Kennedy Puts the Capper on Madcap Season
The public address announcer at Dodger Stadium was in no mood to party.
“Stay off the field,” he warned the crowd, “or your team will be disqualified.”
The Kennedy High fans could be excused for running onto the field. Their baseball team had just won the City 4-A championship over Banning on a two-out, solo home run by Kevin Farlow in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Had the Golden Cougars actually been disqualified, it would have been the perfect topper to madcap prep year that saw:
--A football coach get fired after leading his team to a league championship.
--A football coach hired and fired before he coached a game.
--A football coach come back from being fired to lead his team to a Southern Section championship.
--A basketball coach kick his best player off the team, then quit the next day.
--A baseball team get knocked out of the playoffs without swinging a bat.
Granada Hills’ football team was picked by many people to finish near the bottom in the Valley 4-A League. But the Highlanders, under the direction of Wayne Quigley, went 3-1 in league play to capture their first title since 1977.
But Granada Hills lost in the first round of the City 4-A playoffs to Gardena, 37-21. Gardena was a fourth-place team in the Pacific League. A little while later, Quigley was fired by principal Al Irwin for “philosophical differences.” Irwin would not elaborate, although there were reports of unrest among the players.
Darryl Stroh, the school’s baseball coach, was named football coach by Irwin.
As a co-coach at Manual Arts, Jeff Engilman won the City 3-A football title each of the last two years. After the season, he was hired to be head coach at Grant. It was hoped Engilman could turn around a program that was 2-16 over the last two years.
But Engilman’s transfer to Grant was frozen by the L.A. Unified School District after he allegedly drew female genitalia on a blocking dummy used during spring drills. Bill Foster, last year’s B coach, was named the new head coach.
Frank Greminger did not get to coach the Agoura football team in 1983. Greminger had been fired the previous year after being accused of falsifying college extension course credits that boosted his teaching salary. The team, in Greminger’s absence, went 5-6 and was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round.
Greminger was reinstated in time for the 1984 season. And the results were stunning.
The Chargers went undefeated and won the Desert-Mountain Conference championship, defeating Yucaipa, 21-20, on a last-second touchdown in the title game.
Greg Herrick left Cleveland High the only way he could--amid controversy. The Cavalier basketball coach, never one to hide a blunt comment, resigned after six seasons, saying he had accomplished his goals and needed to move on.
The day before Herrick announced his resignation, he dismissed junior All-American forward Trevor Wilson from the team. Herrick said Wilson’s continuing disregard for the team philosophy was the main reason for the move.
Last week, however, Cleveland Principal Dr. Kay Smith announced that Wilson has been reinstated and will play next year for the Cavaliers.
For a three-day stretch, the entire City 4-A baseball playoff picture was in limbo. The question was whether El Camino Real would play or not.
During the middle of the West Valley League season, the Conquistadores had to forfeit five league victories because they used an ineligible player. At the regular season’s end, El Camino and Taft had were tied for last place. Canoga Park, which gained two victories because of the forfeits, finished fourth and was in the playoffs.
A number of El Camino parents had made several appeals to have the forfeits overturned. But on a Tuesday, the City’s Interscholastic Athletic Committee voted, 11-8, to uphold the forfeits.
The next day, Sid Thompson, an associate superintendent of the school district, overruled the IAC. That night, El Camino school officials decided that the baseball team would not participate in the playoffs because there were was too little time to prepare for the game.
The next morning, Thursday, school officials decided that, yes, the team would play Granada Hills in the first round on Friday. Canoga Park was out.
The decision by Thompson to overturn the IAC angered several coaches. Stroh of Granada Hills threatened to protest the game with El Camino. Canoga Park Coach Doug MacKenzie said the entire incident was a “tragedy.”
As it turned out, El Camino was pounded by Granada Hills, 9-4.
But not all the news was controversial.
Canyon’s football team won its second straight Southern Section championship and extended its winning streak to 24 games, longest in the Southland. Camarillo won a Southern Section title in football and just missed winning the baseball crown. Faith Baptist won the eight-man football championship in the large division.
The Kennedy girls’ basketball team finished second in the City 4-A division, while Louisville’s girls ended Alemany’s domination of the San Fernando Valley League.
El Camino Real continued its dynasty in boys’ swimming, while the Conquistadores’ softball team made it three straight City titles.
A look back at the prep season of 1984-85:
CIF Champions of the Valley Boys
Sport School Division Section Football Canyon Northwestern Southern Camarillo Coastal Southern Agoura Desert-Mtn. Southern Faith Baptist 8-man Southern Cross Country Thousand Oaks 4-A Southern Saugus 3-A Southern Soccer Kennedy City Baseball Kennedy 4-A City Tennis Calabasas 3-A Southern Swimming El Camino Real City Golf Birmingham 4-A City Gymnastics Monroe City
Sport School Division Section Softball El Camino Real 4-A City Tennis Westlake 3-A Southern
Co-champion with Garfield.