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He's all the 'buzz' at Newport

Junior tailback Buzzy Yokoyama rushed for 294 yards and three TDs on 35 carries against Loyola. Next up? CdM, tonight.

September 23, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

When you introduce yourself as "Buzzy," what do you expect?

Buzzy Yokoyama looks for the grin and then the usual reaction to his unique first name.

"Is that your real name?" Yokoyama said is the first thing most people say.

"I like it, so whatever."

Yokoyama's mother, Colleen, felt the same way when she told her father that her second youngest child would bear the name "Buzzy."

Colleen and Jeff wanted to name their boy after Jeff's good friend, Buzzy Kerbox, the famous surfer Jeff once sponsored. The name Buzzy did not sound right to Buzzy's grandpa, John Lloyd.

"My grandpa is like, 'You should name him William Buzzy if he wants to be successful,' " Yokoyama said of what he later learned through his mother. "My mom's like, 'He could be successful. If he's that successful, he'll have any name he wants.' "

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Yokoyama has sure made a name for himself as the star running back at Newport Harbor High (2-0), ranked No. 8 in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division.

The junior does not surf anymore, but as the surfer with whom he shares the first name, Yokoyama is riding high into the Battle of the Bay tonight against Corona del Mar (3-0) at 7. Tickets for the game have sold out.

In his second start in the backfield, Yokoyama created waves on the football field last week in the Sailors' 35-28 victory against Loyola of Los Angeles. He recorded 294 yards on 35 carries, tying him for fourth all-time at Newport Harbor when it comes to single-game rushing performances.

The last tailback at Newport Harbor to hit the 294-yard mark on the ground wore the same number as Yokoyama. No. 2 means a lot to Yokoyama. The number represents more than a jersey.

Eleven years ago, Andre Stewart sported No. 2. It was a magical season in which he not only rushed for 294 yards in a playoff game, but in a regular-season game, he set the school record for rushing yards with 310.

The Sailors went on to win the Division VI title in 1999, going 13-0-1. The school year ended tragically for Stewart, who died in a car accident.

Out of respect for Stewart, Coach Jeff Brinkley said no Sailor asked for No. 2 until linebacker Cecil Whiteside did before he graduated last season.

Yokoyama, aware of Stewart's major contributions to Newport Harbor's program, wanted No. 2. When the sheet came around asking players what number they preferred to wear for the upcoming season, Yokoyama jotted down No. 2 as his first choice.

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