Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Turkey Day Weekend


Tues.-Sun., November 23-28, 2021

If you love American football, your family and lots of food . . .

. . . then this weekend is right
up your proverbial alley!

On Wednesday, Andrew, Jenn
and Kevin arrived from Las Vegas

We all joined Michael, Vanessa, Mary and Jacob for pizza at Freda's in Old Town Camarillo.

Good times!

Thanksgiving Day with
Jenn, Kvin and Andrew
in front of Grandma Chuny's home
in San Marino

My sister Linda with our mother
Chuny and Kevin
As has become the family custom, Linda is the main chef of the day's meal.

While always good, this year's feast was her best effort ever!

Linda reminded us all that I say that every year about her cooking. I do because it's true again every year!

Andrew, 97 year-old Chuny
and Kevin

Chuny with her great-grandsons
Max, Kevin and Leo

This year, Michael, Vanessa, Mary and Jacob were spending Thanksgiving at Vanessa's parent's home.

It was a GREAT day as one would expect!

When we finally got back to Camarillo, we found that some of our neighbors had already moved on to the next holiday . . .

. . . like this family that has tons
of Christmas spirit in their hearts

Friday was all about one thing . . .

. . . the 113th edition of
the Apple Cup

It was the University of Washington Huskies (4-7) hosting the Washington State University Cougars (6-5) with nothing but pride and bragging rights on the line for the Huskies who had won the last seven contests between the two universities. The Cougars, who were already bowl eligible, could find themselves in a better bowl with a win and the chance to rule it over Huskies worldwide after enduring barbs and insults while losing to the UW each of the last seven years!

The series between the school's started in 1900 with a 5-5 tie game played in Seattle. In 1901, WSU, known then as Washington Agricultural College, won the return game in Pullman, 10-0. After that game, the Cougars led what would become known as the Apple Cup with one Win, zero Losses and that one tie.

It was the last year, 1901, that the Cougars ever held the lead in the series. The Huskies won the next three games in 1902,1903 and 1904 and have never relinquished the series lead.

The Huskies led the all-time series going into the days battle with 74 Wins, 32 Losses and 6 Ties.

Laurie was wearing her
Husky colors as we settled
into Michael and Vanessa's
home to watch the game

We all agreed that both Kevin and Jacob will pass Laurie in height by next Thanksgiving if not sooner.

A for the Apple Cup game, it was awful to watch how poorly the Huskies played in the face of an inspired Cougar squad.

The Final Score was Cougars 40 - Huskies 13.

The Husky still lead the series 74-33-6.

Saturday at around noon after the Michigan Wolverines destroyed THE Ohio State Buckeyes 42-27, Jenn, Andrew and Kevin headed back to Las Vegas.

Saturday afternoon and evening were set aside for not one, but two high school playoff championship games that we needed to attend.

At Pierce College at 3:00 p.m. we had the C.I.F.- Los Angeles City Section's D-2 Championship Game.

The Hamilton Yankees
#3 seed in the D-2 Playoffs
9 Wins - 3 Losses


The El Camino Real Royals
#1 seed in the D-2 Playoffs
5 Wins - 7 Losses

It was a BEAUTIFUL day for
American football at Pierce College!

Michael and I were raring to go and cheer the Royals to V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!

El Camino Real in their
home blues

The Royals did a fine job of
mixing the pass and the run

The ECR defense came to play as well!

Our family friend, Jason Sabolic, is the El Camino Real Head Coach and has done a great job getting his players to believe in themselves besides a ton of adversity during the regular season. The team has shown steady improvement to the point where they can now call themselves the 2021 Los Angeles City D-2 Champions thanks to solid, suffocating 37-18 win over Hamilton today.

Now, it's on to the California State Division 6A Semi-Finals!

The Royals will take on the
Arlington Lions in a game to be played
in Riverside on Saturday at 6:00 p.m.

The State D-6A Semi-Finals shape up like this:

Northern California D-6A Semi-Final
Aragon H.S. Dons of San Mateo
9 Wins - 4 Losses
C.I.F.-Central Coast Sections D-5 Champions
Salesian College Prep H.S. Pride of Richmond
9 Wins - 2 Losses
C.I.F.-North Coast Section D-6 Champions

Southern California D-6A Semi-Final
El Camino Real H.S. Royals of Woodland Hills
6 Wins - 7 Losses
C.I.F.-Los Angeles City Sections D-2 Champions
Arlington H.S. Lions of Riverside
6 Wins - 8 Losses
C.I.F.-Southern Section D-13 Champions

Just as the Royals were starting their Championship celebration, Micheal and I had to hustle out of the stadium to pick up both Jacob and Laurie on our way up to Ventura in time to watch the 7:00 p.m. Kickoff of the C.I.F.-Southern Section's D-8 Championship Game.

The Serrano Diamondbacks
10 Wins - 3 Losses


The Buena Bulldogs
Pacific View League Champions
10 Wins - 3 Losses

When we arrived we had to stand in a long line before getting into the stadium.

The Home Stands were PACKED!
It was Standing Room Only
all around the field at ground level

It made for an awesome atmosphere for a high school game of this magnitude.

With three of our players
from our 2001, 2002 and 2003
Buena Bulldog teams

We finally found seats in the
visiting stands

Buena for an early SIX!

Buena was swarming on Defense
against a physical, ground and pound
oriented Serrano attack

Buena led 14-7 at the Half but . . .

. . . Serrano controlled the Second
Half of play

A 42 yard TD run with 3:12 left in the game tied the score at 14-14.

Then a miracle happened, just not
for our Bulldogs

The Diamondbacks back-up QB entered the game with his club backed up in their end of the field and time in regulation about to expire. Most of us were thinking, Overtime.

But not Serrano, their back-up QB calmly dropped back and threw a pass as far as he could up the right sideline to a tall, speedy WR who is actually the Diamondbacks' starting QB. The receiver high pointer the ball over a much shorter Buena QB who tried to wrestle the receiver down for about seven yards before slipping off to see the about to be named Serrano Co-Hero-of-the-Game along with the back-up QB cover 79 yards for the winning score and only 21 seconds left in the game.

Final Score: Serrano (11-3) 21 - Buena (10-4) 14

Disappointing to say the least but still a GREAT season for the Bulldogs.

Meanwhile, in EuroBall news . . . 

The European League of Football announced their new 2022 Conference alignment that includes the four clubs that are joining 2021's original eight.

Three German clubs and a Polish team
make up the Northern Conference

The Central Conference has two
German and two Austrian clubs

Finally, the Southern Conference
teams will be earning lots of travel miles
with two German teams, a Turkish club
and our beloved Spanish 11 in Barcelona

It looks like the Europe Warriors
Senior Men's team will play a game
in São Paulo, Brazil next March
against Brazil's National Team

I better start working on my Portuguese if I'm going to make this trip.

American football continues to open my eyes to all sorts of possibilities!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Another Ten Days Mostly Devoted to American Football


Sat.-Mon., November 13-22, 2021

Lots to cover since our last post and it is almost all American football related.

This is the time of year in the USA to give thanks for all of our blessings. If you follow this blog regularly, then you know that helping the growth of American football in Europe has become a passion for me.

I give thanks to the many high school football coaches in the Ventura County and Los Angeles County areas who, over the years, have donated all sorts of football gear and field equipment to send overseas. This has greatly reduced the start-up costs for so many struggling EuroBall clubs in a wide variety of countries.

Here are some of the things that schools donated in the past few weeks.

A donated helmet is the

Having two donated at once was incredible. 

Jerseys and Pants

One of our local schools donated about 200 sets of game jerseys and game pants. They will make excellent practice gear for more than a few EuroBall teams.

Although, they are of such good quality that we may see a club switching their team colors to use them as game uniforms as has happened with on of our donations of jerseys a few years ago.

Mary wanted to try on
a blue jersey

So, Jacob had to don
a white one

Loving siblings

The Ibi Industriales in the
Alicante region of Spain is
a big winner this week

They are the recipients of the two helmets and 120 of the jerseys, 60 blue and 60 white, as their club adds their first tackle team to their already extensive flag football program.

Add in the 20 shoulder pads that we have previously shipped to Ibi and you have a good start to their tackle team project.

Meanwhile, back on the gridiron for the two high schools that I help via Analytics breakdowns of their game videos . . .

C.I.F.-Los Angeles City Section
Division II Playoff Semi-Finals

The Westchester Comets
#4 D-II Playoff Seed
4 Wins - 7 Losses


The El Camino Real Royals
#1 D-II Playoff Seed
4 Wins - 7 Losses

Obviously the records are not glossy for these two Semi-Finalists but the competition was really good.

BIG tackle for loss by
the blue clad Royals

The kickoff was at 4:15 p.m. as the Los Angeles Unified School Districts bus drivers union are still embroiled in some sort of labor dispute and refuse to drive their busses to night time athletic events.

ECR pressuring the Comets' QB

Michael bought Jacob
a Royals football t-shirt

Elco's Offensive Line surging
as the Sun goes down

Under the lights at last!

After dominating the first 36 minutes of play in building up a 27-0 lead, El Camino Real had to withstand a furious Westchester Fourth Quarter comeback attempt.

The Comets scored three unanswered TDs but the Royals defense stopped two 2-point PAT attempts and were aided by a botched snap on the other Westchester PAT try.

Final Score
El Camino Real (5-7) 27
Westchester (4-8) 18

The Royals will now play in the C.I.F.-Los Angeles City Section Division II Championship game at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 27th at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, a virtual home game for the Royals.

Their opponents will be . . .

The Hamilton Yankees
#3 D-II Playoff Seed
9 Wins - 3 Losses

In their Semi-Final game, the Yankees beat the #2 seeded Fairfax Lions (5-6), 21-13.

As for my other team's game which we could not attend due to a combination of time and distance . . .

C.I.F.-Southern Section
Division VIII Playoff Semi-Finals

Buena Bulldogs
9 Wins - 3 Losses
Pacific View League Champions
Silverado Hawks
7 Wins - 5 Losses
Desert Sky League Champions

Both of these teams had interesting non-league seasons.

Buena was only 2-3 entering PVL play and had lost two of those games by a point each to Oak Park (5-5) and Rio Mesa (7-4). To add more spice to their record, the Bulldogs have also won two games this campaign by a single point against Agoura (7-3) and cross-town rival Ventura (7-5).

Silverado started out their 2021 season with five straight losses before hitting their stride. They were now on a seven game winning streak playing at home which was problematic for Buena.

The bus ride from Ventura to Victorville, where Silverado is located, is about 135 miles/220 kilometers long and takes about three hours each way. Advantage Hawks.

Silverado's third TD with only 1:32 left in the First Half gave them a commanding 20-0 lead as the intermission approached.

That is when Buena finally woke up and scored both a TD and a 2-point PAT with 30.3 seconds left in the Second Quarter to cut the Hawks lead to 20-8.

The Second Half was all about the Bulldogs as they outscored Silverado 22-6 to win an extremely memorable Semi-Final game.

Final Score
Buena (10-3) 30
Silverado (7-6) 26

Buena H.S. opened in the Fall of 1961

Despite their rich American football history over the last 60 years, this is the first time that the Bulldogs have reached the C.I.F. Finals.

Congratulations to Buena Head Coach Ryan Bolland and all of the Bulldogs!

As for the Bulldogs opponents this coming Saturday, November 27th at 7:00 p.m. at Buena High School's stadium . . .

Third Place in the Mojave River League
10 Wins - 3 Losses

In their Semi-Final game, the Diamondbacks beat the Highland Bulldogs (10-3), 18-13. It was the second time that Serrano has beaten Highland this season having also won their first meeting, a non-league affair, 21-12 back in early September.

So what we have is the opportunity for a Finals Doubleheader this Saturday, the El Camino Real game at 3:00 p.m. in Woodland Hills followed by the Buena game at 7:00 p.m.


I still needed another in person football fix on Saturday, so I heeaded down to Canoga Park to watch a C.I.F.-Southern Section Division II 8-Man Football Semi-Final.

It was a chance to watch the game with good coaching friend Bill Corliss from Visalia as we both wanted to support another mutual coaching buddy, Charlie Casale, who is the Offensive Coordinator for Coast Union H.S.

The match-up in this Semi-Finals . . .

The Coast Union Broncos
Coast Valley League Champions
#3 D-II Playoff Seed
9 Wins - 2 Losses


The Faith Baptist Contenders
Third Place in the Mt. Pinos League
#2 D-II Playoff Seed
8 Wins - 2 Losses

They are more than just Contenders

This impressive banner on the Faith Baptist press box tells of the school's previous eight C.I.F. Championship teams and yet another ten clubs that made it to the Finals.

A grand total of 18 trips to the finals since 1984 sure sounds like an 8-man dynasty to me.

From the opening kickoff,
the Contenders were knocking
Broncos ass over teakettle

Broncos wide receiver screen
to #56 with #18 and #8 blocking?

In a throwback to my high school playing days, 8-man football apparently has no rules as to eligible numbers.

Contenders and Broncos
being knocked around

Contenders Smothering
Kickoff Action

Actually, smothering is the perfect word for the Contenders' dominant performance on this day.

After scoring easily on every First Quarter offensive possession plus a defensive scoop and score, Faith Baptist was up 38-0 and was way too physical for the Broncos. Safety was a definite concern.

Unlike Inglewood H.S. in their recent, infamous 106-0 victory over Morningside H.S., the Faith Baptist coach gladly agreed to start the Mercy Rule running clock at the start of the Second Quarter.

At Halftime, Faith Baptist led Coast Union 54-0. The Contenders' starters would not see the field the rest of the game.

Final Score
Faith Baptist (9-2) 62
Coast Union (9-3) 6

One of my first thoughts in watching the Faith Baptist machine at work was how strong is the Mt. Pinos for the Contenders to finish in third place and who were the two teams that beat them?

As it turns out, Faith Baptist's two losses were both in Mt. Pinos League play to Thacher (44-20) and to Cate (42-34).

These two league losses were to the top two seeds in the C.I.F.-Southern Sections Division I 8-Man Football Playoffs.

Thacher (8-1), the D-I #1 seed, was upset in the D-I Semi-Finals last week, 43-34 by Grace Brethren.

This weekend Cate (9-1), seeded #2, won the D-I 8-Man Championship by outscoring Grace Brethren (8-4), 50-30 in the Finals.

More like Juggernauts!

To continue the saga of how strong the Mt. Pinos League is, it must be noted that the road to the D-II Finals for Faith Baptist has been, shall we say, easy.

The Contenders' three playoff wins have all been walkovers in thrashing United Christian Academy 54-0, Lancaster Baptist 60-0 and now Coast Union 62-6. That's an average of 58.7 points per game in the playoffs!

Next Saturday, #2 seeded Faith Baptist (9-2) will hit the road to play the #1 seeded California School for the Deaf Cubs (12-0) in Riverside for the D-II title.

Since the Cubs have averaged an astounding 72 points/game in their three game playoff run, expect a fan friendly contest for the crown.

And then there are our beloved,
woeful Washington Huskies

The Huskies (4-7) lost both a game and any chance for bowl eligibility by losing to the Colorado Buffaloes (4-7), 20-17 Saturday.

The UW's final game and chance for glory will come in this Friday's Apple Cup game against the Washington State Cougars (6-5) in Seattle. A strange game this time as both schools have fired their Head Coaches in mid-season and are led by interim HCs.

Finally, on Monday, after finishing my three days of Analytics game video breakdowns for El Camino Real and Buena, I headed over to Buena to watch their first day of Championship Week practices.

Scout offense simulating the
Serrano Diamondbacks attack

Nice looking sweats on
this WR in motion

Pass Routes vs. Air

It was a good, spirited workout just as on would hope to see with a title in sight.

May all of you reading this blog
enjoy a Thanksgiving Weekend
full of Friends, Food and Football!