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West Ranch's Christian Parrish: Weapon in waiting

Senior running back emerges as the surprise star of West Ranch’s offense

Posted: September 22, 2013 10:12 p.m.
Updated: September 22, 2013 10:12 p.m.

Tabbed as West Ranch's starting running back for the first time this season, senior Christian Parrish has stepped up in a big way, running for 560 yards and three touchdowns in his first four games.

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West Ranch football went out of its way to put an emphasis on passing the ball more this year.

Gone are the days of the power run game, insisted new head coach Jan Miller.

That was before he realized the weapon he had in senior running back Christian Parrish, who is off to a roaring start to the 2013 season.

Maybe it would be more appropriate to call this offense balanced.

“If you can have that kind of talent that can run the ball and (opponents are) not stopping him, we’re going to keep giving it to him,” Miller says. “He’s picking up chunks of yardage.”

Through four games, Parrish has picked up 560 yards and three touchdowns on 62 rushes for an average of 140 yards per game and more than 9 per carry.

He’s also tacked on 12 catches for 144 yards and a receiving touchdown for the 3-1 West Ranch Wildcats who spent the last week ranked sixth in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division.

Parrish did this all even after exiting the first two games of the season around halftime due to lopsided scores.

“I really didn’t expect to come out this strong,” Parrish says. “I still feel like I could be doing better. I always come out of a game thinking I could do something better.”

Actually, Miller didn’t expect this kind of production out of the senior either.

Before taking over the varsity team this season, Miller coached Parrish his freshman and sophomore seasons with the freshman and junior varsity teams.

It isn’t that Miller didn’t think Parrish was a good player, but the coach was unaware of just how good.

“He’s much, much better than what we thought he was going to be when I picked the team up in January,” Miller says.

When the Wildcats took the field for their season opener against Hawthorne on Aug. 30, Parrish quickly displayed an extra burst of speed and an ability to make quick, decisive cuts to cut through defenses.

The so-called undersized back who seldom saw the field last season on varsity was suddenly a featured component of the offense and someone who can mentor younger players.

“He’s like having another coach out there,” Miller says. “I don’t know if he took Football 101 or not over the summer.”

By now, Parrish has surely moved on to more advanced football classes as he’s played the game since as young as they allow kids to play tackle football.

He was 6 when he suited up with the Castaic Cougars youth football program, which has since folded. He wanted to play football like his older brother Keever, who also played running back at West Ranch before graduating in 2010.

“My brother definitely is a big factor in my football today, just period,” Christian says. “He taught me how to do everything. He showed me how to cut. He showed me how to run.”

Keever was a big reason Christian decided to continue playing football in high school. Keever convinced his younger brother it would be worth it eventually.

And with the graduation of former West Ranch tailbacks Zahr Lyttle and Mark Collins last year, it finally opened the door for the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Christian.

“It’s not a surprise to me,” Keever says of his brother’s success. “I knew Christian had this ability from back when we were in elementary playing Cougar football. It just took time for it to develop.”

The two of them were raised with structure and discipline. Wake up at 6:30 a.m. for work. Wake at 9 a.m. on Sundays for church.

Keever has taught Christian to use that structure in football with his workouts and nutrition. This past offseason, Christian used that structure along with his desire to improve to gain significant speed and strength.

“I got more serious with football and I trained more and I wasn’t really bragging about my training and being really open about it,” Christian says. “I just wanted to be something different this year.”

So far this year, Christian has been something special. And he may not even be at his peak yet.

“There’s more that Christian can do and he’s capable of and you’re going to see it in the next few games,” Keever says.


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