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Lu-Magia Hearns | SportStars’ NorCal Football Player Of The Year Lu-Magia Hearns | SportStars’ NorCal Football Player Of The Year
A Unanimous Team Captain And A Playmaker In Every Phase Of The Game, De La Salle’s Hearns Was A Cut Above This Spring •... Lu-Magia Hearns | SportStars’ NorCal Football Player Of The Year

A Unanimous Team Captain And A Playmaker In Every Phase Of The Game, De La Salle’s Hearns Was A Cut Above This Spring •

Though De La Salle-Concord’s football season was less than half as lengthy as usual, Lu-Magia Hearns still pulled off an amazing share of highlight reel plays.

The national power Spartans, who have played in the CIF State Bowl Championships every season since their inception in 2006, typically play 14-15 games a year. But out of the six De La Salle played — and won — this spring, Hearns was stunning. His flashy play exemplified why a pandemic-delayed, shortened season was so worthwhile. And that’s why he’s the SportStars NorCal Football Player of the Year

No matter which role he played: defensive back, wide receiver or kick returner extraordinaire, he amazed. 

Offensively, he had 189 receiving yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he posted more than 15 tackles and grabbed two interceptions. If the opponent mistakenly kicked his way, it was costly. He averaged 42.6 yards per return.

“He didn’t get the ball much on offense, but every time he got the ball he made something special happen,” Spartans coach Justin Alumbaugh said. “The opposing teams didn’t kick the ball much to him on returns but he did something special every time they kicked to him. He had two incredible returns in one game. He was all over the place.”

Lu-Magia Hearns, De La Salle, Player of the Year
Lu-Magia Hearns gives the incompletion signal after breaking up a pass against St. Mary’s-Stockton in March. (Jean-Paul Toshiro photo)

The returns Alumbaugh noted came in a 63-27 win over Monte Vista-Danville, returning kickoffs for 72- and 95-yard touchdowns. Those were just two examples of amazing displays by Hearns during his three seasons with the Spartans.

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The next time Lu-Magia Hearns produces a highlight stunner, it will be in a California Golden Bears uniform. Hearns signed with Cal in December 2020. He’s expected to play at both safety and cornerback and get some return action. Staying close to home will allow his biggest fans to continue to see him work his magic live, Alumbaugh included.

“It’s right down the street, so that’s going to be fun to watch,” Alumbaugh said. “They have a great coaching staff there. It’ll be an added bonus, since I normally get to a couple Cal games a year.”

In the shortened season, Hearns focused on improving his defensive skills for the collegiate game.

“This year, playing safety, I wanted to broaden my horizons,” Hearns told the Mercury News, which named him as their defensive player of the year.

The son of 1990s Pittsburg High star Lu Hearns, the younger Hearns came to De La Salle with an array of athletic skills and a great deal of maturity and focus.

“When he came to us he was very driven and very bright; he’s always been a thoughtful kid:” his coach said. “Where he’s grown is in leadership, and you see that in how much he worked with the younger guys. He’s a community builder.”

Lu-Magia Hearns, De La Salle, Player of the Year
(Jean-Paul Toshiro photo)

Those leadership skills lent themselves in many ways, as he demonstrated a wisdom for the game beyond his years.

“He was an extension of the coaching staff. … He made all of our defensive checks for us,” Alumbaugh said. “He’s such a great young man, and that’s why he was a unanimous choice as team captain.”

Mike Wood

Mike Wood covered prep sports for more than 20 years as a member of the Contra Costa Times and Bay Area News Group. He is now an assistant editor for SportStars.

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