Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2014 Newbury Park JV Football Awards Night

The final gathering of Newbury Park's 2014 Camino League Championship JV football team occurred last night.

The event, the Awards Night, was held at the Dos Vientos Community Center in Newbury Park.

A special thanks to the parents, especially JV Team Mom Amber Thompson, and NPHS Football Booster Club for organizing and hosting a fun night for the kids.

Table Decorations

I was the Master of Ceremonies

 Mike Contreras introducing his
Defensive Backs and Falcons

The always entertaining Ryan Hurley
talking about his linemen

Alex Urias was our
Co-Defensive Player of the Year

Andrew Noble was our
Most Valuable Player

These were just two of the great players that we worked with this season.

These 35 players and three assistant coaches are among the people that I am thankful to have in my life at the Thanksgiving holiday.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Football News

Another weekend of football loomed with some good results.

C.I.F. Northern Division

St. Joseph Knights (7-4)
Los Padres League Second Place
Newbury Park Panthers (9-2)
Camino League Champions

No Contest

In a nutshell, it was 35-0 at the half and 42-0 after only one Panther offensive play in the third quarter. At that point, NPHS subbed liberally and still had the necessary 35+ point lead at the start of the fourth quarter to invoke the running clock Mercy Rule.

The Knights made it look a bit more respectable by finally mounting some drives and recovering an onside kickoff against our Varsity subs and JV players.

The final score was Panthers 42 - Knights 26.

Because the Panthers won a coin flip, Newbury Park, now 10-2, will host the semi-final playoff game next Friday, November 28th against the also 10-2 Atascadero Greyhounds.

The Greyhounds were the Tri-Champions of the very tough PAC-5 League.

How strong was the PAC-5 League this year you ask?

The other Northern Division semi-final game will feature the other two PAC-5 Tri-Champions as the 10-2 Arroyo Grande Eagles will host the 11-1 Paso Robles Bearcats next Friday.

Paso Robles beat Arroyo Grande 28-27 back on October 10th. That should be a great playoff re-match!

 2014 JV Players after the
St. Joseph game

For the second straight playoff game, many of these great young men got the chance to play in the second half . . .

Meanwhile, in España . . .

 A Friendly Game for the Cobras

The team that I will be coaching in Spain starting in December, the Murcia Cobras, scheduled a Friendly Game on Saturday.

The Cobras took the 27 mile trip south to Cartagena to play the home team Pretorianos.

 The Cobras Senior Team

The Cobras' roster has been depleted by Spain's continuing financial woes. As money gets tighter and tighter, many former players can simply not justify the cost of team dues and league player licensing fees and have therefore opted to sit out this season.

Apparently, the same thing is going on with other teams in our Serie B league. 

A WIN!!!

As you can see on Cartagena's new, state-of-the-art scoreboard, the Cobras won by a score of 21-2!

I don't think that is Field Turf.

I can't wait to join my new team in December.

1-2-3 COBRAS!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Passing

Catalina "Katica" del Cueto
November 21, 1922 - November 20, 2014

On Thursday morning, we received the phone call that we knew was coming but dreaded.

Our beloved Aunt Katy who had been in poor health for the past few years and had been in and out of the hospital and a skilled nursing facility for the past month had taken a severe turn for the worse in the wee hours of the night.

I joined my sisters Marilyn and Linda at Pasadena's Huntington Memorial Hospital to say what would be our final goodbyes to her.

Katy passed away peacefully at about noon on Thursday, just 12 hours short of her 92nd birthday.

She was a strong woman, a great aunt and was loved by all who knew her.

What a great life to celebrate, what a loss for our family.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Football Weekend

It would be a long and enjoyable two days of American football. Let's start at Friday night's beginning . . .

C.I.F. Northern Division Playoffs
Opening Round

Righetti Warriors (4-6)
Fourth Place PAC-5 League
Wild Card Team
Newbury Park Panthers (8-2)
Camino League Champions
#2 Playoff Seed

The Panthers played up to their #2 Seed billing in racing out to a 35-14 halftime lead. Most of the fourth quarter was played with a running clock due to the 35 point Mercy Rule.

The final score saw the Panthers moving on to the quarter-finals by a 56-28 margin. Newbury Park rolled up 641 yards of Total Offense (288 rushing and 353 passing) on only 56 plays.

JVs on Varsity

Fifteen members of our Camino League Champion JV squad were called up to the Varsity for N.P.'s playoff run. Most of them got into the game tonight with Kicker Dario Longhetto converting all eight of his PAT attempts and RBs Kalani Sanchez and Nicolas Cellona combining for 6 carries for 40 yards.

They look pretty happy in this post-game photo.

Up next for the now 9-2 Panthers is another home game next Friday, the playoff quarter-finals against the 7-4 St. Joseph Knights, the second place team from the Los Padres League. 

Saturday Day/Night
American Football Double Header

 The Home of the Kingsmen

La Verne University
2-6, 1-5 SCIAC
California Lutheran University
3-5, 3-3 SCIAC

I love DIII football!

At CLU, the parking on game days is free as is the price of admission to the game. Their wonderful new football stadium has no track so all of the seats are up close and personal to the action.

On the way to the stadium, one passes by several forms of outdoor art on campus.

Interesting Detour

Lex Luthor

Or maybe Martin Luther, I'm not clear on this one.

Kids posing at the Stadium's
Main Entrance
Commemorating the Kingsmens'
1971 NAIA National Championship

We need one of these in Bron, France.

 DIII Sizes

DIII means no scholarships and usually no NFL future, although EuroBall beckons many of these warriors.

Players at this level, regardless of size, are in it for one reason -- LOVE OF THE GAME!

Exhibit A: La Verne's offensive linemen warming up.
Michael Brown #77 is a 6-2, 320 lbs. Freshman from Elk Grove, California while #62 is Jacob Parga a Sophomore listed in the program as being 5-10, 185 lbs. from Chino, California.

Both are pursuing their DIII dreams despite their size differences.

Ben McEnroe
CLU Head Coach

It was Casual Dress Saturday at CLU.

 CLU Carioca Warm Up

 "Where do you want to eat
after the game?"

#76, Sal Chavarin, OL, Junior, 6-2, 360 lbs.
#75, Jesse Cerdas, OL, Sophomore, 6-0, 260 lbs. 

La Verne QB Justin Gomez
Senior, 6-3, 220 lbs.

One of the reasons that I was attending today's game was to evaluate this Leopard QB for the Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons who have him on their short list of prospects for the 2015 season.

La Verne Size Issues

#76, Jan Pfennings, OL, Junior, 6-2, 300 lbs.
#82, Shawn Kagan, WR, Sophomore, 5-5, 150 lbs.

 Justin Gomez was a Team Captain
Good Sign #1

Additionally, one of the mother's of another of the La Verne players, a lady named Jessie Marks, by chance asked me how to get into the stadium. After directing her to the proper entrance, I asked her if she knew Justin.

She went on for about five minutes about what a great person he is off the field.

Good Sign #2.

Unfortunately, the Leopards opted to start a different QB today.

Bad Sign.

He did enter the game in the second half and throw a 14 yard TD pass. Unfortunately, I had left at half time.

Here Come the KINGSMEN!!!

LVU Styling

LVU on Offense

Power Play

Be the Hammer


 Holding on the right?

Trench Warfare

Allen Connor on the Reception

 Travis Sparks-Jackson in the open

Big day for this Junior as he finished with 250 rushing yards on just 13 carries and notched a TD.

LVU Kickoff

Is returned . . .

54 yards by Ricky Johnson

 That ball draws a crowd

 TD saving pass break-up
by ULV's Lucas Quinn

 Laying Out

 Dallas Parent slashing
through the line

 Open in the End Zone for Six

CLU Swarm

Pick . . .

. . . Six!

Eddie Flores' 42 yard interception return for a TD with just 1:17 left in the first half was the game's statement maker.

With the PAT, CLU was cruising

The final score on Senior Day would be:
Cal Lutheran 50 - La Verne 21

It was at half time that I left this game in Thousand Oaks to pick up Laurie for the drive north to Santa Barbara to watch another C.I.F. Northern Division playoff game between two teams that we could meet in two weeks in the semi-finals if we get that far.

At 7:30 p.m., it was time for the last football game on our agenda.

Antelope Valley Antelopes (6-4)
Third Place Golden League
Bishop Diego Cardinals (9-1)
Second Place Tri-Valley League
Santa Barbara City College

After stopping for something to eat in Carpinteria, we watched a penalty filled game that a scrappy Bishop Diego team won against a much bigger opponent by a final score of 21-14.

Thus ended about 28 hours of football mania.

We would do it again in a second today if we had the chance!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2014 Civil War Reenactment in Moorpark, California

On the weekend, the Moorpark Rotary Club hosted their 14th Annual "The Blue and the Gray Civil War Reenactment."

We had gone to these reenactments in nearby Moorpark three different years and had always enjoyed them.

This year took on some special significance as our younger son Michael would participate as a Union soldier thanks to the urging of long time Blue warrior and Hall-of-Fame football coach George Hurley.

We also had young Dylan Moore and his mother and grandmother (Cyndy and Debi Murphy) with us as Dylan has turned into a Civil War buff at a very tender age.

Company E
Second Vermont
Volunteer Infantry

This was the Union outfit that Michael and George had both joined, but where were they?

There they were!

Dylan and George

Michael and Dylan

Well, it wasn't Michael anymore. I believe that because he was underage and itching to fight for his country, he had volunteered under an assumed name. His fellow soldiers knew him as Billy Otis Streeter.

He may have been on the run from the law according to his mother.

A Rebel at Rest

We arrived for the 3:00 p.m. battle. Sadly, Billy Otis had been killed at noon by a musket ball to the "groin" in the day's first of three battles.

Between the battles, he miraculously had come back to life. 

Is there a Zouave in the House?

The Zouaves were originally French North African troops that wore these outlandish uniforms. During the American Civil War, over 70 Union regiments of elite troops adopted the Zouave uniform as their own. Many even trimmed their facial hair into what was known as a "French-style." 

No clue what that means exactly but I do like the look!

Rebel Forces Starting to Muster

The Women-folk were supporting
the troops today as well

Rebel Cannon Line

Union Forces bringing up
their own artillery

Getting ready to fire

Dylan and his new best friend Duncan
getting ready to watch the battle


Rebel Forces on the March


Rebels with BAD body language

The Union Camp

Union Forces moving into position

A Rebel General grilling Dylan on
why he was wearing a Union cap

Nice horse General

Man the mini-barricades

Union Forces on the March

The Union Cavalry was ready

Tension in the Air

Killing Field

Mike, aka Billy Otis Streeter, is in
the front line, 4th from either side

Having learned nothing from his noon battle/death, he was perfectly positioned to die early in the 3:00 p.m. battle too.

Rebel Brass on Horseback

Billy Otis is still alive,
he is the one with the facial hair



Facing Deadly Odds

Superior Rebel Cavalry


Oops, wrong war, that was General Curtis LeMay's comment in Vietnam.

Artillery Fire Smoke Rings

It only happened a few times but was a big crowd pleaser to be sure.

Nice Roan




Billy Otis was down again

He is in the middle of these casualties, bearded and with a bald head. This time it was a musket ball to the neck that did him in.

The Union now wanted REVENGE!
And the band played on


The battle was over and both sides paid tribute to their fallen comrades.

Billy Otis is . . .

Carpetbaggers if you ask me

It was a really fun afternoon made even more special this year with Mike's participation as a Union private.

Apparently, he did survive the 5:00 p.m. battle.