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On High Schools: Success tastes like Dodger Stadium turf to Franklin's David Telles

On High Schools: Success tastes like Dodger Stadium turf to Franklin's David Telles
Franklin receiver David Telles looks for some running room against Van Nuys on Sept. 1. (David Abbott / Splash Art Photography)

There are many strange things to eat around the world. You can try tarantula in Cambodia; chew on roasted ants in Colombia; munch on fried grasshoppers in Thailand; sip snail soup in Morocco.

David Telles, a standout receiver and defensive back for Los Angeles Franklin High, has experienced a delicacy few others in the Southland have tried.

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It happened last May at Dodger Stadium. The All-City outfielder was getting ready to play in the City Section Division II championship baseball game.

"The scene before the game was amazing, just walking into Dodger Stadium, us alone, getting settled in the dugout, getting our cleats on, all the thoughts going through your head, all the emotions going through your body and finally running out to the field," he said.

Telles was lying on his back stretching while looking up into the sky. Then he turned onto his belly, pulled two pieces of grass from the field, put them into his mouth and swallowed.

"It was a surreal moment," he said. "I wanted it to be special. I don't know how you can describe what grass tastes like. I just felt like eating a piece of grass because I was at Dodger Stadium and it might happen only one time."

To hear Telles' story provides insight into his love for sports.

"It helps me escape my problems," he said.

He lives with his sister but his family has been scattered for several years. He has lived with friends, in hotels and motels, yet has maintained a 3.0 grade-point average. He wants to become either a firefighter or police officer.

"I've had to grow up and mature and understand everything," he said.

In football, he's so fast that teammates assume that whenever he touches the ball, he has a chance to score. He's averaging 27.3 yards a catch with six touchdowns. He's 5 feet 9, weighs 153 pounds and knows how to juke and run away from defenders. He rarely leaves the field, returning punts and kickoffs besides catching passes and playing safety on defense.

In baseball last season, he batted .427 and stole 24 bases in 25 attempts. He's been starting since his freshman year. He's probably the best all-around athlete at Franklin.

Football, though, has a special place in his life. He's been playing the game since third grade, when he started in Lincoln Heights youth football.

"I just love the adrenaline," he said. "I love hearing the crowd cheer when someone makes a big play. I love how fast I am."

All-around athlete has stories to tell (Eric Sondheimer)

Franklin is 7-0 and considered one of the favorites in the City Section's Division III. The Panthers play Lincoln on Friday for first place in the Northern League.

Topping his Dodger Stadium experience will be tough.

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"Nothing compares to Dodger Stadium," he said. "You're playing on the big stage."

And when people ask him what his favorite meal was, he'll respond, "I can say I have a piece of grass from Dodger Stadium in my system."

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: @latsondheimer

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