Monday, September 24, 2018

A Madcap Weekend of American Football

Friday, September 21 -
Sunday, September 23, 2018

American football, American football and American football . . .

What else is needed to make it a BEAUTIFUL weekend one might ask?

Nothing apparently.

Let's start with another edition of . . .

Friday Night Lights

I was back on duty after a two week hiatus on the Ventura County Star's Game-of-the-Week podcast as the color commentator.

This week it shaped up as a good non-league contest, but shapes can sometimes be deceiving.

Simi Valley Pioneers (4-1)
Canyon League
Moorpark Musketeers (3-1)
Camino League
 The Musketeers march onto
the field through the home crowd

Very cool!

The Moorpark Band's Pomp
and Circumstance at Halftime

By this time, the game was a long time over.

How you ask?

Well, here you go:

Moorpark returns the opening kickoff 99 yards for a TD, 7-0 at the 11:49 mark.

Moorpark hits a 42 yard TD pass, 14-0 at the 8:55 mark.

Moorpark hits a 38 yard TD pass, 20-0 at 4:14 mark.

Moorpark hits a 5 yard TD pass, 27-0 at the 1:18 mark.

The First Period ends with the Musketeers ahead 27-0.

Moorpark hits a 49 yard TD pass, 34-0 at the 9:16 mark.

Simi Valley returns the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a TD, 34-7 at the 9:03 mark.

Moorpark hits a 73 yard TD pass, 41-7 at the 8:18 mark.

Moorpark hits a 26 yard TD pass, 47-7 at the 0:00 mark.

At Halftime, Moorpark 47 - Sim Valley 7.

Impressive team these Musketeers!

Thanks to a running clock in the Fourth Quarter, some of the Pioneers' pain was eased, but in the Third Quarter . . .

Moorpark has a 42 yard TD run, 53-7 at the 5:37 mark.

The Musketeers have a definite weakness kicking PATs.    

 Moorpark blocks a Punt that is returned
three yards for a TD, 59-7 at the 3:52 mark

Another missed PAT for the Musketeers and they were done scoring for the night. 

Battle in the Secondary

Moorpark made Simi Valley
look a bit silly on this night

 Lots of pressure on
the Pioneers' QBs all night

The Pioneers did push across two TD scores in the Fourth Quarter against the Musketeers' back-up players to make the Final Score a somewhat more respectable 59-21.

Both Moorpark and Simi Valley had one of those nights where nothing could go and everything did, respectively, go wrong.

It happens . . . on to next week for both of these solid clubs.

A Long Saturday

First up, a Red Robots soccer game in Camarillo.

Jacob wants to be a great
photographer ala Sue Valdivia
and Jason Johnson some day

 All the Red Robots sit out
one period per game

Today was Jacob's turn to not be a starter.

 Last minute coach's instructions

Going for the ball

Game Faces

Hair Flying

 Hey, what have you got there Joey?

Princess Mary at halftime

 Dribbling with a somewhat
Bohemian ref chasing the play


All the players had fun and the Red Robots played much better than in past weeks.

Ojai, California

After Jacob's game, I had to drive to Ojai for something that is happening more and more as I age, a memorial service for a good person.

Jack Smith was a long time football, basketball and baseball coach at Nordhoff H.S. in Ojai. He also served as the school's Principal for many years.

Jack was simply a good man who lived a life of service to others.

"Go Rangers!" 

After this moving service, I just did not want to go straight home so I checked with MaxPreps to find that even though Jack's beloved Rangers had played on Friday night, a 24-13 Citrus Coast League win over rival Fillmore, there was still one more high school game to be played in town on this warm Saturday afternoon.

8-Man American Football

Windward Wildcats (3-1)
Thacher Toads (0-2)

What a BEAUTIFUL setting for
an American football game!

 Lots of wide open spaces in 8-man

Yes, the Thacher field tilts seriously
towards this corner of the end zone

Wildcat Bomb to the corner


I was happy to see Aaron Snyder acting as the Toads Head Coach this year while their long-time HC is on sabbatical.

I helped Aaron get a job as a player/coach in Zaragoza, Spain in 2016-17 when he and his wife went on a sabbatical of their own.

Final Score: Thacher 34 - Windward 20

"Go Toads!"

PAC-12 Saturday Night TV

Arizona State Sun Devils
0-0 PAC-12 and 2-1 Overall
Washington Huskies
1-0 PAC-12 and 2-1 Overall

The Huskies needed this one against a PAC-12 South foe.

As usual, the Defense played well and the Offense looked better this week thus . . . 


I think our ranking is about right
given how we've played to date

Hopefully we'll keep improving, keep winning and keep climbing in the rankings.

The 20th ranked BYU Cougars (3-1) come to Seattle this coming Saturday for the Huskies final non-conference game of the 2018 regular season.

NFL Sunday
The Battle for Los Angeles

Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
Los Angeles Rams (2-0)

And we had game tickets as the
Metro to the Coliseum awaited!

Son Mike joined us as well.  

 Once situated to tailgate properly,
we just had to throw the ball around

 Laurie at our shared table

Jacob and his new $1.00 toy

He had fun with it

If only the line wasn't so long
and the prices weren't so high . . .

Jacob heading up the stairs
to our usual . . .

 . . . nose bleed seats

Low in cost and high in shade on an 82°F/28°C day in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

They announced that Ollie Matson
wasn't going to suit out today

Let the Game Begin!

The Rams came out full of
piss and vinegar!

 Whose House?

Actually, there were a lot of Chargers fans in attendance.

I would guess the Bolts' fans made up about 40% of the announced crowd of 68,947.

 Rams about to score first and often

A whopping 521 yards of Total Offense made for a fun day for all Rams fans! 

Laurie and Jacob were happy!

The Rams effort literally had
Jacob dancing in the aisle

 Blocked punt for a Rams TD,
a HUGE play to say the least!

It was indeed a BEAUTIFUL day
for American football!

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Another great read about
Sicily's most famous policeman

I literally can not read enough of Camilleri's books having read 18 of his tomes about one of Italy's greatest fictional crime fighters.

Friday, September 21, 2018

A Road Trip to Utah and a Lot More

Wednesday, September 12 - Thursday, September 20, 2018

The main focus of this week's blog was our family's road trip to the . . .

 . . . PAC-12 Opener in Salt Lake City

Our #10 ranked Washington Huskies (1-1) were playing the unranked Utah Utes (2-0) in Rice-Eccles Stadium.

But first . . . 

I started my 12 week Italian 3 class
on Monday night

We only meet once a week for 90 minutes but it is a good experience to be sure.

Baby sitting Mary gets to be
more fun every week

On Thursday we left Camarillo heading to Las Vegas for the first leg of our Utah weekend. 

The "Slap Your Momma" burger
at Emma Jean's Holland Burger
in Victorville, California

No, it was NOT mine.

Those two daggers through the "Slap Your Momma" can also go right through your heart if needed. 

 With Andrew and Kevin
in Casa Contreras of Las Vegas

Driving through a corner
of Arizona on Friday
 Good Grub in Cedar City, Utah

 Fillmore, Utah not Fillmore, California

Not sure why it is historic but they have a good Maverick Gas Station with a fun . . .

. . . play area for Kevin

 Downtown Salt Lake City

Kevin at the Federal Building
Grandma Lo and Kevin
Mormon Mecca

The Temple

Kevin and Jenn

 Super important book
in these parts

Hey, it's this weekend!

Our first choice for dinner
Friday night

The wait time, unfortunately, was too long for five hungry pilgrims.

After a good Apollo Burger and a solid night's sleep, it was time for a Saturday morning stroll while everybody else rested.
 Court Building

County Building from the West

Same building from the East

 Love this sign

Since our game didn't kickoff until 8:00 p.m., we decided to spend the morning in Park City about 25 minutes from our hotel. 

 A great Winter sports venue

Quaint just about sums it up

Great Vistas

Kevin having fun

Grandma Lo before breakfast

This was our dining choice

Andrew, Kevin and Jenn
before our hearty breakfast

 Washington Husky fan in Park City?

 Park City Summer fun riding the rails

See what I mean

Kevin loved it!

 I had to go!

Everybody else headed back to our hotel but I just had to check it out.

 The Festa Italiana venue

 Bring on the Dancing Girls!

Not True!


 Salivating . . .


A classic ragu arancini it was for me.


Walking back to our hotel from the Festa Italiana took me by more Salt Lake City sights.


Looks both old and classy to me


Our game ticket also served as a Metro all-day pass. The Metro stop on the Red Line was right next to our hotel.

Four stops later on the Red Line we were at . . .

The University of Utah's
Rice-Eccles Stadium

With Andrew, Laurie, Jenn
and Kevin

 Maybe we should have a hot dog

Purple and Red just CLASH!

The view from our seats

We got to our seats early just because we could.

 The Contreras Clan by the
Wasatch Mountains


The Utah Band had a fantastic
pre-game performance

Here come . . .

. . . the Utes!


Husky RB Myles Gaskin
had another solid game

The Husky's defense was AWESOME!

Andrew above the "E" and me to
the right of the "C" on TV
A BIG hit by the Huskies!

The Offense is still a work in progress
but a PAC-12 win is a PAC-12 win   

 The drive home on Sunday . . .

. . . listening to the Rams game
on the radio

Seen during a restroom break in
Beaver, Utah


 The Rams (2-0) rolled as smoothly as
we did getting back to Las Vegas

Kevin ready for school in
Las Vegas on Monday

Grandma Lo walking Kevin
to school

We left Las Vegas fairly early on Monday because I still had my Italian 3 class to attend that evening.

It was a good one again, quite challenging.

This coming Friday I will be back on the Ventura County Star's Game-of-the-Week podcast so I had two practices to visit.

 A gelato serving side car
for a sweet Vespa in Moorpark

I needed a gelato and a caffé before watching the . . .

. . . 3-1, Division III #5 ranked
Moorpark Musketeers at work

After a good interview with Moorpark's second year Head Coach Ryan Huisenga, it was time to watch the Musketeers go through their paces.

Brand new Jumbotron scoreboard 

I gravitated to the Offensive Line

The Musketeers are a good team but will enter Friday's contest a bit bruised up as is the norm at this time of the season.

The Musketeers' opponents on Friday are the . . .

. . . Simi Valley Pioneers who are
4-1 on the season and
ranked #8 in Division X

 The Pioneers started practice
with a Field Goal/Field Goal Block
period . . . LOVE IT!

First year Simi Valley Head Coach Jim Benkert was generous with his time and gave me lots of insights into his program's goals for this initial campaign.

I still needed more football . . . 

. . . Los Angeles Rams
 NFL Football to be precise!

The Battle for Los Angeles
gets real this Sunday!

Stub Hub came through with $35 tickets, so on Sunday I will be joined by Laurie, Mike and Jacob for the journey to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to watch the NFC Rams (2-0) dismantle the AFC Chargers (1-1). 

Star Rams LB Les Richter
is being held out of this game


He is one of my favorites. Rumor has it that he can't keep the leather straps tied that attach his wrought iron face mask to his helmet.

Reading Is FUNdamental!

 One of . . .

. . . two fun reads about
Sicily's great detective
Salvo Montalbano!