Spirit Spotlight

12/08/08: Thompson named AV Press Athlete of the Week

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Lancaster, CA – Paraclete quarterback Robbie Thompson was named Athlete of the Week this Monday by the Antelope Valley Press. He earned the honors for his efforts during the Spirits 27-6 win against Temple City in the semifinal round of the 2008 CIF Mid-Valley Division playoffs. Down by six points to the Rams early on, the senior ignited the Spirits offense late in the second quarter with a 55-yard touchdown run. In the second half, he added two more scores; a 3-yard run and a 10-yard pass to Lavonte Barnett.  Thompson ended the night with 66 yards rushing and two touchdowns on seven carries. He also threw for 73 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while finishing 7 of 8 passing.

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12/01/08: Davis named AV Press Athlete of the Week

td2Lancaster, CA- Paraclete linebacker Todd Davis was named Athlete of the Week this Monday by the Antelope Valley Press. The junior literally grounded Northview’s offense, sacking quarterback Oscar Robles multiple times. Davis also led the charge in holding the Vikings to 101 yards in total offense.

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Buteyn named state stat star for effort against San Marino

From CalHiSports.com

Brandon Buteyn (Paraclete, Lancaster): Bolted for 249 yards rushing and hit pay dirt three times on 15 carries in the Spirits’ 42-14 CIFSS Mid-Valley first round playoff victory over San Marino.

Buteyn gets more ink for effort against Whittier Christian

From CalHiSports.com:

Brandon Buteyn (Paraclete, Lancaster): In a 38-12 Olympic League win against Whittier Christian, the senior rushed for a season-high 279 yards, scoring three touchdowns on 26 carries. On the year, he now has 1,190 yards and eight touchdowns on 114 carries.

Owen vs. Owen: A Family Affair

Cousins to meet for final time on football field

As Paraclete and LA Baptist prepare to take the field this Saturday, both teams have a short list of pending issues they would like to address. But when it comes down to Spirits junior captain Branden Owen, and Knights senior captain Daniel Owen, the game means the world to the cousins.

That’s because, unlike many other cousins, these two have shared a special kinship for quite sometime. After Branden’s parents divorced at an early age, he moved in with Daniel and his family at their Santa Clarita home.

“That’s how we became really close,” Branden said.

It wouldn’t take long before the two became inseparable, as they would pal around and share a lot of time and space together.

“Yeah, we’re really more like brothers than cousins,” Daniel added. “We’ve always done things together, even summer vacations.”

However, the two would eventually split when Branden moved up to the Antelope Valley. But it’s only been a 20-30 minute drive that’s kept the two apart.

To this day, they remain as close as ever. They constantly call each other, hangout on weekends, and still enjoy summer outings together. And even though its fall and they’re rivals on the gridiron, that doesn’t stop them from supporting each other.

“We definitely cheer each other on,” Daniel said. “When we’re not playing on the same day, we’ll go to each others game.”

The cousins have been fortunate this year, as their teams have played many weekends on opposite days.

“We try to get to each others games,” Branden explained. “I really keep an eye on what he’s doing because this is his senior year.”

Luckily, things are going to be easy for the two this weekend, as both teams are set to square off in a league battle. Both are starters (on both sides of the ball), so they’ll be seeing plenty of each other come Saturday.

A History of Football

Part of growing up together involved sports. The two would challenge each other in almost any sport, but football seemed to bring everyone together.

“We always played backyard football,” Branden said. “It was always my older brother and Daniel against my dad and me.”

Football made the bond stronger, but it also started a bit of a rivalry.

“For the record, I have to say we pretty much won all of the games,” Daniel said.

Branden didn’t argue the fact, but he said these days, he owns the bragging rights.

Three years ago they met again, playing on separate junior varsity teams. Brandon got the upper hand during the contest, when he sacked and intercepted Daniel.

So when they both made their respective varsity squads last season, the anticipation grew as the game got closer. But things fell through when Daniel injured his ankle and couldn’t play.

To this day, Daniel knows Branden has the momentum heading into this weekend, but he’s really thankful that the opportunity has been there.

“I never thought it would happen,” Daniel reflected. “When I was in youth football, both teams weren’t in the same league. But things changed, so we were guaranteed to play each other.”

When asked if there was something at stake this weekend, Branden said, “Yeah, we both want to win. We’re just so competitive.”

Instead, they both recognize each other and respect the others talent and ability.

For Daniel, Branden admires his athleticism and his smarts.

“He can play, but he really knows a lot about the game,” he said. “He’s good at reading defenses. He’s really smart. He knows what he’s doing. When you get down to it, he’s an athlete who has tons of heart.”

As for Branden, Daniel knows he’s a fierce competitor and one tough customer on both sides of the ball.

“I’m going to try and not let him lay a nasty hit on me,” he said. “But I’m excited too. I can’t wait to hit him a couple times too.”

But what’s got Daniel thinking is, the fact that the majority of the Paraclete team already knows him.

“Branden’s pretty much caused everyone to know me on his team,” he said. “I’m sure it doesn’t help that I’m close to some of them, like John Anson or AJ Culver. So I know they’ll be out they’re looking for me.”

See you at the 50

The Knights big rival in league has always been Village Christian. Though, Daniel believes that another rivalry with Paraclete has been heating up due to the fact the families are split between the two schools.

“I definitely think the rivalry has risen a bit,” he said. “Especially since I’ve been here and Branden has been over there.”

Both admitted talking to each other a little about this weekend, but they’ve saved a lot of the chatter for the big game.

“If I think about it too much, I’m just going to psych myself out,” Daniel said. “I’ve just tried to keep it as any other game that we got to win.”

Branden added, “There’s a lot of quiet confidence on both sides.”

Personal pride maybe at stake, but the two eagerly await the rematch.

“I’m not nervous, but I’m really excited,” Branden said. “I’ve been looking forward to this game for two years. This is it.”

The cousins will likely talk Friday night before the game, but they’re not going to offer up much to the other, besides best wishes.

Instead, they’ll just save it all until they see each other on the 50-yard line.

Davis plays up to the competition

Only a junior, the Spirits new linebacker continues to impress

For most kids, figuring out what they want from life early on can be a challenge. With all the pressures to be affiliated with this club, or to hangout with that group, the struggles to find a place where you fit in these days are ever so complicated. However, when it comes to Paraclete’s standout linebacker Todd Davis, some will agree he got in where he fit in some time ago.

Playing in the Spirits program, the junior has excelled since he landed on West 30th Street three summers ago. Though, to understand where Davis developed the innate ability he possesses today, we have to go back six years.

At the encouragement of his aunt and uncle, Davis signed up for the Highland youth football with his cousin, Josh Clemons. When he entered the program as a fifth grader, he was already bigger than the kids his age. The obvious size difference put him at far greater of an advantage, so he was forced to play up with the junior and senior teams.

“It was good because it was hard,” he explained. “Those guys were seventh and eighth graders. It really pushed me. I knew I could play against those guys, who were older and more experienced if I played and practiced hard.”

For the next three seasons, Davis did just that. That is, until he had to take his game to the next level. As an eight grader at Desert Christian, he was forced to make a big decision. Already a top up-and-coming talent in the Antelope Valley, he could have stayed and played for the Knights, or he could test himself against stronger and stiffer competition. He would choose the latter, but it came with one twist. He had to remain in a private school.

“My parents wanted to keep me in private schools,” Davis recalled. “I knew Paraclete had a good program with good coaches. That helped me make my choice.”

During the summer of 2006, Davis arrived on the campus full of promise and eager to catch the eye of the coaching staff. He wasted little time, when he started practicing with the varsity squad. But he was dealt a minor setback when he injured his leg. Upon his return, Davis would go onto play the majority of the year with the junior varsity. At the end of the regular season, he was awarded with lineman of the year honors.

Quite the challenge for a young freshman, no? Remember, that was only the regular season.

The varsity squad had challenging year under first year coach Norm Dahlia, but they squeaked into playoffs with a 5-4 record. Then, coach Dahlia called Davis up as the Spirits drew Santa Clara in the first round.

Paraclete would fall to the Saints 21-28, but the experience alone helped paved the way for the budding freshman.

“I thanked god that they had the confidence in me, that they believed in me, and that they felt I could be factor when I get out on that field,” he said about the varsity coaching staff that year. “I’m just really thankful.”

What Sophomore Jinx?

Davis returned for the 2007 season looking to build off his successful freshman campaign. After spending all summer working hard with the varsity, he was caught by surprise when he was named a starter.

“I didn’t know I was fighting for a starting position until a couple days before our first game,” Davis recalled. “Then, coach comes up and says, ‘hey, you got the starting spot.’ He really wanted to see what I had. And I think that took a lot of confidence for the staff to believe and trust in me.”

He admitted he was a little nervous at first, but Davis trusted in his ability and forged ahead.

“I was really nervous,” he said about the expectations early on. “But there was a point that I knew if I put my all into it, I wouldn’t have a reason to hold my head down.”

And he did just that. Davis went on to be a big part of the Spirits squad that went 12-1 last year. He finished with 83 total tackles, but caught everyone’s attention because he had a nose for sacks.

“It was great,” he said about the sacks. “But during the first four games, that wasn’t on my mind. I was just thinking about playing my best.”

You can call it blind ambition, but the fact that Davis was averaging a sack a game didn’t even set in until someone else told him about the feat.

“One of my friends actually came up to me and said, ‘hey I saw MaxPreps and you’re leading [the team] in sacks,” he said.  “I didn’t believe it until I went to check it out for myself.”

Instead of gloating over his success, Davis went right back to work each week trying to improve.

“That became another big motivator for me,” he explained. “Now, I was not only looking to stop the other team’s offense, but I was also looking to get in that category too.”

To his credit, Davis ended his second year with a two game sack streak, and led the defense with 11.

A star in the making

In the midst of his junior season, Davis has got off to a hot start. He’s been causing opposing offense’s headaches and literally forcing rival coaches to script their offense away from him. Regardless of personal effort, the team started off 0-3, and that weighed heavily on his mind.

Through the pain of defeat, another dimension started to emerge in is game. Instead of getting frustrated about the slow start, Davis found a lot of pride stepping up and leading by example throughout Paraclete’s winless streak.

“I think it’s important,” he explained. “When you get hyped up and do good things, it really gets the rest of the guys going.”

Though he hasn’t been listed as a captain to date, it was only a matter of time before players around him started following his lead.

“Then all of a sudden, everyone wants to make that big play too,” he added. “You start pushing everyone else and you got everyone playing harder. Now everyone is involved for the greater good of the team.”

Reiterating a team first mentality, the junior even made a personal sacrifice when the coaches asked to move him from defensive tackle to linebacker before the fourth game of the season.

“I was a bit thrown off and nervous beforehand because I haven’t played that position before,” he said. “I got two days of practice in, and then they start me there for the game [against Desert].”

A little apprehensive about starting a new position against a quick and agile runner in Desert High School’s quarterback Terrance Wells, Davis took it in stride and played an excellent game. He registered 15 tackles and a sack. But most of all, he was happy that the Spirits got their first win (a 26-0 shutout win nonetheless).

Davis was pleased about his performance against Desert because the pressure was on and the stakes were high, but he was more grateful that the win helped bring the team together.

“Looking at our first few games, we were 11 guys going out there and putting out our best, but we weren’t necessarily a family,” he explained. “As things kept going, we started to come together. I really think that’s what helped us find those wins.”

And for Davis’ move to linebacker, he has no one to thank but his teammates for the smooth transition.

“What they’re doing on the [defensive] line creates havoc,” he said. “If they make the running backs slow down to get around people, it makes my job ten times easier. Plus, playing with a guy like Swanny [Kyle Swanson], I know he’s going to do his job. That goes for the line too. I know Justin [Vargas], John [Pratt], Branden [Owen], and Lavonte [Barnett] are going to do work and do their jobs. With all that havoc on the line and Swanny next to me, I know there’s not too much I have to worry about in my area because everyone else has their areas covered.”

What about those sacks

With 6.5 sacks over the first six games, Davis extended his streak to eight games. He was a little worried about moving to linebacker, only because he’d be in coverage at times. But as he found out, the coaching staff wanted him to keep the pressure on. So the staff worked out schemes where he would be called on to blitz a lot.

“They told me the sacks were still important,” Davis said. “That pumped me because I get to go after the quarterback at full speed and hopefully with nothing in my way.”

Not much has stopped Davis, as he’s been able to chip away at the goal of 20 sacks he and his dad set this season. Though, after facing yet another spread offense from Whittier Christian last week, he saw his sack streak end against the Heralds. He’s not overly worried either, as long as he continues to improve.

“It would really be nice getting those 20 sacks,” he said. “But I think it will be okay, especially if I change for the better when it comes to my all around game.”

The coaches flirted with the idea of sending him back to the line, but they’ve been too busy signing his praises.

Regardless of where he ends up throughout the remainder of the season, Davis remains a bona fide threat to any team’s offense. And the rest of the Olympic League should take notice, because whether 20 is the magic number or not, he’s bound and determined to cause a ruckus in the process.

“These are the big ones that count for everything,” he added. “If we don’t win them, we can’t get into the playoffs.”

To college and beyond

It’s not that hard to look at Davis and realize he’s had a bright future ahead of him for quite sometime. Having matured and developed into an all-star player at Paraclete, the next logical step for the young player is college. And it’s not out of the question either. Davis is also excelling in the classroom.

“Sports have also helped me keep my grades up,” he said. “I know I have to work just as hard in the classroom as I do on the field.

“My academics have also helped me on the field, because it has taught me to work harder to get things done. I mean I might have to stay up late after practice to get an essay done or get some extra homework done. It just pushes me to put in a little more effort to get past any obstacles I need to.”

Slowly but surely, Davis has been turning into a double-threat college recruit. Talent on the field is one thing, but if there is anything else a college coach loves to hear, it is that a prospective athlete is also a good student.

“I actually think about college daily,” he explained. “I’m starting to think about the scheduling I’m going to have to do to balance things because of the demands of being a student athlete. There’s going to be classes to take, playing football, sometimes one to two practices a day, and homework.”

And for guidance off the field, he’s had his parents lead to follow. Both have college degrees, and both constantly stress the importance of academics.

“They talk to me about college everyday,” he said. “They remind the importance of keeping my grades up and because football is not always going to be there. They put things in perspective because they remind me that I have to have something to fall back on. That’s going to be my education.”

Thankfully, colleges are starting to get the whole picture on Davis. Even some Pac-10 teams are starting to take notice.

“It’s an awesome experience,” he said. “I mean, I’m living in Palmdale. So how are people in Washington contacting me? It’s really cool and it’s leaves you with a good feeling.”

Now, if he could only get that powerhouse Pac-10 program south of the Antelope Valley to take notice, everything would be set.

Until then he says, “I’m just going to have to step my game up, get smarter, stronger, and faster if I want to play at the next level.”

There’s no doubt he’ll rise up to the occasion.

CalHiSports recognizes Buteyn

The staff over at CalHiSports turned in their recap of last week’s top performers around the state. We’re happy to report that Brandon Buteyn was recognized as State Stat Star of the Week for his effort against Grace Brethren.

Brandon Buteyn (Paraclete, Lancaster): During a 34-12 win against Grace Brethren of Simi Valley, the senior rushed for 266 yards and scored two touchdowns on 15 carries. Buteyn led the Spirits in total offense (266), scoring (12) and all-purpose yards (308).

For the entire article, follow this link!

Butyen earns some ink for big night against Grace

Brandon Buteyn had a big night against Grace Brethren last Friday….which caught the   attention from the press.

Follow the link below:

Daily News: Game Recaps from Friday Nights Action (at the bottom)

Daily News: Big Night for local prep offenses

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Coach Dahlia on defensive changes to the Daily News

10/03/08

OLYMPIC

–After losing its first three games, Paraclete switched top DL Todd Davis to LB last week at Desert, and the result was a 26-0 victory, as Paraclete allowed just 120 yards.

“It was all about the defense,” Paraclete coach Norm Dahlia said.

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/ci_10626707

Daily News: Gittleson on Clete’s Win last Friday

Spirits’ quest

Paraclete of Lancaster continues its quest to recapture past glory. The Spirits won five consecutive section titles from 1997 to 2001, but eventually fell on hard times, winning just 12 games over a three-year span from 2004 to ’06 before going 12-1 last season and advancing to the Mid-Valley semifinals.

This year, the Spirits started 0-3 but won for the first time Friday, 26-0 over Desert of Edwards Air Force Base.

“That win was huge. We needed it so bad,” coach Norm Dahlia said. “Everyone was where they were supposed to be and doing their job, and there were no excuses.”

Paraclete’s record is deceiving because of an upgraded schedule.

“You’ve got to look at who we’re playing, and I planned it out this way because last year we played weaker teams, then had a hard time in the playoffs,” Dahlia said. “We want to prepare for bigger teams.”

http://www.dailynews.com/preps/ci_10580516

09/16/08: Dean to get start at center for Bruins

Former Paraclete Football player Jake Dean is looking to get his first start at UCLA this weekend.

Follow this link to get the inside scoop.

Congrats Jake!!!!!

09/08/08: Buteyn named AV Press Athlete of the Week

Lancaster, Calif – Paraclete running back Brandon Buteyn was named Athlete of    the Week today, by the Antelope Valley Press. Despite being hindered by tonsillitis, the courageous Spirit took the field last Friday night against Serrano and literally put on a show. When the contest came to a close, Buteyn scored two touchdowns en route to racking up a total of 278 all-purpose yards (131-yds rushing, 28-yds receiving, 5-yds on punt returns, and 114-yds on kickoff returns).

Congrats Brandon!!!!!

09/06/08: Davis and Swanson earn more honors

Even with tons of Week 0 games on tap, CalHiSports.com Senior Editor Ronnie Flores released the Preseason All-CIFSS S.F.-S.C. Valley FB Team earlier today. Todd Davis and  Kyle Swanson were listed on the team. Follow this link to see their profiles and the rest of the team.

08/31/08: Spirits duo pick up preseason recognition

LA Times Eric Sondheimer is publishing a series discussing the top area high school players at each position. So far, Paraclete’s own Kyle Swanson was listed in the article among the better linebackers in the Southern Section…..link

Also, Todd Davis was noted among the better defensive linemen in the Southern Section….link

08/30/08: Local writer thinks Paraclete could give Oaks Christian a fight in the playoffs

In previewing teams likely to contend for the Divsion 3 state championship, Daily News scribe Erik Boal thinks Paraclete could  be in contention to challenge Oaks Christian….link

08/28/08: Local Writer says “beware” of Paraclete

LA Times High School sports guru Eric Sondheimer says opponents should take note of the Spirits in a recent blog entry…..link

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