Friday, September 24, 2021

A Good Sunday Precedes a PAINFUL Week

Sun.-Fri., September 19-24, 2021

It was a beautiful Sunday, perfect for a drive up to Santa Barbara to meet with friends to watch a couple of NFL games together and celebrate our host Paul Petrich's 82nd birthday.

Birthday boy Paul Petrich giving
the thumbs up

Next to Paul is his friend Bill who is a Denver Broncos fan.

Then you have the Ventura County contingent of Brian Husted, yours truly and John Reardon who had all coached with at one time or another.


But I was suffering some discomfort all weekend long, I promised Laurie to see a doctor on Monday.

A sign that the pandemic may
be abating in Europe

Unfortunately for me, the practices leading up to the game in the Austrian capital will take place during Thanksgiving week.


The Washington Huskies are now 1-2 after last weekend's 52-3 win over Arkansas State. On Saturday the California Golden Bears come to Seattle for the PAC-12 opener for both schools.

Cal is also 1-2 this season having notched their first win last Saturday when they beat Sacramento State 42-30.

This game might be as much as fun as watching two lepers rot.

A new book hit the
stores this week

"Hustling" Hugh McElhenny, a.k.a., "The King," was one of the greatest running backs in both Washington Husky and NFL history.

His exploits led to his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

When he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1951, it was said that he took a pay cut from what he was being paid illegally at Washington.

It might be true.

Speaking of money, McElhenny was a member of the famed 49ers "Million Dollar Backfield" in 1954 along with quarterback Y.A. Tittle, running back Joe "The Jet" Perry and Running Back John Henry Johnson. Tittle, Perry and Johnson are also members of the Pro Football Hal of Fame.

Finally, about that visit to the doctor on Monday. The pains had increased dramatically Sunday night and a huge rash had developed near my right arm.

The diagnosis?


You do not want to ever get these painful shingles which is a nerve issue that can lay dormant in your body for, in my case, 60 years after you've had chicken pox.

I now know that there is a two-shot shingles vaccine that very few people have taken. My advice to you is . . .


The doctor strongly believes that I will live.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

A GREAT Day for Soccer and 8-Man American Football

Saturday, September 18, 2021

It was a BEAUTIFUL day to be outside enjoying the grandkids' soccer/fútbol/calcio games in Camarillo and an 8-man American football game in Oxnard.

Jacob, #8, was a Scorpions Co-Captain
for today's game against the Strikers

He was extremely proud of this honor
and so were all of us

He hustled all game long

Scorpions running to the ball

A good effort today but a nil-nil halftime score turned into a 5-3 win for the Strikers.

I had to make a tough decision after Jacob's game, stay and watch Mary's game or drive over to Santa Clara H.S. in Oxnard to watch an old coaching buddy lead his Coast Union H.S. team in an 8-man game.

Laurie said she would cover Mary's game for us, so I was off the to beautiful downtown Oxnard.

The Coast Union Broncos
1-1 in 2021

The Santa Clara Saints
2-0 in 2021

Santa Clara QB on the move

The Santa Clara QB was
hard to bring down

The Coast Union DB actually 
broke up this Saints pass

Broncos Offense

You can't quite see the third receiver to the left but this is a Trips Left, Trips Right formation that eventually led to a QB Sneak against a spread out Saints Defense.

Coast Union on Offense

The BIG C.U. QB rumbling . . .

. . . to a TD!

A big win for Coast Union,
58-26 was the Final Score

Broncos celebrating with their fanbase

Cambria is about a three hour drive from Oxnard, so these Bronco fans are the epitome of die-hards.

With Coach Charlie Casale

Charlie is one of the really good guys that I've met over the many years. I first met him in the Spring of 1979 when he was the coach of Visalia's Mt. Whitney H.S.

In 1978 his Pioneers were the Central Section's Champions with a 13-0 record and, in pre-state playoff days, proclaimed the California State Champions.

Meanwhile, back at Mary's
Rainbow Butterflies game . . .

Ref Michael bonding with
a player from the Grasshoppers

Mary's "Game Face"

Once a game Mary surprises
Ref Mike with a hug

Go get it Mary!

Interesting kick

She had fun even though the
Grasshoppers dominated the game

The Washington Huskies (1-2)
defeated the Arkansas State
Red Wolves (1-2)

The Huskies host the California Golden Bears (1-2) next Saturday in their PAC-12 opener.


Friday, September 17, 2021

A Quiet Few Days and a Couple of American Football Games

Tues.-Fri., September 14-17, 2021 

Not too much to report as we stayed home for most of the last few days.

On Thursday though, I opted to go up to Ventura to watch some good old fashioned American football, high school style.

Due as always to Covid-19, there are not enough referees in Ventura County this season to cover all of the games if they remain scheduled as Friday Night Lights affairs. Therefore several games are scheduled to be played on Thursdays and Saturdays.

This day the Rio Mesa H.S. Spartans traveled to Buena H.S. to take the Bulldogs on in an American football triple header.

The Freshman game started at 3:30 p.m.

In order to make sure that the featured Varsity game would start on time at 7:30 p.m., the Frosh and J.V. games would play only ten minute quarters instead of the customary 12 minute periods.

It was a good back-and-forth Frosh game

Buena RB eying the Goal Line


It would not be enough for the Bulldogs as Rio Mesa's Frosh brought home a hard fought 22-20 victory.

I decided to leave the stadium to go get dinner during the J.V. game. I didn't miss much as Rio Mesa dominated this contest by a final score of 35-0.

As for dinner, I opted to visit an old, favored haunt that had recently re-opened.

The Tri-Tip sandwich was

Fully sated, it was back to the stadium for the Varsity game.

Rio Mesa had a dominant,
time consuming ground game . . .

. . . that led to a lot of PAT
kicks like this one

Truth be told, it had been a long day and it was getting a tad cold so I left at halftime with the score knotted at 20 all.

The Second Half would be just as competitive with Buena scoring a late TD to close the gap to 34-33 in Rio Mesa's favor. 

The Bulldogs' subsequent two-point PAT attempt was stopped just short of the Goal Line with less than a minute left to play.

Buena attempted an Onside Kickoff and recovered it!

The game ended with a Rio Mesa interception on their own nine-yard line with only a few ticks left on the clock, thus upholding the Spartans 34-33 win.

Rio Mesa is now 2-2 on the season and plays their crosstown rival Camarillo Scorpions (3-1) on the road next Friday night.

Buena campaign record fell to 2-3 after their second, heart breaking one point loss of the year. They will use their bye next weekend to get things in order for their Pacific View League opener against the Channel Islands Raiders (1-4) on Friday, October 1st. 

More high school football on Friday, as I was all set to join Mike and Jacob for the Venice Gondoliers (1-1) at the Newbury Park Panthers (2-1) game.

It was the Panthers' Homecoming Game and Jacob was excited to see the game, the pageantry and the fireworks at halftime but not maybe in that exact order.

Then, near midday today, the Venice H.S. Administration called the folks at Newbury Park to tell them that they had to cancel the game because of, what else, a Covid-19 outbreak on their team. It is the second Covid-19 cancelled game of the season for NPHS.

Such is life during a pandemic.

On Saturday, we are, shall we say, anxious for a Washington Huskies (0-2) win over the vaunted Arkansas State Red Wolves (1-1).

We'll see . . .

Monday, September 13, 2021

A Good Sports Weekend

Fri.-Mon., September 10-13, 2021 

Our mostly fun sports weekend started with a high school football game with a bit of a twist for Michael and me.

The game in question was in Ventura and we had been asked by Buena H.S. Head Coach Ryan Bolland to be his defensive spotters in the booth for the night. His usual spotter was going to be out of town, so he had a need that we could fill.


It was a non-league game between long time rivals from the old Channel League days.

D.P. was off to a slow start

The Chargers (0-2) had lost to Nordhoff 21-7 and again to Ventura 32-14.

The Bulldogs were fresh off of
their first win of the season

Buena (1-2) had lost their first two games to Oak Park 22-21 and to West Ranch 45-31. The won last week's home opener against Agoura 28-27.

While the Bulldogs were getting
ready to take the field . . .

. . . I was making sure that
the headsets worked

It was a BEAUTIFUL night for
American football!

Eagle Eyes

An artsy photo of Mike and
me hard at work in the booth

A more realistic view of us at work

The Bulldogs took charge early

Buena was ahead 7-0 at the end of the First Quarter and then exploded for 23 unanswered point in the Second Quarter.

Everybody was feeling good during Halftime leading 30-0.

At the end of the Third Quarter Buena's lead was now 37-0 which meant a Mercy Rule running clock in the Fourth Quarter and lots of playing time for all of the back-ups.

With Buena HC Ryan Bolland
during the Fourth Quarter

I was Buena's Defensive Coordinator in 2003 and 2004 when Ryan was a LB/SS for the Bulldogs.

After he graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2010, Ryan joined me as our Offensive Coordinator in Sweden for the second half of the Hässleholm Hurricanes season. He did a great job for us that Summer.

When we returned to the States after the Hurricanes season, we both became walk-on coaches at Rio Mesa H.S. for a couple of campaigns.

This year I have been helping Ryan as his team's Analytics Coach breaking down the Bulldogs' game videos and giving his staff advice.

As much as I've enjoyed working with him in that capacity, it was much more fun being involved with a game on a Friday night.

As for the game . . .

The Bulldogs lived up to their motto

The Final Score was Buena 37 - Dos Pueblos 12.

Next up for the now 2-2 Buena Bulldogs is a game at home against the 1-2 Rio Mesa Spartans on Thursday.

Saturday's daylight hours were dedicated to the grandkids AYSO soccer games.

Mary was pensive as her
Rainbow Butterflies took of the Ladybugs
at 8:00 a.m.

A girl and a soccer ball

Still pensive at the end of a good game

They don't keep score at this level but as all the parents can tell you the Rainbow Butterflies were 4-0 winners.

At 2:00 p.m. Jacob's Scorpions
were set to battle the Devils

Team huddle before kickoff

Jacob controlling the ball

Team glee after the Scorpions
score the first goal of the game

Good forward body lean

Mike at halftime

Mary, also during the intermission

Jacob's breakaway that led
to his first goal of the year

Jacob got to rest the last
part of the Second Half

At this level they do keep score and the Scorpions won 3-0!
Victory slushies for everyone
courtesy of the Scorpions coach

At 5:00 p.m. the Washington at
Michigan game was on National TV

The Huskies (0-1) were coming off a dismal performance while losing to Montana 13-7.

The Wolverines (1-0) had cruised past Western Michigan 47-14 last weekend.

Huskies in the house!

So how did the Huskies respond to a week of verbal abuse after the Montana fiasco?

The Huskies "effort" at Michigan
reduced us to building sky scraping
castles with our Kubb set

Kubb or "Kill the King" is a Swedish lawn game where throwing these tall wooden dowels at the wooden blocks is encouraged.

The Huskies are now o-2 after losing to Michigan in "The Big House" by a score of 31-10.


The Huskies will be at home against the
high scoring Arkansas State Red Wolves
next Saturday

The Red Wolves are 1-1 this season having beaten Central Arkansas 40-21 before losing to Memphis 55-50 last Saturday.

The Los Angeles Rams opened the
2021 NFL season at home against
the Chicago Bears

New Rams QB Matthew Stafford

Stafford looked great going 20 for 26 passing (77%) good for 321 yards and three TDs.

The Rams (1-0) beat the Bears (0-1) by a final tally of 34-14.

Next Sunday the Rams will travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts (0-1) who lost to the Seattle Seahawks 28-16 yesterday.

In American football news from overseas . . .

The embattled former coach
of the Baylor Bears is coming
back to Italy to coach in Florence
with the Firenze Guelfi once again

He was the Firenze Guelfi coach in 2019 and led them to the Italian Bowl where they lost the DI title to the Milano Seamen by a score of 62-28.

The inaugural season of the European League of Football is coming to an end. The ELF Semi-Finals were played this past weekend.

Frankfort with an easy win,
Hamburg with a close one

The 8-3 Sea Devils will play . . .

. . . the 10-1 Galaxy on Sunday,
September 26th in Düsseldorf, Germany

Hamburg and Frankfort split their two regular season meetings.

The Sea Devils beat the Galaxy, 17-15, in their game played in Hamburg during Week #1 of the season on June 20th.

The Galaxy won the return contest over the Sea Devils in Frankfort during Week #8 on August 8th, 35-9.

And the beat goes on . . .