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Rapp Will Run Bases at CSUN, Not an Offense

Times Staff Writer

The coach figures sophomore Tim Rapp, who became the starting quarterback at Cal State Northridge late last season and showed enormous physical talents, could become the team’s leader. Rapp, the coach said, looks like a winner.

The bad news for the CSUN football team, however, is that the coach who has such high praise for Rapp is the baseball coach.

Quarterback Rapp is about to become third baseman Rapp for Terry Craven, CSUN’s baseball coach.

Football Coach Tom Keele doesn’t like talking about Rapp.

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“He’s not here, and I don’t talk about guys who aren’t here,” said Keele. “I’ve got enough to do worrying about the guys who are here.”

Rapp walked away from a baseball scholarship at Northridge three years ago after graduating from Simi Valley High, opting to work instead of play. He spent two years bagging groceries at a market near his home until he was lured away from the checkout counter by Keele and CSUN assistant football coach Ron Veres, who was Rapp’s football coach at Simi Valley.

Rapp started at quarterback in the final four games of the 1985 season. In his first start, he led the Matadors to a 17-15 upset over Cal Lutheran. He improved each week and completed 15 of 23 passes for 148 yards in a season-ending, 14-3 loss to Western Football Conference champion Portland State.

With a football scholarship and the starting berth waiting for him this season, Rapp suddenly decided to return to his old work habits--he bagged the football team.

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The move has left Keele with three quarterbacks heading into Saturday’s season opener against Nevada-Reno. Not one of the three has ever taken a snap from center in a CSUN game. And with Keele’s decision to scrap his multiple-formation offense for a run-and-shoot passing attack, the Rapp-less Matadors--who were 3-7 last year--may be in for another long season.

“I guess I’m comfortable with my quarterback,” said Keele, who has named Chris Parker, a 6-2, 180-pound transfer from San Bernardino Valley College, to run the new offense. “I’m as confident as I can be with a quarterback that has never taken a snap from center for us, a guy who hasn’t played a single down.”

The head of the U.S. Cavalry once expressed similar confidence in Gen. Custer.

Saturday’s game in Reno against the 1984 Big Sky Conference runner-up Wolfpack starts at 1 p.m. Reno, led by junior quarterback Eric Beavers (2,370 yards and 16 touchdowns last season), has been picked by many to win its conference this season.

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While Rapp left his position voluntarily, another Valley quarterback was given the boot this week.

Babe Laufenberg, the former Crespi High and Pierce star, was the last player cut by the Washington Redskins on the final day. The cut surprised many people, Laufenberg among them, because the two-year NFL player had turned in a dazzling preseason, including a game-winning performance two weeks ago against the New England Patriots.

In that game, Laufenberg took over for Joe Theismann after halftime and buried the Patriots by completing 12 of 21 passing for 200 yards. In the closing minute, Laufenberg engineered an 80-yard drive--70 through the air--that culminated in a 25-yard touchdown pass with four seconds left to Clint Didier. Washington won, 37-36.

Despite the strong showing, Laufenberg, 25, whose college stops also included Stanford, Missouri and Indiana, was snubbed by Washington Coach Joe Gibbs, who chose to keep former UCLA star Jay Schroeder as Theismann’s backup.

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When Los Angeles City College decided to junk its football program Aug. 5, Pierce Coach Jim Fenwick had to scramble for a midseason replacement. Fenwick, whose team was scheduled to play host to LACC on Oct. 19, has found one--UC Santa Barbara, a first-year Division III team.

Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Pierce (10-1 last season) opens at home against Antelope Valley College.

Taft, Valley and Moorpark colleges begin the preseason Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a three-way scrimmage at Valley.

Despite Taft’s 51-27 victory over Pierce in last season’s Potato Bowl, Moorpark could be the JC team to watch this year, as the Raiders have beefed up their defense and maintained a strong offensive core that includes returning sophomore quarterback Ken Lutz and receiver Dan Russell.

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“I’m anxious to get the season under way, to see how well we can do,” Moorpark Coach Jim Bittner said.

When Cal Lutheran’s starting wide receiver Joe Fuca underwent arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago, it gave Troy Davis and Joe Monarrez a chance to show their stuff. The verdict: It’s good stuff.


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