Steady rise for Newbury Park’s ‘perfectionist’

first_img “It was just a matter of time with him,” said Cameron, a 6-foot-5 receiver who has accepted a basketball scholarship to BYU. “(LaSecla) was confident in himself, he has a great work ethic, and he wants to play in college, so he’s worked really hard for it.” LaSecla has thrown for 1,598 yards – an average of 314 per game – and he’s passed for at least two touchdowns in every game this year. The Panthers are 4-1 heading into Friday’s showdown with Simi Valley that will help narrow the field of Marmonte League title contenders. Two years ago, when LaSecla was chosen to replace All-Area quarterback Rudy Carpenter as Newbury Park’s quarterback, it such a season might have seemed beyond LaSecla’s reach. Newbury Park was reeling from Carpenter’s transfer to Westlake and needed a strong replacement to lead its senior-heavy team. What it got was a sophomore with loads of talent but little experience. LaSecla threw 27 interceptions and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore. Newbury park failed to make the playoffs. “It was fun, but it was a hard season for me mentally because of all the mistakes I’d make,” LaSecla said. “I felt like I let some of the seniors down.” He showed marked improvement last year, throwing for 14 touchdowns against 15 interceptions as the Panthers finished 5-5. Those experiences drove LaSecla last summer. “It was well worth it,” he said. “I improved a lot. My arm is stronger, my reads are quicker, I’m smarter with the ball. Last year we knew we could’ve done better. All our games were close. We’re a different team this year. Our defense is playing really well, and we have tons of playmakers. “I’ve got Josh Harris, one of the fastest players in the league, to run under balls, and my big man, Jordan Cameron, to jump for balls. We all love playing for each other.” Ramona Shelburne, (818) 713-3617 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It has been almost four days since Newbury Park routed Calabasas 43-7, but one play from the game is still gnawing at Panthers quarterback Jordan LaSecla. The game was well in hand when LaSecla threw an interception, and the turnover had no say on the outcome, but the play has been on a permanent loop in LaSecla’s thoughts since. But LaSecla, a senior, didn’t get to be one of the area’s best quarterbacks by resting on accomplishments and forgetting mistakes. “I’m definitely a perfectionist,” he said. “I’ve worked very hard in the offseason to improve. I worked a lot with our receivers, worked on my arm strength and with the defense to work on my reads.” While other players were relaxing last summer, LaSecla was on the phone organizing informal practices. He estimates he spent five or six hours each week calling teammates to set up training sessions. He also had a full schedule of American Legion baseball games – LaSecla is a pitcher – and summer-basketball games and practices. Jordan Cameron, LaSecla’s good friend and go-to receiver, said the improvement in LaSecla’s game has been dramatic. center_img “It’s something I’ve been working on with my coaches for a while, because I always think I can make that throw, but I really can’t,” he said. “If I just set my feet and throw, that play is a touchdown. But when I’m rolling right, and I throw back across my body to the middle, stuff like that happens.” There are other, more positive things LaSecla could be focusing on. He threw five touchdowns against Calabasas. He has 19 touchdowns this year – and only two interceptions. College coaches from Arizona, Washington, Fresno State and Sacramento State are vying for his services. last_img

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