Could that really have been Canyon tailback Chris Peery looking fit and trim in last week’s 35-14 win over Notre Dame?
Was that really Peery who rushed for 141 yards and 3 touchdowns in 25 carries? The same Peery who rushed for 1,290 yards as a sophomore last season, then spent the off-season rushing to the refrigerator?
“I went on vacation and just ate,” Peery said. “I kept eatin’ and eatin.’ I saw all my relatives and they stuffed me full of food.
“I was surprised that I ballooned so much.”
So was Coach Harry Welch when Refrigerator Peery reported for practice this summer. “I got him on the scale and he weighed 238,” Welch said.
But not for long.
“Most of it came off during hell week and two-a-days,” Peery said.
After 3 months with Welch, Peery weighs in at 216--1 pound, he says, above his playing weight. Ribbing from teammates also motivated Peery’s dieting.
“They were calling me things like ‘Fat boy,’ ” Peery said. “But it was all fun and games. I wanted to be 215, but I’m feeling comfortable at the weight I’m at now.”
Meaningful match: The Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park girls’ volleyball teams have developed one of the area’s most meaningful rivalries--and one of the most lopsided. But the Panthers, who had not beaten Thousand Oaks since 1985, finally knocked off the Lancers last week in the semifinals of the Diamond Bar tournament, 11-2, 11-6.
Because the match came during a tournament, it does not count toward either team’s overall record and the Panthers did not spoil the Lancers’ unbeaten mark. But Newbury Park gets that opportunity Saturday when the Panthers (8-0, 5-0 in league play) travel to Thousand Oaks (9-0, 5-0).
Newbury Park had lost 5 consecutive matches over the past 2 years to Thousand Oaks, including last season’s Southern Section championship match.
“The win is a confidence builder for us,” Coach Joe Wortmann said. “We know we can play with Thousand Oaks and we know we can beat them.”
Saugus woes: “In this business,” Saugus football Coach Dick Flaherty said, “you tend to remember the negatives more than the positives.”
Especially in Flaherty’s case, because his team has so many negatives. Saugus (0-3-1) has turned the ball over 11 times in 4 games and has only 7 takeaways. Against Hoover, Saugus recovered just 2 of 8 Hoover fumbles.
Flaherty also would rather forget that the Centurions have been outscored, 101-30. And that they have totaled only 599 yards on offense. And that they have rushed for only 214 yards.
“We’re playing teams much tougher than we did last year,” Flaherty said. “But we did this intentionally. If we play patsies in preseason, we won’t be ready for the Golden League.”
Other kid on the block: As successful as Kennedy tailback Antiwaun Carter has been this season, there is another sonic sophomore just up the road: Granada Hills fullback Brett Washington has rushed for 311 yards in 50 carries (6.2 average). Carter has 477 yards in 71 carries (6.7).
After being used sparingly in Granada Hills’ first 2 games, Washington has 2 consecutive 100-yard games. Carter has topped the 100-yard mark in 3 games.
Lopsided: In the first week of Northwest Valley Conference play, teams from the West Valley League were 0-4 against teams from the North Valley and were outscored by more than a 2-to-1 margin, 106-41. Even Chatsworth, which had started 0-2, got into the act by blanking Canoga Park, 17-0.
Overall, North Valley teams are 9-6 and the West is 4-8. Despite the imbalance, 3 teams from each league qualify for the 4-A Division playoffs, and each league champion earns a first-round bye. All conference games count in the league standings.
“Our whole side of the league doesn’t look like much, I guess,” Taft Coach Stevenson said. “We might all go 0-4 against their half of the conference.”
Profitable switch: Paul Koons is putting up some big numbers on both sides of the ball. The 6-foot, 2-inch, 215-pound senior helped Verdugo Hills beat Lincoln last week for the first time in 4 years.
Koons made 12 unassisted tackles as a linebacker and gained 104 all-purpose yards as a fullback, not bad for a converted all-league offensive lineman. He leads the team in receptions (10 for 72 yards) and rushing (125 yards in 25 carries).
Staff writers Steve Elling, Chris J. Parker, Vince Kowalick and Chin Lue contributed to this notebook.