When 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior linebacker Lawson Hall of Harbor City Narbonne stands next to his mother, Felicia, they are a duo with whom not to mess.
Felicia might be small at 5-11/2, but she's a Los Angeles Police Department lieutenant who says, "I've been known to hold my own."
Hall has learned discipline, toughness and the importance of working hard watching his mother in and out of uniform.
"She's very good at her job," he said. "I'm proud of her."
Mom never missed a football passing competition this summer, always showing up with a camera, and there was plenty to document. Hall is on his way to becoming one of the best linebackers in the City Section.
He has been playing the sport since he was 7.
"I fell in love with the game. I couldn't stop playing," he said.
He's 16 and continues to get stronger.
"Being bigger and stronger is a big part of football, because to get around the defense or to jam somebody or tackle somebody, it's always better to be bigger and stronger," he said. "That's why I'm working hard."
He has a good idea what it takes to be an effective outside linebacker.
"You have a big zone to worry about," he said. "You have to work from sideline to sideline. And you always have to be physical. If you're not physical, you can't play outside linebacker."
Last season as a sophomore, he was on the field when Narbonne was beaten by Crenshaw, 20-13, in the City Section Division I final. Three safeties because of bad center snaps on punts cost the Gauchos dearly.
"I learned practice makes perfect," he said. "If we could have practiced our snapping, then we probably would have won the game."
With a 3.8 grade-point average, Hall clearly is focused on and off the field.
"School is very important," he said. "You need school for whatever you want to do in life."
Narbonne Coach Manuel Douglas tells the story of how college recruiters started paying attention to Hall after a summer passing competition.
"He's running around with no shirt on, and I noticed a lot of coaches pointing him out, and I told him to leave his shirt off," Douglas said. "They were saying, 'Who's that guy?' They want to know a guy who works hard and is physically developing."
In the weight room, Hall goes all out, just like he does in the classroom.
"He's only going to get better and is really coming into his own," Douglas said.
Of course, Hall isn't about to take it easy with an LAPD lieutenant sleeping in the same home.
"I try not to interrogate him," Felicia said. "He's a good kid."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times