Truckee grad still on the gridiron |

Truckee grad still on the gridiron

Rhea Padellford

SANTA MONICA, CALIF. – While the Truckee High football team battled and defeated Virgin Valley in the 3A state championship game at Mackay Stadium on Saturday, one of the Wolverines’ key players in the 2001 state championship game, 2002 alumnus Dave Larson, was starting on defense for Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) at the sixth annual U.S. Bank Beach Bowl.Playing as a sophomore for the MSJC Eagles, this was Larson’s final game of his junior college football career; the final score was Saddleback 42, MSJC 31. The Eagles, following an 8-2 season and ranked 11th in Southern California, represented the Foothill Conference.

“I felt really good about our season,” Larson said. “Our three losses were to really good schools. But we should have won the bowl game. We forced eight turnovers and scored a defensive touchdown and a safety.” Larson, who wore jersey No. 2 for both the Wolverines and the Eagles, was Truckee’s Athlete of the Year in 2002 and Most Valuable Player in both baseball and basketball. Playing slot back on offense and free safety on defense in football, Larson was awarded offensive and defensive all-state honors his junior and senior years. At MSJC, Larson has been a starting defensive player – outside linebacker and special teams – at every game this season, and was named Foothill Conference Player of the Week in late October for three solo tackles, eight assists and a deflected pass in one game. He was also named MSJC’s Player of the Week in the game against San Diego’s Mesa College; during that game, Larson blocked a punt with such force that the ball was fumbled, after which he recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown.

His father, Brian Larson, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel of Truckee, traveled to Southern California to attend nine of his son’s 11 games this season, often watching a Saturday game and either driving or flying back in time to preach to his congregation the following morning in the Truckee High School Auditorium, where his congregation meets each Sunday. When asked what motivated him to make that extraordinary effort, Pastor Brian said, “I get a special delight out of watching Dave play. As a parent, I’ve sort of been out there on the field with him vicariously. It’s the same joy any parent gets watching their child play youth soccer.”

Larson’s mother, Joyce, managed to attend several of the games as well.After graduating from Truckee High, Larson worked for a year before enrolling at MSJC in 2003; however, a pre-season injury prevented him from playing until the 2004 season. Larson didn’t start for the team until the final two games of 2004; however, he so distinguished himself with his performance on the field during those games that he became a starting player for each game in the 2005 season. Larson is hoping to continue his football career at the university level next fall, where he would also like to continue his study of sports medicine/physical therapy. He has received interest from several colleges, including Tulsa, Sacramento State and the University of Nevada, Reno. If he doesn’t receive a full scholarship to play next year, which he should find out about in January or February, he plans to walk on and compete for a position at his preferred schools, possibly San Diego State or UCLA.

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