In his hometown it wasn’t safe to go out at night by himself because of the inner-city chaos that went on.
The tables have turned.
Now freshman running back Raphael Lawson-Gayle causes chaos with his El Camino teammates every time they step on the football field.
“I’ve always wanted to play football,” Lawson-Gayle said. “I was a bit sheltered as a kid. My mom never let me play growing up because she was afraid I would get hurt.”
Lawson-Gayle didn’t start play football until his freshman year at Mira Costa High School, but he has something to prove that’s not so ordinary.
After five games his sophomore year Lawson-Gayle was moved up from the junior varsity team to the varsity team.
“I played basketball and soccer,” Lawson-Gayle said. “I played everything I could until high school where I had a football team at my school. It was a nice area. I came out to one of their practices freshman year, ran a few routes and the coaches loved me so they contacted my mom and convinced her to let me play.”
His bestfriend and teammmate at Mira Costa Khalil McClain is someone that shared the high school spotlight with him every friday night.
“He is pretty elusive,” McClain said. “He will add a little power if he needs to. His athletic ability is ridiculous.”
McClain noted how his competitive fire drives him to play through injuries at times.
“He is probably one of the most passionate ones out there,” McClain said.
“The only thing he needs to improve on is taking care of his body, sometimes his passion blinds him. He’ll get a sprained ankle and try to play on it.”
Lawson-Gayle has everything in perspective and has a plan if football isn’t in his future.
“I definitely thought I was going to get recruited to a division one school but I’m having fun here I love my coaches here,” Lawson-Gayle said. “I know them real good and we have a great relationship, they help me with my life outside of football as well.”
Lawson proved his point in the Warriors victory last Saturday running for 100 yards.
“He has really deceptive speed,” coach John Featherstone said. “He’s a fearless football player. It’s hard to say no to a player that’s that good.”
Even though Lawon-Gayle isn’t the biggest guy on the field his presense is felt everytime he laces up his cleats.
“One thing I want people to know about me is that, honestly I’m not the biggest person,” Lawson-Gayle said. “I don’t back down from no hit. I play full-speed, all the time.”