Oxnard High defensive end Eric Terrill (6-foot-3, 225) was furious when he discovered his car was stolen from the school parking lot Sept. 17.
Having a car ripped off will put a damper on anyone’s day, but Terrill was especially downcast because he had a football game to play that evening.
“I had just finished lunch and I went to where my car was parked--and it wasn’t there,” Terrill said. “I thought it was just a prank but I found out it wasn’t.
“I didn’t really feel like even playing that night, but then I got real mad and decided I wanted to play.”
Terrill vented his frustration on Littlerock, terrorizing the Lobos with 10 tackles (five solo) and forcing a fumble in the Yellowjackets’ 15-12 nonleague win. Fortunately, Terrill’s car was recovered Thursday.
“He played so well that we thought about getting someone to steal it again,” joked Oxnard Coach Neil Kazmierczak. “We thought it might give him that same spark.”
The car safely in his possession, Terrill had nine tackles (four solo) and forced another fumble in Oxnard’s 24-9 nonleague win over Channel Islands the following evening.
Newbury Park receiver Leodes Van Buren is accustomed to defensive backs who try to break his concentration with taunts and insults. Van Buren, however, said few teams have jawed as much as Buena did in a nonleague game.
“They were talking a lot of trash all game long,” Van Buren said. “They kept on saying things, trying to get me mad.
“But that stuff doesn’t bother me. It only fires me up and gets me going.”
The Bulldogs helped energize Van Buren throughout the Panthers’ 43-28 victory. He finished with five receptions for 125 yards and three touchdowns.
A Place to Start
Reseda Coach Joel Schaeffer wants feedback.
Principals at City Section schools in the Valley have been ordered to restructure the two area conferences, with the changes expected to take effect in the fall of 1994.
City Commissioner Hal Harkness long ago conceded that the restructuring is overdue because the eight teams in the Northwest Valley Conference are stronger in most sports than their Valley Pac-8 rivals--particularly in football and baseball.
Schaeffer, who admits he is still smarting over the City’s failure to move his school from the Northwest Valley to the Valley Pac-8 as promised, has drawn a proposal dubbed the “405 Freeway Plan,” wherein the San Diego Freeway would serve as the approximate geographical dividing line between the two conferences:
* West Valley alignment: Chatsworth, El Camino Real, Granada Hills, Taft, Birmingham, Canoga Park, Cleveland and Reseda.
* East Valley alignment: Kennedy, Sylmar, San Fernando, Van Nuys, Grant, Monroe, North Hollywood and Poly.
In short, Kennedy and San Fernando would be swapped for Canoga Park and Birmingham.
“I think it’s much more balanced across the board this way,” Schaeffer said.
New Kid in Town
Some coaches hope for a fleet-footed running back, others for a strong-armed quarterback or a 270-pound center with wings on his heels.
Kennedy Coach Bob Francola likes fresh faces too. His fresh face doesn’t even suit up.
“When people talk about new people in their programs, they usually talk about kids,” Francola said. “Fred’s been as important as anybody.”
Fred Grimes took over as offensive coordinator this season and the results have been nothing short of remarkable. Kennedy is 1-1-1, but the offense has shown uncharacteristic diversity and is averaging 303 yards, despite playing games against tough Sylmar and Bakersfield. Heretofore, the Kennedy offense was largely run-oriented and the school was known more for its defense.
Junior quarterback Dan McMullen, for instance, is on a pace that would easily outdistance the best passers in Francola’s eight-year tenure. McMullen, a first-year starter, threw four touchdown passes last week in a 55-12 blowout of Crenshaw. John Toven threw four scoring passes all last season.
Grimes, formerly a head coach at North Hollywood and most recently the offensive coordinator at Chaminade, called 60-70% of the plays against Crenshaw, Francola said.
“If I was a high school kid trying to play quarterback, I’d want somebody like Fred working with me,” Francola said.
It’s been working for McMullen, who has completed more scoring passes in three games than the past two starting quarterbacks did in their entire senior seasons. Next to fall are older brother Mike, now a pitcher in the San Francisco Giants organization, and Jeff Newman, who played football at Hawaii.
The statistics of Kennedy’s starting quarterbacks since Francola took over:
1986--Jeff Newman (744 yards, nine touchdowns). 1987--Tony Smets (193 yards, four touchdowns).
1988--Tony Smets (1,013 yards, 11 touchdowns). 1989--Tony Vazquez (801 yards, 10 touchdowns).
1990--Mike McMullen (1,328 yards, eight touchdowns). 1991--Tavarus Logie (720 yards, six touchdowns).
1992--John Toven (882 yards, four touchdowns). 1993--Dan McMullen (436 yards, seven touchdowns and counting).
Upon further review, Kennedy Coach Bob Francola stands corrected.
Francola, who recently said that Bakersfield running back Steve Wofford was a far better player than All-City back Tyrone Crenshaw of Sylmar--Kennedy has faced both players--says his comments were ill-advised and unnecessarily critical.
“It was inappropriate and I shouldn’t have said it,” Francola said.
Who says Hollywood is corrupting America’s youth?
San Fernando quarterback Leon Blunt saw a movie two years ago that prompted him to take action that could ultimately affect his college career.
Blunt, the Northwest Valley Conference MVP as a junior, took the Scholastic Aptitude Test as a sophomore. Some seniors still haven’t taken the test, on which a score of 700 is required for athletic eligibility in four-year universities. Some procrastinators never achieve the minimum standard.
Blunt was taking no chances.
“I saw that movie, ‘Boyz N the Hood,’ ” said Blunt, who scored 760 and carries a grade-point average of 3.2. “I saw that scene where the running back kid was sweating taking the test. I didn’t want to be in that position when I was a senior.”
Teams from the Valley Pac-8 Conference posted a record of 1-10-1 against teams from the Northwest Valley Conference. Reseda was 3-0 in its interconference schedule.
Call it a measure of revenge.
Sylmar Coach Jeff Engilman drew fire from many Northwest Valley coaches when he pointed out before the season that two teams (Sylmar and Van Nuys) in the 1992 City Section 4-A semifinals were Valley Pac-8 teams.
Sylmar is 1-1-1 in three games against Northwest Valley teams. Van Nuys is 0-1.
“The thing is, to establish credibility, you have to win consistently year in and year out,” Taft Coach Troy Starr said, referring to the Valley Pac-8 Conference as a whole.
“I look at (Sylmar’s) schedule from last year and I still wonder who they beat, other than a pretty good Carson team (in the 4-A final).”
Slowly, the confidence is building.
El Camino Real knocked off favored Sylmar last week, 6-0, and improved to 3-0. The Conquistadores are off to their best start in the six-year tenure of co-coaches Mike Maio and Ralph Stam.
Last year, Sylmar routed El Camino Real, 55-0, on its way to the City 4-A championship.
“It started growing every quarter when it was nip and tuck,” Maio said of the Sylmar game. “At halftime, when it was still 0-0, we told (players) that we’d showed we could play with them, and all we had to do was score.”
Tailback Chris Shinnick finally did, on a 10-yard run in the third quarter, and the El Camino Real defense made it stand up. The Conquistadores finished 3-7 in both 1991 and 1992.
Finding the Silver Lining
Glendale Coach Don Shoemaker knows how to find the bright side of the Dynamiters’ 18-17 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday, a game in which Glendale took a 17-10 lead with less than five minutes to play but couldn’t prevent Notre Dame from driving for the winning score.
“As poorly as we played we still almost won the dumb thing,” Shoemaker said. “It would have been an ugly win or an ugly loss. Everyone says it is better to win ugly, but when you wake up, you are still ugly.”
Around the Leagues. . . .
* Kennedy senior Shaun Dudra has good hands and good feet. Dudra caught a career-high three touchdown passes last week and converted six extra-point kicks. He also booted six kickoffs into the end zone for automatic touchbacks.
* Newbury Park quarterback Keith Smith, who completed 23 of 33 passes for 372 yards and five touchdowns in the Panthers’ 43-28 nonleague win over Buena, has passed for 6,775 yards in his career, which puts him 11th on the all-time state list. He needs 140 yards to overtake Jim Plum (Helix of La Mesa) for 10th.
* Smith broke Eric Bennett’s Ventura County record for touchdown passes in a career during the Buena game. Bennett (Simi Valley) threw for 55 touchdowns and Smith, with 11 this season, has 58.
* Smith, who leads the area with 1,048 yards passing, needs 498 more to break former Santa Clara standout Tim Gutierrez’s county record for career passing yards (7,272).
* After two games, Rio Mesa’s Junior Liufau had a 3.6-yard average per carry (98 yards in 27 carries). After three games, Liufau’s average per carry has ballooned to 9.4 after his 270 yards in 12 carries against Santa Clara.
The Times Top 10
Rankings of Valley-area high schools by sportswriters of The Times: Rank: 1 Prev.: 1 Team: Newbury Park League: Marmonte W-L: 3-0 Last week: Def. Buena, 43-28 This week: Fri. vs. Camarillo
*Rank: 2 Prev.: 2 Team: Taft League: North Valley W-L: 3-0 Last week: Def. Monroe, 49-14 This week: Fri. at Kennedy
*Rank: 3 Prev.: 3 Team: Antelope Valley League: Golden W-L: 2-1 Last week: Lost to Bakersfield, 19-16 This week: Fri. vs. Loyola
*Rank: 4 Prev.: 4 Team: Canyon League: Foothill W-L: 3-0 Last week: Def. Thousand Oaks, 21-14 This week: Fri. vs. Quartz Hill
*Rank: 5 Prev.: 6 Team: Hart League: Foothill W-L: 3-0 Last week: Def. Westlake, 31-14 This week: Fri. at Alemany
*Rank: 6 Prev.: 10 Team: El Camino Real League: North Valley W-L: 3-0 Last week: Def. Sylmar, 6-0 This week: Fri. vs. Reseda
*Rank: 7 Prev.: 9 Team: Rio Mesa League: Channel W-L: 3-0 Last week: Def. Santa Clara, 25-24 This week: Fri. at Buena
*Rank: 8 Prev.: NR Team: Quartz Hill League: Golden W-L: 3-0 Last week: Def. Hesperia, 7-0 This week: Fri. at Canyon
*Rank: 9 Prev.: 8 Team: Westlake League: Marmonte W-L: 2-1 Last week: Lost to Hart, 31-14 This week: Fri. vs. Simi Valley
*Rank: 10 Prev.: 7 Team: Saugus League: Foothill W-L: 2-1 Last week: Lost to San Marino, 28-21 This week: Fri. vs. Righetti