Stan Berryhill had just two days to say his goodbyes.
The possibility of a job transfer became a reality for his father in July—just weeks before the start of Berryhill’s senior year of high school—and he and his family were suddenly packing up their longtime home in Tucson, Ariz. and moving to Southern California.
Berryhill enrolled at Orange Lutheran, with neither he nor the school knowing much about the other. The unfamiliarity didn’t last long, however. Berryhill was quickly introduced to his teammates on the football team and they promptly showed him around campus and the athletic facilities.
Berryhill then demonstrated what he could do for the Lancers on a football field.
The partnership has benefited both extremely well. Berryhill is happy with his new beginnings and Orange Lutheran coaches and players are thrilled to have a player as talented and humble as Berryhill.
“Our kids have done a great job of bringing him into the family and he’s made it easy because he’s such a great kid,” said Orange Lutheran coach Chuck Petersen.
“It’s working out a lot better than I thought it was going to work out, so that’s really good,” Berryhill said. “It’s been great since I got here.”
Berryhill’s skill on the practice field was impressive, but he took his game to another level when the season began in late August.
In his first game with the Lancers, Berryhill caught six passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-14 loss to La Mirada. Against Norco, he snared four passes for 114 yards and a touchdown in a 35-21 victory, and then exploded the following week against visiting Mullen High School, the top-ranked team in the state of Colorado.
Berryhill scored touchdowns four different ways in the 49-33 victory, catching one, throwing one, running a punt back for another and finishing his night with a kickoff return for a score.
Petersen knew he was getting a standout receiver when Berryhill arrived. He just didn’t realize he was getting so much more.
In his only punt return of the night against Mullen, Berryhill received the kick near midfield and then darted down the sideline. Three defenders collided with Berryhill just inside the 5-yard line, but he showed his strength as well, dragging all three across the goal line.
“They knew I could catch, they knew I could run, they just didn’t know about returning,” Berryhill said of the Orange Lutheran coaches. “I’m not even the starting returner, I’m the second string, so when I come in, I just do what I have to do.”
Petersen learned something else about Berryhill’s athletic ability during the early part of the season. He could throw a nice spiral. So, the Lancers began practicing a double pass with Berryhill as the middle man, then called the play against Mullen.
Berryhill was split out wide when he took a few steps behind the line of scrimmage after the snap, and took a lateral throw from quarterback Ryan Hilinski. The play fooled the defense, which let wide receiver Brandon McKinney slip down field all alone, and Berryhill threw a perfect left-handed pass that resulted in a 32-yard touchdown.
“The touchdown pass was kind off new to me,” Petersen said. “I didn’t know he could throw.”
Sometimes the most amazing things just seem to fall from the sky.