Athlete of the Week: Poway High’s Babiash opens season with a bang
By Michael Bower
Poway High’s Derek Babiash picked off a school-record 10 passes last season. Three of those came in the biggest game of the year – the CIF San Diego Section Division I championship game.
But somehow the word must not have gotten out about the 6-foot, 1-inch, 171-pound cornerback/receiver with 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash. Here we are, almost a year later, and opposing teams are still throwing the football in his vicinity. And he is still making them pay.
Babiash picked up right where he left off last season in the Titans’ 42-7 victory over Scripps Ranch last week. He had two interceptions and showcased why he should be one of the most feared two-way players in the county with touchdown receptions of 63 and 77 yards on offense.
For his efforts, Babiash is the Velocity Sports Athlete of the Week.
“He does so many things well on the field with his athleticism,” Poway coach Damian Gonzalez said. “I just love having him because he creates a unique challenge: Do you throw to his side on defense and how do you cover him on offense? He is a dual threat and a very special athlete.”
Babiash felt like he was being thrown at quite often when the team played Oceanside during a 7-on-7 passing league game over the summer, too. But he didn’t mind it then and he certainly has no problems with it now. In fact, he welcomes it.
“I definitely see it as a challenge when teams throw the ball my way,” said Babiash, who committed to the University of Arizona in the summer. “But I like it.”
Babiash was recruited to Arizona for his skills at cornerback, but he deserves just as much credit for what he does at receiver. His blazing speed allows him to get behind defenses and he also has the ability to take a short catch and turn it into a long touchdown.
He clearly has the ability to make game-changing plays on both sides of the ball, but which position does Babiash like more, cornerback or receiver?
“Offense is more fun when I get involved,” he said. “Defense, being a corner, can get boring when teams start running the ball a lot. But I really like both sides.”
It takes an athlete in superior shape to be great at both. Babiash certainly fits that mold. He stays conditioned year around by playing basketball in the winter and running track in the spring. He runs the 400-meter and does the long jump and triple jump events.
“Those two-a-days with conditioning are really good, too” he said. “Those get me shape.”
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