Terron Ward's first significant moment as a member of the De La Salle High football team came as a backup holder on an extra-point kick attempt during the first game of his junior year.
He corralled a bad snap and dashed to the corner of the end zone for an eventual game-winning two-point conversion at Serra. At the time, it appeared to be a fluke play. However, looking back, it seems to have been simply the beginning of Ward's career as a playmaker for the Spartans.
That career ended with a 161-yard, three-touchdown performance in a 28-14 California Interscholastic Federation Open Division bowl game victory over Crenshaw-Los Angeles.
It was a fitting end to a senior season that saw Ward become the school's most prolific single-season runner. It also stamped his claim as the Bay Area News Group East Bay Football Player of the Year.
"The way he was running (in that bowl game), and what he was doing for his team, the only way to achieve that sort of level, is to put yourself second," said Serra coach Patrick Walsh, who owned De La Salle's single-season rushing record of 2,032 yards before Ward set the new mark at 2,050. "I saw a guy fighting for his team. He was doing it for his brothers."
The 5-foot-8, 195-pound Ward's season totals included 28 rushing touchdowns and two punt returns for scores. He was also the starting cornerback on defense for the majority of the season.
Despite being slowed by an ankle sprain suffered in the Spartans' season opener, Ward's mission never wavered.
"This was my senior year, and my team needed me to be that guy," Ward said. "I wanted to be the guy that could change games and make plays for my team. I wanted to be the leader and the guy that younger players could look up to."
That kind of comment would come as no surprise to former teammate Kylan Butler.
"Terron has good work ethic and natural ability, but it's his confidence that allows him to go to that next level," said Butler, who was a mentor and workout partner for Ward last year. "Terron knows he can make plays."
Butler received a full scholarship to Arizona and is currently redshirting. It's unclear where Ward will end up. As of now, he's still waiting for his first offer, a fact that leaves Spartans coach Bob Ladouceur scratching his head.
"I don't know what these schools are waiting for," he said.