As a sophomore, De’Shawn Ramirez burst onto the scene at Monrovia with 851 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. But as quickly as Ramirez established himself as one of the area’s elite backs, everything fell apart.
Ramirez was suspended from the Wildcats for undisclosed reasons prior to the start of the 2010 season and spent his junior year at Canyon Oaks.
Ramirez spent his year at Canyon Oaks getting his life back together. He attended his mandatory meeting and improved in the classroom. But throughout it all he wondered if he’d get the second chance to done Monrovia’s green and white uniforms again.
“I didn’t think they were going to accept me back, but I did everything I was supposed to,” Ramirez said.
But now Ramirez is back with Monrovia, adding another explosive element to an already dangerous offense.
“It feels great (to be back),” Ramirez said. “Great, real great.
“… You learn a lot (being away). Especially with a person like me because football is pretty much everything, so if you get kicked off it hurts a lot.”
In observing a Friday morning practice at Monrovia, it’s apparent what kind of an impact Ramirez can have on the Wildcats.
On one play Ramirez takes the ball and explodes out of the back field through the line of scrimmage. Before you know it he’s into the secondary, needing to beat a single defender to reach pay dirt. On another series he flares out as a receiver and runs a seam route for about a 20-yard reception.
The Wildcats’ Nick Buneo-led offense last year was potent in its own way but lacked the kind a tailback who had Ramirez’s skill set.
“He’s a talent -- he’ll be one of the better backs in this valley,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “He’s going to be somebody to be reckoned with. It’s going to put a lot of pressure on defenses because last year it was more you’ve got to stop Nick or you’ve got to stop our receivers.”
“… He’s quicker. He’s stronger. He’s just a better all-around football player, which is pretty scary because he was pretty good two years ago.”
Ramirez certainly has physically matured physically since he last played for Monrovia. But a bigger key to success this year is his desire to prove he was not a one-year offensive wonder.
“He’ll be the first to probably say that,” Maddox said. “He wants to prove that he can do it. He’s very fortunate that he’s gotten the opportunity, and he’s working hard to make that happen.”
Ramirez said his goal this year to run for more than 1,000 yards and finish the year with 10 touchdowns, in addition to whatever numbers he puts up as a receiver.
“I feel like I have a lot to prove,” he said. “(De’Shawn Ramirez) is still here, ain’t changed.”