Monday, November 25, 2013

A Game of BIG BOY Football, a Celebration and a Book


I experienced a long and draining couple of days this weekend. Let's start with Friday Night Lights . . .

BIG BOY STYLE!!!

C.I.F.-S.S. PAC-5
Quarter-Final Playoff Game
Long Beach Poly (10-1)
Moore League Champions
vs.
St. Bonaventure (8-3)
Marmonte League Third Place Team
at
Ventura College

I met up with fellow Newbury Park coaches Gary Fabricus, Doug Dagan and Keith Smith to thoroughly dissect this contest for a couple of hours before kickoff at Santino's Pizzeria within easy walking distance of the stadium.

For those of you who may not know about the incredible history of L.B. Poly, suffice it to say that the Jackrabbits' program has sent more players (over 60) to the NFL than any other high school in the United States of America!

The Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson, a Poly alum, was at the game as his Eagles had a BYE this week.

What promised to be a good game was quickly a massacre.

 Poly, in white, was MASSIVE!!!

#67, OL, Drew Ho, 6'1", 270 lbs., Senior
#75, OL, Justin Canada, 6'3", 325 lbs., Junior
#10, RB, James Brooks, Jr., 5'10", 205 lbs., Junior

The L.B. Poly offense played well . . .
Total Offense: only 45 plays for 304 yards and 4 TDs

The Poly Defense DOMINATED!!!

#15, DE, Joseph Wicker, 6'3", 270 lbs., Junior

Wicker has the best get-off that I have ever seen in a high school player. What he did to the St. Bonaventure OT is outlawed in several states.

California is not one of them.

How good were the Jackrabbit defenders? Well the St. Bonaventure QB is a Junior named Ricky Town who this past summer committed to play his college football at the University of Alabama.

Against L.B. Poly, he was 11 for 20 passing, good for 68 yards, a meaningless late 4th quarter TD and two significant interceptions. The pressure from the Poly front four was relentless to say the least.

So how bad was it for St. Bonaventure?
Rushing: 16 carries for -21 yards
Passing: 20 passes for 68 yards
Total Offense: 36 plays for 47 yards

Oh yes, Poly also blocked a punt for a Safety, recovered a fumble in the end zone for a TD and returned an interception for a TD.

The final score was L.B. Poly 44 - St. Bonaventure 8

St. Bonaventure was a very good team in 2013, but not tonight.

No, really, the Crimson Tide.

A Sad Goodbye

Jim Hansen
1937-2013

When I first started coaching and teaching at Thousand Oaks H.S. in 1970, our Head Freshman Football Coach was Jim Hansen. In the Spring of 1971, I was his assistant coach on the T.O.H.S. J.V. Baseball team.

Jim had been a longtime minor league baseball player in the Pirates, Cardinals and Red Sox organizations before deciding to finish his college career at Fresno State and start his 40 year math and business teaching career at Thousand Oaks H.S. In 1972 he would take over as the Lancers' Head Varsity Baseball coach, a post that he successfully manned for over 20 years.

Jim was always a straight forward man who brought "Old School" values to everything he did. As a result, he left a very positive, long lasting impression on everyone he met.

I was sad to read about his passing in our local newspaper this past week. When I saw that his memorial service would be held on Saturday at noon, I decided to brave the weather and distance to be there.

The service would be held in Camp Nelson, California located in the Sequoia National Forest about 200 miles from Camarillo and an estimated four hours of driving.

Bucolic Camp Nelson, CA

About an hour east of Porterville, Camp Nelson is a small retirement village located well over 4,000 feet above sea level with a posted population of 97 souls.

I left Camarillo at about 6:30 a.m. just to be sure that I had enough time to navigate the snow that might still be on the roads from recent storms on both Interstate 5's Grapevine Route and in the narrow two lane mountain road that is California's Highway 190.

Nelson's Tavern/Diner

I arrived in Camp Nelson at about 10:30 as snow was not an issue and decided to eat breakfast in Camp Nelson's one and only eating establishment.

Upon entering the Tavern, I spotted a flyer announcing Jim's Memorial Service and the luncheon afterward to be held in this very spot.

As I enjoyed my pancakes, the lady who owns the Tavern struck up a conversation with me because she had overheard me asking the bartender for directions to the Community Chapel. 

She related a typical Jim Hansen story to me. Jim loved to meet people and was never afraid to talk. Apparently, the Tavern has a family dinner night once a week with people being seated somewhat at random with other people. She stated that whenever newcomers entered on Family Night, she always would sit them with Jim and his wife Diana. She said that Jim never failed to make these strangers feel more than welcome.

Typical Jim.

Camp Nelson Community Chapel

This charming chapel was packed with people wanting to pay their respects one last time to Jim and his family.

The simplicity of the service was perfect for the type of no-nonsense man the Jim was . . .
Good Man, Good Life, Good Legacy

With snow threatening and no chains for my tires, I decide to leave Camp Nelson before I got snow bound and head back to Ventura County.

Bakersfield was two hours away, the half way point home, so why not stop at Dewar's at 1120Eye Street for some sustenance?

In Business Since 1909

They served an INCREDIBLE
Pumpkin Shake!!!

I also brought home a half pound of their delicious peanut butter chews to share with Laurie.

I can share if I have to.

Reading Is FUNdamental!!!


Alchemy . . .

The Book of Mormon . . .

The Lewis and Clark Expedition . . .

A Secret Society (no, not the Mormons) . . .

Native American Folklore . . .

Thomas Jefferson . . .

Iceland . . .

Fort Knox . . .

Nanotechnology . . .

Yet another great read. Merci to our son Andrew for lending me this intriquing tome.

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