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Football: De La Cerna is go-to-guy for pass-happy Westlake

With so many talented wideouts in the Southland, it's easy to overlook a kid like James De La Cerna. In fact, most onlookers have no idea who the 6-foot senior from Westlake is because everyone is too busy paying attention to his pass-catching counterparts such as Randall Carroll, De'Von Flournoy or Ricky Marvray.

That, however, doesn't mean De La Cerna isn't capable of carving out his own little niche. His early season statistics indicate he's well on his way to making a name for himself, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he adds to an already impressive reception total Friday against a traditionally-tough Hart team.

"James is our go-to-guy. He's our No.1 option on the outside,'' Westlake Coach Jim Benkert said. "He's on top of his game right now and our offense has been running on all cylinders as a result. He has all the tools. Technique, speed, and hands. When we see single coverage on him that means it's time to play catch.''

De La Cerna has 19 catches in two games thus far, ranking him No.6 among all Southern Section receivers, according to MaxPreps.com. Granted, there's a lot of football to played. But it is worthy noting that he has more grabs than Carroll and Flournoy, both heading to USC, and the UCLA-bound Marvray.

Oddly enough, there hasn't been a big-time recruiting buzz surrounding De La Cerna , even with the quick start. Pac-10 Conference programs such as Arizona St. and Oregon St. have been in contact with him. Schools like Boise St., Fresno St. and Hawaii have expressed interest as well, but he has no official offers as of yet.

"He's definitely on the radar of several scouts,'' Benkert said. "If he keeps it up, there's no way one of those colleges that's looking at him is going to let him get away. He will have his share of options to choose from. We keep telling James that his future is bright and right now, he's proving that he's capable of playing at the next level.''

-- Sean Ceglinsky

 
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