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‘Tis the Season for Predictions, Suggestions

Quips, quotes and questions for the upcoming high school season:

* How many “Barbie and Ken” headlines do you think we’ll see now that La Quinta tight end Sam Barbie and quarterback Ken Granger are an integral part of the Aztec offense?

* How many times will new El Toro Coach Mike Milner mistakenly be called “Bob” this season?

* If El Toro hits the skids this year, will Milner order his players to strip the Charger decals from their helmets as he did with his Fountain Valley players last year?

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* Will Capistrano Valley Coach Eric Patton ever look upset this year?

* Will Mission Viejo Coach Mike Rush ever look happy?

* Will La Quinta Coach Roger Takahashi, who was passed over for the El Toro job last year, ever be given a chance to display his dazzling offensive schemes outside the Garden Grove League?

* Will Orange Coach Buddy Bland ever be funny enough to be called Nutty Buddy?

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* If this Orange County Section ever becomes reality, how about Mikhail Gorbachev for Commissioner? Doug Rader? Elvis?

* Why did the Southern Section choose outspoken opponents of the section, former Corona del Mar volleyball player Prentice Perkins and former coach Dale Flickinger, to grace the cover of its 1991-92 Blue Book?

Last year, Perkins and Flickinger publicly criticized the section--including its president, Corona del Mar Principal Tom Jacobson--for the suspension of Sea King Coach Charlie Brande after Brande allegedly violated a section off-season coaching rule. Now, they’re on the cover?

Flickinger laughed, saying it was probably pure coincidence.

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Could be, but what’s next? Andrew Dice Clay on the cover of Ms.? Chip and Dale on Field and Stream? Two Big Macs on a Weight Watchers brochure?

* Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson said this summer he couldn’t yet say who his top running back prospect would be. Why?

“Well I haven’t made my trip to Texas yet.”

Yes, folks, he was kidding.

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* SuperPrep magazine listed Corona del Mar’s Todd Kehrli as one of the top quarterback recruits in the country, but it’ll take a game or two before anyone can tell whether Kehrli has recovered from last year’s finger injury, which he suffered when he cut himself with a carving knife.

Wrote SuperPrep: “Todd will do fine as long as he stays away from the barbecue pit.”

* Most common nickname for county high schools? The Eagles, with four. (Actually, there are five species of “Hawks” if you include the Seahawks of Ocean View and the C-Hawks of Cal Lutheran).

* Most common first name for the county’s head football coaches? John/Jon (6), followed by Dave/David (5) and Jim, Mike and Bill (4 each).

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* Estancia junior quarterback Matt Johner, slowed by a hip injury most of last season, can’t wait for the season opener Friday at Los Amigos.

As a sophomore last fall, Johner made his varsity debut against Los Amigos, turning in an 18-of-26 performance for 365 yards and three touchdowns to rally the Eagles to a 30-27 victory.

The Sept. 13 date isn’t the only one he’s excited about though. On Sept. 26--the day before the Corona del Mar game--he’ll get his braces off, and he can replace his old oversized mouthpiece with a smaller, more comfortable one. Last year, Johner’s mouthpiece popped out as he lined up for his second varsity snap. The ensuing search for the piece cost his team a delay-of-game penalty.

* Finally, if you’re looking for some fun fall reading, the Southern Section recently published a 104-page Media Guidelines booklet, “A Comprehensive Guide to Improved Media Relations for CIF Southern Section Athletic Programs and Area Media Outlets.”

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In it, is a wide array of media management techniques. (No, this did not include a quick right to the jaw or stabbing the reporter with his or her ballpoint pen).

One section, titled “Personal Media Relationships,” states that coaches “are entitled to a 5- to 7-minute cool-down period” before addressing the media after games.

Rebuttal: Most reporters of daily newspapers work on tight deadlines--stories usually have to be in 30 to 45 minutes after night football games--and waiting around for a coach to compose himself isn’t a viable option. In fact, in this 5- to 7-minute scenario, most reporters would already be in their cars, zooming down the freeway toward the office by the time a coach utters his first word.

Advice: If you need to cool down, carry an ice pack.

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