Sunday, September 27, 2009

Arturo Sanchez

#5 QB Arturo Sanchez with his Catania Receivers after the 2009 Parma game.

Happy to annonuce that Arturo Sanchez, our QB in Catania for the last half of the 2009 season, led his Leicester Falcons to the 2009 British Division II BRITBOWL Championship yesterday by beating the Colchester Gladiators 33-32.


For full details click below

The Weaver Wedding

"And now for something totally different . . ."

About four years ago, Rio Mesa's Boys Soccer (Calcio) Coach Brandon Fuchs was about to get married to Monica and asked me to perform the ceremony. I, of course, told him that I was honored but that I had neither the proper credentials nor the experience to perform at such an important event in their lives. Not a problem, I was told.

Brandon's sister was an ordained minister who was originally going to oversee their ceremony but she was pregnant and could not guarantee them that she could be there since she was due to deliver the week of their wedding. She did all the paperwork for me and I was good to go at a large wedding on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Oxnard, California.

It was indeed a great honor for me and I really enjoyed being a part of their special day. By the way, Brandon's sister was able to attend the ceremony and delivered a few days later.

Then, about two years ago, Gonzalo Rodriquez, Rio Mesa's Girls Soccer Coach, was about to marry his beloved Pam and they asked me to preside over their wedding in a rural setting at a friend's home.

Again, a great honor and sure to be a good time but I knew nothing about my credentials which Brandon's sister had procured for me at Brandon and Monica's wedding. Was it a one time deal? Did I have some kind of lifetime credential? I just did not know.

Through his sister, Brandon got me to an on-line website for the Universal Life Church Monastery based in Seattle, Washington. On-line, I quickly became a lifetime Ordained Reverend and I didn't even have to yell anything like "Death to the Papists!" at the end of my intense bible study.

I know that someday I will have to confess this break from my Roman Catholic upbringing to probably a very strict Jesuit priest no less but it was the expedient thing to do.

Which leads us to yesterday's wedding on the sand in Santa Barbara for the union of Matthew and Jennifer Weaver. Matt is the brother-in-law of Rio Mesa Varsity Football Special Teams Coach Brett Phillips and it was Brett who approached me about presiding over their ceremony.

Again honored, I said yes and found it interesting that Matt had been a student at Westlake High School in the 1980's when I served as Head Football Coach for the Warriors. . . a small world indeed.

Matthew and Jennifer Weaver
with the Reverend George Contreras

Thank goodness that Rio Mesa had an extra XXL graduation robe a few years ago.

The Weaver Family

It was both Matt and Jennifer's second marriages. Here they are with their combined five children Mason, Jaryd, Jack, Gage and Addison. They all seemed very happy together and I wish them the best!

Weekend Football Updates

After our disheartening Freshman team's loss on Thursday, it turned out that football life still went on . . .

The Rio Mesa vs. Agoura J.V. Game

At 4:00 p.m. on Friday the games continued. Our J.V. team improved to 3-0 on the season with a 24-0 win over the Chargers.

Varsity Run Through Sign

A tradition before the start of every high school football games all over the United States.

The home stands filling up for the 7:00 p.m. kickoff

Varsity starting QB/CB Enrique Thomas on defense

After trailing 17-13 in the fourth quarter, the Spartan Varsity improved to 2-1 with a hard earned 34-17 victory over Agoura.

Leading the way was running back Jamaal Perkins. He set a new Rio Mesa school single game rushing record with 317 yards on the ground on only 22 carries while scoring 3 TDs.

In other news about our favorite teams based on ties to the Catania Elephants . . .

Stanford 34 - Washington (me) 14 . . . the DAWGS crashed and burned quickly

Arizona (Jason) 37 - Oregon State 32

Willamette (Brandon) 52 - La Verne 7

Mississippi College 39 - Hardin-Simmons (Matt) 34

Wabash (Denver) 62 - Kenyon 24

Nebraska Omaha (Larry) 44 - Missouri Southern 36

St. Joseph 45 - Cabrillo (Riccardo) 0

Another week,
another opportunity to compete!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Agoura Chargers Game

Thusday the Rio Mesa Freshmam team hosted the Agoura Chargers in a non-league football game. By Frosh standards, this was quite a shoot-out affair with the Spartans coming up short by a score of 35-25. Our record is now 1-2 and we travel to St. Francis H.S. next Thursday for another non-league game.

Sprint Out Pass

As always, football really really a very simple game with certain constants.

EXHIBIT A: "The team that turns the ball over the most will usually lose."

We lost two fumbles in the red zone going in for scores at the one and fifteen yard lines. We also threw two interceptions. Agoura had zero turnovers. A -4 in the turnover battle is hard to overcome.

#5 is Spartan Tailback Martel Tyler

Martel, pronounced Marté, has been a shinning star for us all season and today was no different. He had two TD runs against Agoura of 86 and 31 yards plus an 80 yards Kickoff Return for a third TD.

He has scored seven of our nine TDs in our three games this season.

Our kicker, Daniel Gonzalez, was a perfect 2 for 2 on PATs and kicked a 31 yards Field Goal as time expired at halftime that would have been good from another ten yards out. Quite a leg for a ninth grader!

Post Game After Glow

This was a very, very bitter defeat and it was not easy to find positives immediately afterwards but we HAD to. A BIG part of our job as Frosh coaches is to be as positive as possible as we teach this years group of very inexperienced players the game of football.

We were able to stay calm and lay out what we needed to do next week to get better.

FROSH MOMENTS OF THE DAY: We had two of them today only seconds apart.

Late in the second quarter, after we fumbled at the one yard line, Agoura lined up in their usual Shotgun formation on second down and snapped the ball over the QB's head and out of the end zone for a safety.

The first safety of a Frosh football season is a coach's nightmare. That bad snap led to the usual, total confusion for any Frosh team as to what happens after a safety with Agoura having their choice of punting or kicking the ball from their own 20 yard line.

The refs were great today bringing the proper attitude with them for Frosh football. They gave both coaching staffs ample time to explain to their kids what was about to happen. That being said, both teams still had some players lined up on the wrong side of the 20 yard line before order was restored.

We only had about 50 seconds left in the half when Agoura kicked the ball off and we had all three of our timeouts. We executed a nice drive during which I yelled to our QB to spike the ball on first down to stop the clock and save our last time out at that point. He did as asked and as he executed the proper play for the situation about 3 or 4 of our newbies on the sideline started moaning "WHAT IS HE DOING!!!"

Since I don't call the offense, it afforded me the opportunity to instruct these players on the nuances of the "Two Minute Drill" which they obviously had not paid attention to when we installed it three weeks ago.

I may have spoken to them loudly and in a firm voice.

It amazes me that we have players on our team that have apparently never watched a college or NFL game on TV and have so little knowledge of the game they are playing.

Sunset in the Rio Mesa Parking Lot

An opportunity was lost today, we must learn from our mistakes, move on and be positive.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Guiberson Fire Update

Vanesa and Mike spent another night with us as the Guiberson Fire continued to rampage through this morning. It has now engulfed 16,400 acres but is about 40% contained. If the weather cooperates, fire fighters hope to have the fire completely contained by Saturday.

Because the winds have been favorable, their house is still safe and their street has now been downgraded from Mandatory Evacuation back to Voluntary Evacuation. Their current plan is to move back in this weekend.

The next four pictures are all from today's Ventura County Star newspaper.

San Marino city firefighter Nick Mesa sprays foam on a house as the
fire draws near.

Helicopters drop water directly on the fire

Helicopters are flying over our house constantly as they get more water and return to the fire for their next run.

The fire retardent drops over ares that are not yet burning are spectacular.

What a way to start a marriage. . .

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Vanessa, Mike and the Guiberson Fire

The view as Mike drives away from his house

As reported about two months ago, Mike and Vanessa have a very nice first home in a spacious apartment above a garage in a remote, gated community near Somis. A concern that we all had when we first visited was the danger of a wildfire in this rugged ranching area.

August and September are the two BIG fire season months in southern California.

Yesterday our fears for them came true as the Guiberson Fire started, get this, due to spontaneous combustion of manure in the heat. . .

Mike and Vanessa left Rio Mesa ast about noon to get their valuable possessions out of harms way during a Voluntary Evacuation period.

Mike's Saturn arriving at our house

They REALLY packed the Saturn to the brim

Our front room became their
Evacuation Center

It's official, they've moved back in with us

Still on Voluntary Evacuation mode last night Vanessa and Mike spent the night at our house.

This morning at 6:00 a.m. the Ventura County Fire Department issued a Mandatory Evacuation order for their gated community. Scary indeed, but they are safe and all of their most important possessions are safe too.

We have spent the morning watching the fire on various TV news programs and hearing helicopters flying overhead on their way to fighting the fire.

35 or 40 years from now this will be a great story for Mike and Vanessa to tell their grandchildren!

The following pictures of the Guiberson Fire are courtesy of the Ventura County Star newspaper. As of now, about 9,000 acres have been scorched.

Firefighters in action!

Setting a backfire to combat the rapid spread of the main blaze.

Getting too close for comfort!

AWESOME Fire Retardant Drop

Is that fire hose big enough?

The winds are spreading
the embers way too quickly.

The Fire Line

Keep on dropping!!!

"What me worry?"

The Rustic Canyon Golf Course is near the fire but apparently the game MUST go on!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A GREAT College Football Saturday

Is there anything better than another college football Saturday?


First I want to update our Italian readership on a few scores.

Brandon Bennett's Willamette team defeated Southern Oregon 22-15.

Matt Epperson's Hardin-Simmons University lost to Louisiana College 7-28.

Jason Johnson's Arizona Wildcats lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes 17-27.

Denver Wade continues his winning ways at Wabash as the Little Giants destroyed Chicago 48-10.

As for my Saturday, I will take you through it in chronological not emotional order.

Brian FitzGerald joined me on the short drive to California Lutheran University (0-1) to watch the Kingsmen's home opener vs. the Pacific Lutheran Lutes (0-1).

Part of the reason for going to this particular Division III game was the fact that Jason Johnson's grandfather, Frosty Westering, was the long time, Hall-of-Fame coach at PLU. Jason's uncle Scott is now the Lutes head man.

PLU Head Coach Scott Westering giving
the Lutes some VERY positive words
before kickoff.

With Scott Westering before the game.

CLU Captains taking the field

CLU's offense would dominate the day

367 yards of Kingsmen offense with no turnovers led the way to a convincing 49-7 CLU victory.

The Lutes on O

Football is a VERY simple game really, if you turn the ball over 4 more times than your opponent, you tend to lose large.

Today was no exception.

The joys of Division III football

Just walk your family down to the end zone and sit in the shade of the scoreboard about 5 yards out of bounds.

Try that at Michigan's "Big House".

Suddenly, there he was. . .

As CLU started to run away with the game, my focus started to wander to the atmosphere surrounding the game.

A PLU fan in resplendent colors to match the day's sunshine was walking towards us.

The guy on the right with the mullet was cool, too.

Our man striking his best
Benito Mussolini pose.

All he needed was a balcony.

The lady in black next to our Gucci model was merciless in her remarks to the officials as she walked up and down the sidelines.

The head referee finally asked her to sit in the stands and do her ragging from that vantage point or be removed from the game.

She sat.

The Lutes trying to re-group
during a timeout.

Nellie's story is a heart warming
piece of Lutes' lore.

Click on my link to Jason Johnson's blog to read about him and what PLU football meant to him and vice versa.

Nellie passed away this fall.

I have GOT to get me one of these outfits!!!

And now for the emotional part of my day, the #3 ranked USC Trojans (2-0) at my beloved but unranked University of Washington Huskies (1-1).

The Dawgs were 21 point underdogs at kickoff and rightfully so, the job that Pete Carroll has done at USC is nothing short of remarkable.

We left the CLU-PLU game at halftime with CLU leading 28-0 and in full control of things. We raced back to Camarillo to watch the 4th quarter of the Huskies' game with the score tied at 10-10.

The DAWGS came to play!

Nick Holt's Huskies defense was both magnificent and inspired!

#17, UW Placekicker Erik Folk

Folk kicked 3 field goals today including this 22 yard boot with only 0:03 ticks left on the clock to shock the country.

I'm guessing that Folk's Saturday night was somewhat festive.

The Trojan's #15 laying at Folk's feet is USC's starting Senior CB, Kevin Thomas who played for us at Rio Mesa H.S. and came close to blocking the game winner.

Washington 16
Southern California 13


As the game ended a few people
stormed the field. . .

What the hell, they ALL stormed the field!!!

Our friend Mike D'Antuono sent us these last two pictures as he was lucky enough to be in Husky Stadium with 61,889 of his closest friends to view the rebirth of our dormant program up close and personal!

#10, UW Quarterback Jake Locker

PASSING: 21 for 35, 237 yards, 0 Interceptions, 0 TDs

He rushed for the DAWGS only TD and led a great 4th quarter drive to set up the winning Field Goal.

Our Husky flag flying PROUDLY once again!

This flag is up all during the college football season at our home in Camarillo.

It has been a loooooooong time since it flew proudly.

Thanks to two of my former players Gregorio Barbagallo from Catania and Ryan Bolland from Buena H.S. now living in Mississippi for sending their congratulations!

Sharing the joy of beating USC is always so so sweet!

Steve Sarkisian
Emperor of the Universe!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Newbury Park Games

Rio Mesa's football weekend started on Thursday night with the Varsity and J.V. doubleheader at Newbury Park H.S.

"What a BEAUTIFUL night
to play American football!!!"

The Rio Mesa J.V.s started the night with a thrilling come from behind 21-14 victory to improve to 2-0 on the season. Tanner Wrout was OUTSTANDING!

Varsity Offense on the move

After leading 6-0 at the half, the Spartans ran into a Panthers' buzz saw in the second half and lost 34-6. The Varsity is now 1-1.

Freshman Offense in a rare
Friday afternoon game

Tailback Martel Tyler rushed for 145 yards and 2 TDs but it would not be enough as a very good Newbury Park team handed us our first defeat of the campaign by a score of 34-14. Our record is now 1-1.

Mike and I watching our team
warm-up at halftime

Post-Game "After-Glow" as Jason Johnson might call it

Our kids fought hard against the Panthers and showed a never say die attitude in the second half that made the coaching staff very proud! We can build on this.

FROSH FOOTBALL MOMENT: During a kickoff, one of our players on our sidelines started yelling "HE'S HOLDING!!!" The problem with this is that we were returning the kickoff and it was one of our Spartans who was doing the holding!

With Panther Frosh Head Coach Joe Smigiel

Joe played with Jason Johnson at the University of Arizona.

Mike and his Grandpa, Bill Gardner

Football should always be a shared family affair!

Next up for the frosh Spartans is a home game on Thursday vs. Agoura H.S.

We'll be back!!!