Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rio Mesa at Santa Barabara Game

Rio Mesa Spartans (1-1)
Santa Barbara Dons (1-2)

The Spartans loaded up the bus for the 40 mile ride north to Santa Barbara, the beautiful California coastal city dubbed the "American Riviera" for last Friday night's contest.

The Dons, owners of one of the most storied high school football histories in Southern California, have 5 C.I.F. titles and 20 Channel League championships to their credit. In recent years though, the Dons have fallen upon hard times.

Still, after our frustrating loss at Ventura last week, the Spartans needed to get back on track quickly!

Thus, we entered the game with the mindset that a proud Dons squad and a re-dedicated Spartans team would make for a good night of football.


The game got underway with a wonderful sunset but some clouds were in the distance. They would play a part in the game later in the evening.

The Spartans had a tough First Half as the offense could not move the ball consistenly and the Dons held a huge advantage in the field position game.

The Rio Mesa defense played well with their backs to the wall but surrendered two Second Quarter field goals of 21 and 36 yards to fall behind 0-6 just before the intermission.

Davonte Nunnery for SIX!!!

Just before the half ended, our Senior QB Trent Thornton (14/25, 225 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) hit Sophomore WR Davonte Nunnery with this 28 yard TD strike. Davonte caught a total of five balls for 75 yards on the night.

The PAT hit the upright, keeping the score knotted 6-6 at the Half.

RB Tanner Wrout Busting Loose

Tanner only had 4 carries but he did gain 42 yards. One of his Second Half runs was extremely physical and really ignited the offense.

Sack by OLB Mitch Haerterich

Mitch has put together a great start to his Senior season. Not showy, he lets his play speak for him. Now that's very Old School and I happen to be very old so Mitch is one of my favorite players on the team.

Against the Dons, Mitch was in on 11 tackles including two very key quarterback sacks.

Another Sack

This time it was #11 MLB Tanner Wrout on the sack with #8 senior DE Christian McNair applying the pressure as well.

Defensively, Tanner had a spectacular night participating in 15 tackles.

Unfortunately, Santa Barbara pushed across a TD late in the Third Quarter from 15 yards out to lead 13-6 as we entered the final stanza.

Then the lightning hit.

Ten seconds into the final period with the Spartans facing a 1st and 10 at the 15 yard line going in, the thunder and lightning were ruled by the officials to be too close to the stadium for the safety of the players and spectators. Thus, the game was halted for about 30 minutes until the storm blew out to sea.

Field Goal Block

Santa Barbara had an excellent kicker but we forced him into two very long attempts in the second half which produced zero points for the Dons.

After the weather delay, we had to settle for a 27 yard field goal from our kicker, Tim Dominguez to narrow the score to 13-9 in favor of Santa Barbara.

Finally, on our last possesion of the game, the Spartan offense came to life with a 10 play, 88 yard drive to paydirt. Senior RB Jordan Nunnery finished the pilgrimmage with a 7 yard TD scamper with 2:41 left in the game. Rio Mesa had its first lead in the last two games 16-13 but could our defense hold again?

Yes We Did!!!

Senior Falcon #3 James Turner came up with a huge interception to seal the victory on a night where the defense led the way. James was in on 13 tackles and played perhaps the best game of his career.

For the night the Red and Black defense was on the field for 63 Santa Barbara snaps and held the Dons to 156 total yards and 13 points.

Well done D!!!

Week #3 Results: BOLD = RM Opponent
Rio Mesa 16 - Santa Barbara 13
San Marcos 24 - Hueneme 0
Ventura 35 - Nordhoff 20
Lompoc 23 - Dos Pueblos 0
Oxnard 42 - Buena 35
Golden Valley 17 - Channel Islands 10
Canyon 52 - Camarillo 28
BYE: Pacifica

Week #4 Games: BOLD = RM Opponent
Friday, September 30th
Dos Pueblos (0-4) at Rio Mesa (2-1)
Capistrano Valley (0-4) at San Marcos (1-3)
Ventura (4-0) at Camarillo (1-2)
Santa Barbara (1-3) at Nordhoff (1-3)
Pacifica (2-1) at Buena (0-4)
Downey (1-3) at Oxnard (1-2)
Santa Paula (0-3) at Hueneme (0-4)
BYE: Channel Islands (3-1)

Pacific View League Standings
Channel Islands 0-0 PVL, 3-1 overall
Pacifica 0-0, 2-1
Rio Mesa 0-0, 2-1
Camarillo 0-0, 1-2
Oxnard 0-0, 1-2
Hueneme 0-0, 0-4

California Golden Bears (3-0)
Washington Huskies (2-1)

This was the PAC-12 opener for both squads as dreams of Bowl bids still danced in everyone's heads.

Husky QB Keith Price

Price had a tremendous day passing for 292 yards and 3 TDs on a highly efficient 19 for 25 day. He also rushed for 21 yards on 7 carries.

UW WR Devin Aguilar

Aguilar caught this 28 yard strike from Price in the first quarter. He would later add another catch good for 44 yards.


The Golden Bears had the ball inside the Huskies' 5 yard line with less than a minute to play with the Dawgs clinging to a narrow 31-23 lead. This tackle at the 1 yard line was part of a GREAT goal line stand as the Husky defense rose to the challenge, turned back the Cal offense and brought home a victory!

The Huskies are now 1-0 in the PAC-12 and 3-1 overall while Cal slips to 0-1, 3-1. Next up for the UW is a trip to Utah on Saturday to play the Utes (0-1, 2-1) in another crucial PAC-12 contest. California's next game is another PAC-12 affair on Thursday, October 6th at Oregon (1-0, 3-1).

Another Good Read

I just finished my third installment of Norway's favorite fictional crime solver, Inspector Harry Hole. Another solid plot featuring a serial murderer with an even better sub-plot making things dicey for our hero.

I love every one of these intense, dark Scandanavian crime novelists!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pacific Lutheran at California Lutheran Football Game

Pacific Lutheran University Lutes (1-0)
California Lutheran Lutheran Kingsmen (0-1)
Moorpark College

As I mentioned in the previous post, these two teams would meet on Saturday and the PLU QB Coach Jason Johnson was our QB in Sicily in 2008. His incredible passing arm and head for the game led the Catania Elephants to the Italian Football League Semi-Final game that season.

By the way, the reason that the game was being played at Moorpark College's splendid facility was that CLU's new on-campus William Rolland Stadium is still not quite ready to host its first ever game.

A scheduling conflict at CLU's old on-campus Mt. Clef Stadium forced the game to be moved to the nearby Junior College.

Peppe Strano and Jason Johnson

Peppe, a native of Sicily, was our TE in Catania and one of Jason's favorite targets. Peppe was visiting us on vacation with his wife Valeria. After a week seeing the sights of Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Utah's Monument Valley, they were ready for some football!

Jason was great in letting PLU to allow Peppe a free rein on the PLU sidelines to get a very up-close look at a college football game.

CLU Offensive Coordinator Clay Richardson

Checking his watch here to see that it was indeed . . . GAME TIME!

Clay was the starting QB on the first team I ever helped coach, the 1970 Thousand Oaks H.S. Junior Varsity squad.

Great guy.

The two Head Coaches during Pre-Game

Ben McEnroe, on the left, is the leader at CLU, in his 5th season at the helm with a 28-11 overall record.

Scott Westering is in his 8th year as PLU's skipper and sports a 35-29 career mark.

Last year at PLU, the Lutes handed CLU their only loss of the regular season 35-21.

Now before I get too far into this game's report, let get up on my soap box for just a moment. These NCAA Division III games that I have observed at CLU, Menlo and La Verne colleges in the last few years are really becoming a favorite for me.

The players are not on athletic scholarship, have little if any NFL aspirations and play simply for the love of the game. They are not on TV and you never here about the scandalous goings on that continually mar NCAA Division I football, i.e., see Ohio State, Miami, USC, etc.

I have no real passion to watch NFL games on Sundays as just enough of their players and owners continually act the fool, rarely learning from their or others mistakes.

As for high school football, it is starting to lose its charm for me as well. Overbearing parents, massive TV coverage and player recruiting, whether tacit or actively underhanded, have started to really put a damper on what I always loved about the high school game, i.e., local players who grew up together playing for their local high school.


PLU takes the field

Jason reviewing the game plan
with Senior QB Zack Halverson

Pre-Game Warm-up Concentration

Lutes Linemen Getting Ready

Nice Gloves

CLU Mascots Ready

The Kingsmen is the mascot for Men's sports while the Regals represents the Women's programs.


PLU Receivers Coach Gavin Stanley

We first met Gavin last year when we watched PLU play at Menlo College.

Great guy.

Opening Kickoff Return

Goal Line Trenches

CLU would score to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

CLU Power Play

Faced with bad field position, the Kingsmen were able to move the ball very well due to their advantages in size and speed. CLU would out-rush PLU 281 yards to 62 yards.

CLU Senior QB Jake Laudenslayer

Jake threw for 271 yards and a TD. He attended my "Playing in EuroBall" talk to CLU players last January and graduates from CLU in December. That would put him in perfect position to transition into most EuroBall leagues this coming Spring.

Just saying . . .

Kingsmen Senior RB Daniel Mosher

The CLU workhorse, he had 16 carries for 166 yards and 2 TDs.

PLU Sophomore Fullback Va'a Logotala

He is listed at 5-7, 250 pounds.

No, really!

Pass Rush Mode

I love the CLU defensive line stances, they get off the ball very well!!!

1 on 1 in the Passing Trenches

Peppe stalking the PLU sideline

WR/DB Getting Physical!


CLU's #4 is Wide Receiver Eric Rogers and a Junior. He had 3 catches for 84 yards on the day.

Sue Westering

Animated is a good word.

Nice Belt

Good Pass Block/Rush Battles
all around the PLU QB

Zack Halverson, the PLU QB, was 23 for 38 for 240 yards and 2 TDs.

Big 3rd Down decision just before halftime

Choices, choices, choices . . .

Let's go with a Speed Option

PLU converted and kept their drive alive that would lead to a rare by PLU standards field goal attempt.

Sophomore Nick Kaylor rammed through a 37 yard field goal as time expired in the first half with the mistake prone CLU Kingsmen leading 7-3.

Peppe using his
"Official Jason Johnson
Mini-Fisheye Lens Camera"
to capture the action

CLU's Senior RB Deme'Trek Chambers for Six

This 3rd quarter score upped the Kingsmen's lead to 21-3.

CLU's Junior WR Frankie Jones

Jones had 8 grabs for 170 yards including an electrifying 70 TD catch and run to extend the CLU lead to 28-3.

The Lutes scored twice in the 4th period to get closer but it would not be enough as CLU held on to notch their first win of the 2011 season, 28-17.

Both teams have a BYE next weekend. On October 1st, PLU (1-1) will host their cross-town rivals, the University of Puget Sound (0-2).

The CLU Kingsmen (1-1) hope to finally inaugurate their new stadium in their conference opener against a very tough University of Redlands (2-0) eleven.

Valeria being coached by legendary
Rio Mesa Sprint Coach Brian FitzGerald

Brian was at the game and he visited with Peppe, Valeria, Laurie and I in the end zone most of the second half.

Post-Game Meal at "The Hat"

Each couple split one of The Hat's signature pastrami sandwiches and shared an order of chili cheese fries.

I had a Diet Coke as well.

Washington Huskies (2-0)
Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-0)

Big game for the Dawgs in Lincoln. If you recall, these two teams met twice last season. During their September regular season contest the Cornhuskers literally ran over the Huskies in Seattle in winning 56-21.

In December's re-match in San Diego's Holiday Bowl, the Huskies took a measure of revenge in upsetting Nebraska 19-7.

This figured to be a very difficult game in hostile territory.

Excellent Husky Pass Defense

TD Husky WR James Johnson


The UW was only down 20-17 at the half but the Cornhuskers proved too much in the final 30 minutes as they soundly won this round 51-38.

Up next for the Huskies (2-1) is the 2011 PAC-12 opener at home next Saturday against the California (3-0) Golden Bears coming off of an impressive 63-12 victory over Presbyterian.


Conclusion of the Swedish Division I Season

The Swedish American Football Federation's new website is a tad slow so here is a quick review of last weekend's Division I Semi-Finals.

We already posted that the Limhamn Griffins (10-2) had deafeated Ryan Bolland's Kristianstad Predators (9-3) by a score of 21-14.

In the other Semi-Final the Uppsala 86ers (9-2) defeated the Nyköping Baltic Beasts (6-1) 21-12.

Thus the stage was set for this weekend's Swedish Division I National Championship Game between the 9-2 Uppsala 86ers and the 10-2 Limhamn Griffins!

Actually, no.

For some unknown reason, SAFF does not play this game that would, in my opinion, give a great boost in interest in our sport in Sweden.

Instead the season ended with two relegation games with our two Division I Semi-Finals winners playing the last two teams in Sweden's Superserien in Relegation games.

Ergo, this weekend's slate was:
Limhamn (10-2) at STU Northside Bulls (3-7, Superserien #5)
Uppala (9-2) at Arlanda Jets (2-7-1, Superserien #6)

The problem with this set up is that most Division I teams can not afford the much increased logistical costs of moving into the much more competitive Superserien against teams located mostly near Stockholm. If they did win the Relegation game, a Division I team would most likely decline moving up for financial reasons.

I think that the sport would be much better served crowning a Division I National Champion.

For at least the second straight year the two Superserien teams held court with victories.

The Final Scores were:
STU (4-7) 47 - Limhamn (10-3) 27
Arlanda (3-7-1) 27 - Uppsala (9-3) 14

The gap between Superserien and Division I is large indeed.

Finally . . .

We were watching the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Game of the Week between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Phildelphia Phillies when who came in to pitch the top of the ninth inning for the Phillies trailing 5-0?

None other than . . .

Justin DeFratus, #37, Rookie

Justin graduated from Rio Mesa H.S. about five years ago and was one of my goofiest and most lovable students. This would be Justin's first ever appearance in a major league game and it was on national TV.


His first pitch was driven to straight away center field about five feet short of being a home run.

One pitch, one pop-up.

His second pitch was a routine infield pop-up.

Two pitches, two outs.

He walked the third batter.

The fourth batter grounded out.

Four batters, no runs, no hits, one walk and a 0.00 National League career ERA!!!!!

Way to go Justin!