FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNTS : Charlie Drake : FORMER TACKLE AT HART
Drake was an All-Coastal Conference player and three-year varsity starter at Hart. A freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Drake will be wearing his Hart letterman’s jacket to tonight’s game. “It still means something,” he said.
The main reason this rivalry is special is the football players who come out of the Santa Clarita Valley. It’s human nature out here. Football. It’s kind of like the last form of legal warfare. It’s the same valley but two separate towns and two different kinds of people. They don’t have bulk at Canyon, they have speed. We have total bulk. Everybody is real tough. That’s the similarity.
On Hart’s 22-21 loss in 1983: It was pretty scary, because I was so young. I didn’t realize how important this game was. Tom Bonds, our quarterback, was a senior and we had a great team. We always aimed our goals at league, so there was not that much of an emphasis on the Canyon game back then. We were struggling early in the game. All of a sudden we were coming back and everything looked great. Then they took it away. We were kind of mad. Teed off. We blew away Crespi the next week.
We carried the feeling into the rest of the season in a positive way. It was my most fun year because we won the conference championship. Being around those seniors was an education.
On Hart’s 21-6 loss in 1984: We were so high off winning the CIF championship the year before and I guess we didn’t train hard enough. So we got killed. It was a cold slap in the face. I don’t remember that year real well. We never got ahead in the game. I had a down feeling and the team, basically, was crushed. Canyon always seemed the same. Joe Zacharia and Randy Austin were always there.
On Hart’s 6-3 loss in 1985: The last minute was so intense. The crowd was going wild. We were about to score. Then everything went bad. I don’t know. Your last season you want to play your best no matter what. You know you’ll never play them again.
On tonight’s game: Hart has an excellent chance. I feel like most of the positions are covered. Plus Jimmy Bonds is in his second year as a starter. He should be ready. He didn’t seem nervous last year. He was used to pressure by then from newspapers. Brian Jacobs, a junior, replaced me on offense. He’ll be fine this year and will be great next year. The whole line is good, better than last year, to tell you the truth. I played against Steve Barnett, the other tackle, a lot in practice. He should be fine.
Hart has to do one thing different to win. Strike quickly and never let up. You can’t wait for it. Dives and blasts might work best because that’s where the extra bulk helps out. Plus Andy Iacenda, the new guy at fullback, is awesome. He’s so strong.
As far as a difference between Canyon and other teams we played, everyone was off the ball so quick. And they kept coming. Guys on other teams would die.
It’s going to be weird going to the game. I haven’t been out of uniform in four years. I’ll envy them. It was so much fun. I’ll want to be out there real bad. You gain a lot of respect wearing a Hart letterman’s jacket around. I felt real proud just saying I was an Indian. I felt we should have won last year. It will ease the pain a little if Hart wins.