Monday, October 29, 2018

The Final Week of Many Things

Monday, October 22 - Sunday, October 28, 2018

Disappointing news from the Gones American football team to start the week . . .

Arson in Lyon, France

Gones' Equipment Shed

On the brink of the start of the French DII season, vandals broke into this shed and then torched all of the contents.   

Nearly 100% Destruction

A few jerseys partially survived

Even though the Gones are my former team, the Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons, crosstown rivals, this is a time of much needed unity and brotherhood in Europe's American football community.

Time to prepare for our final
Ventura County Star
Game of the Week podcast

This week we had the 50th renewal of one of our county's fiercest rivalries, The Battle for the Valley! 

The Simi Valley that is.

The valley's old school,
the Simi Valley H.S. Pioneers

The new kids on the block,
the Royal H.S. Highlanders

Tackling practice at Royal

I visited the two campuses to interview the two Head Coaches and watch them put their charges through their paces.

The excitement was high at both schools as, for the first time in rivalry history, both schools could claim a league title by simply winning this regular season finale. 

Another Passing

Coach Yang was our highly
esteemed Line Coach at
St. Francis H.S. in the mid-1960s

Coach would eventually become the Head Coach of the St. Francis H.S. Golden Knights (1966-67) and then go on to be the long time leader of the South Pasadena H.S. Tigers. His stint at South Pas included a C.I.F.-S.S. "AAA" Championship in 1975.

Coach Yang had a stoic approach to coaching the game that always stressed fundamentals. Goodness only knows how much time we spent on the Crowther two-man sled mastering our blocking techniques.

After his high school coaching career came to a close, he would go on to be an assistant coach at DIII Occidental College in Los Angeles.

On a side note, Coach Yang was a starting lineman on the 1956 Los Angeles State Diablos squad that took on the eleven from Mexico Polytechnic University in a game played at East Los Angeles College's stadium. I was in the crowd watching the game. It was the first game of American football that I ever saw in person.

We lost a good man this week.

The Camarillo House

We joined our friends Koreen and Brian FitzGerald for the monthly Food Truck/Live Music night at the historic Camarillo House.

Food from Italy?

Not really but their empanadas
were quite tasty

It lasted long into the night

I still wanted Italian food
the next day so . . .

. . . Settebello Pizzeria in Oxnard it was!

I wanted to try the Pizza Special, the Pizza Varese!

Unfortunately, they were out of pork belly so I had to settle for a delicious Pizza Diavola.

Canyon League Champnshp

Royal Highlanders
4-5 on the season
2-0 in Canyon League play

But winners of four of their last five games after their transfer QB became eligible to play. 

Simi Valley Pioneers
7-2 on the season
2-0 in Canyon League play

In the checkered history of the Simi Valley program, they had only averaged 2.8 wins a season since the late 1940s.

Needless to say the 2018 campaign is a high water mark in Pioneer football history!

The green clad home team Highlanders

It was a BEAUTIFUL night for an
American football championship game!

The stands were packed and the feeling in the stadium was electric!

The Highlanders warmed up in their traditional green jerseys but came out for the kickoff in yellow ones.


The yellow jerseys are definitely
NOT tear-aways


The Highlanders led 10-7 at the end of the First Quarter thanks to this contested TD grab by WR Colin Mitchell.

Simi Valley's RB #28 Jackson Sterling
was a tough load to tackle all night long

He had 179 yards rushing on 22 carries on the night and scored a TD.

Royal's great band had a marvelous
halftime performance

The game was tied 10-10 at the intermission.

Pioneer QB Jack Applegate on the loose

SVHS's Malik Hunt was
in the open field . . .

. . . often

Royal came out of the intermission en fuego, scoring 14 unanswered points to lead 24-10 after three periods.  

Since Royal Head Coach Matthew Lewis
got a Gatorade bath, I think you know
the outcome of game

FINAL SCORE: Royal (5-5) 27 - Simi Valley (7-3) 18

Royal (5-5) is the 2018 Canyon League American Football Champion and will now host the Alta Loma Braves (6-4) in the opening round of the C.I.F.-S.S. Division VIII playoff game on Friday.

As for Simi Valley (7-3), their season continues with a C.I.F.-S.S. playoff game of their own. On Friday the Pioneers will travel to Ojai to play the Nordhoff Rangers (8-2) in a Division X playoff contest.

Final Red Robots
Calcio Saturday

Jacob and his tongue were
ready for the Red Robots' finale


Move when you DON'T have the ball

Eyes on the prize!


In bounds kick

We scored AGAIN!

I do not know . . .


On the ATTACK!

Cool, calm and collected

What a Hair Day!

YOUR mighty Red Robots
won today 4-2

I know that we do not keep score at this level but some of us feel as if we are above the law at times.

Lots of joy as the Red Robots won their first game of the ten Saturday season.

The Washington Huskies (6-3) would not be so fortunate in losing to the California Golden Bears (5-3) on the road on Saturday by a 12-10 score.

On the plus side . . .

 A Great Victory over the
tough Green Bay Packers

 We could not have won without
"Little Eddie's" efforts in the secondary

YEP, 8-0!

The last thing of note this week was the Boston Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series, four games to one, over our Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to Sunday night's 5-1 victory at Dodger Stadium.

The BoSox were simply the better team.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

An Action Packed Sports Weekend

Friday, October 19 - Sunday, October 21

A wonderful weekend began with a really special event . . . 

. . . the FORTIETH anniversary
reunion of Westlake High School's
inaugural American football team
The 1978 WHS Roster

We opened the school without the benefit of a Senior class and without an actual school site due to construction delays.

Thus we started Spring Practices at Thousand Oaks H.S., held Summer workouts at Westlake Elementary School before finally having our Fall training sessions at Newbury Park H.S.

We played our games back at Thousand Oaks H.S. which at that time had the only stadium in our three high school district.

Our 36 player roster was composed of 28 Juniors and eight Sophomores and featured only two players over 190 pounds. My how times have changed.

First we met at a Westlake Village
wine bar called The Stonehaus

LOTS of great stories were retold and old friendships rekindled.

At WHS before he Warriors' Homecoming
 Game against Newbury Park

Westlake entered the contest with a record of 6-2 overall and 1-1 in Marmonte League play while the Panthers were 3-5 overall 0-3 in M.L. action.

This stadium was a faint, distant
dream back in 1978

"OK boys, here's the routine . . ."

Westlake's Head Coach Tim Kirksey
had the 2018 Warriors break a pre-game
huddle with the "Originals"

This was the first of two wonderful gestures that Tim made to our team on this BEAUTIFUL night for American football. 
And here is the other one . . .

. . . our two 1978 Co-Captains,
Don Reynolds and Rusty Weber . . .

. . . were brought out to mid-field
for the pre-game coin toss


As for the game itself, the Warriors
cruised to a 42-7 victory

As for the 1978 Original Warriors,
we had an incredible night realizing
that after 40 years . . .

. . . we were STILL brothers in arms!


Red Robots
Soccer Saturday

Jacob warming up for a TITANIC
struggle against the Blue Knights

Jacob certainly gets his mileage
in on Saturdays!

Giving encouragement to a
fellow Red Robot

Bad hair day

Nice stance

Every Red Robot has to sit out a
quarter. Jacob likes to talk with
his teammates little brother during
his quarter of rest.


Shoeless ref Michael trying to keep up in the background.

Looking good!


In the afternoon, Mary cheered
the Huskies (6-2) on to a 27-13 victory
over Colorado (5-2)

In the evening it was time for
Junior College American football

The overmatched Moorpark College Raiders were 1-5 while the Ventura College Pirates were 5-1.

Amazingly, it was a BEAUTIFUL
night for American football!

Ventura, in gray, blocked three
Moorpark punts n the First Half

The Pirates offense took advantage
of every possession in building a 55-0
halftime lead

The Raiders tried to fight back
but to no avail

 Ventura 62 - Moorpark 7


Saturday night the Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series to earn a spot in the World Series for the second straight year.

The Dodgers have not won a World Series title since 1988.


Sunday and Vintage Baseball

Jacob at La Romeria Park
in Redondo Beach

Slides are ALWAYS fun!

Why were we in Redondo Beach on a Sunday you may ask?

Simple really . . .

Michael plays in a Vintage Baseball
League for the Redondo Beach Wharf Rats

Today the Wharf Rats would play the Long Beach Oilers in a baseball game using 1886 rules and equipment.

Unfortunately, the Wharf Rats new vintage look uniforms have not arrived as of yet but it was no real problem as this was a practice game and the season does not start until this coming Spring.

Warming Up

It's an 1886 era glove

Among the unusual rules that were used back in 1886 that were in play today were:

1. Batters or Strikers as the were called back then, get to each pick either a high or low strike zone.

2. Still three strikes and your OUT but foul balls are neither balls nor strikes.

3. A walk requires EIGHT pitches ruled to be balls. If the Striker is hit by a pitch it counts as a ball and he does not get a free pass to first base.  

Was PBR around in 1886?

Jacob still having fun . . .

. . . with two new friends

Batter Up!

Michael started out as a
left handed third baseman

You don't see that every day.

Good athletic stance

Definitely better than Jacob's at Saturday's soccer game.

Michael's first . . .

. . . at bat resulted in . . .

. . . a two run scoring . . .

. . . TRIPLE!

His second at bat produced a single

He stole Second and . . .

. . . then stole . . .

. . . Third!

For his efforts he got dusted in his
third at bat before striking out

He tried bunting his way on on his
final at bat but was thrown out

Now playing first base

Because the Oilers were short on players, Mike played an inning in left field for the opposition.

HIT the cut off man!

Everyone had a GREAT time on a
BEAUTIFUL day for American baseball!

Color Rush Los Angeles Rams (6-0)
at the San Francisco 49ers (1-5)