By John Philip Wyllie
Despite the fact that the Eastlake Titans (7-4-1) ended their season on a sour note last weekend, their 2004 campaign as a whole was a good one. South Bay teams rarely fare well against their North County counterparts in CIF competition and the Titans 17-0 shutout at the hands of the fourth-ranked Torrey Pines Falcons was just the latest in a long line of set-backs suffered by South Bay football teams.
The Titans will have to be content knowing they finished as co-champions of the Mesa League and that they reached the quarterfinals of the CIF Division I San Diego Section Tournament.
Eastlake depended all year on solid defense as well as the highly accurate passing of Nick Romero and the receiving talents of his favorite targets, Jonathon Meeker and Steven Carr.
Eastlake head coach John McFadden had nothing but praise for Romero, the section’s ninth-ranked passer.
“Nick has got all the tools. He has great feet, great hands and he sees things well. He is a good all-around quarterback. If he was in a more passing-oriented offense he would really shine. I also like his competitiveness and his sense of morals. He’s a great kid, the kind you would allow your daughter to date,” McFadden added.
Romero will get another shot at a CIF title in the spring as a member of Eastlake’s varsity baseball team. Romero, you see, is a good football player, but he is a terrific baseball player.
Eastlake’s all-league shortstop has attracted the attention of many college and major league scouts. He batted .395 for the Titans as a junior and had six home runs and 25 RBIs. Ranked 34th among the nation’s top 100 prospects, Romero has signed a letter of intent to play for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State. He is expected to be selected in one of the early rounds of the next MLB draft.
“Nick has developed into one of the top players, not only here in San Diego, but nationally as well,” said Gwynn the former Padre superstar in the Aztec press guide. “He has a nice stroke at the plate and does all the right things offensively and defensively. He’s a two-sport guy who can hit, run and he is impressively strong. We look for him to come in and contribute right away.”
“I’ve been playing football since my freshman year. I have a lot of friends on this team and we stick together, so that is why I am playing. Baseball though, is my number one sport. I have been playing that since I was little, I’ve grown to love it and it is my passion. My plan is to go to San Diego State and get a degree from there and then pursue a career in baseball.”
Romero’s combination of talent and determination will likely take him far in whatever direction he ultimately chooses.