One catch and zero yards stood as the only statistical proof that
Stephens had played in the 2004 CIF Southern Section Division III
quarterfinal before he lined up next to the Redondo sideline. In St.
Francis playbook jargon, he was the 'X,' the wideout on the left side
-- his normal position was as the 'Z,' the wideout on the other side.
But for one fateful play, on one magical night, Stephens was most
certainly in the right place at the right time.
"I hadn't really done much yet. [St. Francis] Coach [Jim] Bonds
just said we were going deep, I had a streak," recalls Stephens, who
lined up with Golden Knight go-to guy Andy Marquardt inside him and
quarterback Matt Abbey noticing the safety looking to Marquardt. "The
safety just went with Andy, I was wide open. Abbey just launched a
bomb. I think [the defender] underestimated my speed. I just ran
right by him."
Right by the defender, under the declining pass, to the end zone,
to an improbable 17-16 triumph and into local chronicle.
"That memory will last a long time," Bonds says.
"I had several people come to me and they said that was the best
high school football game they'd ever seen. Scotty's catch was a big
part of that."
Since that memorable Friday night has faded into memory, winter
and a soccer season, spring and a track season have passed and, now,
with the summer almost gone and another autumn upon the Golden
Knights, quite a bit has changed for the blur of speed with No. 4
stitched across his back.
A year ago at this time, if you would've asked Bonds if he saw a
two-way starter crucial to team success a season down the road, he,
"would've thought no way."
Indeed, a lot has changed since the beginning of last year and the
end of last season. Indeed, a lot has changed in the four years that
Scott Stephens has played football.
* * *
Just a skinny kid heading to high school as a freshman, Stephens
had only played soccer and participated in track. His parents worried
that he'd get hurt playing football.
They were right.
In his first year on the gridiron, Stephens was a running back who
missed a good deal of the season with a knee injury.