Clay de Leon's Final Practice Notes
The last practice of the year, and the last practice for a stellar Trojan senior class is done. No more Monday Practice, competition Tuesdays or turnover Wednesdays. No more grueling workouts with Coach Carlisle. One thing though is certain: this senior class is full of heart, ability and hard-working athletes. They most certainly will be missed.
Real or Surreal?
Practice was just a bit different today at Howard Jones Field. For one, the players were off-limits to the media, as they prepare for the Rose Bowl showdown just over a day from now.
On the field, the feeling was a bit foreign. There was energy coming from the players, but just a tinge of ‘unrealness' or ‘disreality' circled the field. Seniors know their time is at hand, coaches know it, the fans know it.
An Honorable Salute
Yes, players went through plays, competed and practiced. The most meaningful moment of the day was when the seniors were saluted on their last exit from Howard Jones Field. Underclassmen lined the exit and formed a tunnel out of the practice field. One across the other, they placed their helmets skyward and met a helmet of another player, forming the tunnel for the Trojan seniors to run off the field under. Pete Carroll commented that this is their tradition, to salute seniors on their last practice.
This is a fantastic senior class. As our salute to this class, we will forgo our practice report routine and simply name the out-going seniors: Jody Adewale, Sam Baker, John David Booty, Will Collins, Fred Davis, Hershel Dennis, Sedrick Ellis, Lawrence Jackson, Alatini ‘Tiny' Malu, Michael McDonald, Chase McWhorter, Alex Morrow, Drew Radovich, Desmond Reed, Keith Rivers, Brad Smith, Matt Spanos, Terrell Thomas, Dale Thompson, Brad Walker, Chauncey Washington, Thomas Williams, and Brent Yoshida.
And A Very Special Tribute to Mario Danelo.
* Jaime Rodriquez contributed to photo catalogue