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All-purpose life

Versatile Padron has a skill set that extends far beyond the football field

Posted: August 31, 2009 11:03 p.m.
Updated: September 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Saugus wide receiver and defensive back Manny Padron is a co-captain and one of the top returnees for the defending league champions. But football is just part of Padron's busy schedule.

Saugus wide receiver/defensive back Manny Padron is OK with opening up.

It’s almost like he has to.

Because there’s curiosity in the fact that so many people have so many good things to say about the senior.

They talk about obstacles and adversity and how he gets past them like ... well, like he gets past an opposing defensive back on the football field.

“God has a plan for you,” Padron says. “You might not like the way things are going. They’ll get better. He’ll have the right plan. Have faith. He’ll lead you to a better ending.”

Padron is not unique.

There are kids throughout the country like him.

But he’s an example of them.

It’s poetic justice that Padron does so much on the football field — he’s Saugus’ kicker, a starting wide receiver and starting defensive back — because he does so much off the field.

Padron is sort of a man of the house.

He has a single working mother, takes his 11-year-old sister to school every morning, is a solid student, plays football and works 15 hours serving coffee on the weekends.

And he’s a vital player on the Saugus soccer team.

And he has time for a girlfriend.

“It’s not too hard right now,” Padron says of his schedule.

Yet people admire his hard work, most notably his head coach Jason Bornn.

Bornn says he was also raised by a single mother and adds that Padron is an inspiration.

“He does it with such a great attitude,” Bornn says. “He’s funny. People want to be around him. He has an aura around him. He always has good things to say.”

As far as his football skills are concerned, Padron may be one of the best returning receivers and defensive backs in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The 17-year-old was second on the team in 2008 with 31 receptions for 412 yards and three touchdowns.

“We lose him, we lose like six positions,” Bornn jokes.

They also lose a team captain.

Padron’s value to the team far extends beyond the football field.

He says that last year’s team didn’t communicate as well as it could have.

Padron has the task of keeping his teammates on the same page, even if it’s on the page of a Spanish book.

“I think one time I was having a rough week and he came and picked me up, got me through it,” says Saugus senior quarterback Zack Gauthier, Padron’s best friend. “I’m really bad at Spanish. Manny’s fluent in it. He helped me get a B in Spanish. I never got higher than a C. He came over my house and helped me study. It was just commitment.”

Padron credits his mother, Marlenen, for the way he is.

“I guess I really have to say I care for everybody,” Padron says. “I try to get along with everybody.”

With a lot of different faces leading Saugus this year, a season after the Centurions won their first outright league title, the team is looking for some stability.

People point to Padron as a stabilizing force, despite his hands being so full.

“I could coach for 200 years if I had more kids like him,” Bornn says. “He is the poster child of what we want as a Centurion.”


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