It is doubtful that anyone would be crazy enough to mess with El Camino Real fullback Jamal Anderson. At 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, Anderson is more than capable of handling himself and big enough to discourage most folks from trying.
But if Anderson ever gets into a scrape and needs reinforcements, keep those eyes open, because there's danger lurking in that there limo.
Anderson's father, James, is one of Mike Tyson's bodyguards. The elder Anderson previously worked as a bodyguard for Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard.
It is easy to see where Jamal gets his build. His father, a former all-state linebacker-running back in New Jersey, is also built like a rock (6-1, 240). Jamal said that his father started with Ali in 1970, and after the heavyweight great retired, moved to the Leonard camp about 1980.
Do these guys need protection?
"It's like being a big star," Jamal said. "There are a lot of fools out there."
The younger Anderson insists that he isn't the type to go nuts at the sight of a Leonard or Tyson. He says that it's like a fighter getting whacked upside the head a couple of thousand times--after a while, a person sort of gets used to it.
"I've been around these guys mainly all of my life," Jamal said. "It's no big deal anymore."
That was hardly the case for his schoolmates a year ago when his father dropped by school to deliver Jamal's lunch--with Iron Mike in tow.
Shoot, Mike. Peanut butter again?
"I was walking around the front of the school," said Canoga Park basketball Coach Jeff Davis, a teacher at El Camino Real at the time. "And it was just, 'Oh, my God, it's Mike Tyson.' We were all astounded."
Need another reason why Jamal is hardly star-crossed? His older sister, Anita, is married to Laker guard Byron Scott.
Keeping tabs: Late Friday night, in a darkened Granada Hills pub, four varsity football coaches gathered to discuss the night's play. Understandably, some were in a more charitable mood than others.
In attendance were Fred Grimes (North Hollywood), Bob Francola (Kennedy), Jeff Engilman (Sylmar) and Steve Landress (Cleveland).
Only one coach was victorious in Friday's games, so the mood was somber at times. And which coach was the winner?
Here's a hint: Landress says that his bar tab came to $80.
Incognito: Maybe somebody had a premonition.
In the team photo included in the Burbank football program circulated at Friday night's Foothill League game against Schurr, the entire Bulldog coaching staff appears in dark sunglasses.
Score: Schurr 42, Burbank 0.
Ground meat: Reseda Coach Joel Schaeffer says that running back Joe Tushnet is like a cut of USDA choice beef.
"He's like filet mignon," Schaeffer said. "Pound for pound, he's a tough little character."
If ever there was a person who would love to have a nickname like "Meat," Tushnet is the one, because at 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds, he is a prime cut.
In Friday's 20-6 Valley Pac-8 Conference win over Sylmar, Tushnet rushed for a career-high 200 yards in 27 carries to help Reseda bounce back from its worst defeat in a decade the week before, a 40-13 loss to Grant.
How does someone Tushnet's size get the job done? With the adrenal glands of a seven-footer, apparently. Moments after the game ended, he was asked about his height. His high-volume answer practically parted the hair of the questioning party.
"I'm SIX FEET TALL ," he yelped.
Exercising his option: Royal was 1-1 after two games and its option offense had completely bogged down after a Week 2 loss to Agoura. Coach Gene Uebelhardt surveyed his options and decided it was time to make a quick pitch before the team was permanently swamped under a pile of defensive linemen.
Uebelhardt promoted sophomore Ryan Fien from the sophomore team, for which the 6-2 1/2, 170-pound quarterback had been shredding secondaries. In the opener against the Chaminade junior varsity, for instance, Fien threw for seven touchdowns. But was the youthful Fien ready to take over, or would he quickly move from underclass to outclassed?
In Friday's 28-21 loss to Thousand Oaks--the top-ranked team in Southern Section Division II--Fien played like he was at least, oh, 17. "He has braces and he doesn't shave," Uebelhardt said. "And he doesn't have a driver's license. But he's mature beyond his years."
He aged the Thousand Oaks secondary a few years too. Fien passed for 218 yards and three touchdowns and won over a few fans in the Thousand Oaks defense.
"That guy, you're going to hear his name a lot," said Thousand Oaks defensive back Scott Barkman, who intercepted two of Fien's passes. "When that guy's back there in the pocket, he is tough."
Fien's patience was in evidence during a three-play sequence in the second quarter.
After moving Royal into scoring range, a sure touchdown pass was dropped by a Royal running back.
On the next play, a touchdown pass was nullified by a penalty.
The third time, however, Fien hit Sean Mitchell for a 7-0 lead.