Thousand Oaks’ tradition of bestowing green helmets upon defensive stalwarts appeared to be dead this season when the Lancers lost 2 of their first 3 games. The defense, green under the helmets with 7 junior starters, looked confused at times in allowing 50 points during that span.
Since then, however, Thousand Oaks (4-2) has allowed only 7 points in 3 consecutive victories, and last week linebacker Lance Martin and defensive back Steve Rudisill were awarded the season’s first green helmets. The rest of the players wear white.
“I think it’s probably about as long as we’ve gone without giving one out,” Thousand Oaks Coach Bob Richards said. “There’s tremendous reaction to them. It happens to be a personal goal for some kids.”
The defense has returned 3 interceptions for touchdowns in the past 2 games, returned a fumble for a touchdown and scored a safety.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had this much scoring out of our defense,” Richards said.
Thousand Oaks plays Westlake tonight and it was Westlake Coach George Contreras who instituted the green helmet tradition while he was a Thousand Oaks assistant in the mid-70s.
Siege the moment: Contreras calls it the “siege mentality,” as in under siege. As in this season’s plight at Westlake.
Westlake, a school with 1,830 students, dressed only 27 players in a 36-0 win over Simi Valley last Friday, primarily because of injuries. The Warriors had lost their first 5 games and 7 in a row dating to last season. Contreras thinks his team may be rallying to the cause.
“We’re locked in our capsule and they’re trying to starve us out,” Contreras said. “It’s been kind of a neat thing. For whatever reason last week, the kids started pulling together.”
It might be working. The 36 points scored against Simi Valley was 4 more than the Warriors scored in their first 5 games.
Add Westlake: Dennis Gibbons, a Westlake booster and supporter of youth athletics who died in 1985, will be honored with a perpetual trophy in his name, to be awarded to the winner of each Westlake-Thousand Oaks game.
Two of Gibbons’ sons--Seamus and Michael--are currently on the Westlake varsity.
Big game: St. Genevieve is 1-5 and was flattened, 42-0, by Chaminade in its San Fernando Valley League opener last week.
So, how does it feel, Coach Kevin Kane, to enter your next game as the favorite?
“I don’t know if you can even say that,” Kane said.
But one can because St. Genevieve plays Bell-Jeff on Saturday night at Birmingham High. The Guards are 0-6 and have scored only 21 points all season.
“ Nobody in the league wants to lose to us,” Bell-Jeff Coach Doug Woodlief said. “It’s kind of a disgrace.”
Thus, St. Genevieve and Bell-Jeff, teams going nowhere, will play for the coveted position of fourth place. The loser is almost assured of finishing last.
“Just because they’re not winning doesn’t mean they’re to be laughed at,” Kane said of Bell-Jeff. “We’re taking them seriously. It just comes down to who’s sick of losing the most.”
Said Woodlief: “Neither one of us wants to end up on the bottom, I know that.”
Out of a job: Anyone need a quarterback? Senior Bobby Hughes has been replaced at Notre Dame.
Junior Greg Andrachick assumed the starting role and has led the Knights to consecutive wins over St. Bernard and Harvard.
“It was something we needed to do to try and put the ball in the end zone more consistently,” Coach Kevin Rooney said.
In 3 games, Andrachick has completed 18 of 28 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown. But Hughes, who in 4 games has completed 31 of 75 for 582 yards and 3 touchdowns, isn’t looking for a job--he has one as a defensive end.
“I’m disappointed,” said Hughes (6-3, 200), who will begin his third season as catcher on the school baseball team this spring. “I still feel I should play. But I’ll play wherever the team needs me. That’s all I can do.”
It takes a thief: How good is Chaminade’s Jeff Burdick?
“He’s one of the best high school defensive backs I’ve ever seen,” Coach Rich Lawson said. “He’s incredible. His numbers are there.”
Burdick swiped his seventh pass last week and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown in the Eagles’ 42-0 rout of St. Genevieve. Burdick, second in the Valley in interceptions, has 142 yards in interception returns and has brought back 2 for touchdowns.
Frustration peak: Sylmar has been hampered throughout the season by penalties and turnovers, but the problem peaked in last week’s 14-10 upset at the hands of Monroe. The Spartans were penalized 8 times for 65 yards and had 2 fumbles that killed potential touchdown drives.
A fumbled exchange between the center and quarterback at the Monroe 31-yard line with 45 seconds to play was the most critical error committed by the offense, but there were others.
In the second quarter, Sylmar had a first and 10 from the Monroe 14 when another fumbled exchange occurred.
And, finally, the Spartans had a second and 2 at the Monroe 13 in the fourth quarter but were called for consecutive illegal procedure penalties and ended up kicking a field goal.
Sylmar had 7 possessions inside the Monroe 40-yard line, yet scored only 10 points.
Collision course: Two teams heading in opposite statistical directions will meet when Loyola and Alemany meet tonight in a Del Rey League game at Alemany.
Loyola (6-0), ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today, has allowed 21 points all season and is fresh off a 27-0 win over St. Francis. Alemany (3-3) has been outscored, 130-43, in consecutive losses to Palmdale, Canyon and Crespi. Alemany lost to Crespi, 49-0, Saturday.
Bright spot: Kennedy’s defense has not been overpowering, allowing 300.3 yards a game, but linebacker Lester Larry (6-3, 210) has been a force in the middle.
Larry has 3 times been named the Kennedy defensive player of the week. In 6 games, he has 8 sacks and 43 unassisted tackles.
Word of warning: Dave Hartman of Canyon High won the L. A. County cross-country championships by a decisive 27-second margin at College of the Canyons on Saturday, but he’s not sure he will be the Cowboys’ top runner at the end of the season.
It is not that Hartman lacks confidence, but he expects teammate Mike Rattary to race stride for stride with him at the Southern Section 4-A Division championships at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Nov. 19.
“Mike has struggled, but I expect him to be right there within a few weeks,” Hartman said. “I think he’ll be running his best times when it really counts.”
Rattary, a senior, placed 14th in last year’s 4-A championships to lead Canyon to a fifth-place team finish, but a broken foot ended his track season last spring and has caused the slow return to form. He placed sixth in the County championships on Saturday, 46 seconds behind Hartman.
Family affair: L. A. Baptist defensive coordinator Mark Bates had better not look to his family for moral support when the Knights play Alpha League rival Village Christian on Saturday.
Bates’ younger brother Matt is the backup quarterback for the Crusaders, his sister Krissi and brother David have attended Village Christian, and his mother Betty heads the math department at the Sun Valley school.
Bates himself is a Village Christian alumnus and served as an assistant for 2 seasons under Coach Mike Plaisance.
Road hazards: In addition to the normal headaches of running a football program, first-year Coach Rob Dearborn of Moorpark has had to deal with the aftermath of automobile accidents.
Last week, 4 Moorpark players were involved in 2 separate auto accidents. Starting fullback Chuck Silverest suffered a deep head cut when he fell asleep at the wheel and hit an embankment, according to Dearborn. Silverest missed Friday’s game against St. Bonaventure but is expected back this week.
Earlier in the week, a car carrying Tom Uphoff, Jeff Cox and Phillip Spizale hit a telephone pole on the way home from practice. Uphoff and Spizale returned to practice the next day but Cox missed one day of practice.
Staff writers Tim Brown, Steve Elling, Steven Fleischman, John Ortega, Vince Kowalick and Sean Waters contributed to this notebook.