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THE HIGH SCHOOLS : Quartz Hill Left With Rubble After Digging Hole

Hard-rock miners, outfitted with dusty pack mules and pick axes, used to scour the foothills for quartz veins when prospecting for gold. Pay dirt could be found deep down, primarily in granitic deposits.

Friday night, with the game on the line, John Albee’s team dug deep, but there was no gold in that thar Hill.

Quartz Hill, The Times’ top-ranked team in the region, fell, 13-7, to Redlands, a team that was as stubborn as a desert burro.

“We need to regroup,” Albee said. “We had a few letdowns.”

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If not falldowns. Quartz Hill (1-1) dug a big hole, then toppled in. The Rebels twice had the ball in the final two minutes but two of Jake Haro’s passes were intercepted inside the Terriers’ 20-yard line.

Haro, who led the Rebels to the Southern Section Division I final last season as a junior, completed two of 13 passes for 47 yards and is four of 19 in two games. Yet there were other nuggets of disappointment.

Redlands’ lone touchdown was a gift. After a Terrier drive stalled inside the Quartz Hill 10 midway through the second quarter, Buddy Wellman kicked a 20-yard field goal. But Wellman was hammered by the Rebels in the process, resulting in a roughing penalty and an automatic first down at the one.

Although the book says that taking points off the scoreboard is a coaching taboo, Redlands (2-0) accepted the penalty and punched the ball into the end zone.

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Quartz Hill, the fourth-ranked team in Division I, continued to bumble, stumble and fumble. Tailback Erik Thomas fumbled in the closing seconds of the first half, and Wellman kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give Redlands a 10-0 lead.

As if that largess wasn’t enough, two big-play touchdowns by Rebel defensive back Joel Hansen were nullified. Late in the first quarter, Hansen intercepted a pass in front of the Quartz Hill bench and returned the ball 37 yards for an apparent touchdown. Hansen was flagged for pass interference on the play, however. Albee maintained that Redlands got the gold mine; Quartz Hill got the shaft.

“Both of the guys went for the ball,” Albee said. “It was right in front of me. Hansen tipped it, then pulled it in. I don’t think he hit the guy early.”

Quartz Hill again was hit by a costly penalty flag in the second quarter when Hansen’s 75-yard punt return for a touchdown was nullified by a clipping call.

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“It was a tough night,” Albee said. “We just hope it gives us something to build on when Golden League (play) starts.”

Friday, all that glittered was not gold. For Quartz Hill, it was just another yellow flag.

Add Quartz Hill: Two-way lineman Randy Clemons, considered an NCAA Division I prospect, suffered a severely sprained left ankle and left the game in the first quarter.

Clemons (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) said Saturday that he believes the injury occurred when Thomas and a pile of tacklers rolled over on his ankle during a running play.

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Clemons had X-rays taken Saturday morning and was fitted for a removable cast. Although he will be hobbling around on crutches this week, he was told that he likely will be allowed to play Friday.

Better off anonymous: North Hollywood has been shut out in its two games and held in the red with a combined minus-40 yards in offense. The Huskies are on the debit side when it comes to running backs too.

Because of injury and academic ineligibility, North Hollywood used its fifth- and sixth-best backs in a 41-0 loss to San Pedro on Friday. Tailback Omar Aguilar, who was expected to carry the ball 20 to 25 times a game, was declared academically ineligible Friday afternoon, first-year Coach James Lippitt said.

The brunt of the ground game fell on the shoulders of a B team player who was promoted this week and spent three days practicing with the varsity. His name?

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“Maurice something,” Lippitt said. “I’m not sure. He’s that new.

“It’s been unbelievable. We’re really hurting for talent and experience, which are only the two most important things in football.”

Payment due?: Westlake Coach Jim Benkert admits that when his team faced Oxnard last season “it was pay-back time.”

In 1989, Oxnard spanked Westlake, 47-13, and in the process, drew the ire of Benkert. Leading handily, Oxnard went for a two-point conversion late in the game, Benkert said.

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Last year, Westlake hammered Oxnard, 41-6. “We thought they ran it up on us (in 1989),” Benkert said Saturday. “So last year, we laid it on pretty good the first three quarters.”

Which brings us to Friday night. Oxnard was leading, 24-8, late in the fourth quarter when Larry Bumpus threw a 35-yard scoring pass to Chris Winters with less than a minute left. On fourth down.

This time, however, Benkert could not fault Oxnard’s play selection.

“I didn’t think it was a problem,” Benkert said.

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Tune in next year, or shortly thereafter, to see how the Warriors counter. Although Westlake is not scheduled to play Oxnard in 1992, Benkert said he would try to renew the contract.

They’re baaaack: Just when it seemed that the Charles White lineage had run its course at San Fernando, Johnnie Brown gave the family’s stock a revival Friday at Jefferson.

Brown, the half-brother of the former San Fernando/USC/Rams tailback, wasted no time in making his presence felt. Yet it wasn’t so much as a running back (he gained 44 yards in seven carries).

Ernie Salazar, the Tigers’ punter, was unavailable because of an injury. The second-string punter, LaKarlos Townsend, was benched for missing practice. The third-string punter is Brown.

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With seconds remaining, while preparing to punt from near the goal line, Brown allowed a snap to pass through his hands. Although Brown recovered inside the five, Jefferson scored to move within a point with no time remaining. The two-point conversion failed, though, and San Fernando escaped with a 14-13 victory.

Brown’s brother Leonice, a 1990 San Fernando graduate, plays at Colorado State. His uncle, former Crespi star Russell White, is a Heisman Trophy candidate at California.

Bad timing: Chaminade’s game against Burroughs was called with 2 minutes 28 seconds remaining when a sideline-clearing melee began after an onside kick by the Indians, who lost, 34-7. The irony is that Chaminade Coach Rich Lawson mentioned several times over the summer that high school football needed “positive publicity” in light of the summer-long battle between Canyon and the Southern Section office.

Although his team is 2-0, this isn’t exactly what Lawson had in mind.

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“It is a real black eye for high school football,” he said.

Lawson said that Burroughs’ onside kick was fielded by a Chaminade player a few feet in front of the Burroughs bench. Pushing, shoving and a flurry of flags ensued. Before Lawson knew it, he was one of the few Chaminade representatives left standing on his sideline.

The fight took some of the edge off the victory for Chaminade--which was 1-8-1 and scored 75 points last season--but it was difficult for Lawson to fault his team.

“I’m not going to say we’re angels,” he said. “But these are Chaminade kids. We’re like brook trout.”

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