Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday Night Lights

On Friday night, Laurie and I got into the old Chrysler LHS for a 95 mile (153 kilometers for my Sicilian readership) jaunt up the Pacific Ocean coast to the city of Lompoc, California.

The City Limit sign proudly proclaims that Lompoc has 43,284 residents, is 98 feet above sea level and has not one but FIVE Sister Cities:
Locarno, Switzerland
Inca, Spain
Namwon, South Korea
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Lake Placid, Florida

The reason for our journey? Former Catania Elephant Riccardo Conticello, our outstanding rookie cornerback during our 2009 spring season in Italy, is now a foriegn exchange student at Cabrillo H.S. playing for the Conquistadores' Varsity football team.

Cabrillo opened its 2009 season at home (Lompoc H.S.'s Huyck Stadium is Cabrillo's home stadium) against the Righetti H.S. Warriors and we wanted to be there to lend a little moral support to Riccardo.

"Coach, here I am!"

We arrived about 45 minutes before kickoff as the Conqs were warming up. First player we saw was Riccardo who promptly walked off the field to greet us.

Riccardo Conticello
Number 15 in your program
Number 1 in your heart

The first comments from Riccardo was about how Cabrillo practices EVERY day except Sundays and even on the Labor Day holiday for three hours!

Welcome to American football in America, Riccardo.

After this quick chat we told him to get back with his team while we hit the snack bar for some sustenance.

Our friendly snack bar server Jenna

Wouldn't you know it, Jenna is part of Riccardo's host family as well as an outstanding and outgoing athlete at Cabrillo.

What were the odds of this random meeting?

You HAVE to buy a program!

Riccardo is the second player on the right of the bottom row right next to all the cheerleaders.

Eat your hearts out Gustavo and Giulio!

Nice picture in the program

Friday Night Lights - Cabrillo Style

"What a beautiful night to play
American football!"

Riccardo in black playing right cornerback

Big enough cushion? Although he didn't start, after the first two series he played the entire game on defense. He also plays on the Kickoff Return team and the Punt team.

On the first kickoff of the game he was, well, let's just say he was welcomed to American football and leave it at that. If he had a cape, he might have been mistaken for Superman on this play.

Overall, I thought he was a little nervous but played well as he settled down and got comfortable with his role.

Riccardo and his host family, the Brooks

From left to right: Kayla, Scott, Shari, Riccardo, Jenna and Sydnee

The Brooks' son Cody was absent.

I think Riccardo actually likes living in a house with three Cabrillo High School girls.

I could be wrong.

We sat with all the Brooks family during the game and they were delightful people. Riccardo is lucky to have them as a host family, especially since they are all very sports oriented.

His teammates have dubbed Riccardo "The Italian Stallion" while Jenna's friends ask her about "Her Italian Boy". Either way he is fitting in nicely and is making many friends.

Post game with family and friends

One of the joys of high school football to me has always been the post game get togethers on the field, a chance to share another key moment in your life with people close to you.

Unfortunately, Righetti beat Cabrillo 31-3 but the Conquistadores had their moments and Riccardo is now a full fledged American high school football player. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Next Friday, Cabrillo plays at Dos Pueblos H.S.

If you want to follow the Conquistadores throughout their season, they do have a website at

Meanwhile back in El Rio, the Spartans were playing San Marcos. The JVs won 20-0 and the Varsity triumphed 23-7. Thus the Spartans won all three game against the Royals this week and all three Spartan teams stand at 1-0 going into next week's games at Newbury Park. A really GREAT start to the 2009 season for Rio Mesa!


Claud said...


Anonymous said...


What? Nothing about the Husky victory over vaunted Idaho, breaking a 15 game losing streak?

Go Dawgs!!!


antonioconticello said...

Grazie per il supporto che date a Riccardo e per le belle notizie che leggiamo e vediamo.
A presto
Conticello (italian family)