Monday, October 7, 2013

Meeting New Cousins, Marmonte League East Opener and a Pierce College Game

First things first . . .

We start this week's blogpost with some fun family/world of the internet news.

On Tuesday I received an e-mail from Maribel Rodriquez, a woman that I did not know existed. She lives in Madrid, Spain and was visiting her daughter Carolina and her husband Alberto Corral who live and work in Glendale, California. She was at the tail end of her two week visit to California with her husband Jose Lorén.

She had found me via this blog and a post from July of 2009 when Laurie and I had visited the very small mountain village of Alles in Spain's Asturias region, where my beloved grandmother Catalina Mier grew up.

As it turns out, Maribel's Grandmother Carolina was my Grandmother Catalina's half sister. Our Great-Grandfather was a widower with Carolina as his daughter when he remarried my Great-Grandmother. Thus I now officially have a second cousin in Spain!!!

Even though this made perfect sense to my Mother Chuny, Aunt Katie and sisters Marilyn and Linda, none of us had ever met each other in our travels.

After sorting all of this out, we made plans to meet at my Mother's home in San Marino on Sunday.

It turned out to be a magical meeting.

Alberto's Children's Book

Alberto works for DreamWorks Animation in Glendale. As if that were not prestigious enough, he also had the time to write this children's book that I expect all of us will go out and buy via Amazon for our children and grandchildren.

He and his wife Carolina were very much fun to meet. We already are making plans to include them in future family events in SoCal.

As for Maribel and Jose, GREAT PEOPLE!!! 

We all felt like we had known each other for years. After four fun filled hours, Laurie and I had to head back to Camarillo but not before Laurie took a family photo.

Left to Right: Maribel, Chuny, me, Marilyn, Carolina, Katie, Jose and Alberto

When we left, the meeting was still going strong.

Good Times, INDEED!!!

Meanwhile, back on the playing fields of Royal H.S. in Simi Valley, California . . .

Friday Night Lights, JV Style
Marmonte League East Opener
Newbury Park (2-1-1, 0-0 MLE)
Royal (4-0, 0-0 MLE)  

Before reviewing the game, we need to talk a bit about the ten school Marmonte League which for the C.I.F. Playoffs competes in the PAC-5 Division. The Pac-5 Division is comprised of  supposedly the five toughest leagues from amongst the 575 high schools in the Southern Section of California. This "fact" can be up for much debate in my humble opinion.

To my knowledge, the Marmonte League is the only ten team high school league in all of California. Last year the league was divided into two 5-team divisions. The final week of the regular season is designated as "Championship Week" by the Marmonte League.

On that weekend, at the Varsity, JV and Frosh levels, the two division's #1 teams will play each other for the ML Championship. The two #2 teams, two #3 teams, two #4 teams and  two #5 teams will also play each other to bring the regular season to an end.

Our Panthers compete in the Marmonte League's East Division which is made up of Newbury Park, Royal, Simi Valley, St. Bonaventure, and Westlake.

The make up of the Marmonte League West Division is Agoura, Calabasas, Moorpark, Oaks Christian and Thousand Oaks.

When we arrived at Royal on Friday, the first thing of note was that a near hurricane level, Santa Ana wind condition was howling through the Highlander's stadium.

Our first job as coaches was to sit the team down and make them aware of the obvious . . . this was not a day for passing, kicking or punting a football. Still, it was A GREAT DAY FOR AMERICAN FOOTBALL!!!

As coaches, our next consideration was the coin flip. We opted to have the hurricane at our backs knowing full well that it meant kicking off both halves.

In all my 48 seasons of coaching football, it marked the second time that our staff had come to this decision.

The only other time we ever opted to take the wind was when I coached at Rio Mesa H.S. in the opening round of the 1991 C.I.F. playoffs against the #1 seeded and undefeated 10-0 Royal H.S. Highlanders at Moorpark College.

Deja vu?

So, we kicked off with the wind and our kicker par excellence Jonas Mello drilled it through the end zone for the anticipated great field position. 


We had Royal right where we wanted them, backed up and unable to pass effectively into the gale. 

Oops, aided by a 69 yard run, it only took them five plays, all runs, to cover the needed 80 yards and score a TD. The fateful PAT was wide left into the wind.

Royal 6 - Newbury Park 0

Back in 1991, Royal drove 80 yards as well to score a TD at the start of the game.

Deja vu?

Linebacker CJ Stanziano
in Hot Pursuit

Dying Cockroach Block on the Left
Jonas Mello with the Rock

Jonas would carry the ball 30 times for 165 yards.

Connor Williams Flying

Connor would be in on a game high nine tackles against Royal.

After eight solid offensive plays, we fumbled away a poor shotgun snap and our defense was back on the field.

This time it Royal used seven running plays to cover 50 yards and score a second TD. There two point PAT attempt was stopped short by a Jonas Mello.

Our decision to take the wind was not looking so good.

Royal 12 - Newbury Park 0

Air Mello

CJ Stanziano At It Again

After those first two Royal TD drives that covered 130 yards on only 12 plays, our defense settled down.

Royal's last eight drives of the game consisted of 33 plays that netted only 77 yards and, more importantly, no TDs.

NP QB Erich Wuesthoff
A Very Efficient 5 for 8 Passing

More Mello, MUCH More Mello!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Thus the Pink Accents Everywhere

At the half, we still trailed Royal 12-0.

We kicked off again to start the half and this time, the strategy worked thanks to a touchback on the Kickoff, stout "Three-and-Out" defense and a poor Royal punt into the wind.

Here Come the Panthers!

A ten play, 48 yard Panthers scoring drive would be nice right about now.

Taking a Shot WITH the Wind

What on God's Green Earth is that
"Block" on the Right???

mello . . . Mello . . . MELLO!!!

Close But No

Shane Sipes on a Big Play

Sipes Breaking Free

Old School Football resulted in . . .

. . . a Mello TD!!!

The Mello PAT Kick is GOOD!!!

Royal 12 - Newbury Park 7

After another Panthers defense "Three and Out," it was time to score again.

Instead, on first down, we threw an interception on a well thrown ball that ricocheted into the waiting arms of a Highlander linebacker.

No problem, on their first down Royal would fumble the ball right back to us as Panthers DL Robert "Boom Boom" Geoffrion would pounce on the the ball.

Back to Ground Mello

Wedge Time?

Why Not?

Fourth Quarter TD by QB Erich Wuesthoff

Jonas Mello would add another PAT to our total.

Newbury Park 14 - Royal 12

Fateful Mello Kickoff

We instructed Jonas to do a squib kick into the wind, you can see in this photo that Luke Wuesthoff had to hold the ball for Mello due to the tornado.

This kickoff hit a Highlander and bounced back into the waiting arms of Panther Cameron Ruggiero. Panthers ball at the 50 yard line.

Although we did not score, we ate up the clock and punted the ball deep into Royal territory.

Shane Sipes

A good all-around player, Shane was also in on seven tackles.

Jonas Mello Again
Three Yards . . .

. . . and a Cloud of Dust!

This was our only scheduled game not being played on artificial turf. It was nice to see that the boys' uniforms would be in need of washing.

DL Robert Geoffrion Hitting the QB

Royal was now in a must throw mode but our defense was up to the task.

Victory Formation

The Kneel Down-Victory Play is THE best one in our playbook!

Newbury Park 14 - Royal 12

Newbury Park 3-1-1, 1-0 Marmonte League East
Royal 4-1-0, 0-1 Marmonte League East

Just like in 1991, we knocked Royal from the ranks of the undefeated!

Deja vu?

Post-Game High Fives
Were the Order-of-the-day

NP's JV Defensive Coordinator
Coach Johnny Ringo


Note the American flag, the wind was still blowing hard.

Up next for your Panthers is our homecoming/league cross bye game against a Marmonte League West team, Calabasas H.S.

The Coyotes are 0-5 on the season and 0-1 in Marmonte League West play.


West Los Angeles College (0-4)
Pierce College (3-0)

On Saturday night, I drove into the beautiful San Fernando Valley to watch a good Pierce team play a Junior College football game.

The reason for this trek was that Jason Sabolic, the son of our old University of Washington friend Paul Sabolic, is the Pierce Brahmas' Offensive Coordinator. It would be fun to watch his play calling and meet with Paul during the game.

Pierce College's Shepard Stadium

The first thing that I noticed in perusing the Pierce roster was that they 52 of their 96 players are from out-of-state!

These 52 Brahmas come from 17 different states including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and the District of Columbia as well.


Pierce's Opening Kickoff

I LOVE Trench Warfare!!

Keep Your Pad Level DOWN!

It looked to be a bad match up for West L.A.'s Wildcats and it was. Pierce dominated from the get-go and cruised to a 41-16 victory as the Brahmas upped their record to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in American Pacific Conference play.

Left to Right:
Paul Sabolic, Jason Sabolic and moi

Jason's offense looked spectacular! Great young coach if you ask me.

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