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Friday, August 25, 2006

Senior Pelesasa has the reins at Woodside

Senior Pelesasa has the reins at Woodside
- Mitch Stephens, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

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Matt Pelesasa said thanks, but no thanks.

The then-sophomore was asked by the Woodside varsity football staff to play linebacker or defensive end on the 2004 team, which went 13-0 and won the Central Coast Section Medium School title.

"He wanted to play quarterback so we sent him back down to the frosh-soph team," Woodside coach Steve Nicolopulos said. "Turned out to be a pretty good decision."

Pelesasa, now a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior, looks like just the right guy to lead the Wildcats to a possible Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division title and second CCS championship in three years.

"He's got a strong arm, throws a real nice ball and he's learned to see all the things we want him to see in reading the defense," Nicolopulos said.

He wouldn't have seen them playing linebacker, where he played in Pop Warner leagues.

Pelesasa wanted the reins of the football team so he opted to be a signal-caller as a 10th grader.

He had a solid season and was called up to the varsity during Woodside's playoff run. "We knew he was a pretty special kid," Nicolopulos said.

With 18 starters gone from the 2004 team, Pelesasa took some lumps as the varsity quarterback last year. He threw for more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Woodside, which moved up from the PAL Ocean to the Bay Division, was 6-5 last year, losing a first-round CCS game to Oak Grove 30-14.

It will help this season that Lopeti Taufoou is in the backfield. The 5-11, 180-pound running back was the West Catholic Athletic League Sophomore of the Year in 2004. He transferred from Serra to Woodside last year but sat out the season.

Taufoou reminds the Woodside coach of 2004 All-Metro tailback Tyreece Jacks, now at CCSF. "They both have a set of wheels, that's for sure," Nicolopulos said. "Lopeti is a real good kid. His work ethic is second to none. And as a player, he's the real deal."

That should open up the Woodside passing game for Pelesasa.

"He's ready," Nicolopulos said.

E-mail Mitch Stephens at mstephens@sfchronicle.com.

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URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/08/23/SPG07KN9PO1.DTL

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