Kenny Stills was in town and hitting his old haunts.
“I got In-N-Out my first two days,’’ Stills said. “Then it was Sambazon Cafe and Mister Sushi.’’
Stills, the former La Costa Canyon High star and Miami Dolphins wide receiver, was hanging at the Omni La Costa Resort last week. After Miami beat the Chargers on Nov. 13, the team stayed in North County to prepare for Sunday’s win over the Rams.
“It’s nice to be right around the corner from my house and my high school,’’ Stills said. “It’s really cool to be back here and be on the roll that we are on.’’
Miami has resurrected its season by winning four straight games after a 1-5 start. In the triumph over the Chargers, Stills caught a 39-yard scoring pass that was Miami’s offensive highlight of the day.
Stills was being tracked by safety Dwight Lowery and really wasn’t open when Ryan Tannehill let loose with the ball.
“Kenny, a lot of times, he’s going to run by guys and you have to get it out in front,’’ Miami coach Adam Gase said. “You don’t want to be short.’’
Tannehill wasn’t, which allowed Stills to reach the end zone in front of numerous family members, friends and former LCC teammates.
“I saw Kenny getting some speed on (Lowery) so I put my foot in the ground, let it go and trusted he’s going to run into it,’’ Tannehill said.
It was what Stills did after the catch which drew attention. In paying homage to LaDainian Tomlinson, Stills mimicked Tomlinson’s scoring celebration with his signature finger roll of the football while standing tall.
“He needs to get up on his toes,’’ Tomlinson said on the NFL Network.
Some speculated Stills was dissing Tomlinson with his abbreviated move.
“They were thinking I was being disrespectful to L.T., but that’s all respect because I grew up watching him,’’ Stills said. “I don’t know how many times I’ve seen him do that.’’
So why the clunky imitation?
“I couldn’t get up,’’ Stills laughed, “because my calf has been bothering me.’’
But there’s nothing bad about being home.
One night Stills had Miami players over for dinner, as his mother prepared enchiladas and tostados.
“We have a lot of young guys who have never been on the West Coast before,’’ Stills said. “I had to get them some traditional Mexican food.’’
The tradition of LCC reaching the playoffs was in full bloom during Stills’ visit. Stills attended LCC’s win over Mt. Carmel on Nov. 18, which made for a neat scene after Carson Lippert scored a touchdown.
The first handshake Lippert received was from Stills, as he was standing near the end zone.
Stills, who has 32 catches for 641 yards and five touchdowns, still holds his LCC memories close.
“That is something you never forget,’’ he said. “I’ll never forget losing at Oceanside in that rain game my sophomore year. Or losing to Vista in my senior year after we beat them my junior year to go to Qualcomm Stadium. You just never forget stuff like that.’’
While Stills would star at Oklahoma and play with the Saints’ Drew Brees before landing with Miami, those Mavericks days were tops.
“In high school you got a lot less worries and a lot less responsibilities,’’ he said. “When I was playing, it was the time of my life to go out there with a group of guys that we had.’’
His message to the LCC players as they face St. Augustine in Friday’s CIF semifinals?
“Just enjoy it, have fun and leave it all out on the field,’’ Stills said.
Stills headed back to Miami, with the streaking Dolphins now in the AFC playoff conversation. That’s food for thought, but so is Stills’ North County trip.
“Home-cooked meals,’’ Stills said. “That is my thing.’’
With his favorite area diners complementing his mother’s feasts.
Contact Jay Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s the author of “Game of My Life San Diego Chargers” which is available at local book stores and at amazon.com.