Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A Birthday and the Start of Another Season of Ventura County Game of the Week Podcasts

Fri.-Mon., March 19-29, 2021 

As it should be, we start this post with a family celebration . . .

Jacob's Ninth Birthday

Gifts were highly recommended.

So were candles and cupcakes

Looking good as he nears a decade
as he likes to puts it

"Hey, I'm cute too!"

Why yes, Mary, you are indeed!

We had fun at Mary's Daisy Scouts
meeting on Saturday

As for the latest News from the Net . . .

Pretty much a fact

I was getting closer and closer
to this until Covid hit the scene

The Skorpions officially announced
their new home for the 2021 season

This is Varese's large soccer stadium/velodrome where we held the Venom Camp in 2019 with the Chicago Bears Coaching Staff.

The location is much better for the team but I hate to see us lose the charm, snack bar and packed house ambiance of a game at Skorpion Field.

Our crowds at this venue I'm afraid will look like BBs in a boxcar.

In case you can't tell,
this is 100% REAL NEWS

And so is this!

Bart Iaccarino's team in the new
European League of Football
got a name change this week

The NFL still had the naming rights to the old NFL Europe league that closed down after their 2007 campaign that included the Barcelona Dragons.

With the NFL's approval, EFL teams may now use old NFL Europe names if they want to do it.

Thus the EFL's Barcelona Gladiators were just rechristened the Barcelona Dragons, complete with a team color change to the green, red and yellow of the original Dragons.

The Dragon logo has been updated. Which do you like better?

The 2007 version . . .

. . . or the 2021 version?

My vote is for the old school Dragon, how about you?

Our BELOVED Stings beat the
Mercenarios 39-13!

The Guadalajara Stings are now 4-0 sitting alone atop the Spanish Serie C four team Conferencia FEFA standings.

In Serie C's eight club Conferencia LCFA there is currently a three way tie for first place with the Barcelona Pagesos, Barcelona Uroloki and Terrassa Reds all sporting 4-1 records.

Cobras WIN! Cobras WIN!!

Our old club, the Murcia Cobras, are playing in Spain's top level Serie A this season and have had a rough go of it.

The win over Zaragoza was the Cobras first of the year as they now are 1-6 and in fourth place in Conferencia Este.

The team that I'm assisting in Spain
as their Analytics Coach, the
L'Hospitalet Pioners, had a BYE this week

Three Serie B games were played over the weekend and above you see the current standings as the regular season nears its end.

A self satisfied Jacob after
finishing this circular jigsaw
puzzle of the U.S. Presidents

It was an old puzzle as neither President Trump nor President Biden's images were in play.

Because of Jacob's birthday celebration, I had to pass on doing the color commentary for the first game of the Ventura County Star's High School Game of the Week in this Spring's Covid driven football season.

Week #2 was an entirely different matter . . .

The Fillmore Flashes (1-0) would
travel to play . . .

. . . the Hueneme Vikings (0-1)

As usual, I visited each campus to talk to the two Head Coaches and watch a little of their practices.

I felt 100% safe when I saw this
sign as I entered the Fillmore campus
Flashes warming up

I love watching drills at the
various campuses I visit

Game Day Friday afternoon
at Hueneme H.S.

We were scheduled to start our podcast at 4:30 p.m. instead of our usual 7:00 p.m. kickoff because the Hueneme field is going through massive renovations that should be completed before the start of the 2021 Fall season.

The beautiful artificial surface is brand new.

This photo was taken from atop the visiting stands. Across the field, as you can see, the old home stands and press box have been razed to make room for new ones.

The final missing item were the lights. Hueneme will also get a new set of lights to replace their old ones that were 50 years old.

It should all make for a great setting for high school football in the near future.

Vikings in red warming up

Our son Michael watching the podcast

It was an interesting game that the Vikings finally won by a final tally of 24-14.

Saturday night, the coaching staff at Newbury Park H.S., where Michael teaches, asked if we could help them out in their game.

The answer was a resounding, "HELL YES!"

This time it would be working a day/night JV/Varsity doubleheader.

The St. Bonaventure Seraphs (0-1)
would travel to play the . . .

. . . Newbury Park Panthers (0-1)

The JV game was a good one as
NPHS prevailed 20-12

Mike and I worked the scoreboard together during this contest.

In the Varsity nightcap, it was all
St. Bonaventure 35-0

Mike was still on scoreboard duty while I sat next to him acting as the coaches "Eye in the Sky."

Obviously, I was not of much help.

Still, it was good to bond with Mike
for a few masked hours

The three games that I saw got me to
thinking about the essence of the game

On Sunday, Laurie and I ventured
north to eat at a restaurant for the
first time in a LONG while . . .

We opted for Ventura's Cafe Fiore where the Trio della Casa caught my eye.

It was quite good

Laurie decided to go with the
Fettuccine al Fileto and was pleased

That evening, Jacob came to our home for a sleepover which would lead into his normal Monday on-line school work the next day.

Upon arrival, he promptly lost
his third tooth in the last two weeks!

Such is life when you are almost a decade old.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Another Lost Tooth, Italian Cuisine and, FINALLY, the Start of the 2021 Spring High School Football Season

Mon. - Thurs., March 8-18, 2021

It has ben a long time since our last post but we've been relatively busy now that we have both received our two Coronavirus vaccine shots.

Our son Michael has gradually
returned to his classroom at
Newbury Park H.S.

He only goes in two days per week with only a few students in attendance with him while still doing online instruction.

He has had his first Covid vaccine and is still quite wary about live instruction.

How I felt after getting my
second vaccine shot

Immortal . . .

Jacob and young Milo FitzGerald
had a playdate at a nearby park

The fate of Contreras men . . .
Always the horse, never the rider

Beautiful weather for my
revitalized walking regimen

News from the net . . .

Well, DUH!


Often times


I never liked group work
in school

On to the EuroBall scene . . .

Steve Hagen was a WR for us when
I coached at Thousand Oaks H.S.
in the 1970s

After several years as an NCAA and NFL coach, he now moves on to a season in Italy as Head Coach of the Guelfi Firenze based in Florence.

In bocca al lupo, Steve!

On to Spain . . .

Our beloved Serie C
Guadalajara Stings were at it again

The Stings the only undefeated
club in Serie C after beating
the Tenerife Helldogs 19-12

Our old club, the Murcia Cobras,
are having a tough time competing
in Serie A in 2021

Conversely, another club that I coached in Spain, the Osos Rivas near Madrid, are having a solid season to date in Serie A.

The Dracs have been THE powerhouse
club in Spain over the last several years

The Cobras lost this game but fought to
the end in a great display of character

The L'Hospitalet Pioners
improved to 5-0

I am currently helping the Pioners as the team's Analytics Coach.  Despite the win, we are playing below our earlier season standards. That being said, under the circumstances, we gladly accepted the 20-15 victory over the Valencia Firebats over the weekend.

Sad, SAD News from France

For the second consecutive season, the French Federation has shut down their American football season due to Covid-19 concerns after postponing it twice.

France is in the grips of a third wave of Covid-19 spiking.

French Health officials declared that American football in France is an amateur sport. Thus, to combat the pandemic, if they do practice, they can NOT practice blocking or tackling. Also, they can NOT practice after 6:00 p.m. on weekdays or at all on weekends.

Game over.

I guess that if you are a professional sport in France, you are automatically immune from and Coronavirus infection concerns. 

We had our vaccines so we took a
drive down the Pacific Coast Highway
and ended up at Eataly!

Located in Century City, it is the BEST place in Los Angeles to find all things related to Italian cuisine.

A Piaggio!

The GREAT biscotti from Novara,
the hometown of Skorpions OL Coach
"Mitico" Leo Pozzato
And we LOVE them!


The bounty that we purchased
in Eataly

Our mid-afternoon snack was

High school football finally returned to Southern California.

Los Angeles County schools were allowed to start playing the weekend of March 11-13.

Ventura County schools would not be allowed to start until the following weekend because of slightly more severe pandemic infection numbers than in Los Angeles County.

The first game of the unheard of
2021 SPRING season featured the
El Camino Real Conquistadors (0-0)
the Agoura Chargers (0-0)

Pre-game with Charlie Wegher,
Paul Sabolic and Jason Sabolic

Charlie was the long time, highly successful Head Coach at Agoura H.S. and our former QB at Westlake H.S.

Paul is a long time friend from our shared Washington Huskies experience.

Jason, Paul's son, was in his first game as El Camino Real's new Head Coach.

Nice ECR helmet logo

With Jason and Paul

The 2021 High School Spring
Season kicks off

Agoura in their Los Angeles-
San Diego-Los Angele Chargers
powder blue jerseys

Jason only has three Seniors
on his roster

This will make for a difficult Spring but should reap huge benefits next Fall.

I like the looks of ECR's
false pulling lineman #77

Not many people in attendance as Covid-19-19 rules for these games only allowing each player and coach to have two people in the stadium. No one else, including the band and cheerleaders, are allowed at these games.

I loved it when this ECR WR
waived hello to us

With Charlie Wegher

With Roy Hobbs, a.k.a,
Michael Contreras

In a tough opener for ECR, the Chargers prevailed 56-6.

Mary was as happy
as ever this week

Jacob celebrated his ninth
birthday on March 18th

Mary was happy to celebrate
with her brother

On his birthday, Jacob
lost another front tooth

Celebrating with Jacob and Mike

The start of the 2021 JV on March 18th
Rio Mesa Spartans (0-0) at
Ventura Cougars (0-0)

One of our former players, Jorge Zaragoza, is the Spartans' OL Coach and invited me to the game as his guest.

The Spartans are in the white jerseys

This TD catch by the Cougars on
4th and Goal from the 29 made
the score 13-0 in favor of Ventura

At Halftime I met with two of the 
referees, Justin Schmidt and John DuBose

Justin was a former starting Center of ours at Rio Mesa and John was an outstanding OL Coach with the Spartans.

They have both become excellent referees over the years.

As for the game, the Spartans had a tremendous late game comeback to win 14-13!