Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend 2010

Laurie's cat Brigit

While her cat may not be into the Holiday Spirit, Laurie certainly is! Thursday was that most American of all holidays, Thanksgiving Day. Our family stretched it out into a four-day weekend affair and we had a wonderful time with family and friends. This is a wonderful holiday in my opinion as families and friends gather to rejoice in giving thanks for all of life's blessings.

The first stop on our magical mystery tour was my mother's home in San Marino, California.

My sister Linda

Linda is the star of any Thanksgiving Day feast at our ancestral home. She is the main chef who consistently comes up with memorable meals but she is wise enough to dole out chores to each of us to make her life somewhat easier before we sit down for dinner at 3:00 p.m.

Our niece Lauren Wintroath and
our daughter-in-law Vanessa

They were busy setting up the table and doing anything that Linda needed.

Michael and Laurie

Mike is wearing a matching chef's coat to the one adorning Linda, I have no clue where he got it. As we got closer to dinner time, he and his mother broke out into a spontaneous dance.

Move over Fred and Ginger.

While Laurie was busy carving
the turkey . . .

. . . I was mashing the potatoes.

Meanwhile, my mother, Chuny, and my aunt Katy were busy looking at my Camino photos on my computer

Table for ten, please!

Mike got artsy with the camera

Vino Tinto from the Rioja Region of Spain


Family Photo

Mike, Vanessa, Katy, Linda, Chuny, my brother-in-law John Wintroath, Laurie, Lauren and my sister Marilyn Wintroath

Michael seriously into the
Spirit of Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day was so great that we opted to do it all over again on Friday at our house in Camarillo with Laurie's side of the family!

Our niece Amy Hicks with Vanessa

I was so excited to hear that Amy, a student at Chapman College is going to go on a three week tour of Italy (Rome, Florence and Venice) this spring as part of an Art History class . . . AWESOME!!!

Our nephew Scott Hicks and Michael

Scott is a student at Northern Arizona University. Happily, he seems to be enjoying college life to the fullest.

Harry Potter dropped in for some yams

No, this was not my plate!

Laurie's sister, Gayle Hicks cleaned her plate

Master Chef Laurie Contreras

Laurie did a great job again today in the kitchen. That is Gayle's husband David on the right of this picture through a wine glass.

The day also included the presence of David and Gayle's daugther Lyndsey and her husband Craig McKenzie, as well as our niece Sarah Gardner and her beau John Tidwell.

We were even able to SKYPE our nephew Tim Hicks in Poland where he is studying to become a doctor.


What would Thanksgiving be without FOOTBALL???

On Thursday, the Lions and Cowboys both lost as usual.

Friday had tons of great college games including #1 Oregon (11-0), above, beating # 20 Arizona (7-4) 48-29.

Second ranked Auburn (12-0) trailed # 9 Alabama (9-3) 24-0 before making a ridiculous comeback and winning 28-27.

The nation's #3 Boise State Broncos (10-1) were derailed 34-31 in overtime by #19 Nevada (11-1).

Johan Hammarqvist's West Virginia Mountaineers (8-3) broke out some really ugly "combat" uniforms but they played beautifully in beating Pittsburgh (6-5) 35-10.

Friday night was high school football night. Here are the results of Rio Mesa's playoff division.

2010 C.I.F. Western Conference
Quarterfinal Playoff Results
Serra 40 - Camarillo 7
Paso Robles 35 - Inglewood 21

Chaminade 37 - Atascadero 19
Arroyo Grande 17 -Dominguez 7

2010 C.I.F. Western Division
Semifinal Playoff Games
Friday, December 3
Paso Robles (10-2) at Serra (12-0)

Saturday, December 4
Chaminade (11-1) at Arroyo Grande (10-2)

It was good to see Arroyo Grande, the team that knocked us out of the playoffs last week, beat the #2 seeded Dominguez Dons. We lost to a very good team.

On Saturday, I got an early morning call from Brian FitzGerald about going for a hike . . . GAME ON!!!

The Santa Monica Mountains it was

We opted to drive to Newbury Park and embark on what would be an 8.37 mile hike through Big Sycamore Canyon to the Pacific Ocean.

The Trail Head

My Camino walking stick, hat and backpack
were MUSTS!

Ice on the trail, BRRR!

I'm telling you, it was cold in the canyon this morning, it was only in the mid-50s!

A cool, ancient oak tree

Watch out for the horses!

There were lots of Big Sycamores
in this long canyon

When I finished the Camino de Santiago last September, many people wondered why I had no desire to press on for three more days to Finisterre, the so-called "End of the Earth," where Spain meets the Atlantic Ocean.

The reason was simple . . .

I live only 15 minutes from my own Finisterre

This is the spot where our hike through Big Sycamore Canyon meets the Pacific Ocean.

Quite nice don't you think.

Mugu Rock in the distance

Saturday evening, we went to my in-laws house to watch the USC Trojans (7-5) lose to Notre Dame (7-5) 20-16. It was a rather dull offensive game but it was fun to watch it with Laurie's dad Bill Gardner, a diehard USC fan, and his wife Florene. We were also joined by Sarah Gardner, John Tidwell and two delicious pizzas!

Throw in a little root beer and we had the perfect ending to another great day in SoCal.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Important Weekend Sports Results

The best sports news for Rio Mesa fans this weekend was the 9-4 victory by the Spartan's water polo team against Malibu H.S. in the 2010 C.I.F. Division VI playoff championship game. The victory was made even sweeter after having lost in the championship games in 2008 and 2009. Congratulations to Coach Derrick Timmons and the fine players in his powerhouse program.

Read more about this game at:

In the 2010 NCAA Division III football playoffs, Linfield was able to avenge their 46-42 loss to Cal Lutheran by defeating the Kingsmen 42-26 in the rematch last Saturday in Oregon. The Kingsmen finished their SCIAC championship season with a record of 8-2. Linfield (9-1) moves on to play St. Thomas (11-0 ) in Minnesota next Saturday.

Read more about this game at:

The University of Washington (4-6, 3-4 PAC-10) won a real cliff dweller 24-7 over UCLA (4-6, 2-5 PAC-10) Thursday night. The Huskies travel to California (5-6, 3-5 PAC-10) this Saturday seeking to continue our feeble drive to bowl eligibility.

In Big East play, Johan Hammarqvist's West Virginia Mountaineers (7-3, 3-2 Big East) defeated Louisville (5-6, 2-4 Big East) 17-10. West Virginia plays at Pittsburgh (6-4, 4-1 Big East) this Friday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Season Finale

Arroyo Grande 27 - Rio Mesa 20

Just like that, our season is over. It was an excellent, hard fought C.I.F. Western Division playoff game featuring a contrast in styles and solid defensive adjustments at halftime. There were no turnovers by either team and only eight penalties for a total of just 65 yards by the two squads combined.

Tanner Wrout had a great night

Tanner responded to the playoff challenge with 171 yards on 19 carries. He rushed for 1,165 yards on the season.

The Spartan offense was gobbling up big chunks of yardage in the first half as we rolled up 254 yards and scored three TDs against an Eagle defense that had allowed only 107 points all season long.

Arroyo Grande's Christian Crichton #34

Crichton was the Eagles answer to Tanner's efforts. A workhorse, he pounded away for 122 yards on 30 carries and scored 3 TDs.

While the Spartan offense was making big plays in three 80+ yards scoring drives, the Eagles were making all of the little plays in time consuming drives on the ground with the help of short fields.

At the half the score was tied 20-20.

Jordan Nunnery

Jordan chipped in 56 yards on the ground and scored a TD. He finished the season with 1,180 yards rushing. Both Jordan and Tanner are only juniors so we have two 1,000+ yard rushers returning next year to build our offense around.

Old School Sox

In the second half both defenses played much better but Arroyo Grande was able to push across the eventual winning TD on a 1 yard Crichton run with 31 seconds left in the third quarter.

The difference in the game was the kicking game and the field position it afforded Arroyo Grande. Seven of the Eagles ten possessions started at their own 40 yard line or better. Eight of our drives started at our own 20 yard line or worse. American football is such an easy game really.

The final game stats listed Rio Mesa gaining 313 yards on 47 plays while the Eagles countered with 294 yards of offense on 62 ball controlling, time consuming plays.

Though the loss was disappointing, the effort by our kids was solid. Like a Phoenix, we arose to turn around a 2-4 start to the season in winning our last four league games to win a share of the 2010 Pacific View League championship. With seven starters returning on a defense that improved greatly plus our two 1,00 yards rushers in the fold for 2011, the future looks bright for Rio Mesa!

For more on the game go to:

2010 C.I.F. Western Conference
First Round Playoff Results
Serra 48 - Beverly Hills 7
Camarillo 23 - Dos Pueblos 22
Inglewood 22 - Downey 17
Paso Robles 21 - Oxnard 6

Chaminade 52 - Culver City 16
Atascadero 13 - Ventura 6
Arroyo Grande 27 - Rio Mesa 20
Dominguez 28 - St. Francis 25

2010 C.I.F. Western Division
Quaterfinal Playoff Games
Friday, November 26
Serra (11-0) at Camarillo (8-3)
Inglewood (9-2) at Paso Robles (9-2)

Atascadero (9-2) at Chaminade (10-1)
Dominguez (10-1) at Arroyo Grande (9-2)

Friday, November 19, 2010

2010 C.I.F Football Playoffs Begin

After a three year absence, the Pacific View League Tri-Champion Rio Mesa Spartans (6-4) return to the C.I.F. Western Division Playoffs tonight with a home game against the PAC-7 League's strong third place team, the Arroyo Grande Eagles (8-2).

The Eagles strong defense is led by
#56 James King

Arroyo Grande has only allowed 107 points in their ten games.

The Spartans will counter with an offense that averages 411 yards of Total Offense and scores 34.5 points per game.

Rio Mesa's balanced attack (2,814 yards rushing and 1,296 yards passing) features running backs Jordan Nunnery (1,124 yds., 8.4 ave., 9 TDs), Tanner Wrout (994 yds., 9.3 ave., 10 TDs) and Marcus Alford (424 yds., 14.6 ave., 7 TDs).

Spartan QB Blair Benchwick has completed 50.7% of his passes for 1,222 yds. and 13 TDs.

#10 Arroyo Grande QB Brent Vanderveen

As would befit an 8-2 team, the Eagles are also strong on offense averaging 358.7 yards of Total Offense per game and scoring an average of 30.8 points per game.

The Eagles operate behind the blocking of a pair of behemoth offensive tackles. Their leading runner, Christian Crichton, has amassed 912 yards of the Eagle's 2,198 yards on the ground while their QBs have thrown for 1,389 yards on the season.

Although the Spartan defense appears to be the tipping point, giving up 27.2 points per game, in the last four Rio Mesa games, all victories, the Spartans have buckled down defensively allowing only 16.8 points per game. This is a vast improvement over the porous Spartan defense that gave up a whopping average of 31.8 points per game in the first six games of the campaign leading to a not so surprising 2-4 record.

The kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. at John Reardon Field, it should be exciting!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2010 Playoff Pairings Announced

At 10:00 a.m. this morning the 2010 C.I.F. Western Division football playoff pairings were announced. The excitement of playoff football is back at Rio Mesa for the first time since the 2006 season.

The four seeded teams, in order, were Serra (10-0), Dominguez (9-1), Chaminade (9-1) and Paso Robles (8-2). All games are scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff on Friday, November 19th.

The pairings in the four week, 16 team, single elimination tournament are:

Beverly Hills, 6-4, Ocean League #3 at Serra, 10-0, Mission League #1
Camarillo, 7-3, Pacific View League #2 at Dos Pueblos, 7-3, Channel League #1

Downey, 6-4, San Gabriel Valley League #2 at Inglewood, 8-2, Ocean League #1
Oxnard, 8-2, Pacific View League #3 at Paso Robles, 8-2, PAC-7 League #1

Culver City, 6-4, Ocean League #2 at Chaminade, 9-1, Mission League #2
Ventura, 6-4, Channel League #2 at Atascadero, 8-2, PAC-7 League #2

Arroyo Grande, 8-2, PAC-7 League #3 at Rio Mesa, 6-4, Pacific View League #1
St. Francis, 6-4, Mission League #3 at Dominguez,
9-1, San Gabriel Valley League #1

The NCAA Division III football playoff pairings were also announced today. Their five week, 32 team, single elimination tournament starts next Saturday, November 20th and ends in Salem, Virginia with the 38th Annual Stagg Bowl on December 18th.

Cal Lutheran (8-1) will travel to McMinnville, Oregon to play Linfield (8-1). These two teams met in their season openers back on September 11th at Cal Lutheran. CLU won that contest in a wild shootout 47-42. If nothing else, it should be exciting!

Unfortunately, Pacific Lutheran's season is now officially over despite an 8-1 season that saw them hand 8-1 CLU their only loss 25-21 and suffer their only loss at the hands of 8-1 Linfield 35-20. It was a GREAT season for the Lutes any way you look at it!


Division III College Footbal Saturday at Cal Lutheran

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, Michael and I travelled over the Conejo Grade to Thousand Oaks to witness the final regular season game for the 17th ranked California Lutheran University Kingsmen (7-1, 5-0 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) as they hosted the Occidental Tigers (4-4, 3-2 SCIAC) in the final game to ever be played at venerable Mount Clef Stadium.

In 2011, the Kingsmen will move into their new home, the $8.9-million William Rolland Stadium.

As you would expect, the stands were packed and many former CLU players and coaches were present to say goodbye to CLU's intimate football home since 1963.

National Anthem

Mike studying the immaculate turf

The weather was perfect and, as always, CLU games are free and fan friendly thus the sideline vistas.

Oxy QB and Center working on the basics

Kicking-off to start Mt. Clef's Last Hurrah

Sun, Packed Stands and the LOS

It doesn't get any better than this!

Power Run by CLU's Deme'Trek Chambers

Hands Up!!!

An Occidental Defensive Lineman trying to get in the CLU QB's passing lane.

Chambers again from ground level

He could go all the way!

Powerfully built Derek Martinez
on the Sweep

Oxy DBs came to play!

How did #16 not block this Oxy punt?

Ryan Nastor returning a CLU punt . . .

. . . for really good and exciting yardage

CLU Field Goal attempt just before halftime

CLU held a narrow 10-0 lead after two periods over the fired up Tigers.

The Division III football experience at its best

While I sat in a cloth folding chair just outside the end line, this Kingsmen fan brought his own leather recliner to our end zone seating area. Try that at an Auburn-Alabama game!

Kingsmen swarming on defense

Chambers' second TD run

Deme'Trek Chambers would have a splendid day rushing for 168 yards on 24 carries. CLU would go on to gain 302 of its 411 yards of Total Offense on the ground.

Pressuring the Oxy QB

The CLU defense played great as well limiting the Tigers to 165 yards of Total Offense and forcing a colossal 12 Oxy punts!

One on One

CLU's Final TD in Mount Clef Stadium

A 15 yard TD strike from QB Jake Laudenslayer to WR Matt O'Brien.

Now THAT'S a PAT stance!

The Kingsmen went on to win 24-0, their first shutout since 2005. They finish the regular season at 8-1, 6-0 SCIAC. This is CLU's second consecutive SCIAC championship season.

CLU will find out on Sunday at about noon who their first round NCAA Division III football playoff opponent will be and where they will play that game.


Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest . . .

Tyler Bowen's TD grab with
1:10 left in the game

Jason Johnson's #19 ranked Pacific Lutheran Lutes (7-1, 4-2 Northwest Conference) were hosting Brandon Bennett's Willamette Bearcats (7-2, 4-1 NWC) in the regular season finale for both squads.

It sounded like a great match-up and the final score bore that out as the Lutes won 24-21 in the closing seconds of the game. Now Pacific Lutheran must wait to see if their 8-1, 5-1 NWC record, good for second place in the NWC behind #12 ranked Linfield (8-1, 6-0 NWC), is enough to earn them an at-large berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs.

In NCAA Division I play yesterday, Johan Hammarqvist's West Virginia Mountaineers (6-3, 2-2 Big East) beat the Cincinnati Bearcats (3-6, 1-3 Big East) 37-10.

The Washington Huskies (3-6, 2-4 PAC-10) enjoyed a Saturday off as they prepare for next Thursday night's game in Seattle against UCLA 4-5, 2-4 PAC-10).

What a great time of the year in the American football year!!!