Buena Players Keep Praying for Larson

Buena players ate dinner at Coach Rick Scott's house Thursday night, but food was not foremost on their minds. The team received a phone call from the father of Jeff Larson, their teammate who suffered a stroke last weekend, apparently as the result of a neck injury sustained in a game Sept. 26.

Larson is undergoing therapy at UCLA Medical Center and has recovered much of the use of his left arm and leg, which were paralyzed after the stroke. Larson wrote his teammates a letter expressing thanks for their prayers.

And there have been plenty of prayers. Scott brought in six different clergy during the week to address the team.

"They all helped the kids through this," Scott said. "Everyone is thinking of Jeff. He has lots of friends on this team and his situation touched everybody.

"His recovery seems to be remarkable. Every day we hear something from him new and positive."

Dressing for success: La Canada players did not dress in uniforms and pads until seven minutes before Friday's game with Hoover.

The Spartans, who warmed up in shorts and T-shirts, have been dressing late ever since opening night, when they waited until the last possible moment to show their new uniforms.

They won the game and another superstition was born.

First-year Coach Rich Wheeler has been wearing the same floppy hat ever since the Spartans won a crucial passing league game last summer.

"They're all little quirks that, good or bad, just become part of the weekly routine," said Wheeler, who was wearing the same pair of coaching cleats he has used since 1973.

Foot note: Oxnard kicker Saul Aguilar was back in uniform after being suspended for two weeks by Coach Wes Morimune.

"He's a sophomore and a soccer player who doesn't understand a lot of the team requirements of football," Morimune said. "He's back, but he's on probation for a while."

The Yellowjackets didn't miss Aguilar last week, making six of six two-point conversions in a 48-42 victory over Santa Barbara.

Sleepless night: Hart coaches stayed up until 2 a.m. reviewing video from their team's 31-21 loss against Loyola on Thursday night. They discovered that quarterback David Neill was hit 21 times by defenders while trying to pass.

In the genes: Some of Robby Coppola's talent as a football player might be hereditary.

Coppola's father, Bob, is a volunteer assistant at Cal State Northridge, coaching the tight ends.

"He always played football with us in the back yard, that kind of stuff," said Robby, who has rushed for 593 yards and 11 touchdowns in 68 carries for Calabasas.

Bob Coppola, who played guard and linebacker at Rutgers, formed ties with Northridge head coach Jim Fenwick at Pierce College in the early 1980s.

But he didn't push Robby into football.

"I didn't get to play tackle until high school," Robby said. "I guess a lot of guys have been successful without tackle at an early age, and you can get hurt."

More the merrier: Lancaster, a first-year varsity program, is suffering from a dwindling roster of healthy players.

The Eagles entered Friday night's game against Redlands East Valley with a record of 2-2. But they were missing seven injured starters, leaving them with only 30 healthy players.

"We're calling ourselves the Dirty 30," Coach Ray De Shane said. "We'll have to rise to the challenge."

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