Shawn Boose took a seat on the bench. He removed his maroon helmet and wiped the sweat from his forehead as he grabbed the closest water bottle. Minutes passed as he rested on the sideline and joked with the “teammates” he had been practicing with for less than two weeks.
Finally, he heard his name.
“Boose! Get back in here, super star!”
He jogged back to the huddle and waited for the play to be relayed in as the offense and defense continued the seven-on-seven drill.
Boose left the huddle and lined up on the 40-yard line of the Olympian High football field.
Instead of lining up under center as he had done last season for Kearny High, he was positioned in the slot, as a receiver.
Boose sprinted 15 yards up the field before pivoting and breaking into his post pattern toward the middle of the field. The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder caught the football in stride and cut back toward the sideline to beat the safety. There was nothing but open field in front of him. He had turned what looked like nothing into something.
Olympian coach Gil Warren hopes Boose will be turning nothing into something on many plays at the 22nd Alex Spanos All-Star Football Classic on Friday at Mesa College. The game, which features the top graduated high school seniors of the San Diego Section, is presented by the Chargers and the San Diego High School Sports Association.
“He’s just a playmaker,” said Warren, who is head coach of the South team. “Just a special player when he has the ball. We are going to take advantage of his skills, so we expect big things out of him (Friday).”
Boose, who was chosen as the offensive captain of the South squad, knows the all-star game is the culmination of a high school career that saw him lead Kearny to a Central League title and earn the league Offensive Player of the Year award as well as make lasting friendships with his Kearny teammates.
“It was the best team, best class you could ask for,” Boose said of his teammates. “There’s no better feeling than playing with them one more time because we are all leaving for college after this.”
Despite Boose’s success on the gridiron, his road to a Division I college football program was not always a smooth one. First came a commitment to Oregon State. After things didn’t pan out with the Beavers, Boose looked to be headed north on Interstate 5 to Fresno State The firing of head coach Pat Hill last December ended any chance of him being a Bulldog and led Boose to reopen his recruitment. Finally, with very few options left, Boose found a new home 3,000 miles away at the University of Connecticut.
“I had nowhere else to go to be honest,” Boose said. “I wanted to continue playing football and that was the best place for me, or really left for that matter.”
But before Boose leaves sunny San Diego to adjust to the cold winters of Connecticut, he has one more game to play in America’s Finest City, which happens to be one mile from where he made a name for himself on the high school football field of Kearny.
“There’s no better place for me to play than at Mesa (College),” Boose said. “I’m just glad my fans get to watch me one more time. This is also really for my family, since this is probably the last game they will see me play in San Diego.”
Starting Friday, not only will Boose continue his transition from quarterback to receiver, but he will also begin a new transition come this fall from his hometown to his new home.