THE HIGH SCHOOLS : Foreign Legion Brings Unbeaten Glendale to Power
Merely walking onto the football field offers Glendale High players a global perspective. Practice is a crash course in cultures.
No wonder Glendale is unbeaten, having overwhelmed four opponents by a combined score of 120-25.
This team is All-World.
Glendale players hail from all corners of the Earth, 11 countries total. On the offensive line alone, players from Nicaragua, South Korea, Cuba and Soviet Armenia line up side by side.
Three Dynamiters were born in Iran, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Two are from Puerto Rico, two more from Mexico. One was born in Peru.
“It’s amazing. There are over 30 languages spoken at Glendale High,” Coach Don Shoemaker said. “We have every race, color and religion on the football team.”
Talk about a diverse offense. Glendale employs multiple sects.
X’s and O’s seem to be a universal language, however. Behind an area-best 673 yards from junior running back Pathon Rucker (who hails from Ohio, by the way) the Dynamiters have been unstoppable.
Add Dynamiters: Glendale players might have relatives rooting worldwide, but many people closer to home have yet to extend the respect a 4-0 team would seem to deserve.
“Glendale? You’ve got to look at their schedule,” a rival coach said.
Two of the Dynamiters’ victims--Burroughs and Bell-Jeff--are winless; Alhambra has won just once and La Canada is 2-2. Until Glendale defeats its traditionally strong Pacific League foes--Pasadena, Arcadia or Muir--skeptics will remain . . . well, skeptical.
“Traditionally, we’re even with the teams on our nonleague schedule,” said Shoemaker, whose team was 4-6 in each of the past two seasons. “We happen to be up this year. But we’re not squeaking by. We’re taking care of these teams.”
More than just a pretty name: A referendum has been proposed to change the name of the city of Oxnard. Mandalay Beach of California has been suggested as a more refined alternative.
Should the city’s name change, Oxnard High undoubtedly would be renamed Mandalay Beach of California High. And, of course, a more pleasing nickname than the current Yellowjackets would be in order for the school’s athletic teams.
Submitted for approval: The Mandalay Beach of California High School Windsurfers With A Smog-Free Sunset Backdrop.
Image is everything, claim name-change proponents, who believe the word Oxnard repels tourists and makes the city the object of scorn among the West Side set.
The new nickname might even woo the Palisades High Dolphins over for a friendly game of football between teams with pretty names. The Mandalay Beach of California High School Windsurfers With A Smog-Free Sunset Backdrop--hardscrabble Oxnard players by another name--would destroy the unwary Dolphins.
And Oxnard--er, Mandalay Beach of California--would be the envy of the West Side for a day.
Kicking the blues: With three swings of her right leg, Amy Cook’s spirits once again are soaring higher than a football over a crossbar.
It has been a long wait.
Ever since she missed a potential game-winning extra-point attempt in Chaminade’s season-opening tie a month ago against Konawaena (Hawaii), Cook has been sidelined because of a thigh injury, unable to redeem herself. The night after the game, she sat in her hotel room sobbing, wondering if she should continue playing football.
She decided to stick out the season. Yet Cook could not help but wonder--would the miss she calls “the killer shank in Hawaii” be her one and only chance?
Friday night against Notre Dame, Chaminade scored early in the second half and Coach Rich Lawson ordered Cook on the field.
“I didn’t think he was going to use me, so I didn’t have time to think about it and get nervous,” Cook said Saturday. “I think coach planned it that way.”
The kick was good, as were two more extra points later in the game, which was won by Notre Dame, 35-21. Should Cook keep kicking, she could challenge the state record for a girl of 11 points, a mark tied last season by Rachel Gagliano of Monroe.
“She was a bright spot amid the blunders,” Lawson said. “Amy came through.”
Add Cook: Chaminade did beat Notre Dame, 18-0, in girls’ tennis Thursday with help from Cook, a member of the Eagles’ No. 1 doubles team.
This is one Cook who can stand the heat of competition. The 18-year-old senior is a three-sport athlete--in the fall alone. Besides football and tennis, Cook is also a member of the Conejo Valley Sidewinders soccer club.
Bionic boots: Brian Balleweg of Simi Valley is zero for five in field-goal attempts over the past two weeks. Yet every try has been successful.
Even the attempt of 104 yards. And the other three of at least 90 yards. Balleweg’s shortest attempt is of 70 yards.
“I feel like I’m doing a good job,” he said, fully aware that no kick has come within 20 yards of the crossbar.
The kicks serve as punts, something winless Simi Valley does so poorly that Coach Stan Quina sought an alternative. The offensive line during punts resembled something better suited for washing lettuce.
“We had no one blocking the outside rushers,” Balleweg said. “They were in the backfield before the punter caught the snap.”
Genius, they say, is born of necessity. So punt time is now tee time.
Quina instructed Balleweg to aim for the sidelines and hope for a generous bounce to lessen the chance of a return. High school rules consider both field-goal attempts and punts to be scrimmage kicks that can be returned.
Only one of Balleweg’s kicks has been returned--for just five yards. He has averaged 35 yards a kick.
Although he could finish the season with the worst field-goal percentage in football history, Balleweg thinks positive. He imagines that one of his 90-yard attempts soars over the crossbar for a world-record field goal.
“That would be great, I mean great, " he said.
Miracle man: Two sacks and an incomplete pass preceded North Hollywood’s fourth-down play with three seconds left Thursday against Palisades. The ball was on the North Hollywood 33-yard line and Palisades led, 26-25.
The situation was hopeless.
“My attitude was, let the tailback get a few yards to boost his stats,” North Hollywood Coach Fred Grimes said.
A boost like this could send a man to the moon. Tailback Leon Gable took a pitchout, nearly slipped in the backfield, withstood two solid hits 15 yards downfield and sped 67 yards for the winning score as time expired.
“It was a miracle,” Grimes said. “When he was hit, he braced himself on the ground with his free hand. He made a 90-degree turn toward the sideline, he turned upfield. . . .”
And Gable was gone with the wind.