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Lee rises from lost season

Crescenta Valley running back was on pace for breakout season before season-ending injury — now he'll get the opportunity to finish what he started

September 06, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com
(Tim Berger/Staff…)

For Marro Lee, a silver lining has become a golden opportunity.

When Lee broke a metacarpal bone in his thumb in the fifth game of the 2010 football season, his junior year, it was at first hard for the Crescenta Valley High running back to look past his season-ending injury and ahead to Friday's 2011 season opener against Santa Paula at Moyse Field.

But now that it's here, Lee couldn't be more excited to have a second chance — and final shot — to continue the breakout high school career he showed glimpses of in 2010 and possibly lead the Falcons to the Pacific League and CIF playoff horizons the team had envisioned last season after a hot 4-1 start.

"It was pretty devastating in the beginning, but then it was great time for evaluation," says Lee, whose injury required weeks of recovery after a pin was inserted into his hand to allow the bone to heal. "I'm just glad it happened in my junior year, rather than this year."

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So are the Falcons, who plan to use Lee all over the field as the focal point of Crescenta Valley's usual spread offense under second-year Coach Paul Schilling.

"We really need him this year because he is our running attack," Falcons senior center Nathan Sarreal says.

Last season, Lee emerged as a rising offensive star in his first five games as a varsity player, leading the Falcons to four wins, including a perfect 2-0 start in league.

Lee cruised into the Oct. 8 meeting with Hoover on quite a roll, having racked up 526 rushing yards and six touchdowns in four games.

"Last year, he was sort of a surprise to us because he was up from the JVs," Schilling says. "He had a great five games."

Lee had been particularly dynamic in his two previous outings, rushing for a season-high 231 yards and three scores in a 38-34 win over La Cañada on Sept. 24 and rolling up 135 yards and another two touchdowns on the ground in an Oct. 1 35-14 league-opening win over Glendale.

In a 62-28 blowout of the Tornadoes, Lee added one more touchdown to his total, but any celebration was muted by his eventual injury in that game.

Lee wouldn't play another down and the Falcons would fail to win another game, finishing out the season at 4-6 and 2-5 in league for sixth place.

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