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Bennett heading to California

South Boston News
Comet football standout Alonzo Bennett, seated, is headed to play football at Fullerton Junior College. With him are, from left, HCHS football coach Mike Roark, his brother-in-law, Ricky Petty, who is holding his daughter, Egypt Petty, Drissy Toone-Petty, Bennett’s sister, and Bennett’s mother, Barbara Toone. / May 16, 2013
Alonzo Bennett used some excellent moves to create running opportunities last fall for the HCHS varsity football team. Now the Comet running back has made another move to put himself in position for a possible NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship deal in a couple of years.

Bennett announced Tuesday he will play for Fullerton Junior College in Fullerton, Calif., near Anaheim. This is a prime recruiting ground for major college football coaches for most of the FBS programs.

Bennett got this exposure from his work on the field and his positive character. It also helped that Comet head coach Mike Roark has some connections to the Fullerton staff. The quarterback coach is Tom Maher, Roark’s former head coach during a stint in Pasadena, Calif., and the offensive coordinator is Bob Moran, who also has a connection to Roark.

“This is a learning experience. I hope I fit in (at Fullerton). This is a great experience,” Bennett said.

It also represents some new experiences and adjustments for Bennett, who has never flown in a commercial jetliner or seen the West Coast. Bennett will also be playing at a school - and part of the extensive California JUCO program - which has a reputation for producing successful running backs, according to Roark.

Bennett understands he will face a major adjustment, but he is ready to work hard and play extensively at a higher level. Most of what Bennett knows about Fullerton comes from Roark.

The level of football prowess in the JUCO programs in California is competitive with programs similiar to William & Mary football, according to Roark.

Bennett welcomed the opportunity for a high level of competition, and he has made progress in his personal development.

“You’ve got to come to weight training every day. You cannot miss it, and think you’re going be the best ... person on the team. That’s what I did .... I had coach in my ear every day, telling me to come to weight training, work out, be successful, be a leader, and work hard, with dedication,” said Bennett.

The sacrifice paid off.

Bennett, now 185 pounds and five-foot-nine, pledged to work even harder in the weight room, along with improvement in his footwork. He’s likely slotted for running back or slot back in a multiple pro offense at Fullerton.

Bennett also promised to pay proper attention to the academic side.

He has expressed an interest in studying computer networking, and he is comfortable with his decision to go west.

His long term goal remains major college football, and his dream is to play professionally.

Bennett will certainly get plenty of exposure on the West Coast, but much of this future chapter is up to him as he seeks to make the upward move to college football.

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