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Cantu doing well on gridiron, court

Schurr High’s Aaron Cantu is not just the school’s starting quarterback, but he also plays on the Spartan basketball team. However, he said he likes life on the gridiron better than on the court. It’s difficult enough to reach the varsity level in one sport. But to do it in two sports takes real talent.

“I like football better because you put more into it,” said the 17-year-old junior, who is 6 feet, 2 inches and 190 pounds. “You play just one game a week. With basketball, you play a couple games a week.”

He added with football you have more time to think about what happened and what you are going to do in the next game.

“When you play football and you win, you have the taste in your mouth a whole week,” he said.

“Same as if you lose, so you want to get out there. With basketball, you play two or three times a week so you can’t savor anything.”

At quarterback, Cantu led the Spartans to a 9-2-1 record as they reached the CIF Southern Section quarterfinals before losing to Diamond Ranch High, 33-27, back in December. But that should all be forgotten come next fall, Cantu said.

“You don’t want to lose like that,” he said. “Also, there’s a lot more pressure on the team because we’re losing a lot of good guys. But at the same time, we have a lot of guys who are returning and who are going to step up.”

Cantu stepped up this past season, completing 161 of 265 passes for more than 2,500 yards. He also had 28 touchdown passes and even rushed for three of them himself.

Despite scoring those touchdowns on the ground, Cantu said don’t get used to him scrambling, a la Steve Young or Fran Tarkenton.

“I’m a pocket passer,” he said. “I’m always looking to pass. The complete last option for me is to run and I’m not that fast anyway.”

So, what is Cantu looking forward to in his senior year next fall?

“Every year, it’s to win (Almont League) and go further in the playoffs and win that ring.”

And what will it take to get that ring?

“I just have to stay focused in the classroom,” said Cantu, who has played the last two years at the varsity level.

“That’s pretty much what it comes down to. Eventually, I’d like to go play NCAA Div. I football.”

One of his coaches, Schurr offensive coordinator Victor Salazar, thinks he has a shot at his Div. I dream.

“Aaron’s a good kid, hard worker,” Salazar said. “He did a good job. He’s a true leader and wants the ball in his hands. I think he has a good future. I think he’s good enough to be a Div. I quarterback.”

Cantu also had words of praise for Salazar.

“He has a lot of confidence in me,” Cantu said of Salazar. “He’s tough, but he wants you to do well.”

He added his mother’s brother, to whom he referred as “Uncle Sal,” also has had a positive influence on him.

“He’s always motivating me,” Cantu said. “He always keeps me in check in school and in life. He’s always checking on me.”

(Shel Segal can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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