South Kitsap grad adjusts quickly

It was all about making adjustments.

Recent South Kitsap graduate Leon La Deaux is best known for his abilities at wide receiver, which garnered him a scholarship to Central Washington University.

But during Saturday’s Class 3A/4A East-West All-Star Football Game at Everett Memorial Stadium, La Deaux lined up at cornerback and also was a place-kicker holder as he helped his team to a 28-9 win.

La Deaux said he volunteered to make the change because of the talent at wide receiver on the East squad. His teammates included Mitch Saylor, who starred at Union near Vancouver and signed with the University of Montana, and Central Kitsap’s Christian Wesley, who will team with La Deaux in Ellensburg.

“It was almost like playing South in practice because (the West is) such a run dominated team,” said La Deaux, who started at cornerback for the Wolves in 2008-09. “They threw a couple balls my way and I had a chance to make some plays. That was fun.”

While La Deaux is accustomed to playing cornerback and returning punts -- a duty that was given to him after he volunteered to focus on defense -- he also was East’s holder on extra points and field goals. La Deaux holds for his brother, Aaron, who kicked for South last year as a sophomore. Quarterbacks traditionally handle those duties, but La Deaux said CK coach Mark Keel suggested that he do it.

“It’s just another thing to show my versatility,” said La Deaux, adding that it could give him an advantage toward his goal of playing as a true freshman this fall.

But La Deaux, who had 792 yards and 12 touchdowns on 46 receptions last year, might be able to accomplish that just as a receiver. Central, which finished 12-1 and advanced to the Division II playoff quarterfinals, does not return a player who had more than 15 receptions in 2009.

“There’s definitely an opportunity to start right away,” La Deaux said. “We’re going there to compete for a spot, not sit on the bench. I’m confident that I have the skill set to play right away.”

Lakes coach Dave Miller, who guided the East team, said La Deaux could have been “a go-to receiver for us.” But after watching the 6-foot-2 La Deaux for a week, Miller said he feels that he could help the Wildcats at either wide receiver or defensive back.

“I think in college he could play either one,” Miller said. “He’s a great player. I think Central got a steal with him.”

But La Deaux, who plans to head to Ellensburg on Aug. 1 -- four days before fall camp begins -- said he was grateful to play in front of family, friends and a large contingent of former South teammates one last time.

“It’s a big honor because you’re representing so many people,” said La Deaux, who was the first athlete selected from South to play in the game since Renard Williams in 2007. “I really appreciate the support that Port Orchard gave me in this game.”

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