Jason Heller is 5 feet 8, 180 pounds, with boundless energy, unflinching fearlessness and the reliable hands of an NFL receiver.
Every week, the Westlake Village Westlake senior receiver puts on a show bouncing off defenders, diving to make catches, juking and tiptoeing while leaving fans saying, “Wow.”
It happened again Friday night at Moorpark High in a performance that even Odell Beckham Jr. would have applauded. Heller caught nine passes for 280 yards and one touchdown in Westlake’s 34-0 victory over the Musketeers.
“He’s a special talent and so much fun to watch,” Westlake coach Tim Kirksey said.
Said Heller: “I’m trying to score every time I touch the ball.”
He had receptions of 46, 40, 44 and 73 yards. Another 48-yard reception was nullified by a penalty.
“He’s quick, he’s scrappy,” Moorpark cornerback Joaquin Sandoval said.
The other big story for the Warriors (5-0) was junior quarterback Patrick Roberg, who completed 14 of 24 passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns while also running for a touchdown in his first varsity start.
Roberg would throw up the ball and Heller would catch it, covered or not. The Musketeers (3-1) knew they had to cover him, but that’s not easy. During summer passing competitions, defensive backs were tearing Heller’s jersey holding him while trying to keep up.
Roberg, who lost out on a close competition for the starting quarterback job, got the chance to start because Marco Siderman suffered a high ankle sprain last week. Roberg didn’t look like a backup. He had touchdown passes of 43 yards to Kamren Fabiculanan and 75 yards to James Anders as Westlake took a 28-0 halftime lead. Sean Scott also scored on a a 62-yard touchdown run.
Defensively, Texas-bound De’Gabriel Floyd had an interception at linebacker. He’s headed to Texas on Saturday to watch the USC-Texas game. But the most impressive defender was Fabiculanan playing cornerback and assigned to USC-bound receiver Drake London of Moorpark.
Wait until his future coach at Washington, Chris Petersen, takes a look at the highlights. Fabiculanan wouldn’t let London get loose, limiting the receiver to to four receptions for 34 yards. At the same time, Moorpark quarterback Blake Sturgill had little time to throw, with only 114 yards passing.
As for Heller, his weekly performances have to be making an impression on college recruiters. He never lets size affect him. While quarterbacks usually decide to throw up passes to 6-5 receivers, Westlake’s quarterbacks have no trouble thinking Heller will still get the ball.
“My quarterback has all the faith in me to get the ball,” Heller said.
Said Kirksey: “He can go anywhere on the field. You don’t take plays off in the secondary. You can’t blink.”