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What's this Crusader's secret to success? His team
by: jaime VALDEZ, Paul Weatheroy’s team faces Canby in the first of tonight’s semifinal games at PGE Park. The state championship game is Dec. 9 in Eugene.

If Jesuit High star Paul Weatheroy is the sheriff, then a fullback, a tight end and five offensive linemen are his deputies.

Weatheroy, who wants to work in law enforcement someday, says he couldn't achieve his success on the football field - 2,088 yards rushing and 31 TDs and counting - without the help of others. He says coaches prepare players well and quarterback Dan Wagner makes good reads, too.

And the water boy provides really refreshing agua.

'Me and Raphiel,' says Weatheroy, of fellow running back Raphiel Lambert, who has 821 yards rushing and 18 total TDs, 'we do all we can to repay them. It's a pleasure running behind them. It's pretty neat.'

The Crusaders (11-0) will storm into tonight's Class 6A semifinals as the winner of 24 consecutive games and the overwhelming favorite to dispatch Canby and then play either Lake Oswego or Southridge for the championship next Saturday at Autzen Stadium.

A pretty good prep team, Sheldon, gave up 539 yards rushing to the Crusaders last weekend, with Weatheroy running for 330 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries.

It's a machine at Jesuit right now, and the only thing that could derail the Crusaders is … the Crusaders?

'We really focus on not worrying about other things,' says Weatheroy, who topped 1,000 yards last year in helping Jesuit win the state title 14-10 over Lincoln. 'We come out ready to play, and we do a good job.'

As expected as rain falling and leaves swirling in November, everybody anticipated Jesuit would be geared up for another state title. Forty-one seniors will take the field against Canby (5 p.m., PGE Park; Lake Oswego and Southridge meet there at 8 p.m.). This Jesuit team could be considered one of the greatest ever assembled in Oregon. It's ranked No. 16 nationally by USA Today.

Fitness regimen paying off

Leading the way is Weatheroy, the 5-11, 190-pound senior whom Metro League rivals consider the best Jesuit running back in recent memory. He skipped baseball last spring to work out for football and continued the strict running and lifting regiment through the summer with his father.

Paul Weatheroy Sr., a former star athlete at Madison and the University of Portland, works at the Portland Police Bureau as a homicide detective.

'I've gotten stronger and faster,' the younger Weatheroy says, 'and I'm still adjusting to that. Hard work paid off.'

He reports no injuries or even deep bruises, the benefit of adding some girth. 'I feel great right now. Really healthy,' he says.

Weatheroy averages 9.0 yards per carry on his 2,088 yards, as he contributes to Jesuit's 338 rushing yards per game. Of course, credit goes to his blockers, who create megaholes for him, allowing Weatheroy to simply run straight up the field and make one or two moves to get large chunks of yardage. Helping spring Weatheroy usually is fullback Owen Marecic, who has a scholarship offer from Stanford.

It's high school football, after all, and Jesuit has this running game thing in fine tune. 'Positive yards is our focus,' Weatheroy says. 'It's up to us to get to the second level, and make that guy miss or run him over,' Lambert adds.

It's clear that some college will be getting themselves a gem of a student-athlete in Weatheroy. Along with his athletic prowess, he carries a 3.7 grade-point average and remains humble and appreciative.

It's unclear whether Weatheroy fits into the high Division I picture. He says coaches from Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State have talked with him, along with Boise State coaches. Most of the attention has come from the service academies - Air Force and Army, in particular - and Ivy League schools such as Princeton, Yale and Harvard.

Offensive line to thin blue line

Weatheroy's father, grandfather and uncle were all involved in law enforcement, and he would like to follow their paths. At the same time, a career in engineering sounds good, too.

Going to Air Force or Army would be a nice way to work into being a police officer.

'I'm pretty self-disclipined, and it would kind of fit,' he says. 'I know it would prepare me for a really successful future.

'But I haven't narrowed it down. I'm finding out information on all of them. And, we'll see how the season goes.'

Weatheroy admits to seeing the rushing total '330 yards' in the newspaper, but he doesn't get enamored with himself over it.

'It's a team game, and at Jesuit we have role players and not stars,' he says.

The quick-and-fast Lambert plays the position - backup tailback/'Z' receiver - that was vacated by Keo Camat, a star from last year's Jesuit team now at Oregon State.

Next year, Lambert probably will be the main tailback, and he has learned from Weatheroy.

'A hard runner, reads his blocks well,' Lambert says. 'I just try to watch him during practice and see what he does, so I don't make mistakes. Then, go in and do what he does.'

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