Chad Millan of Los Alamitos High School is the strong, silent type off the field.
But on a football field, sparks fly.
“I’m pretty mellow, somewhat shy,” the senior wide receiver said. “But once it comes to playing, it’s like a switch flips. You feel the electricity from the crowd, the excitement, that drive to make the big plays.”
Millan, The Times’ Athlete of the Week, has responded to the excitement by catching 43 passes for 819 yards and six touchdowns this season. Thursday against Loara, he caught 10 passes for 160 yards in Los Alamitos’ 16-14 victory.
Though Millan strives to set an example for others, he said he feels comfortable following quarterback Todd Gragnano’s leadership.
“Todd takes control on the field, doing what he can to help the team win,” Millan said. “We worked out together over the summer to try to be a real good combo. He’s a great friend, whether you play sports or not.”
Millan, a three-year starter, will try to help the Griffins to their third consecutive Empire League championship, which could be clinched Thursday with a victory over El Dorado.
Los Alamitos (7-1 overall, 3-0 in league) has reached the Southern Section Division III finals the past two years, losing to El Toro in 1987 and Paramount in ’88.
“Besides wanting to win league for the third time,” Millan said, “we’ve won 18 league games in a row, so we’re trying to keep that going, too.”
Millan, who said he wants to be an architect, understands that his chances of getting an athletic scholarship are slim. His coach, John Barnes, said the position of wide receiver is highly competitive.
“We’ve had great ones every year,” Barnes said. “Colleges want wide receivers to be the fastest guy that ever lived. But with the way Chad has been performing, he has an excellent chance of being recruited.”
But even if he isn’t, Millan won’t be too upset. “I have a real joyful spirit,” he said. “Sure, there are times when you get frustrated, upset, but I don’t really get mad at people. I just try to do the best I can.”
Coy Collins, Loara High School tailback, carried 23 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns in a 16-14 loss to Los Alamitos Thursday.
Brian Haas, El Toro tight end/linebacker, caught the game-winning touchdown pass with 5:07 remaining and had an interception with 57 seconds to play to seal a 21-14 victory over Mission Viejo Friday.
Greg Johnston, a linebacker at Ocean View, deflected four passes, one of which was intercepted and returned 15 yards to set up the Seahawks’ final touchdown. Johnson also had a sack in a 21-7 victory over Huntington Beach Friday.
Shad Vickers, Irvine halfback, gained 88 yards in 14 carries and caught four passes for 68 yards in a 22-0 loss to Capistrano Valley Thursday.
Los Alamitos High School
Position: Wide receiver
Height, Weight, Class: 6-1, 181, Senior.
Last Week: Millan caught 10 passes for 160 yards in a 16-14 victory over Loara Thursday.
Season: Millan has caught 43 passes for 819 yards and six touchdowns.