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Mac of all trades

Hart’s Johnny MacArthur excelled in golf, soccer and football

Posted: July 11, 2008 12:33 a.m.
Updated: September 11, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The Signal's Athlete of the Year will be playing golf on a scholarship at Pepperdine in the upcoming season.

 

The best high school golfer in Southern California says his biggest moment of the 2007-08 school year, wasn't on the course - it was on the football field.

It's odd to hear because since Hart High's Johnny MacArthur started to make a name for himself on the course as a sophomore, his aim was on the pin.

But before his senior year, MacArthur made a choice.

While others tried to dissuade him from it, MacArthur wanted to make his final high school year full.

He was already given a scholarship to play for one of the most competitive collegiate golf programs in the country in Pepperdine.

So when he told people he was going to play football for the first time, they thought he was crazy.

Golfers, they thought, don't belong on a football field.

It wasn't that MacArthur wasn't athletic enough for the game - after all, he played soccer for Hart as a junior and he had the genes.

His grandfather John was a college football player.

But the suggestion not to play was out of concern that he would be risking his golf future because of the susceptibility to injury in football.

Yet MacArthur ignored those thoughts.

Though he had trouble acclimating to the sport early because of his lack of knowledge, he found a couple of important positions on the Hart football team - starting defensive back and place kicker.

As a place kicker, MacArthur's biggest moment came.

In an Oct. 12 game televised by Fox Sports West Prime Ticket, Hart battered rival Canyon for three quarters.

But the Cowboys erased a 22-point Indians lead and incredibly tied the game late 28-28.

MacArthur intercepted a pass with 11.6 seconds left, though, stealing the Cowboys' momentum.

But the Indians were deep in their own territory.

Yet on the ensuing play, Hart running back Delano Howell drove the Indians down to the Canyon 26-yard line with a 58-yard run.

It set up MacArthur, who had never tried a field goal kick in a game, for a 43-yarder.

His kick sliced through the drizzle and through the uprights for the victory.

That, he says, was his biggest moment.

Two weeks later, he had the chance to do in Valencia with a field goal, but missed.

His redemption came Nov. 9 with a 29-yard field goal with 16 seconds to play that gave Hart the Foothill League title with a 24-21 victory.

It could be argued that MacArthur's kicks were the two biggest plays for Hart during a season in which the Indians went all the way to the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division title game.

MacArthur was so stellar as a defensive back, he was named to both the All-Foothill League and All-Santa Clarita Valley first teams.

He made 78 tackles and three interceptions.

In the winter, MacArthur duplicated the trick and was an All-Foothill and All-SCV first-team soccer player for the surprising league champions.

Statistically, MacArthur wasn't a huge producer for the Indians, but his physicality on the field made him hard to defend and created scoring opportunities for his teammates.

By the spring, he was banged up.

He battled serious pain in his back and tried to regain strength from ankle surgery.

He may have had a slow start on the golf course, but he closed out his senior year with the best string of performances in this valley's prep golf history.

MacArthur wrapped up the Foothill League season with a pair of 3-under 69s at TPC Valencia to claim the Newhall Land Cup and Foothill Most Valuable Player Award.

He shot 69, then 68, then 67 in the first three rounds of the individual postseason.

His 68 tied him for the lead with Santa Barbara's Andrew Perez in the CIF-SS Individual Final, but he ended up in second place after losing in the second-round of sudden death.

His 67 again tied him with Perez, this time at the Southern California Championship.

But MacArthur prevailed in the second round of a playoff.

It was a feat that the greatest golfer in this valley's history didn't even accomplish.

Jason Gore finished second in the event while golfing for Hart in 1989.

With the victory, MacAthrur became the Southern California Champion and catapulted him to the CIF State Golf Championship.

He finished tied for fifth in the event with a 2-over 74.

Other male prep athletes had tremendous seasons, but no one was as successful as MacArthur was.

And he was successful in three sports.

That's why Hart senior Johnny MacArthur's full season gives him the nod as 2007-08 Male Athlete of the Year.

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