Monday, December 5, 2022

SoCal 4-AA Championship Game in Delano


Thurs.-Sun., December 1-4, 2022

We were all excited for a two and a half hour trip north on Friday to the San Joaquin Valley's jewell city of Delano for a Southern California C.I.F. Division 4-AA Championship game.

We were going in order to support Jack Brucker, a Sophomore on the Northwood H.S. Timberwolves' football team. Jack is the grandson of our college chums Loren and Sandy Brucker.

Fog loomed as we descended
the famed Grapevine portion
of Interstate 5

Jacob was excited to finally
get out of the car as we arrived at
Bakersfield's Fairfield Inn & Suites

We joined the Brucker Clan for
dinner at Bakersfield's Firestone Grill

If you ever are in the area, do drop in and order The Pig, a delicious and somewhat oversized BBQ pulled pork sandwich.

A bowl of their fries is enough for a group of eight hungry diners.

On to the game . . .

Southern California
C.I.F. Division 4-AA Championship Game

Northwood H.S. Timberwolves (13-1)
Irvine, California
C.I.F.-Southern Section
Division VIII Champions
Pacific Hills League Champions


Robert F. Kennedy H.S. Thunderbirds (11-2)
Delano, California
C.I.F.-Central Section
Division III Champions
South Sequoia League Champions

What the . . .

Our tickets and all of the on-line publicity for the game clearly stated that kickoff was scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Thus, we arrived at the stadium at about 7:15 p.m. only to find out that Northwood was leading 7-0 late in the First Quarter after the game started at 7:00 p.m.

Decidedly NOT happy.

Regardless, we all had a fun time cheering
in the stands on a chilly night

Jacob at Halftime with
Northwood now leading 10-0

Jacob with Quinn Brucker
at Halftime

The was a good old rock 'em-sock 'em affair with Kennedy finally getting on the scoreboard in the Fourth Quarter to cut the Timberwolves lead to 10-7.

The game end with a great sequence by Northwood that started with a critical fourth down stop deep in their own territory followed by two consecutive running plays on first down that each netted more than the necessary ten yards needed to seal the game for the visitors.

Final Score
Northwood (14-1) 10Kennedy (11-3) 7

Time for lots of fun post game photos . . .

Three generations of Bruckers

Jack and Jacob

Quinn, Laney and Jacob

What a GREAT night to be
a Timberwolves' fan

Up next is the final game of the season for all the marbles.

C.I.F. Division 4-AA
California State Championship Game
Saturday, December 10, 2022
6:00 p.m. (maybe)

Northwood H.S. Timberwolves (14-1)
Irvine, California
Southern California
C.I.F. Division 4-AA Champions
C.I.F.-Southern Section
Division VIII Champions
Pacific Hills League Champions


Escalon H.S. Cougars (12-3)
Escalon, California
Northern California
C.I.F. Division 4-AA Champions
C.I.F.-Sac-Joaquin Section
Division V Champions
Third Place Trans Valley League

Escalon defeated Chico's Pleasant Valley Vikings (9-5), the C.I.F.-Northern Section Division II Champions, 42-20 at home on Saturday night for the Northern California C.I.F. Division 4-AA Championship.

Escalon H.S. is located north of Modesto, about 330 miles from Camarillo. That makes it about a 5 hour and 15 minute drive for us.

Oh, the things we are willing to do on a State Championship weekend for friendship . . .

On Saturday morning, on the drive
home, we stopped at this iconic
malt shop in Bakersfield on the
corner of California Ave. and Eye St.

The George's Special that we are pointing to sounded interesting.

We entered with a group need
for something sweet

Jacob loved the soda fountain
counter as much as we did

Forgetting the George's Special entirely,
I opted for a FABULOUS chocolate malt
while Jacob ordered some
cotton candy ice cream

Jacob actually got some of the
cotton candy ice cream into his mouth

Expanding like the universe,

Dewar's has AWESOME fans!

Interesting but no,
we stuck to the soda fountain

Unless you count the pound of Dewar's famed peanut butter chews that we purchased for the ride home.

On Sunday we stopped in
Westlake Village for a purported
European Christmas Marketplace

Their were some Christmas oriented
booths selling their wares

Mostly these booths offered what one finds in the typical arts and crafts shows seen all over Southern California on weekends in various locations.

I think that the Christmas Market in Strasbourg, France that I visited in 2012 was a definite cut above this one.

Sunday was also the day that the 42 college football bowl game assignments finally became official.

I think that they got the Final Four
correct for the most part

Still, it bothers me that three of the Power 5 Conference Champions did not make the playoffs while two conference second place teams, TCU and Ohio State, did.

The PAC-12 Champion, #7 Utah Utes (10-3) are in the Rose Bowl against the Big-10's third best team, the #9 Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2).

The ACC Champion, #10 Clemson Tigers (11-2) will play in the aptly named Orange Bowl against the SEC's #6 ranked Tennessee Volunteers (10-2). 

The BIG-12 Champion, #11 Kansas State Wildcats (10-3) will take on the #5 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-2) from the SEC in the Sugar Bowl. As we all know, Alabama absolutely deserves to be ranked #1 in the country every year no matter what their record may be.

As for our beloved Washington Huskies, we have been assigned to represent the PAC-12 in the 2022 Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.

#12 Washington Huskies (10-2)
#21 Texas Longhorns (8-4)

The Longhorns are the BIG-12's third place team while the Huskies are the PAC-12's number three club as well.

Now we need to decide whether we can afford to go to the game. The cost of plane tickets when you don't know the game site until just 25 days before the kickoff makes it tough financially.

We had a great time at the Alamo Bowl back in 2011 even though the Huskies lost to the Robert Griffin III led Baylor Bears, 67-56.

Defense wins championships!

Bowl games, not so much.

The full slate of FBS Bowl Games

Then there is this from Spain . . .

The Ávila Grizzlies were proud
to announce that two of their young
players were selected to be part of
the Spanish National Junior Team

Laurie and I were proud to see young Elías and Marcos wearing game jerseys and game pants that we had shipped to the Grizzlies as part of our program to help the game grow abroad.

GRACIAS again to Coach Marc Servé at Westlake H.S. for the donations. His no longer needed gear was a windfall profit for the Ávila Grizzlies program!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

An Extended Thanksgiving Weekend Post

Tue.-Wed., November 22-30, 2022 

An extremely busy week to be sure as we were all looking forward to a . . .

It would be a great week indeed!

The Las Vegas branch of the
Contreras Clan arrived on Wednesday

That's when we found out about Kevin's new found love for basketball that required a trip to our local park to shoot some hoops.

On Thanksgiving Day we assembled
at my Mother's home in San Marino

Four Contreras cousins chasing Uncle Andrew who was toting a football, what else, on Thanksgiving Day.

Meanwhile, the traditional turkey
was cooking thanks to my sister
Linda's efforts

The rest of us offered to help
in any way that we could

As usual, I was the Official Yam Masher yet again!

The five Contreras cousins seated
with Great-Grandmother Chuny

Back Row, Left to Right: Jacob, Mary,
Great-Grandmother Chuny, Kevin

Front Row, Left to Right: Leo and Max

As always, a good Thanksgiving Day for all of the Contreras Clan.

Friday morning we were back
shooting hoops with Kevin and Andrew

A tree at our local park has
an interesting root system

On Saturday night, I headed to
Long Beach to watch the 2022
C.I.F.-Southern Section Division VIII
Championship Game

#11 Northwood Timberwolves (12-1)
Pacific Hills League Champions
#5 Lakewood Lancers (8-5)
Third Place Moore League

The reason for my coming to this particular game is that Loren Brucker's (my college roommate) and his wife Sandy Brucker's (Laurie's college roommate) grandson Jack is a Sophomore running back on the Northwood team.

Hanging out with the extended
Brucker family

Featuring a physical running
attack, Northwood won their
second C.I.F. title in a row, 35-14

The Timberwolves were the 2021 C.I.F.-Southern Section Division XI Champions going 9-6 during a Pacific Valley League championship season that ended with a 14-7 loss to Santa Maria Righetti H.S. in the Southern California 5-A Championship game.

Southern Section Champion
Jack Brucker!

This Friday night, the Timberwolves (13-1) head north to Delano to take on the Kennedy Thunderbirds (11-2) the 2022 C.I.F.-Central Section Division III champions as well as the South Sequoia League Champions. They will be tangling in this season's Southern California 4-AA Championship game.

The Northern California 4-AA Championship game will also be played this Friday night. Chico's Pleasant Valley H.S. Vikings (9-4), the 2022 C.I.F.-Northern Section Division II Champion and the second place finisher in the Eastern League, will travel to play the Escalon H.S. Cougars (11-3) who are the 2022 C.I.F.-Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Champions after finishing in third place in the Trans Valley League.

The winners of these two games will play in the California State 4-AA Championship game on Saturday, December 10th at an as yet undetermined site to vie for the 2022 California State 4-AA Championship.

Saturday was not just any
Game Day for the Huskies . . .

. . . it was the Apple Cup game
for supremacy of the entire
State of Washington!

The 9-2 Washington Huskies were headed to the east side of the state to take on the Washington State Cougars (7-4).

No problem as the Huskies
reclaimed the Apple Cup after
the Cougars won it last year

The Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr.
arrived via the Transfer Portal
from Indiana and made a HUGE difference
in the Huskies now 10-2 season

The Huskies were 4-8 in 2021.

The Apple Cup win moved the
Huskies up three spots in this
week's Associated Press Poll

The BIG "what-if" for the Huskies

"What-if" the Huskies had not lost to the Arizona State Sun Devils (3-9), 45-38, back on October 8th?

As you can see from the Bottom 25 Rankings above, ASU is ranked the 24th worst of the 131 NCAA FBS teams in America this season.

At 11-1, the Huskies would have at least been in the PAC-12 Championship game instead of Utah with a chance to make it to the College Football Playoff.

Also, how could Massachusetts possibly be worse than Colorado?

On Sunday, our woes as Rams
fans continued

Our beloved Super Bowl Champion Rams are now 3-8 and in fourth, that is last place in the NFC West.

On Tuesday night Jacob's
Wildcats had their first CYBA
practice of the season at
Monte Vista Middle School

"The basket is that way!"

Getting ready to play
some defense


His one year of experience definitely made a difference at this first practice of the 2022-23 CYBA season.

Wednesday was a great day to
start decorating Casa Contreras
for Christmas

Thanks to Paul Sabolic's generous gifts over the years, we have amassed a great collection of University of Washington Christmas ornaments which I annually place on our hall tree.

Thank You, Paul!

Let the Holiday season continue to be as good as it has started for our family.