Kicking through the pain

Daniel McManus is known for kicking – and with good reason. The golden booted graduate out of West Hills can spit the uprights from 55 yards out, and routinely places his kickoffs well past the end zone.

But what is surprising his new South teammates as they prep for the 24th annual Spanos Classic is how well he plays his other position – wide receiver.

“I’ve come to accept being called kicker,” McManus said. “I don’t tell them I’m a receiver. It gets lost sometimes.”

With a chuckle, he remembers his mother’s choice of favorite place on the field.

“When I was younger, I broke a lot of bones.” McManus said. “She said ‘Just kick, you won’t get hurt.'”

It’s memories like this that will get McManus through the next two weeks. This July, he plays in her honor. In March, McManus lost his mother, Iliyana, after a two year battle with pancreatic cancer.

“She still did so much,” McManus said. “She hung out with us, did so much for us.”

“She went to every single one of my games…she loved watching me play. I know that she would want me to play.”

McManus is also honoring his mother in his college choice. He’ll be playing at USD – the same place his mother went to.

“There were times when I was younger when I remember being at the campus with her,” McManus said. “It will be cool to be at a place that I know she was a big part of.”

Categories: KUSI