After a forgettable night in his previous outing, Bell Gardens High School running back Junior Samano rebounded Friday with the game of his career in the Lancers’ 34-12 victory over Downey.
Samano rushed for a career-high 237 yards in 18 carries and scored four touchdowns in the nonleague game at Bell Gardens. His total surpassed his previous best of 202 yards last year and narrowly missed the 1982 school record of 241 yards held by Darryl Cazares.
Samano was hospitalized because of dehydration during the Lancers’ game against Chino on Sept. 17. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior was listed as questionable for the Downey game because of illness.
“I was sick all week and had the flu,” Samano said. “I wasn’t supposed to play. I just played as hard as I could.”
Samano bolted for a 34-yard score on his first carry to give Bell Gardens a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. Samano also scored on runs of 66, 41 and seven yards. He had 111 yards in 11 carries and two touchdowns in the first half to help the Lancers open a 20-6 halftime lead.
Bell Gardens quarterback Ricky Oropeza completed three of 11 passes for 64 yards, all three completions going to receiver Frank Quintero. Oropeza also rushed for 45 yards and a touchdown in seven carries as the Lancers improved to 2-0-1. Downey is 0-3.
“We’re not big, we’re not even fast, we just broke ‘em,” Bell Gardens Coach Dave Newell said. ‘We just jitterbugged. It’s not like we outran people. It was a good win.”
Oropeza scored on a one-yard sneak with 9:30 to play in the second quarter to increase the lead to 13-0. Oropeza, who also plays cornerback, intercepted a pass in the end zone to thwart a Downey first-quarter scoring drive.
“We’re not even playing to our full potential yet,” Oropeza said.
Bell Gardens will play Salesian in a nonleague game at St. John Bosco on Friday night.
Forgive Rildo Menezes if he is a bit giddy. The coach of the Montebello-based Los Angeles Salsa not only guided the first-year club into the championship match of the American Professional Soccer League, he now gets to play host to it.
The Salsa finished fourth during the regular season but plays host to second-place Colorado at 5 p.m. Saturday in the final at Cal State Fullerton. The Salsa advanced by defeating Vancouver, B.C., 3-2, in a shootout Sept. 19. Vancouver was the regular-season champion.
The Colorado Foxes, who finished second in the league, defeated Tampa Bay in the other semifinal. Colorado would have played host to the final, but because football season has started, the team could not get a guarantee to use its home field in suburban Englewood, Colo.
Cal State Fullerton, which dropped football, has a stadium with plenty of room for the Salsa and the Foxes.
“I think this is good for the people of Los Angeles,” Menezes said. “It’s wonderful. We’ve worked all year for this. It’s a dream come true.”
A crowd of some 10,000 is expected. The last two regular-season games played at Fullerton by the Salsa drew more than 7,000.
The Salsa lost to Colorado, 5-4, the last time the teams met.
When East Los Angeles College dropped football just before the 1992 season, it left gaps in the schedules of its Foothill Conference opponents. Since other leagues had solidified their schedules, the only thing to do was reconfigure the conference schedule and fill the gaps with games against other Foothill teams. The idea was so popular, the league embraced it again this season.
Rio Hondo College’s 21-12 victory over Chaffey College on Saturday was the first of two meetings between the teams. The game, however, is technically a preseason game and will not count in the Foothill Conference standings. Football teams in the league traditionally play only one game a year against each opponent.
Magadelena Levy of Long Beach City College set a meet record to win the Golden West cross-country invitational Saturday and lead the Viking women to a fourth-place team finish. Levy completed the 5,000-meter course at Central Park in Huntington Beach in 19 minutes 5 seconds, edging runner-up Mayra Medina of Irvine Valley by a second.
Former Bellflower High running back Enrique Bozman, now at Los Alamitos, has gained 470 yards on 39 carries and scored 9 touchdowns. Los Alamitos is top-ranked in Division II and has outscored its opponents, 128-0, in three games. Next up for the Griffins: Palmdale at 7:30 tonight at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach.
Kim Ojeda, 26, a three-time Division II All-American in track and cross-country at Cal State L.A., is an assistant cross-country coach at Bell Gardens High.
Outside hitter Michelle Wineke, a volleyball and basketball standout at Gahr High School in Cerritos last season, is playing volleyball at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Ida.
Paulinho of the Los Angeles Salsa has been named most valuable player of the American Professional Soccer League. The Brazilian-born striker led the league in scoring with 15 goals and seven assists.
PYRAMID TAKING SHAPE
The new physical education headquarters on the lower campus at Cal State Long Beach made its first appearance above ground recently when steel beams were erected.
Initially, contractors dug a 20-foot pit to accommodate the first two levels of the 17-story building. Interim Athletic Director Dave O’Brien said he has been told that the final beams for the frame will be up by the end of October, when the shape should resemble a pyramid.
Long Beach expects to begin play in the facility next September. But some obstacles, like raising another $6 million to finish the structure, still remain. The state has funded about $10 million of the project.
“We’re still trying to wrestle with some funding issues, as well as design issues,” O’Brien said.
The university continues to seek a donor who will part with $2.5 million in exchange for having his or her name on the building.
O’Brien said the university is leaning toward leasing seats for the new gymnasium, rather than buying them. The final project calls for about 6,600 seats. However, the university can afford only about 5,000 at the estimated cost between $1.7 million and $2.7 million.
Some chairs with seat backs are planned, O’Brien said, but to keep the cost down, many bench-type seating areas will be necessary.
The Whittier Grand Prix bicycle race will be Sunday through downtown streets. Fourteen races are planned, with the first event going off at 7:45 a.m.
Kip Parsons, a two-meter man, scored 17 goals for Cal State Long Beach in the recent Southern California water polo tournament. The 49ers play host to Pepperdine at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach.
The 10th annual Shoreline Half Marathon, which includes wheelchair competition, is scheduled Nov. 14 in downtown Long Beach. Proceeds will go to support Community Rehabilitation Industries, which helps train the handicapped for jobs. Information: (310) 591-0539.
Tickets are available for Saturday’s Lynwood Hall of Fame dinner at the city Transit Center. It will honor former Dodger Duke Snider and the late Lynwood High basketball player Earnest Killum. Tickets are $25. Information: (310)603-0220, Ext. 322.
HE SAID IT
Cal State Long Beach women’s volleyball Coach Brian Gimmillaro on his team’s No. 1 ranking in the nation:
“I love it. Anytime you are rated No.1 you should be happy with that ranking. It means people are looking at you. It’s a bonus and very, very exciting.”