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Prep Review : For Openers, Sea View League Teams Find a Way to Even Things Out

Of the 33 football league openers last week, 3 ended in ties, and 2 of those were in the Sea View League.

Corona del Mar, the defending league champion, tied University, 14-14, Thursday. Estancia, which hasn’t won a league game in 2 years, tied Tustin, 13-13, Friday.

Corona del Mar (5-0-1, 0-0-1) was happy to get out without a loss as University mismanaged two good scoring opportunities in the final minute of play.

With 36 seconds remaining, University was on Corona del Mar’s 12-yard line, but the Trojans (2-3-1, 0-0-1) elected to pass instead of trying for the field goal. Trojan quarterback Junior Oliver was intercepted in the end zone by Weston Johnson.

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Twenty seconds later, the Trojans almost had another chance for a field goal, but the clock ran out before Jim Roberson made a 27-yarder.

Said Sea King Coach Dave Holland: “I’m going to be thinking about this game for the rest of my life.”

Tustin Coach Marijon Ancich may spend the rest of his life trying to forget the game against Estancia. Though the Tillers led at halftime, 10-0, they accumulated 155 yards in penalties, including this forgettable moment in the fourth quarter: Tustin’s Kevin Jurkowski intercepted a pass and ran 80 yards for a touchdown. But a clipping call erased the score--which would have given Tustin a 19-6 lead--and the ball was brought back to Tustin’s 13-yard line.

Tustin failed to put together a drive, and Estancia drove for the tying score on the ensuing possession.

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While Estancia Coach John Liebengood whooped and hollered at midfield--celebrating his team’s first “non-defeat” in league play since 1985--Ancich was all alone, scowling and pacing in the darkness behind the locker room.

“I’m so mad I could punch someone,” Ancich said. He sounded very convincing.

Add Tie: The other tie last week? An Empire League double shutout by Loara and Cypress.

Said one Loara cheerleader, trying to liven up the homecoming crowd of 1,700 in the game’s final moments:

“OK, everybody! The score is 0-0, but our zero is better than their zero!”

Add Sea View: With its 28-14 victory over Newport Harbor, Saddleback (2-4, 1-0) takes sole possession of first place. And although Newport Harbor (1-5, 0-1) falls to the bottom, the Sailors might take hope in this: Corona del Mar began last year 1-5 and 0-1 before taking the Sea View League title.

Getting Your Kicks: Sonora, which earned its first victory of the season Friday with a 14-6 decision over Buena Park, is resting its hopes for improvement on a kicker. Scott Szeredy (pronounced Shreddy ) is 5 for 9 in field goals, but it’s his range that makes him the Raiders’ key offensive weapon.

“His closest field goal was 39 yards, his furthest was 52,” Coach Larry Allen said. “We’ve tried one from 61 before; he wasn’t very close, but he’s made those in practice. . . . He’s got great control and is football smart in kicking situations.”

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Szeredy also punts and kicks off. “Every single kickoff he’s done has gone into the end zone,” Allen said. “Some have almost made it through the goal posts, too.”

Szeredy, a 6-foot 2-inch senior, is a member of the Raider soccer team, which is coached by his father, Butch Szeredy.

“I’ve been coaching high school football for 11 years, and I’ve never tried a 60-yarder with anyone else,” Allen said. “But I feel confident when the situation comes up. Scott’s been a blessing for us. He’s been our primary scoring machine.”

Crowd Control! Saturday’s Orange County Cross-Country Championships at Irvine Park in Orange provided plenty of excitement, for runners and spectators.

But meet director Jerry Whitaker said there were times when the crowd of about 2,000 became a burden.

The majority of the 3-mile course winds along a paved bike trail. Spectators usually line the sides of the path, cheering the runners as they pass. But on several occasions, cheering sections got out of hand, spilling out onto the bike path--which, because of park regulations, cannot be roped off--and forcing runners to slow or even stop.

Because a race started every 12 minutes, there were usually two races on the course simultaneously.

The worst of it came during the boys’ seeded team race at 9:48 a.m. When the gun went off, spectators watched the seeded runners zoom past and out of view. But many spectators, attempting to run across a riverbed to get a better view, got in the way of another race.

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“The turnout was almost out of control,” Whitaker said. “My starter said, ‘Coach, how am I supposed to control 400 or 500 people (in the starting area)?’ Some people almost knocked runners down flat.

“We’ll have to do something about this next year. We’re not allowed to rope off the course, so we’ll just have to hope the coaches will pass the word to the parents.”

Surprise parties: The biggest surprises of the Orange County Championships came from the Los Alamitos girls’ team and the Tustin boys’ team.

Los Alamitos, which was unranked in the Southern Section and unheralded among county coaches, finished second in the seeded division with 117 points.

The Griffins, led by their No. 1 runner Tracy Fatone, outran several of the Southern Section’s top teams, including third-ranked Villa Park, fourth-ranked El Toro and fifth-ranked Santa Ana Valley.

Tustin, which is unranked, placed third in the seeded division. The Tillers beat fourth-ranked Dana Hills, eighth-ranked Villa Park and 10th-ranked El Modena.

"(Before the meet) the feeling was both Los Alamitos and Tustin were very marginal,” Whitaker said. “I wasn’t even sure if they were deserving enough to put them in the seeded race.”

Run, Don’t Walk: Denisha Bendz, a Costa Mesa freshman, was a surprise third-place finisher Saturday in the seeded individual race at the county championships. Bendz ran the 3-mile course in 18:35, the fifth-fastest time of the day.

Bendz, who during the off-season competes for the Pegasus Track Club in Huntington Beach, is a national record-holder in her age group. But her records aren’t in running, they’re in race walking.

Bendz, 14, who was inspired to start race walking after watching the sport at the 1984 Olympics, holds national records in the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events.

Prep Notes

Gerry Mullins, who played on four Super Bowl champions with the Pittsburgh Steelers, will have his uniform jersey number retired at halftime of the Anaheim-Valencia game Saturday in Glover Stadium. Mullins started for Anaheim’s 1966 Southern Section 4-A division championship team and played in two Rose Bowl games for USC. A dinner honoring Mullins is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at Racquetball World in Fullerton. For more information, call Anaheim Athletic Director Dan Miller at 999-3727.


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