Warren Miles Long remembers his breakout game like it was yesterday.
“(James Logan High football coach George) Zuber didn’t know me too well,” Long said. “We spent the summer together but he hadn’t seen what I could do.”
It was the second game into his varsity career against San Leandro and Long was a mere sophomore on a team full of underclassmen in 2010.
His teammate and fellow sophomore running back Damond Beasley had already set the bar high with a 20-carry, 132-yard rushing effort in Logan’s season-opening 23-20 nonleague win over Arroyo.
A week later, it was Long’s turn to shine. And what he did was nothing short of spectacular.
On 26 carries, Long rushed for 218 yards and scored a touchdown as Logan posted a lopsided 25-0 win.
“Coach broke it down and said he was going to give Damond the ball the first game and me the second game,” Long said.
And that turned out to be the beginning of something special for both Long and the Colts.
Neither the speed nor the strength of the players at the varsity level intimidated Long. He’d always been a bigger kid. He played with and against kids a year or two older than him during his Pop Warner days. As a freshman he played on the junior varsity team.
“I didn’t start playing with people my age until this year,” said Long, who is a senior. “I’ve played with people who graduated in 2009 and 2010.”
And Long didn’t start playing running back until eighth grade. Before then he was an offensive lineman.
Long, who is 6-foot, 200 pounds, is just as impressive on defense where he plays outside linebacker. He’s been known to lay some quality hits on opponents.
But running back is his bread and butter when it comes to the next level, college. And when it comes to choosing one, he knows the quality of the institution is just as – if not – more important than a football tradition.
He’s given a verbal commitment to play at Northwestern. It’s a non-binding commitment until the National Letter of Intent signing date on Feb. 1. Northwestern offered a scholarship shortly after his junior season. He looked into the school near Chicago and picked it in June after a camp at the University of Washington.
“I really didn’t know anything about the school," Long said.The first thing I did was ask the coaches and my parents about Northwestern. And then I Googled it. I really felt like it was a good academic institution. It was the perfect balance of what I was looking for.”
Ah, but Northwestern wasn’t his first choice.
“My first choice was Stanford,” Long said. “But they weren’t recruiting running backs for my year.”
Stanford, which is loaded with quality running backs, is coached by David
Shaw, who is a 1990 graduate of Logan.
“I’m just glad I’m getting to go for free,” Long said.
In Logan’s first four games this year – all wins – Long has rushed for 328 yards on 56 carries (5.9 yards per carry). The Colts, who are ranked No. 24 in the Cal-Hi Sports Football Top 25, have outscored their opponents to the tune of 152-38.
“We always talk about playing for each other,” Long said. “Everybody’s bought into it.”
Follow Steve R. Waterhouse on Twitter @SRWaterhouse