Monday, October 25, 2021

Continuing to Take Life as it Comes


Mon.-Sun., October 18-24, 2021

Another good week to be alive in Camarillo, California!

But let's start with news from Italy.

"Speaking Italian to the goats is
STRICTLY prohibited!"

This came from our Varese Skorpion friend Dario D'Adelfio, a.k.a., "Palermo's Favorite Son."

Finally, the Covid-19 postponed
2020 European Championship
Game will be played next Sunday

Team Italy, the Azzurri, travels to Malmö, Sweden to collide with the Swedish National team in a winner take all contest.

Sharp looking Team Azzurri helmet

Former Catania Elephants Owner/Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Starting Left Tackle Davide Giuliano is now the Azzurri's Head Coach.

Good luck to our Italian mates and to our Swedish friends as well.

Speaking of helmets . . .

We continue to be the conduit for American football gear being shipped to EuroBall teams. The gear seen here is going to Alejandro Altisent of Spain's DIII Guadalajara Stings.

As are these three helmets from
Pasadena's Play It Again Sports

Alejandro is finding and buying these gems from different on-line sources throughout the USA. We are still awaiting the arrival of two more helmets before we box them all up and ship them to him to meet the needs of the ever growing Stings' project.

Another helmet for the Stings?

No, this one was not meant for future EuroBall use, it was just me observing an American football practice at El Camino Real H.S. on Wednesday.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day for
American football in
Woodland Hills, California!

I felt good about getting out of the house to watch the Royals' players and coaches working on their craft.

There will be more on El Camino Real football at the end of this post.

Jacob came over to our home
after school on Thursday to
help Laurie set up more of her
endless Halloween decorations

Human remains are a

The flying skull zapped
Jacob of all of his senses

Nice haircut

Careful with that knife Laurie!

The front yard looks solid!

The arrival of the weekend meant but one thing for us, another chapter of our personal "Friday Night Lights" tour of California high school football games with son Mike and grandson Jacob.

This Friday we headed to the city of
La Cañada-Flintridge to watch my
alma mater play

We were headed to the Loyola Cubs (6-2, 1-0 Angeles League) at St. Francis Golden Knights (6-1, 1-0 AL) contest which shaped up to be a good one.

I graduated from S.F.H.S. in 1965, so it was good to be back on the much changed campus again.

St. Francis H.S. is about an hour's drive south of Camarillo and it was clear that Jacob was hungry for his favorite meal. 

McDonald's it was!

Mike and I were hungry for
our favorite meal as well

The pastrami sandwiches
were AWESOME as usual

This nice mural in Pasadena
reminded me that . . .

. . . there is an equally great
mural of St. Francis that is
still on view in the school's
old main hall

Jacob and the iconic campus
statue of the Golden Knight

The view of Jack Friedman Field in
Jim Bonds Stadium from an
overhead classroom wing

Coach Jack Friedman was our
Head Football Coach when I played
at St. Francis H.S.

All of us who played at S.F. in the mid-1960s have a lot of great memories from those days including the 1963 and 1964 Santa Fe League and C.I.F.-Southern Section "AAA" Championships while going 25-1 over those two magical seasons.

The Loyola-St. Francis game was
a defensive barn-burner

The Golden Knights led 3-0 at the Halftime intermission of an extremely competitive game. The S.F. field goal came on their first drive of the game.

With the score tied at 3-3 late in the Fourth Quarter, the Golden Knights had another field goal attempt that "doinked" high off the left upright, no score.

Loyola proceeded to march down the field to set up their potential game winning field goal attempt with only eight seconds left in the game.

The ball was snapped and a St. Francis defender broke through the line to get a big hand on the kick which altered the ball's trajectory from a laser shot into a high, lazy arc. It seemingly took forever but the ball finally landed to the turf having cleared the crossbar by about a foot.

Final Score:
Loyola (7-2, 2-0 AL) 6 - St. Francis (6-2, 1-1 AL) 3

The Three Amigos still had
a GREAT time on the road

While we were at the St. Francis game, our beloved Washington Huskies (2-4, 1-2 PAC-12) were playing a Friday night game in the desert against the Arizona Wildcats (0-6, 0-3 PAC-12).

The Huskies had to come back in
the Fourth Quarter to win it

Against a now 0-7 Arizona team that continues to languish while extending their nation's longest losing streak to 19 games dating back to the 2019 season . . .

Soccer Saturday with granddaughter
Mary in the pink headband on the left


Jacob amongst crazed pumpkin-like
opponents in his second playoff game

Both grandkids enjoyed good Saturdays on the pitch.

Our Rainbow Butterfly turned into
an all-powerful fairy at Jacob's game

Post-soccer lunch for Laurie and
me at one of Camarillo's oldest
and most revered Mexican restaurants

The nutrition served me well as the rest of Saturday and most of Sunday would be devoted to my American football fix hobby, breaking down the analytics of high school game videos for two of my coaching friends.

Let's look at these two coaches, their teams and their games on Friday night . . .
Head Coach Jason Sabolic's
El Camino Real team was on
the road against the Taft Toreadors

ECR has had the Conquistadores as a mascot since the school opened in 1969. Starting in 2021 though, they are now known as the Royals thanks to the mood of the land with the slew of Spanish conquest issues.

The Royals have been struggling at only 1-6 on the season but they were 1-1 in West Valley League play. Obviously, the record is not what the Royals wanted this year but I have noted several positive strides on the Offensive side of the ball the last few games.

On Friday, the opponent was a Taft club that was 3-5 in 2021 but 0-3 in West Valley League competition.

I'm happy to report that the Royals came to play and had there best performance by far in the last two seasons in handing the Toreadors a 49-14 loss.

ECR is now improves to 2-6 and is a glossy 2-1 in West Valley League play. They still have an outside chance at making the L.A. City playoffs if you can believe it.

The Royals travel to Birmingham H.S. for the last game of the regular season to battle the Patriots who are 4-5 overall and a West Valley League leading 3-0.

The Royals need another win, stay tuned . . .

Head Coach Ryan Bolland's
Buena Bulldogs confronted their
crosstown rival Ventura Cougars

The Bulldogs entered this year's edition of their classic showdown with a 5-3 record overall and 3-0 in Pacific View League action.

The Ventura Cougars 2021 campaign had them with records of 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the PVL.

The big story line was what was being called
"The Streak." You see, Ventura had won the last 11 meetings between the two schools.

But not tonight.

It was hard fought to the very end, as any good crosstown rivalry game should be, with the Bulldogs winning 29-28.

Buena is now 6-3 but more importantly 4-0 in PVL play to wrap up at least a share of the Pacific View League Championship. In a tough, gritty 2021 campaign, Buena has now won two one point games and lost two one point games.

The Bulldogs face a Cabrillo Conquistadores (no mascot name change for this Lompoc based school . . yet) team that is 0-9, 0-4 in the PVL and has only scored 12 points this year. Barring a total collapse, the Buena Bulldogs should be your 2021 Pacific League Champions.

Sharing is definitely not recommended Bulldogs!

On Sunday, our beloved
Los Angeles Rams won!

The Rams improved to 6-1 and remain in second place in the NFC West behind the NFL's last unbeaten club, the 7-0 Arizona Cardinals.

The now 0-7 Detroit Lions, fourth place in the NFC North, played a tough game, pulling out all of the stops with successful onside kick and a couple of equally successful fake punts to put lots of pressure on the Rams.

How I love creative plays in the Kicking Game!

Halloween is now only a week away!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Back Home Again in Camarillo


Wed.-Sun., October 13-17, 2021

It's always good to get back home, even after a great, relaxing week in the paradise that is Maui.

Maui's Kahului Airport reminder

Halloween is indeed just around the corner.

The Grim Reaper of Southwest Airlines

A possible bad omen but we were thankfully flying with Alaska Airlines.

An interesting sculpture to entertain
us while in the long TSA security queue

A last view of Maui before
boarding our plane

That's the magical 'Īao Valley in the distance.

News from EuroBall . . .

The original eight clubs involved
with the inaugural 2021 ELF season
of Europe's new Super League

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the ELF is expanding to 12 teams for the 2022 campaign.

Originally, it was announced that one of the four new expansion teams would be Poland's Wieliczka Dragons. This relatively new Polish squad was being welcomed into the ELF with three longtime powerhouse clubs from Austria and Germany.

The Austrian clubs were the Tirol Raiders from Innsbruck and the Vienna Vikings, while the new German entry was the Rhein Fire out of Düsseldorf.

I'm not sure what has transpired since that post from two weeks ago but the Polish team is no longer part of the 2022 ELF plans.

Enter this . . .

. . . outstanding team from Turkey
to fill the void

The latest 2022 ELF alignment

The ELF now has at least one franchise in five different countries for 2022 with the bulk, seven teams, being located in Germany.

This is the ELF's current country breakdown for 2022:

Innsbruck Raiders
Vienna Vikings

Berlin Thunder
Cologne Centurions
Frankfort Galaxy
Hamburg Sea Devils
Leipzig Kings
Rhein Fire
Stuttgart Surge

Wroclaw Panthers

Barcelona Dragons

Istanbul Rams

On Friday, I joined Debi Murphy
at Camarillo H.S. to watch her 
grandson Dylan's J.V. game

The now 7-1 Camarillo Scorpions continued their winning ways with a hard fought 6-0 victory over the visiting Moorpark Musketeers.

I would be joined by son Mike and grandson Jacob later that night to watch the same two schools in a Varsity level matchup.

The three of us have made going
to random high school games on
Friday nights a family ritual
Camarillo star Brandon Contreras,
no relation, setting sail on a
Kickoff Return for a TD

Jacob, playing with a balloon,
lost his game concentration as
the game turned into an early rout

Frankly, I did too as the Scorpions (5-3) cruised to a 41-13 win over the Musketeers (1-7).

We left the game about half way through the Third Quarter.

Saturday meant but one thing . . .

. . . the grandkids' soccer games

It looks like Mary, in the dark green uniform, is about to take one for the team.

Mary with a good boot

Jacob, the Sheik of Camarillo,
made an appearance at Mary's game

Co-Captain Jacob before his game

While in goal, Jacob had to keep
busy as the ball was usually at the
other end of the pitch

Here he was working on his dance moves.

A refreshing push-up or two
was cleansing as well

In the Second half Jacob was off
and running again

Put a move on him!

Mike and Laurie cheering on
Jacob's Scorpions to victory

In the evening, we met at Mike and Vanessa's home to watch both the Los Angeles Dodger's NLCS playoff opener vs. the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Huskies (2-3) home game against the UCLA Bruins (4-2).

Definitely not a good evening as the Dodgers lost 3-2 as the Braves scored their winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Then the Huskies lost to the Bruins 24-17.

On a bright note during the two crushing losses, the grandkids baked and decorated Halloween cookies.

Mary was HEAVY on the
black icing

A somewhat Bohemian
Jacob took a more traditional
approach to his icing

Sunday was a way more upbeat American football day than Saturday. In NFL play, the mighty Los Angeles Rams (5-1) hammered the hapless New York Giants (1-5) 38-11.

The vast majority of my Sunday was taken up by finishing my season long analytics breakdown of two game videos for coaching friends played on Friday night.

I do this for Buena H.S. Head Coach Ryan Bolland whose Bulldogs (5-3, 3-0 PVL) defeated the San Marcos Royals (3-5, 1-2 PVL) 52-26 over the weekend.

Buena plays their crosstown rival Ventura Cougars (4-3, 2-1 PVL) on the road next Friday. With a win, the Bulldogs would win at least a share of the Pacific View League title with one more game left in the regular season.

I've also been helping El Camino real H.S. Head Coach Jason Sabolic whose Royals (1-6, 1-1 WVL) continue to struggle losing a heartbreaker 33-30 to a good Chatsworth Chancellors (6-2, 2-1 WVL) squad.

Up next for the Royals is a West Valley League road game against the Taft Toreadors  (3-5, 0-3 WVL).

American football just kind of gets to me.