Notebook / Sean Waters : Johnson, Bradley Force Ventura to Look Elsewhere for Backfield

Ventura College had the potential for a dream backfield next football season.

Channel Islands tailback John Johnson said he was going to the school after failing to pass the Scholastic Aptitude Test and securing a scholarship to attend Arizona. And Freddie Bradley of Hueneme, also because of academic reasons, was expected to pick Ventura since three of his friends--Cedric Hackett, Carlos Cardenas and David Nunnery--were already students there.

Imagine Johnson and Bradley together in the same backfield. The pair combined for more than 2,500 yards rushing during their senior year in high school.

Unfortunately for Coach Phil Pasno, neither will play for the Pirates next season.

Johnson said he plans to only play baseball. And Bradley confirmed last week that he decided to enroll at Moorpark.

Johnson was drafted in the 54th round by the Seattle Mariners in Major League Baseball's amateur draft in June. He said he doesn't want to risk reinjuring his knees playing football. The Mariners also promised him a hefty signing bonus before the next baseball draft if he has a successful year at the junior college level.

"I think I can go farther in baseball," Johnson said. "The two seasons overlap and the Mariners told me I can't afford to miss 30 games."

But will Johnson regret not carrying a football again?

"Not at all," he said. "I found out I can be happy not playing football. I played only one down in the all-star game and it didn't bother me one bit."

Bradley also has two career objectives, but only one has to do with sports. His high school football coach and legal guardian--Coach George Machado of Hueneme High--believes Bradley should concentrate more on his schoolwork and make football his second priority.

Moorpark Coach Jim Bittner sensed Machado's concern about Bradley's education and made a better sales pitch to lure the fleet-footed running back to Raiders.

"We felt that looking at the two situations that he would be better off at Moorpark," Machado said. "I graduated from Moorpark, but that had nothing to do with Freddie's decision. I told him to talk to the coaches and make his own decision.

"He said Bittner stressed the importance of academics and going to class. All Pasno talked about was football. That made an impact.

"If Freddie never plays another down of football, that's fine with me," he added. "I want to see him get an education."

Rapping down the highway: Members of the Camarillo High boys' basketball team don't need to turn on a radio to hear rap music in the car. They have a professional singer touring the summer basketball league circuit with them.

Dominique Zuniga, a senior, has been writing rap music for four years and his band has been busy producing demo tapes at a recording studio in Santa Barbara.

"Whenever we travel in the car, Dominique sits in the back and raps with another player," junior David Harbour said. "They're pretty good."

Zuniga, a native of New Zealand, didn't see much playing time last year but figures to make the starting lineup this season.

Coaching problem solved: Athletic Director Don Brockett hopes that he has finally solved the question of who is going to coach baseball at Oxnard College next season.

Lindsay Meggs, an assistant baseball coach at Cal Lutheran last season, has been selected as the new coach at Oxnard. Meggs was selected after Reg Welker, who was first offered the position, changed his mind about becoming the Condors' new coach.

The Ventura County Community College District approved Meggs' selection last week. He will replace George Peraza, who resigned in May after one season.

"Lindsay was chosen because the guy is a dynamo," Brockett said. "He is already out there beating the bushes at the local high schools trying to get a team together."

Welker, who had coached baseball at Hueneme High since taking over the program in 1981, told Brockett he had decided not to continue coaching one week after accepting the Oxnard position.

"Reg was given the nod initially because of his local contacts, but Lindsay was also rated very high by the selection committee," Brockett said.

Meggs, 26, an All-Pacific 10 Conference infielder at UCLA in 1983, was an assistant coach at DeAnza College two seasons ago before joining Coach Rich Hill's staff at Cal Lutheran last season.

Looking for help: Now that Welker no longer will be coaching baseball, he will focus his attention on his duties as Hueneme High athletic director.

Currently, there are three coaching position vacancies to be filled--his former job as baseball coach, and in wrestling and girls' swimming.

Humbling experience--For 12 seasons, Tom McConville has seen his girls' basketball team from Santa Clara High play like it belonged in the same division as schools with large enrollments.

But McConville believed his past teams had exceptional talent and the program was temporarily playing a level above its size. This team, however, has been struggling and McConville has spent more time explaining why.

In last weekend's Santana tournament in San Diego, Santa Clara felt every bit like a parochial school with a small enrollment. The Saints won one of four games.

"The competition we faced is no better than what we see in the county," McConville said. "This summer has been a learning experience. We don't have any varsity experience."

If ever Santa Clara needed a blue chip player to transfer into the school, now would be the time. But McConville has been trying to tell his critics he doesn't recruit and maybe after this year, they'll believe him.

"People expect the Saints to be competitive year after year because they think we recruit," he said. "But I've never recruited any of my past players. Tami Adkins came here and Karry Wagoner came here, but that was their decision."

Staff writer Ralph Nichols contributed to this notebook.

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