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AOW: Vincent's Padilla sets school record in shutout of imperial

November 06, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN
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Sports Writer

When teams prepare to play the Vincent Memorial football team, they usually look to stop one player first and foremost … Manuel Padilla.

Over the last three years Padilla arguably has become the most dominant defensive player as Vincent's middle linebacker.

On Friday, the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder again proved to be the most dominant force on the field as he manhandled Imperial High, racking up 25 tackles — 20 solo, a school record — leading the Scots to a 54-0 thumping.

Padilla and his teammates held Imperial to only 63 yards of offense and forced two turnovers.

"We had been practicing really hard for this game and we studied the film on them a lot. So we knew what they had," said the 18-year-old senior. "Imperial didn't have a lot of talent, but they were all really ready for that game. It wasn't easy, but it was a good game for us."

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While Padilla was the one who earned a lot of the credit for his team's defensive efforts, he pointed to his teammates as the reason for his play.

"I have to give all the credit to the defensive line. They were able to play the offensive linemen and open things up for me," said Padilla. "It was because of them that I was able to do as well as I did. Also coach Joe Bielma (defensive coordinator), he's the one that got us all ready for the game."

With his 20 solo tackle performance against Imperial, Padilla's average for the year is now 15 per game.

"He's the captain of our team and the quarterback of our defense," said Scots' coach Anthony Lykos. "He knows how to read an offense and knows what to look for. Because of that, he's made the rest of the defense that much better, especially the other linebackers. He just seems to make the other guys around him play better.

"He's one of the best players around. I know that he could start for any Valley school and probably and San Diego Section school. He's got the size and is very smart on the field," Lykos said. "He's even stepped in and played offense at tight end and offensive tackle for us. He's just a good all-around player."

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