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Nitros' engine revs one last time

Yoon, Glendale's running back and most explosive threat, will play his final football game against Hoover Thursday.

November 09, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

It's not all that often that a football player on a one-win team grabs notice and recognition from opposing coaches.

And, when most first see or get to know Glendale High's Alex Yoon, it's unlikely that the 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior with a 4.0-plus grade-point average would strike many as a football player in general, much less one that would grab attention or accolades.

But then …

"He puts the pads on and everything changes," says Nitros senior quarterback Evan Norton.

For the past two seasons, Yoon – currently Glendale's starting running back and cornerback — has been the Nitros' most consistent and dangerous weapon. While junior receiver Michael Davis has grabbed attention with his blinding speed and prototypical size, Yoon, to hear it directly from the mouths of Nitros, is the engine needed to make the Glendale offense run.

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"The offense is all built around Yoon," Nitros Coach Alan Eberhart says. "He's the guy that I want to touch the ball the most. He has the ability to make the biggest plays."

After being brought up late in the 2009 season to varsity to play outside linebacker, Yoon took over quarterbacking duties for the Nitros shortly before his junior season in 2010 when Norton went down with an injury. While Yoon would be the first to tell you his throwing arm didn't strike fear in opposing defenses, his legs surely did.

"He likes to drag people with him," Norton says. "He's a strong runner and he's fast and explosive. He'll go head up with you. I think he earns respect from that."

Yoon rushed for 749 yards and nine touchdowns to complement 404 passing yards and two scores through the air. His performance earned him first-team All-Pacific League honors for a Glendale team that finished 1-9 and 1-6 in league.

"I was honestly surprised," Yoon says. "I didn't actually think that coaches thought of me. I felt pretty honored."

With Norton healthy entering the 2011 season and a deep threat in Davis to throw to, Yoon was moved back to running back, where he had played as a freshman and sophomore. And Yoon was the weapon Eberhart envisioned him to be at the onset. In the Nitros' season-opening 20-6 nonleague win over league archrival Hoover, Yoon torched the Tornadoes for 164 yards on the ground.

Together, Yoon, Davis and Norton put up big individual numbers seemingly game after game, climaxing with a nailbiting 47-46 loss to Pasadena in which Yoon produced more than 100 yards rushing and receiving.

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