Sunday, November 2, 2008

Football Weekend Continues in San Luis Obispo

Idaho State (0-8)
at #3 Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (5-1)

On Saturday morning, Camarillo was greeted by rain showers from the north and I had a dilemma. An hour to the south of us in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, my beloved 0-7 University of Washington Huskies were playing the #7 ranked 6-1 University of Southern California Trojans, a 46 points favorite according to the Las Vegas oddsmakers. After driving to Tucson to watch the Huskies play Arizona and flying to Seattle for the Notre Dame game last weekend, not to mention that head coach Tyrone Willingham was fired effective at the end of the season, could I watch another neutering?

I decided that I couldn't do it, especially since the rainy weather front was heading towards L.A. from the north.

Instead I made the 2 hour and 15 minute drive north to the picturesque, California central coast, college town of San Luis Obispo to watch Cal Poly's 5-1 football team that is ranked #3 in the NCAA FCS, formerly I-AA, poll.

The Mustangs were playing an outmatched 0-8 Idaho State team but I like going to games there and one of our former Rio Mesa H.S. players, Quentin Greenlaw is a freshman linebacker for Cal Poly. He played on special teams and had a GREAT kickoff moment when he single handedly blew up a Bengals' four man wedge with an awesome hit. I was proud of him, he has become a hitter!

In the second half Quentin got to play defense and recorded 4 tackles which tied him for third most in the game by a Mustang.

California's Central Wine Coast

I am not a big wine guy but my wife Laurie is. I decided to take a short break to stretch my legs at the Laetitia Winery near the city of Arroyo Grande that we had visited in past trips up California's Highway 101. Laurie decided that she did not want to make the trip in weather that may or may not be good so I was driving solo.

Laurie loves Pinot Grigio so I thought I'd buy her a bottle but they do not bottle that particular grape. Instead I purchased three different bottles of dipping oil and balsamic vinegar. All we'll need now is a good loaf of fresh bread and I'll be very happy. 

The Future for the Laetitia Winery

Cal Poly's Alex G. Spanos Football Stadium

The New Home Side

I had not been up to a Cal Poly game in about 5 years, the last time we drove up, the side of the stadium you are looking at was just a set of small metal high school style bleachers for the visiting team.

I'm not sure what Alex G. Spanos', the owner of the NFL San Diego Chargers, connection with Cal Poly is, but I'm sure that the people in San Luis Obispo are happy that it is a positive one since he donated the money for this huge upgrade.

I am taking this picture from the Cal Poly student section which is now directly behind the Idaho State bench area. It makes for some interesting interaction with the Bengals players and coaches who are trying to operate only a few feet away from a amusingly hostile crowd, i.e., not even close to a European calcio (soccer) crowd given a similar golden opportunity.

Small World

About two minutes after we took our seats, who saunters in to sit down in front of us? None other than one of my former Rio Mesa H.S. shot put/discus throwers, Julianne Jochums. She is a freshman at Cal Poly and a wonderful young lady.

I also ran into an old coaching friend before the game who I had not seen in years, Charlie Casale. Charlie was a very successful head coach at Mt. Whitney H.S. in Visalia, California and is now retired. He moved to the very beautiful town of Cambria which is very close to San Luis Obispo and he still has a hand in coaching at Cambria's Coast Union H.S. We were so busy talking quickly before the kickoff that I forgot to get a picture of him for the blog...OOPS!

Brian and Koreen FitzGerald
with a Mustang Braut

I hooked up with the FitzGerald's who were in San Luis Obispo to visit their son Pat who attends Cal Poly.

As you may have read in previous blogs these are two of the most precious friends Laurie and I have. Brian is also Rio Mesa's Athletic Director, Head Boys Track Coach and the Offensive Coordinator for R.M.'s Freshman Football team.

The two of them decided to go with me to the game even in the iffy weather conditions. When we got to the stadium it was not raining, during the pre-game warm-ups it was not raining, during the bands pre-game performance it was not raining...

Then the game started and so did the rain!

Fortunately, We Were Ready For The Storm! 

Unfortunately, about 30 seconds after Julianne took this picture of us, the usher informed us that umbrellas are not allowed to be opened in the stands during the game.


Bengals on Offense in the First Quarter

Though facing an uphill battle vs. Cal Poly's excellent team, Idaho State's team played HARD! 

In the final analysis, in these winless seasons, I believe that this is the key sign of a good coaching staff. Can you still somehow motivate the players to compete to the best of their abilities week after losing week.

Idaho State's Head Coach is John Zamberlin who graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 1979. PLU was coached in those days by our Catania QB Jason Johnson's Hall of Fame grandfather, Frosty Westering. Frosty was famous for his positive approach to life and I think what I saw in Idaho State's players was the residue of Frosty's philosophies.

Still, I hope they are able to win one soon!

#8 Cal Poly QB Jonathan Dally Sprints Out

This is one very good football player! He played QB for Santa Maria's Righetti H.S. in 2004 when Rio Mesa played them in the opening round of the C.I.F. playoffs. We won the game that night to improve to 11-0 but he drove me crazy as the Spartans' Defensive Coordinator with his tremendous athletic abilities both passing and running.

At Cal Poly last year as a Junior, he led the team in passing. He completed 104 of his 192 passing attempts for 2,238 yards, 29 TDs and only threw 5 interceptions. No surprise, he WAS the starting QB on a solid 7-4 Mustang team.

What was interesting is that he also was the leading rusher for Cal Poly in 2007 with 763 yards on 182 carries and 12 TDs.

Because of the heavy rain, he did not get to throw the ball very much, but he looked good when he did.

The Firestone Brewery in San Luis Obispo

With Cal Poly in complete command of the game by halftime 28-7, we decided that we were wet enough for one night and headed to the Firestone Brewery for a DELICIOUS barbeque pork sandwich and a beverage. As we dined, we watched the end of the very exciting #1 Texas at #6 Texas Tech game won by Texas Tech on a 28 yards TD pass with one second left in the game, 39-33. Big Screen restaurant TVs are one of mankind's finest inventions!

On the drive home I listened to the last five minutes of the Cal Poly game on the radio. The final score of Cal Poly's 6th victory of the season was 49-10.

As for my Huskies, we lost to USC 0-56 to drop us to 0-8 for 2008. With North Texas' 51-40 victory over Western Kentucky, the University of Washington is now the ONLY team among the NCAA's elite 120 BCS colleges without a win in 2008. DAMN!


J TWICE said...

George - The journey continues! Glad to see you are still "living the dream" and more importantly, "being a tourist in your own... STATE!"

Interesting thought on Zamberlin - he is actually one of the most famous PLU Lutes of all time, really the only player for my Grandpa who went on to NFL Success. I heard he was coaching, but enjoyed the comments!

My only suggestion is that you failed to notice the most important news from the sporting world this past weekend: DAVID BECKHAM to AC MILAN!!! Lookout Serie A! He is doing what is called a 'loan' in soccer, where a player in his off-season can go play for another team in hopes of staying in shape. (I've already checked - they don't play in Catania!)

Ciao amico,


George said...

Based on his "impact" on the L.A. Galaxy's fortunes, I think it is safe to say that Beckham may be past his prime.