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Delmatoff Finds Division I Scholarship Out of His Reach

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Davis Delmatoff is keeping busy, preparing for the upcoming Southern Section playoffs with his Hart High basketball teammates.

Delmatoff, though, also would like to be making preparations for football--the sport for which he is most renowned. He is the seventh Hart quarterback to be selected All-Southern Section, and he had hoped to spend most of January on recruiting trips that would land him in a major college.

However, Delmatoff was not offered any trips and remains without a scholarship offer more than two weeks after the first day of the signing period for high school athletes.

Delmatoff, the triggerman of the Indians’ run-and-shoot offense, was selected to The Times’ All-Valley team after leading the state in touchdown passes (36) and finishing third in passing yards (3,196). His play helped Hart, ranked first in The Times’ regional poll for much of the season, enjoy an undefeated regular season en route to the Foothill League title. Hart finished 11-1 when it was eliminated in the Division II semifinals by Crescenta Valley, 13-7.

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While Delmatoff’s accomplishments were numerous, colleges have shied away from him because of his size. He is listed at 6-foot-1 in Hart game programs but is closer to 5-10.

“I know I’m not 6-3 and I know that’s what colleges look for,” Delmatoff said. “I can see where they’re coming from because they need big quarterbacks at that level.

“I really haven’t been that surprised by this.”

Seven Hart quarterbacks have been selected All-Southern Section: Dean Herrington ('81), Tom Bonds ('83), his younger brother Jim ('85, ’86), Darren Renfro ('87), Rob Westervelt ('88, ’89), Ryan Connors ('90, ’91) and Delmatoff ('92). Jim Bonds, who started briefly during his senior year at UCLA, is the lone member of the group to play at a major college.

Delmatoff is unsure of his next move. He wants to continue playing football and might do so at Valley or Pierce. Naturally, Delmatoff is disappointed about the snub but stresses he is not angry.

His coaches are not as understanding.

“This is very upsetting,” Hart Coach Mike Herrington said. “I hate these coaches who say, ‘You know, he is a great athlete, but we’re looking for the 6-2, 6-3 kid,’ which is just ridiculous.

“He can get the job done. A lot of schools are making a mistake.”

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Said offensive coordinator Dean Herrington: “We’re kind of stunned. This height thing is a crying shame. There are a lot of kids who couldn’t hold a candle to Davis who are getting scholarships.”

Washington State recruiter Andre Patterson disagrees.

“At the quarterback position, height is what makes the difference when you’re deciding between kids,” said Patterson, the Cougar defensive line coach. “Most of the linemen at the Division I level are 6-4 if not 6-5, 6-6 or 6-7, and so are the people rushing them, so it’s really hard for a 5-10 kid to look over all that.

“Another thing is that (Hart) runs the run-and-shoot offense. They throw the ball so much that it leads to some very inflated numbers. The fans see that they throw for 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns, but that doesn’t mean they are Division I quarterbacks.”

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Delmatoff said he knew entering the season his chances of winning a scholarship were slim.

“I realized the value of height after watching what (Connors) went through last year,” Delmatoff said. “Here he was breaking all these Southern Section records and he didn’t get a major ride.”

Connors was the first player in Southern Section history to pass for more than 4,000 yards. He was selected The Times’ All-Valley back of the year in 1991 after passing for 4,144 yards and 39 touchdowns.

He too received no scholarship offers because of his size. Although listed at 6-0, Connors was also closer to 5-10. Connors is attending a one-year preparatory school in Newport, R.I., for the Naval Academy, with hopes of attending Navy next fall.

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“It was very hard on all of us when Ryan didn’t get noticed after what he accomplished,” said Connors’ father, Bernie. “It’s exactly what (Delmatoff) is facing now. You would think more schools would be willing to take a chance on kids who have done so much.

“They’ve shown they can play.”

Buena Coach Rick Scott says it is not that simple. Scott, who developed quarterbacks Jim Bonds and Renfro when he was the Hart coach, said the height of quarterbacks at the Division I level is important.

“Linemen keep getting bigger, so schools have to go out and get those prototype 6-3 guys to compete,” Scott said. “It’s not a knock against a smaller kid’s ability, it’s the reality of the game at that level.”

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