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2007 posts
  • Baseball

Dan Burchfield, an assistant baseball coach at Moorpark High, PA announcer for the football team, drama department head and history teacher, honors his late son, Joel, every year by walking more than 100 miles to raise money for a scholarship program.

In 1996, Joel was 11 when he was swept away trying to cut across the rain-swollen Arroyo Simi and drowned. Dan and his wife established a scholarship fund for Moorpark seniors.

Each year, he walks and walks. Next Sunday, July 15, he’ll leave from Rincon Point in Carpinteria and walk to Ventura Harbor. He’ll go on to Cal State Channel Islands, Newbury Park, Agoura, Malibu, Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and Torrance before ending in San Pedro on July 21. He will walk 105 miles.

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A group of Southern California high school baseball players are among the 54 athletes invited to the 15U national team trials that begin on July 29 in Cary, N.C.

They will be competing for a spot on the 20-man national team that will play in the COPABE Pan Am AA championships in Panama next month.

The players include Eldridge Armstrong from Oaks Christian; Josiah Chavez from Rio Mesa; Justin DeCriscio from Orange Lutheran; Gage Jump from JSerra; Rheego McIntosh from Chaparral; Matthew Porchas from Santa Margarita; Brian Uribe from Camarillo; Charlie Saum from St. Bonaventure; Cody Schrier from JSerra. Also invited is Aaron Perez, who lives in Santa Ana.

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6-foot-6 senior at Corona Centennial thrives in QB role

Former Corona Centennial quarterback Tanner McKee will board a flight Monday to San Antonio, then to São Paulo, Brazil, to begin his two-year Mormon mission. He’s bringing with him two footballs to a country that loves the other fútbol.

He has been studying Portuguese and will spend six to eight weeks in training in São Paulo before heading off to Curitiba, a city of 1.8 million. He’s 6 feet 6, so it might be hard for him to keep a low profile. But he’ll be on his own for the first time.

“I think I’m ready,” he said Tuesday after spending a day at the beach with friends in one of his final days before departing. “I’ve been looking forward to it.”

He’ll be able to email or write a letter once a week. He can call his family only on Mother’s Day and Christmas.

The goal, as he put it, is to “become a man” and help others as part of his church mission.

“There’s a ton of life lessons,” he said.

His fans in Corona didn’t exactly get a final chance to celebrate his many contributions at Centennial. He was stuck on the sideline in his team’s final football game last fall, the Division 1 semifinals, a 62-34 loss to St. John Bosco. He lost consciousness briefly in a game the week before and had to undergo concussion protocol.

“I was trying to get cleared but it didn’t look good from the start,” he said. “I was trying to be a good teammate.”

He was more than that. He earned great respect from teammates and opponents alike the way he played the game. His athleticism and intelligence enabled him to accept a football scholarship to Stanford, the school he will attend when he returns in the summer of 2020.

He has been watching the World Cup and rooting for Brazil. As for his fútbol skills, McKee said, “It’s all right. Not great, especially for the standards down there. Hopefully they will improve.”

He will get one hour each morning to work out. He’’ll be looking for kids and other volunteers to catch his passes when he throws a football each day during his eight-week training session. After that, he might get to throw once a week.

Either way, football is on hold. He has chosen to spend the next two years learning about life far away from home. You can bet he’ll be making a difference. And when he returns, his friends, family and fans will be ready to root for him in his comeback on the football field. It will go fast, and soon he’ll be a Stanford Cardinal.

Senior quarterback Jayden Daniels leads Cajon.
Senior quarterback Jayden Daniels leads Cajon. (Eric Sondheimer)

The Edison seven on seven passing tournament set for Saturday is about as good as it gets. The 20-team field will make for some intriguing games without linemen.

Here’s a preview of the pools and players to watch:

Pool A
Corona Centennial: Former Mater Dei QB Carter Freedland is battling for the starting job with two other quarterbacks. All eyes will be on exciting junior receiver Gary Bryant. Perhaps linebacker/defensive end Drake Jackson (6-3, 220) will make an appearance to scare everybody.

  • Baseball

El Camino Real is seeded No. 1 and Chatsworth No. 2 for the Valley Invitational Baseball League playoffs that will begin on Saturday.

The 10 a.m. games have No. 9 Granada Hills at No. 8 Burroughs, No. 12 Burbank at No. 5 Cleveland, No. 10 Canyon at No. 7 Royal and No. 11 Golden Valley at No. 6 St. Francis.

On July 9 at 5 p.m., the Burroughs-Granada Hills winner will play at El Camino Real. The Cleveland-Burbank winner will play at No. 4 Hart. The Royal-Canyon winner will play at Chatsworth. The St. Francis-Golden Valley winner will play at No. 3 Saugus.

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Juniors star at Southern Section track championships

It’s summer vacation and time to look back at some of my favorite stories, videos and moments. The 2015 Southern Section track and field championships featuring T.J. Brock of Chaminade and Michael Norman of Vista Murrieta were pretty special.

They were juniors and fired up to put on a show.

Brock won the Division 3 100 meters in a wind-aided 10.20 seconds, the second fastest in state history.

Sophomore guard Devin Askew scored 16 points and had 12 assists in Mater Dei's 72-71 win over Sierra Canyon.
Sophomore guard Devin Askew scored 16 points and had 12 assists in Mater Dei's 72-71 win over Sierra Canyon. (Eric Sondheimer)

There’s no MVP selected for the Fairfax tournament, but if there were, sophomore Devin Askew of Santa Ana Mater Dei would be the honoree.

Askew completed a great week, turning in one good performance after another in leading Mater Dei to the Fairfax tournament championship on Saturday with a 72-71 win over Sierra Canyon.

Mater Dei overcame a 15-point deficit in the second half. Askew finished with 16 points and 12 assists. He was part of an impressive Mater Dei guard trio. Junior Aidan Prukop scored 19 points and junior Ryan Evans made six threes, including the game-winning shot with 5.8 seconds left.

Sophomore guards Kenneth Simpson Jr., left, and Keith Higgins Jr. lead Chaminade.
Sophomore guards Kenneth Simpson Jr., left, and Keith Higgins Jr. lead Chaminade. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Kenneth Simpson Jr. and Keith Higgins Jr. have known each other since the second grade when they met in elementary school. Best friends and best teammates for years, they are standout sophomore guards at Chaminade. And they’re developing fast.

Higgins scored 23 points Friday and Simpson had 20 in Chaminade’s 75-56 win over Crespi that sends the Eagles into the San Fernando Valley Shootout championship game Saturday at 6:15 p.m. against Mission League rival Harvard-Westlake at Crespi.

Simpson and Higgins are like brothers. “They do everything together,” coach Bryan Cantwell said.

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  • Football

The Bonita passing tournament will have its second day on Saturday. Valencia and Hart gained the top two seeds.

On Saturday, the Westlake High will host another tournament.

And the following Saturday (July 7) is the Edison passing tournament.

Junior guard Dominick Harris, a Gonzaga commit, scored 22 points for Rancho Christian on Thursday.
Junior guard Dominick Harris, a Gonzaga commit, scored 22 points for Rancho Christian on Thursday. (Eric Sondheimer)

The semifinals are set for Friday at the Fairfax tournament. Mater Dei will take on Rancho Christian at 6 p.m., followed by Sierra Canyon facing Taft at 7:30 p.m.

Fairfax will play Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in a consolation game at 4:30 p.m.

Rancho Christian defeated Rolling Hills Prep 82-60. Dominick Harris had 22 points, and Luke Turner 19. Vaughn Flowers led Rolling Hills with 22 points. Mater Dei defeated Loyola 89-58.