Mack Tries to Play Catch-Up in the Game of College Placements

As president of the Ventura County Football Coaches Assn., St. Bonaventure High’s Jon Mack was thrilled to see a large crop of county seniors sign letters of intent on Wednesday.

However, Mack was distressed that no members of his Southern Section Division X championship team were among them.

“It was a real tough day for me,” Mack said. “It’s part of my job to get my guys into college. But we got a late start in really dealing with recruiting because we downplayed it during the playoffs.”

Mack said he hopes to help place linemen David Bernal and Todd Therrien, receiver Pepe Villasenor and quarterback Teohua Sanchez in the next four weeks. He added that defensive lineman Steve Chase plans to play at Carroll College in Montana.


Mack said Bernal, the county’s small schools defensive player of the year, has scholarship offers from San Diego State, Colorado State, Idaho and Cal State Northridge.

However, those offers are contingent on Bernal achieving a qualifying score on the American College Test he’ll take today. Bernal, 6 feet and 310 pounds, did not qualify on the Scholastic Assessment Test last year.

Villasenor last season set a Southern Section season record with 111 receptions but his size (5-7, 153) and a low test score have hurt him.

Villasenor also will take the ACT exam today and a high score could increase the interest expressed in him by Brown, San Diego and Cal Lutheran.


Therrien (6-2, 255), has attracted interest from Brown, UC Davis and St. Mary’s, among others.

Sanchez (5-11, 170), threw for 3,027 yards and 28 touchdowns last season and will make an official visit to Northridge next week, Mack said.

Revival: The Rio Mesa High boys’ soccer team’s first 16 years were filled with futility.

No winning seasons, a 10-10 record being the best. Two playoff appearances, one with a losing record. Thirty players at most trying out for the varsity.

Enter Brent Kruk, a 1987 Rio Mesa graduate, who took over as varsity coach in 1994 and has produced a 41-16-12 record. The Spartans (8-0-4 in league play) can clinch their first league title Tuesday in a Channel League match at Hueneme.

“The talent’s here; the kids just need to know they’re going to see the same [coach’s] face every year,” said Kruk.

New skipper: Tyler Nelson has been hired as baseball coach at Oak Park High, replacing Bill Springman, who resigned to coach with the Minnesota Twins’ triple-A team in Salt Lake City.

Nelson, 24, was an assistant at Oak Park last season. He played baseball at Simi Valley High and at Cal State Northridge.


Been there, done that: Remarkably similar scenes occurred this week in two Channel League boys’ soccer matches involving Oxnard High.

Against Rio Mesa on Tuesday, the Yellowjackets’ Matias Leon booted a penalty shot into the net. However, the officials ruled that Oxnard players had entered the penalty area before Leon struck the ball and ordered a second kick.

That attempt was saved by goalkeeper Christian Zuniga, but he was whistled for moving before the shot. A third attempt was ordered and blocked by Zuniga without incident. Rio Mesa won, 3-2.

On Thursday, a nearly identical series of events unfolded, but with Oxnard’s Jose Jimenez in goal and Hueneme’s Gabriel Alarcon taking the penalty kick. Oxnard won, 2-1.

“It was deja vu, only in reverse,” Oxnard Coach Glen Grago said.

Runaways: In jumping to a 7-0 Foothill League record, the Hart High basketball team has clinched at least a tie for its third league championship in the past four seasons. Opposing coaches, who expected a tight race, are surprised the Indians (18-5) have not come close to losing.

Valencia Coach Gary Spindt, a former Hart assistant, said the Indians have used their size, strong free-throw shooting and the play of point guard J.T. Stotts to outclass the rest.

Said Spindt: "[Stotts] is a real tough competitor. If he has to score, he’ll score. If he has to rebound, he’ll rebound. He’ll do whatever it takes to help his team win.”


Looking for more: Royal High’s Ray Torres will try to win his third consecutive Marmonte League wrestling title today in the league finals at Channel Islands.

Torres, who competes in the 160-pound class, is 31-1 this season. The top three qualifiers in each class advance to the Southern Section Division II finals.

Big decision: Wide receiver Steve Durbin, who led Harvard-Westlake High with 32 receptions for 662 yards and five touchdowns, has committed to Harvard University.

Choosing sides: Danny Sable has quit the Harvard-Westlake High boys’ soccer team to concentrate on club soccer. Sable, a sophomore midfielder, led the Wolverines (8-6-2, 3-4-1) with five goals.