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Fryer facing life away from football field

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POSTED August 31, 2013 1:59 a.m.

Lost in all the buzz surrounding the start of football season are those like Beau Fryer.

The former Manteca High and Fresno State defensive back played bigger, faster and stronger than his 5-foot, 7-inch, 167-pound frame, forcing his way onto the field.

He was Mighty Mouse in helmet and pads.

Alas, it appears his small stature has finally caught up to him. After a brief stint with the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League, Fryer is preparing for life after football.

 

It hasn’t been easy.

For the first time in years, Fryer begins a season without a team. While many of his former Fresno State teammates prepared for Thursday night’s season opener, Fryer was burning off calories – and likely some frustration, too – at Manteca’s In-Shape Sport.

Football and Fryer have been synonymous with one another for more than a decade.

When he left for Fresno State, he took the confidence and support of an entire town with him. In two years, he appeared in 20 games and earned all-Mountain West Conference Academic honors as a senior.

He said there were some NFL inquiries before the start of training camp — the Oakland Raiders being one — but ultimately the clubs were squared off by his size.

Their loss has been Manteca High’s gain. Fryer has returned to his alma mater and will help his father, Manteca High defensive backs coach Bobby Fryer, on Friday nights.

Beyond that, he’s not sure how close he’ll remain to the game.

On Thursday, he was among the thousands who turned up at Jim Sweeney Field to see Fresno State’s thrilling 52-51 overtime victory over Rutgers.

He sat in the crowd with his girlfriend, dressed not in pads but all white, feeling very blue.

Clownin’ Around

Was that a clown ... driving a red mini-van?

Those traveling Manteca’s surface streets on Wednesday afternoon might have been surprised – and a bit frightened – at the sight of Bozo waiting out a red light.

I was.

First, a little back story. I am terrified of clowns. Always have been. When I was a child, my parents hung a picture in my room of clown faces in a cloud formation. It was the creepiest piece of artwork ever created, hands down, and it always seemed to catch the moonlight perfectly.

It glowed in the dark, forcing me beneath the covers almost every night. And then the movie “It” was released and it was game-over for my pre-pubescent nerves.

Fast forward to Wednesday afternoon.

I jumped into my car parked in front of The Bulletin along Yosemite Avenue to head to an assignment. As I reached back for my seat belt, I glanced over at the traffic backing up at the Fremont Street intersection.

There it was, with white face paint and a red-ball nose, finger-dancing on the steering wheel.

Cue the cold sweat.

Had it turned and smiled or waved or pulled 10 feet of handkerchief from his pocket, I’m certain my heart would have stopped.

Later, Courtney Dowell of Yogafina Frozen Yogurt reported seeing the same clown in the store. Turns out, the clown was part of a marketing strategy by Ramos Brothers Circus, which began a run of 12 shows beneath the big top on East Yosemite Avenue Thursday.

The clown was passing out free passes – and stirring up old nightmares.

Fete of feet

A popular Northern California marathon planted in wine country woke up Monday morning with egg on its face.

The Santa Rosa Marathon made headline news for all the wrong reasons last weekend.

Ollie Ehlinger of Sacramento crossed the finish line first in his debut marathon but immediately expressed concern to race officials that he may have missed a turn. After careful deliberation and investigation, race officials disqualified Ehlinger and runner-up Andrew Grant three hours later for failing to complete a .9-mile loop at mile 21.

A third runner was also disqualified. Benny Madrigal of Fresno – the race’s leader at the midway point and through mile 21 – was crowned the champion.

Five local marathon finishers had no such problems with the new course layout.

Though none of them collected a winner’s purse, they finished the 26.2-mile course. And that’s victory unto itself.

Manteca’s Clifton Barnett  posted the fastest time among local competitors: 4:01.43. Kevin Whaite and Angela Schut, each Team In Training alums, completed the 26.2-mile course in 4:51.52 and 4:55.57, respectively.

Ripon’s Michael Musca crossed the finish line in 4:07.53, roughly an hour ahead of Shirly Nutt (5:00.30).

The Santa Rosa Marathon must have felt like a walk in the park for Manteca’s Kristy Oden, who commemorated her 50th birthday with the American River 50-mile Endurance Run in April.

Oden (50-54) finished 30th in her age group (50-54) with a time of 4:26.23.

To contact James Burns, e-mail jburns@mantecabulletin.com.

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