There is a certain pressure to being a running back named Blaise Bryant.
There’s the pressure of coming to a community college, Golden West, from a Division I program, Hawaii. Then there’s the matter of his high school success at Cypress.
Bryant gained 1,275 yards and was a Times’ All-County back and an All-Southern Section selection in 1986.
“Every time I get the ball people expect me to break three tackles and go around the end for 80 yards and a score,” Bryant said. “But I don’t mind the pressure. I think I was born to put a lot of pressure on myself.”
Then there’s his first name. It’s a perfect nickname for someone with good speed. But it’s not a nickname.
“My dad must have told me about eight stories about my first name,” Bryant said. “The best one is that when I was being born, he was in the hospital and listening to a football game and the announcer said someone went for a long touchdown run ‘in a blaze of glory.’ ”
If that’s so, Bryant has lived up to his name this season. He has rushed for 304 yards in 71 carries for Golden West (2-1 overall and 1-1 in Mission Conference play), which plays host to El Camino (2-1, 1-1) tonight at 7 at Orange Coast College.
Bryant got a scholarship to Hawaii, but came to Golden West in late August after finding out he was going to be academically ineligible and would have to sit out a season if he stayed at Hawaii.
As a freshman, Bryant rushed for 801 yards but missed most of four games because of a chipped bone in his right ankle.
Some doctors told Bryant he was done for the season, but Golden West trainer Chip Marchbank was able to design a program of treatment and rehabilitation that got Bryant back for the final three games.
Bryant has managed to solve his academic troubles. He will complete his associate of arts degree this fall and will be ready to transfer to a four-year college in the spring.
In other Mission Conference games:
Southwestern (1-2, 2-0) vs. Rancho Santiago (2-0-1, 1-0-1), 7 p.m.--The Dons will be without talented wide receiver Alex Trabattoni, who injured a rib in a 17-17 tie with Long Beach. He is expected to return next week. Scott Wood will start at quarterback for the second consecutive game, but Eric Turner will start the second half.
Mt. San Antonio (2-1, 1-1) at Saddleback (3-0, 2-0), 7 p.m.--The Gauchos are allowing 85 yards a game rushing, but will face their biggest challenge so far. Mt. San Antonio averages 234 yards a game, led by Arizona State transfer Leonard Russell. He has gained 345 yards in 58 carries.
Saddleback has plenty of talent on offense and leads the conference, averaging 418 yards in total offense. But Coach Ken Swearingen is still waiting for the team to play a solid four quarters.
Fullerton (3-0, 2-0) at San Diego Mesa (1-2, 1-1), 7 p.m.--Fullerton, Saddleback, Riverside and Rancho Santiago are the only undefeated teams in the 16-team conference. Mesa already has lost to Saddleback and Riverside. Fullerton moved to the top of the Southland poll for the first time since 1983.
San Diego City (1-2, 0-2) at Orange Coast (2-1, 1-1), 1:30 p.m.--OCC continues to search for an offense but its defense continues to be impressive.
OCC is second in the conference in total defense, allowing 236 yards a game.