La Cañada High's Todd Murray looks to haul in Spartans success

Spartans tight end/defensive end looks to use 6-foot-3 size, experience to make a difference in passing game as a junior.

September 03, 2013|By Andrew Shortall,
  • At 6-foot-3, La Cañada High tight end and defensive end Todd Murray is looking to make a big impact in his junior season.
At 6-foot-3, La Cañada High tight end and defensive… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

Nerves were certainly there early on for Todd Murray, the only sophomore on the La Cañada High varsity football team last year.

Those all went out the window in his first game. Murray caught a 13-yard touchdown pass on the Spartans’ first drive of the season and later recovered a fumble at La Cañada’s 10-yard line with 5:44 to play in a 17-7 victory over Alhambra.

“People always ask me what’s one of your best feelings in your life,” said Murray, now a 16-year-old junior tight end/defensive end, “I’ve got to say that was definitely one of them — coming in, first touchdown of the season, new coach, varsity.”

It was by far Murray’s best game of the year and his young career, as he tallied his only touchdown and fumble recovery in nine games. For the season, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound athlete recorded 22 tackles (18 solo, one sack), three quarterback hurries and four receptions for 36 yards — his longest being the 13-yard grab against Alhambra.


“I’ve got to admit, I was really nervous that first game, but luckily I’m a big kid so I was able to kind of fend for myself, and hopefully that should carry me into this season with that experience I have,” Murray said.

Just like Murray, La Cañada’s season didn’t play out as promising as its first game suggested. After Alhambra, the Spartans lost their next eight games before capping the year with a 42-0 victory over Blair. The 2-8, 1-4 in Rio Hondo League run was La Cañada’s worst since a 1-7-2 season in 2007.

Hopes are much higher for both Murray and his team this year. La Cañada is eyeing a winning season and berth into the CIF Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs.

After running the ball three times more than they passed (348-105) in 2012, the Spartans are looking to air it out more this season. Murray will play a big part in that.

“Todd's going to be our main target, we're going to throw to him a lot at 6-3 — he can jump,” La Cañada Coach James Sims said. “We're going to put him on the outside, out wide and throw some stuff to him. We're going to get some play-action and throw to him. He's going to carry a big part of the offensive load, I want him to touch the ball at least five or six times a game.”

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