Hometown Report: Community college can be a scholarship boost

Published: Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 - 8:06 pm

Devante Bond and Aaron Young offer proof football scholarship hopes can be realized upon leaving – and arriving at – community colleges.

Bond didn't play the sport until his senior season at Foothill High School in 2010. He was an anxious teenager, not quite certain which pad went where, but he relished the idea of chasing ball carriers.

Bond emerged as a quick learner.

At Sierra College last fall, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound outside linebacker led the state with 17 sacks to earn All-America honors. He signed a letter of intent with the Miami Hurricanes, turning down Oklahoma and Nebraska.

Young ranked in the top five among the state's passing leaders in 2011 with 3,547 yards and 30 touchdowns for Vista del Lago. But like so many talented quarterbacks, Young was without a scholarship. So he bolted for Southern California and ran the scout team for community college powerhouse Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

He has signed a two-year scholarship to attend ASA Junior College in Brooklyn, N.Y., a program he had never heard of but will embrace next fall.

Two-year colleges outside of California often give scholarships with room and board. ASA, open since 1985, has become a national football power and a pipeline to Division I programs. Sixteen players signed letters this month.

Located amid skyscrapers and streets snarled by traffic, ASA has no field or facilities to practice. The Avengers (can't top that mascot) play all road games and were 9-1 last fall.

ASA will give Young a chance to play on scholarship for two years at the community college level while trying to earn a scholarship to transfer to a four-year school.

Said Young of his prospects: "I'm really excited."

Bond is similarly enthused, admitting he was flattered by early recruiting interest and later overwhelmed by it. He said he is still learning the nuances of the game, adding, "I can get so much better."

Said Bond's high school coach, Allen Berg, "Devante came to me his senior year with so much raw talent. He was big, strong and fast. Everything started clicking for him. He loves the game. It just shows what hard work can do."

Football families with basketball legacies

If you thought Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs was a good athlete at Elk Grove High School, get a load of his nephew. Shon is a 6-6, 230-pound junior power forward for Heritage High in Brentwood, where he recently produced a 38-point game. Young Briggs can hit three-pointers, handle the ball and score inside.

Aaron Garcia, another former area prep football star, has a daughter playing the post for McClatchy's girls basketball team. Gigi is a 6-2 freshman who has played a big role in the Lions' bounce-back season.

Aaron Garcia, a Grant graduate who attended Sacramento State, will quarterback the Arena Football League's San Jose SaberCats this season. He said he wouldn't dare challenge his daughter to a one-on-one duel, for risk of being seriously injured.

• Former McClatchy and Sac State football star Donald Hair watched his daughters play for Sheldon this season.

Senior guard Donielle averaged 9.3 points per game, sophomore guard Janae averaged 9.9.

Their father set the state prep single-season record for most rushing touchdowns with 38 in 1984.

Sweeney memorial

A memorial service for former Fresno State football coaching icon Jim Sweeney will be held today at the school's football stadium. Retired Fresno City College and Sac State coach John Volek, who knew Sweeney well, is expected to attend.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly characterized Shon Briggs' relation to Lance Briggs. Lance Briggs is Shon Briggs' uncle.

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