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La Habra's Ross stays caught up in the postseason
LA HABRA – Prince Ross can’t catch a break.
The razzing commenced during the team’s film session Saturday morning, carried over into the school week, and on a recent afternoon at La Habra’s football practice, it seemed to reach its apex.
Make sure you show off that Colgate smile, Prince.
You know that’s the first time you used two hands to catch a pass all season.
It’s Odell Beckham Junior Jr. everyone!
The onslaught of comments from his teammates has been relentless, the price that came with hauling in the championship-winning Hail Mary pass with no time left on the clock in the biggest game of his young career.
Heck of a reward, right?
“I’ve been getting it all around school, mostly from them, though,” Ross chuckled as teammates continued their chirping in the background.
Minutes later, there were no more comments. That came to a halt when the junior wide receiver strapped on his helmet, lined up for 11-on-11 drills and went back to work. His teammates understand how important Ross is to the team as it enters the CIF State Regional Championships.
“Prince is a baller,” linebacker Camron Rivas said.
It’s a simple, yet accurate assessment considering Ross represents so much more than his last – albeit most memorable – catch.
In the postseason, the Highlanders wideout has caught 23 passes for 462 yards and nine touchdowns. He has gone over the 100-yard mark in three of La Habra’s four playoff games, and he has accounted for scoring plays of 51, 54, 71 and 84 yards.
On the season, the speedster has caught 55 passes for 1,110 yards and 15 touchdowns. No game better represents Ross, though, than last Friday’s effort in the Southwest Division final.
“It’s been my best game,” Ross concluded. “In the beginning, I wasn’t playing so well. But my team – when they started picking it up – I knew I had to start picking it up too if we wanted to win CIF. After I caught the tip (for his first touchdown of the night), that’s when it all started. I kind of went into the zone.”
With La Habra trailing early in the second half, Ross tied the score when he turned a bubble screen into an 84-yard sprint to the end zone.
That was touchdown No. 2 on the night.
By this point, most county football fans have seen touchdown No. 3 on a Fox Sport rebroadcast, Twitter, YouTube or NBC’s The Challenge with Fred Roggin on Sunday night. Video of the winning pass and catch from Eric Barriere to Ross has gone viral.
“So many,” Ross said when asked how many replays he had seen since the game ended. “Some people were even saying it ended like a movie.”
If they have it their way, the credits on the Highlanders’ story won’t run for at least another week. La Habra travels Friday to play Camarillo in the Division II-AA Regional at Camarillo High. The winner of the 7:30 p.m. game earns a spot in next weekend’s state championships.
Ross wants to extend the season as far as possible, since he’s not ready to stop playing alongside the team’s seniors leaders, guys like Barriere and Amon Fellows.
“I’ve had championship teams before, and they’re all cut from that same mold,” Coach Frank Mazzotta explained. “I don’t think you can have great teams if the kids aren’t great kids themselves. And Prince is a great kid.”
The future is bright for Ross. After making the game-winning grab late last Friday night, Ross was at La Habra High earlier than any of his teammates the next day. Auditions for the school’s next theater production, “The Pajama Games,” were being held Saturday morning.
Under a different kind of spotlight, the junior nailed the tryout and was cast to his first production.
You probably shouldn’t be. Seems like the kid has a knack for performing on the biggest of stages.
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