Researched by ARA NAJARIAN, Times Staff Writer


Running in the Shadows: Edison High was learning to live without running back Kerwin Bell, who had graduated and went on to a successful career at Kansas. Bell had led Edison to a Big Five Conference championship in 1979 and, despite graduating the entire backfield from that team, the Chargers were ranked No. 1 by The Times at the start of the 1980 season.

In its third week, Edison struggled to defeat El Modena, 13-3. In that victory, Bell's younger brother Dino gained 35 yards in 17 carries.


The Times ran a series exploring the pressures placed on high school athletes. One theory was the "Little League Syndrome."

Costa Mesa clinical and sports psychologist Richard Lister said the syndrome occurred when parents tried to overcome their athletic deficiencies through the glory of their children.

"There's a fine line between being zealous and being overzealous," Lister said. "And when it happens, it kills the interest for the kids involved."

One notable parent that year was former Ram star receiver Jack Snow, whose son J.T. was a quarterback at Los Alamitos High School.

"I do my best not to be an 'armchair quarterback,' " Jack Snow said. "You can pick them out real easily--they're usually the loudest."

Snow could have been excused for cheering loudly, though. J.T. Snow completed 12 of 22 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns in Los Alamitos' 34-13 victory over Costa Mesa.


Todd Gragnano and Erik Mitchell led Los Alamitos to a 42-8 victory over Compton. Los Alamitos, which had been upset the previous week, scored 36 points in the second half.

Mitchell had 106 yards and scored three touchdowns. Gragnano completed 16 of 26 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns. Gragnano and Mitchell teamed on a 62-yard scoring pass play.

But the biggest numbers were posted by Rancho Alamitos' Dana Riddle. He carried the ball 52 times for 248 yards and three touchdowns.

While Riddle was getting noticed for big numbers, Bolsa Grande's Sonny Nguyen was getting noticed for little things--his uniform. Nguyen at 5-feet-6, 120 pounds was the smallest starting varsity quarterback in the county and led Bolsa Grande to a 16-14 victory over Pioneer. Nguyen completed six of 10 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown, ran for one touchdown and kicked an extra point and a field goal.

The little things counted for Marina too. It made a step in the right direction by ending an 18-game losing streak with a 17-7 victory over Lakewood.

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