9 p.m., Feb. 10
Scripps Ranch's Brennan Clay doubly explosive
Brennan Clay has serious game. But when it comes to his personality, the Scripps Ranch running back is, well – not so serious.
“I’m very goofy. A lot of people they think I’m serious in conversations and whatnot but that’s all for show,” Clay said. “I’m really goofy and really laid back.”
In the section’s loaded running back class of 2009, Clay is the most versatile of the bunch. The Falcons’ dual threat out of the backfield is equally dangerous as a receiver and a rusher.
“I like a little bit of both,” Clay said. “I like (running) off tackle – staying away from the big boys and trying to make a move. But also being able to catch swing passes where you’re already in the open field. You make a move and most of the time you’re gone.”
Clay’s skill set is apparent both on the field and in the box score. This season he has 1,812 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns on 207 carries. And in 2008, Clay became the San Diego Section’s first player to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season – rushing for 1,486 yards, racking up 1,055 yards receiving and scoring 26 touchdowns.
“That was a big accomplishment and an achievement that I’d been working hard for,” Clay said. “We saw it approaching and I just wanted to be the first one to ever achieve it.”
Scouts across the country took notice of that stellar season, and it didn’t take long for scholarship offers to come Clay’s way. He decided on Oklahoma, and during a visit to Norman he already gained a nickname – “Claymaker.”
“Oklahoma is big time football and I think I’m going to a great place,” Clay said. “When you get into the Big XII you think, ‘Do they really really want you?’ If they came out to Cali, there must be a reason. I took that to heart.”
Clay, who lives with his uncle and former San Diego State linebacker Scott Johnson, said he likes spending time with his family and friends in his free time. He also confessed to being addicted to video games – including first-person shooters “Borderlands,” “Call of Duty,” and “Halo.”
“Just hanging out with the family and spending time with them,” Clay said. “Quality time is always a big thing since I am going off to college.”
Clay is a sucker for drama, whether it’s watching “Gossip Girl” or playing in a tight game. Even after a narrow 30-27 upset win at third-seeded Lincoln last week, he said he wouldn’t mind another close one in Friday’s Division II semifinal against Helix.
“I love the games that go down to the wire, when you have to really dig deep and put 100 percent out and play for your teammates that play alongside you,” Clay said. “When you have a team that is like a family, it’s the greatest feeling in the world when you come out on top.”
Clay has been a part of the Scripps Ranch varsity family since his freshman year. He said the biggest adjustment he had to make coming into varsity football was adjusting to the speed of the game, which he has no problems with now.
“The speed the and the tempo have slowed down to a magnifying spot to where I know the game well, I know what a defender is going to do and I’m able to manipulate him in a way,” Clay said.
And while he makes sweet music out of the backfield on game day, the same can be said of Clay during practices. If he’s not talking, Clay is crooning – anything from rap to country.
“I’m always singing,” Clay said. “That’s probably the most annoying thing for the coaches but it always puts a smile on their faces.”
Clay himself can also often be seen sporting a smile on the sidelines. Even in the tensest moments, he doesn’t get too wrapped up in the emotions of the game.
“There’s a certain place and time to be serious, but being uptight and so into the game all the time is hard for the heart,” Clay said. “I think you should be easy at times and let life play out. If you’re on the field and play hard and love the game it’ll come to you.”
The game certainly has come to Clay.
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