Watts Won Toss, Right to Play and Stay

First-year Coach Alan Eberhart of Crescenta Valley High has this decision-making thing down.

Faced with choosing a replacement for injured quarterback Dave Fielder in the Falcons’ opener against La Canada, Eberhart could not decide between John Watts and Tim Condie.

So he flipped a coin.

Watts won the coin toss, held before practice Thursday, and started against the Spartans. Eberhart planned at first to start Watts and alternate the players throughout the game, but Watts played too well. He completed five of six passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns.


However, Fielder will start this week against Alemany.


The Right Call

Simi Valley senior quarterback Jeremie Watkins played a solid game in his debut as a starter in the Pioneers’ opener against Ventura.

Watkins (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) completed 11 of 28 for 203 yards with an interception and two touchdown passes--one a 59-yard play to Ken Huggins--as Simi Valley lost to Ventura, 22-21. While Watkins was pleased with some of his calls, the one that meant the most came long-distance the day before the game.

Graduated Simi Valley standout Eric Bennett called Watkins at home Thursday night. Bennett, a freshman at Nevada, gave his former backup a few tips and wished him luck.

“That was a great thing he did,” Watkins said. “I had some jitters, and he told me to be calm and that he knew I could do the job. I was shocked he called. I wasn’t expecting that at all.”

Watkins, whom Simi Valley Coach Roger McCamy refers to as “The Franchise,” attempted only two passes while playing behind Bennett. Watkins concedes he was sometimes frustrated by lack of playing time. He is determined to make the most of this season.


“Last year, (former) Coach (Stan) Quina told me that I could probably start for any team on our schedule except Newbury Park,” Watkins said. “He told me he knew it was hard on me not playing but that I would get my shot.”

Maybe Watkins will make a call of his own next season to his current backup: junior Tim Bennett, Eric’s younger brother.


Newbury Park fell four points short of breaking the Ventura County single-game scoring record in its 73-6 win over Hueneme. Santa Clara beat Newbury Park, 76-0, in 1969. . . . Despite the victory, Coach George Hurley was upset with one aspect of the Panthers’ performance. Newbury Park committed 13 penalties for 130 yards. “I’m not pleased with our discipline . . . we did some things we shouldn’t have,” he said. “We ran some extra in practice (Monday) to remind some kids about discipline.” . . . Looks like Camarillo Coach Carl Thompson has found another gifted tailback in senior Robert Smith (5-8, 165). Smith gained 125 yards in 18 carries in the Scorpions’ 29-14 win over San Marcos. Graduated standout Fahali Campbell (Oregon State)--The Times’ Ventura County back of the year--rushed for a county-record 2,285 yards last season. "(Smith) is not the breakaway runner Fahali is,” Thompson said, “but we think he’ll do a fine job.”



Shoeless Quarterback

The North Hollywood game plan was to switch quarterbacks at halftime. But when starter Patrick Fields suddenly developed problems with his cleats with about nine minutes left in the first half, Alvaro Castillo made an early appearance.

And it didn’t take Castillo long to fill Fields’ shoes.


With North Hollywood trailing Narbonne, 21-7, Castillo took his second snap of the season and promptly tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Jones--and the comeback was on.

Castillo remained at quarterback until late in the fourth quarter and finished seven of 12 for 190 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Huskies to a 31-21 victory.


Each time Jones caught a pass last week against Narbonne, he ended up in the end zone. Jones caught three passes (27, 70 and 80 yards) for 177 yards and three touchdowns. Jones, a first-year football player, was the 1993 City Section champion in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles at the C level.



A Head for the Game

John Sanchez played the game of his life Friday. Don’t ask him to recap his feats.

Sanchez, a linebacker and guard at Cleveland, recovered two fumbles and intercepted a pass as Cleveland posted its first shutout in three years under co-Coach Everett Macy. The trouble was, Sanchez took a shot to the head midway though the 7-0 victory over Poly.


“He was a little dingy and couldn’t remember the plays on offense,” Macy said. “We had the doctor look at him and he said it was OK to play defense.”

Sanchez must have been relatively sound. He intercepted the pass after absorbing the head-knocking.

Fast Facts

* Sylmar’s streak of 42 consecutive games scoring in double figures ended in last week’s 7-7 tie against Kennedy. The streak began in 1989.


* Poly sophomore quarterback Keijuan Douglas accounted for all but two of the Parrots’ offensive yards last week against Cleveland. Douglas threw for 131 yards and ran for 48.

* Quartz Hill defensive back Punche Tuenge intercepted a pass last week and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. Quartz Hill did not score on an interception last season.

The Times Top 10

Rankings of Valley-area high schools by sportswriters of The Times:


Rnk Prv Team League W-L 1 2 Newbury Park Marmonte 1-0 2 3 Taft North Valley 1-0 3 4 Antelope Valley Golden 1-0 4 5 Canyon Foothill 1-0 5 1 Sylmar East Valley 0-0-1 6 7 Crescenta Valley Pacific 1-0 7 8 Hart Foothill 1-0 8 NR Kennedy North Valley 0-0-1 9 10 Notre Dame Mission 1-0 10 NR Saugus Foothill 1-0

Rnk Team Last week This week 1 Newbury Park Def. Hueneme, 73-6 Fri. at San Marcos 2 Taft Def. Crespi, 3-0 Fri. vs. Gardena 3 Antelope Valley Def. Hesperia, 12-8 Fri. at W.Bakersfield 4 Canyon Def. Castle Park, 61-7 Fri. at Crespi 5 Sylmar Tied Kennedy, 7-7 Fri. vs. Chatsworth 6 Crescenta Valley Def. La Canada, 35-7 Fri. at Alemany 7 Hart Def. Pasadena, 37-8 Fri. at Thousand Oaks 8 Kennedy Tied Sylmar, 7-7 Fri. at Bakersfield 9 Notre Dame Def. Alemany, 28-11 Fri. at Santa Margarita 10 Saugus Def. Thousand Oaks, 34-21 Fri. vs. Royal

The Smith List

Newbury Park quarterback Keith Smith set the Ventura County single-season passing record last season with 3,318 yards. Here are a few other records within his reach: All-time passing yards: 7,272 Smith needs: 1,192


Single-game passing yards: 423 Smith’s best: 397

All-time TD passes: 55 Smith needs: 3