BRIEFLY : Surgery May Impair Tackle’s College Plans

Sports Digest was compiled by Gordon Monson

The damage to Spencer Smith’s knee has been repaired, but the pain in his heart hasn’t gone away.

Smith, a 6-3, 220-pound offensive tackle for Thousand Oaks, had surgery Monday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. An All-Marmonte League selection last season, Smith suffered the season-ending injury on the third play of the Lancers’ 21-0 win over South Torrance on Sept. 12.

The orthopedist who performed the surgery, Barry Thall, predicted a complete recovery, but Smith believed the injury may deprive him of his dream to play in the Pacific 10 Conference.

“It will probably delay it for a while,” Smith said. “I’ll probably have to go to a junior college. I’ve heard a lot from UCLA and from USC and Stanford. They still write, but I don’t think they’ve heard of my injury yet.”


The injury occurred when one of South Torrance’s defensive linemen fell against the inside of Smith’s knee. Smith was still blocking his man at the time.

“I think a complete recovery is a real possibility,” Thall said. “After this kind of injury, you open up some knees and shake your head and say, ‘This guy will never play again.’ But that’s not the case here. It wasn’t a complete tear.”

Smith’s position will be filled by Greg Banks, a junior.

“We don’t have anyone who will step in and replace him,” Thousand Oaks Coach Bob Richards said. “Everybody has to take up the slack.”


Smith said his teammates’ support has helped him through the ordeal.

“They told me that they’re going to kick some butt this year,” he said. “They told me they miss me, but not to let this set me back any.”

Morris Mixes Schools, Teams and Emotions

When Birmingham High plays Van Nuys in the final football game of the regular season, Dave Morris may have trouble deciding which team to root for.


“The war will be over as far as the league standings are concerned,” Morris said. “Personally, I’ll be rooting for both teams as much as possible.”

Morris, who teaches at Birmingham, last week began coaching at Van Nuys as a volunteer assistant. Morris was the defensive coordinator at Birmingham last season, but was unsure whether he would return to the school this year. When he decided he would return, Coach Alan Epstein’s staff was already filled.

“I just thought I could contribute more over at Van Nuys,” Morris said. “Players are players and I like to be where I’m needed.”

Before his year on Birmingham’s staff, Morris coached as Pasadena City College, Buena High and West L.A. College. He coached at Van Nuys in 1980-81.


Morris is in charge of the offensive and defensive lines, while co-coaches Kenny Lee and Kenji Mochizuki coordinate the defense and offense, respectively.

“It’s nice to have three knowledgeable coaches on the field at the same time,” Mochizuki said. “It’s the first time in three years we’ve had that luxury.”

Cal Lutheran Safety Remains Ineligible

Chris Hutcherson, a fifth-year senior safety on Cal Lutheran’s football team, did not play in last week’s season-opening win over San Francisco State and will miss today’s game with Sonoma State while he awaits a ruling on his eligibility.


Hutcherson played in only two games last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury and has filed retroactively for a hardship redshirt year, which would make him eligible for the 1986 season.

Cal Lutheran has dual membership for football with the NCAA and NAIA, and Hutcherson is awaiting approval from both bodies.

CLU Coach Bob Shoup said he hasn’t heard from either governing body and doesn’t know when or if Hutcherson will be eligible this season.



The Marmonte League, which has used the California tiebreaker system in league football games, moved to stop the practice for the 1986 season at a league meeting this week. League games that conclude in a tie after four quarters will remain ties.

League coaches had objected to the tiebreaker practice and recommended the change to high school administrators, who adopted the new format at Wednesday’s league meeting.

The California tiebreaker calls for each team to attempt four plays from the opponent’s 10-yard line with a winner declared as soon as one team leads after a full round.

Canoga Park High’s Myron Pedroche, who plays both offensive and defensive tackle, has been lost to the team for three weeks. Pedroche, a 6-1, 230-pound junior, tore a ligament in his right knee in a scrimmage against Reseda, according to Canoga Park Coach Rudy Lugo.


Chris Johnson, quarterback at Village Christian High, tied a school record for most passing attempts in a game in the Crusaders’ 10-8 win against Desert last week. Johnson was 12 of 23 for 101 yards. He shares the record with Mark Bates, who set the mark in 1982 and is now an assistant coach at the school.

After its loss at La Verne earlier this week, the Master’s College soccer team (3-3) plays at Redlands today at 11 a.m. Master’s will play at home Tuesday at 3 p.m. against West Coast Christian, the No. 8-ranked team in the NCAA’s Division III.

Master’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams open their season today at the Chapman College Invitational.

The Los Robles Women’s Golf Invitational is scheduled for Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. at Los Robles Greens in Thousand Oaks. The field includes 144 participants from area clubs. The annual tournament is a partner’s best-ball event.


A full-contact karate show is scheduled for 8 o’clock tonight at the Benny the Jet Center. Seven fights are scheduled. Fighters from Los Angeles, Long Beach, Sacramento and San Diego will participate.

All seven Western Football Conference teams played games last week, and Cal Lutheran, at home against San Francisco State, played before the smallest crowd: 2,108. The Portland State-Nevada Las Vegas game drew 12,561; Cal State Sacramento-Mesa College, 4,871; Southern Utah State-Santa Clara, 4,719; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo-Chico State, 4,330; Cal State Northridge-Sonoma State, 2,140.

Cal Lutheran quarterback Tom Bonds leads the WFC in passing and total offense. CLU receiver Joe Fuca is ranked first in receiving. CSUN running back Mike Kane is first in scoring and second in rushing.