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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Senior quarterback Alo holds key to Carson's gridiron success

Among the ultra-talented skill players and the gargantuan linemen, it did not take long for new Carson football coach Elijah Asante to find the face of his program.
Meet Justin Alo, a strong-armed quarterback who might hold the key to Carson's success this season.
Asante said he immediately saw something special in a 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior.
"A lot of people don't know about him yet, but he's going to have a big year. A `big' year," Asante said. "I think he can be the L.A. City (Section) Player of the Year and get a Division I scholarship. He can leave a legacy here by winning a championship."
When Asante talks about quarterbacks, he commands immediate attention.
Asante's track record speaks volumes, having coached both Deshawn Beck and James Boyd at L.A. Jordan. Both became City Section Players of the Year.
Now Asante has grand plans for Alo.
"Beck was a phenomenal athlete, and Boyd was a man-child who could physically dominate a game, but Alo is a combination of those guys and is more of a complete quarterback," Asante said.
"The main thing is his demeanor and leadership. He's very calm, intelligent and he's good at reading defenses and picking up blitzes."
Alo split time last season with Daniel Torres, but Asante said he is putting Alo in control this season.
"He will be calling a good percentage of plays, and that doesn't happen too often at the high school, college or pro level," Asante said. "He can manage a game - downs and distance. He's a playmaker, and I have complete trust in him."
Alo, who shed his poofy long hair for a cleaner braided look this season, said he feels prepared to lead the Colts as they open the season against powerhouse Mater Dei on Saturday at 7p.m. at Santa Ana Stadium.
"I took last season and learned from it," Alo said. "Now I'm a senior, and I'm going to step up and be a playmaker."
Alo said Asante has been in his corner the entire time since taking over as coach in March.
"He's made me feel like a leader," Alo said. "He gave me the freedom to take control of the offense and has given me a lot of confidence.
"I didn't know much about him when he arrived, but I learned he worked with Beck and could bring something to the table. He's been very open-minded and has wanted to hear what I've had to say. He mixed it all together."
Alo will have the benefit of taking snaps behind a sizeable line that is anchored by Steven Dine and Christian Saole.
Then there is his talented receiving crew that includes Darreus Rogers, Jeremy Bennett and tight end Dominique Birria.
Alo said he and Rogers developed a repertoire when they were both on the junior varsity team together two years ago.
"I've got a lot of playmakers, but I've had a chance to play with Darreus before," Alo said. "We played together on junior varsity, and now we have a chance to keep building a strong connection on varsity."
If Alo is a name that is familiar, it is because Alo's family carries rich athletic bloodlines.
He has three older siblings - James, 28, Adrienne, 26, and Ryan, 21.
Adrienne has her number retired by the Carson softball program and played at Oregon State.
And "Uncle Mike" is Michael Alo, one of the finest football players in Banning's rich history.
There is usually a large Alo cheering section at each Carson game.
"It's a lot of people," Alo said. "We have a big family."
Asante believes Alo has positioned himself for a breakthrough season, one that can ignite the recruiting process. As of now, Alo has only received letters of interest, no offers.
But Alo has put in time at the USC camp and summer passing leagues. Asante deemed him ready to take over the program.
"He's a competitor. He worked hard in the offseason," Asante said. "He's already pretty comfortable.
"He knows the success of the team rests on his shoulders."

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