Anyway, I don't usually say anything about how someone else does his job. But at half time I told them, 'Listen guys, I can't do it alone.' They were all right after that." ^ Moore said the attention and press coverage that focuses on him has caused no problems with his teammates. "No one gets angry at all that stuff," he said. "At least not to my knowledge. I get kidded about it sure. But I worked hard to accomplish what I have. There's nothing wrong with that." Moore is a hard worker off the field as well, but not necessarily m the classroom. Going into his senior year, he carried a 91 grade point average. But, he added, it's not a result of tireless studying. "I can't remember the last time I took a book home," hd said. "I just don't have to study that much, and I don't like to read. I think the last book I read was 'Ethan Frome' and that was because I had to." Moore's hard work in the summer of his senior year included his Toyota truck and helping his father build a car wash. But when it comes to relaxation, he finds his fun in sports and in the church. "I'm not much of a television fan," he said. "I don't even watch sports on TV. I don't read Sports Illustrated or any of those magazines. For fun, I'll go to a movie or the batting cages or lift some weights. And I just got back from a summer youth week with my church." Bruce Swihart is the pastor at the First Baptist Church of Huffman, where Moore is a regular. He said, he hoped the summer youth-week would add a new dimension to the life of the young running back. - "Greg went to the youth week with us anjd made a spiritual committment to Christianity " said Swihart. "His life will now hopefully have an added dimension.' I can see a significant" change in him already, birt it's not that there was anything 1 wrong with him before. It's just that he'll be more well-rounded now. . "He told me he knew he'd be- making some important decisions regarding college soon He wanted the Lord's help in making them." Moore will indeed be faced with a college decision sometime during the coming school year He's already received information from almost every college in • Texas as well as UCLA. He said any scholarship decisions are on hold until after the Falcons (See MOORE'S, Page 12-BB) ite