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The Preps : Boys’ Athlete of the Week : Acevedo Leaves Buena Park Coach, and Opponents, With Few Options

Times Staff Writer

Matt Acevedo’s first play as quarterback for Buena Park High School was enough to convince Coach Rick Foley that he should be in the lineup.

As a reserve in 1987, Acevedo came off the bench in the third game of the season when starter Dave Baylor developed leg cramps. On his first play, Acevedo gained 15 yards on an option play and made a big impression on Foley.

“He just took off around the corner,” Foley said. “We had never seen that type of speed from him in practice. The general reaction of the coaches was: ‘Where did this come from?’ We started taking him a little more seriously as a player from then on.”

Brea-Olinda’s football team might have the same feeling after Friday night’s game against the Coyotes.

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Acevedo, The Times’ athlete of the week, had touchdown runs of 67 and 21 yards and also returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown in 20-7 Buena Park victory. It was the Coyotes’ first victory in a season opener since beating La Mirada in 1982.

“We really wanted that game,” said Acevedo, a senior. “We didn’t want to lose another season opener. We were focused on that game since summer practice began.”

Acevedo was the starting quarterback on a 1-9 sophomore team in 1986, but didn’t figure to play on the varsity last season. Baylor was a part-time starter as a junior and had won the job outright in 1987.

However, after Acevedo’s impressive debut, Foley started looking ahead.

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“We saw a light in the tunnel,” said Foley, whose team snapped a 37-game winless streak last season. “We wanted to get our junior quarterback some experience for this season.”

Before the fifth game, Foley told Acevedo he would be the starter, with Baylor moving to tailback.

Although the Coyotes lost the final five games, Acevedo played well. And he gained valuable experience.

“Coach Foley told me I was the starter for the rest of the season,” Acevedo said. “I knew I wasn’t going to be pulled for making a mistake. That gave me a chance to learn.”

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Acevedo continued his education during the summer. He attended a football camp for quarterbacks and receivers at Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, where he he improved his footwork and passing skills.

“I developed a stronger arm and worked on the technique of pitching the ball on the option,” Acevedo said. “You have to always expect to get hit. But after my first run last year, I found that it didn’t hurt. The fear left.”

TOP PERFORMERS

Derek Brown of Servite rushed for 169 yards in 17 attempts. Brown, a senior tailback, had touchdown runs of 8 and 45 yards, as the Friars defeated Colton, 21-15, Saturday.

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Mike Cook, Fountain Valley wide receiver, caught 7 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown in the Barons’ 22-17 victory over Mater Dei Thursday night.

Eric Ekdahl, Mission Viejo running back, rushed 4 times for 37 yards, caught 6 passes for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Diablos defeated San Diego Morse, 14-7.

Randy Karliner of Ocean View, a sophomore playing in his first varsity game, completed 11 of 14 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown Thursday night. He also rushed for two touchdowns as Ocean View defeated Cypress, 19-0.

Jason Neben of Orange Lutheran set a school record with 279 yards rushing in the Lancers’ 28-0 victory over Pater Noster Saturday. Neben, a senior quarterback, had touchdown runs of 9, 73 and 69 yards.

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