Friday, October 23, 2009

The Channel Islands Game

We had a very interesting week of football leading up to our second Pacific View League game against Channel Islands (3-2 overall, 0-1 PVL).

After shaky QB play the first five games of the season, we had switched to a new starting QB last week. This young man was easily also our top defensive player the last two games as one of our two Falcons (Strong Safeties). In addition, he was our top punt returner, kickoff returner and held on PATs as well as being a key member of every other Special Team. Due to injuries, the flu epidemic and disciplinary issues we are not a deep team right now and we just can't get this kid off the field.

Unfortunately his legal guardians can.

Due to a poor grade in his English class and an attitude issue which we never saw on the field, they decided to remove him from the team on Tuesday. What a potential blow to our squad!

Add to this issue our two team rules of
1. "Miss a Practice - Miss the First Half" which would also claim eight more players including four starters.

2. "Miss Two Practices - Miss Two Halves" which would claim another six players and you can see our cause for concern.

These two team regulations meant that we only had 28 players at our disposal in the first half of the game. . . YIKES!

Then a funny thing happened.

Wednesday was a pupil free day at Rio Mesa for teacher meetings. Since Freshmen can not drive, legally at least, and there would be no school busses, we could be headed for a disasterous day. You must remember that Rio Mesa sits in the middle of strawberry fields with no housing for at least two miles. Some of our players live as far as seven miles from school.

They all showed up!

Then it was Thursday, Game Day.

It got stranger.

They were focused on the 15 minute bus trip to Channel Islands H.S. Once there, they remained focused as we waited under the visitor's bleachers for about 45 minutes for our warm-up routine to start.

Now you need to remember that this is a FRESHMAN team! Your average 9th grader normally has the attention span of a gnu during the fifth month of a drought in the African veldt!

Something was afoot here.


We started the game with great field position due to awesome kickoff team coverage. . .

High Point the Ball!

. . . but C.I. kept making 3rd down conversions. The Raiders opened the game with a 12 play, 51 yard drive that featured two of these plus our stopping them on 4th down to finally end the bleeding.

Gabriel Duongtran is#9 in white, much more on him later.

Third and 20
The Raiders were at it again!
This time we stopped them.

Martel Tyler, #5, on the Sweep

Martel has been the heart of our offense most of the year and had to work hard for his 88 rushing yards today. He would also complete a 2 point PAT pass and register a team high 9 tackles from his Falcon position.

What the. . .?

Is that WR Riley Fagan, #4, actually scoring on a 25 yard TD PASS? We really enjoy throwing the ball in California but our kids have not been able to execute this phase of our offense very well this season.

Until now!

Our QB Gabriel Duongtran was a perfect 4 for 4 passing today for 59 yards and this TD thing.

With my wife Laurie

She arrived at halftime from her job in Santa Barbara about 45 minutes north of C.I.H.S. and was shocked to find us leading 20-0 at intermission.

Frankly, so was I!

Gabriel Duongtran sprinting out

Talk about a young man that responded to the challenge! Besides his passing exploits, he rushed 5 times for 31 yards and scored 2 TDs. He also caught Martel's 2 point PAT pass.

Defensively, Gabe made a tackle, broke up a pass and returned two interceptions a total of 49 yards.

In his spare time, he booted a 43 yard punt!

Player-of-the-Game seems logical to me.

Duongtran being tackled at the end
of his 24 yard interception return.


I was SO proud to address our squad after the game. Our effort and focus against C.I. was just GREAT!

The final score you ask?

Rio Mesa 27 - Channel Islands 6

As always we got a chance to play everyone in the 4th quarter leading 27-0, with the usual results. C.I. had a 70 yard TD called back but came through with a 63 yard short pass and long run TD play two plays after the penalty.

As always "Shutouts are Fascist!" Both teams could now leave the field with a little dignity.

After the game with Jorge Zaragoza

Jorge was one of my linemen at Rio Mesa in the late 1990's when I served as the Head Coach of the Spartans' Varsity team.

He now coaches the C.I. Freshman team as well as a Pop Warner team. He is still young enough to have incredible amounts of energy and patience to coach these two age groups during the same season!

Tragically for the two of us, by the time this picture was taken, C.I.'s snack bar was already closed for the day.

It could have been an epic moment worthy of the "Man vs. Food" TV show!


Here with Mike, my son, and Ralph Lemos, our Defensive Line Coach, enjoying the delicious post game snack that the parents provided for the team.

We are now 3-4 on the season and 2-0 in the Pacific View League. Up next is a home game next Thursday against the Pacifica H.S. Tritons.


DPLassen said...

You think it was tragic for you that the snack bar was closed? Think what it meant to their revenue!

Anonymous said...

Hey George!

I went to the game at C.I. May I have a snack?

-Chris Ringor