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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Football: Work, Win, Repeat

Lakewood's Jesse Scroggins and Warren's Jesse Callier succeed using formula of hard work and fearlessness

By Robert Morales, Staff Writer

Dauntlessness and athletic prowess are two things Jesse Scroggins and Jesse Callier have in common.

For three years Scroggins played quarterback for Lakewood High.

He earned a reputation as one tough hombre. Raul Lara, the rival Poly coach, once said that when his Jackrabbits kept putting Scroggins on the ground in one particular game, Scroggins did not grow weak.

Instead, he got up and fearlessly continued the fight. That was when he was in the 10th grade.

Callier is the running back from Warren, who, as a junior in 2008 rushed for 2,466 yards and 30 touchdowns. Not satisfied, he set his sights on an even loftier goal - 3,000 yards. He achieved it.

For their fantastic senior seasons, Scroggins and Callier are the Press-Telegram's Dream Team co-Players of the Year for 2009.

Scroggins - a 6-foot-3, 202-pounder who signed a letter of intent to attend USC - completed 163 of 258 passes (63.2 percent) for 2,512 yards, 39 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He is gifted physically, and can throw the ball 70 yards. But it took more than that to make him who he is.

"It was everyone around me, that's all I gotta say," Scroggins said. "Mainly my father (Jesse). I think if I didn't have him, I wouldn't have been quite the player. I would have been the athlete, but not the player.

"And Coach Mac (Thadd MacNeal), because he taught me the fundamentals."

Scroggins said his dad practiced tough love with his son regarding football. He wasn't the father who said, "great play" any time his son touched the ball."

"He doesn't tell me that every time," said Scroggins, who led his team to the semifinals of the Pac-5 Division playoffs; he also helped the Lancers break Poly's 80-game Moore League winning streak on Oct. 9 with a 21-14 victory. "His expectations are very high, so I try to achieve those."

As for his stature as the type of player opponents can batter but not intimidate, Scroggins became animated when discussing that part of his arsenal.

"I don't ever stay down," Scroggins said. "Even if I'm bloody, I'm going to get back up and keep fighting."

Scroggins was named Player of the Year in the Moore League and was a first-team selection for CIF's All-Pac-5 Division team.

Callier carried the ball 313 times in 2008 and averaged 7.88 yards per carry. He knew he would have to run the ball at least that many times to get anywhere near his goal. Even if he did, his average would have to be higher.

No problem.

Callier rushed 300 times for 3,010 yards, an average of 10. He also had 43 touchdowns.

"It was my goal because I try to set high standards and because I'm not going to give up trying to reach that standard," said Callier, who has signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Washington.

"My goal was 3,000 yards. I told myself every day, `This is a journey, so don't quit and keep working out hard."'

The work started during the offseason and continued throughout the season, when Callier led the Bears to the San Gabriel Valley League championship and the quarterfinals of the Western Division playoffs.

"I don't," Callier said, "cheat any workout."

Callier was named first-team All-CIF in the Western Division.


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