Cuccia Takes Helm at Poly

Fred Cuccia officially was installed Wednesday as the new football coach at Poly High. He replaces Kevin Kennedy, who resigned last week after three years as coach to become an assistant at L. A. Southwest College.

Cuccia, who formerly coached at La Puente, Hoover and South Pasadena highs, met with the Poly players for the first time Wednesday and introduced John Alaimo as an assistant coach. Alaimo, 22, played quarterback for Cuccia at Hoover and will serve as a walk-on coach this season.

Cuccia was recommended for the job by Athletic Director George Tideback last week and gained the approval of Principal Virginia Holt on Tuesday. He was officially hired Wednesday by the L. A. Unified School District and will teach either English or physical education.

B.J. Usher of Calabasas shot a two-over-par 38 Wednesday to win the 11-and-under division of the La Purisima Junior Invitational in Lompoc by 13 strokes.

Usher, 11, the 1989 L.A. City Champion in his division, has won 24 of 36 tournaments he has competed in this year. He placed second in seven others and third twice. Last year, he was selected Southern California Golfer of the Year in his division by the Southern California Junior Golf Assn.

Kris Kirksey, the Camarillo High tailback who rushed for 670 yards in six games last season as a sophomore, said that there is an "85% chance" he would be in the Scorpions' backfield when the season opens Sept. 8.

Kirksey tore a ligament in his right knee and subsequently missed Camarillo's final five games. He spent the summer in rehabilitation but has yet to practice with the team. A brace designed to stabilize his knee is expected to arrive today.

"I feel stronger in both legs than I ever have before," Kirksey said. "I'm in great health right now."

Whether the knee will stand up to the rigors of Camarillo's running game remains a question, but Kirksey's desire to play does not.

"Mentally," he said, "I'm looking forward to playing this season more than I ever have before."

Kirksey, heeding doctors' advice, opted against surgery.

Former Poly High standout Craig Ellis caught two touchdown passes Wednesday night, leading the Edmonton Eskimos to a 37-14 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a match-up of Canadian Football League division leaders in Edmonton.

Keith Wright, an All-Western Football Conference selection with Cal State Northridge in 1987, led Edmonton (6-1) with four catches for 28 yards.

Ellis has 34 receptions this season, tying him for third in the CFL with Toronto's Darrell K. Smith.

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