St. Bonaventure Goes to Work on Another Good Journey
They schmoozed with the Ventura mayor, made an appearance on local television and were the headliners at a chamber of commerce ceremony.
But members of the St. Bonaventure High football team must forget the memorable jaunt to the Southern Section Division X title last season.
Coach Jon Mack knows that’s the only way the Seraphs will reap the spoils of victory again.
“We spent enough time celebrating,” Mack said. “That’s history.”
The Seraphs won the Tri-Valley League and captured the Division X crown by knocking off Nordhoff, a team they couldn’t beat during the regular season.
Six starters have graduated--including the quarterback-receiver combination of Teohua Sanchez and Pepe Villasenor--and the Seraphs figure to battle Carpinteria for the league title.
St. Bonaventure and Carpenteria tied last year, 16-16, and their Nov. 1 game looms large.
By then, the Seraphs hope to have answered some questions.
Sophomore Chris Lombardo, a 6-foot-2, 190-pounder, is heir apparent to Sanchez, the school’s career leader in every passing category.
Lombardo was an all-league kicker last season and has been impressive in practice at quarterback.
“He’s right where we want him to be,” Mack said. “He’s real strong-armed and big, a born QB.”
It may be more difficult to replace Villasenor, who had 111 catches last season. Three receivers, including Chris Elliott, the league champion in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, will try.
The Seraphs’ strength is their offensive line, which resembles a small college line, averaging 6-4 and 271 pounds.
Starting tackles Andrew Jones and Robert Winson return and 6-5, 303-pound Michael Bakken transferred from Hueneme.
Finding somebody to run behind the line is the challenge.
Joshua “Bebop” Lopez is an interesting candidate, if not for his nickname alone.
Listed at 5-8, 163 pounds, Lopez, who picked up his moniker because he constantly danced and shimmied as a child, will be the scatback while Jessie Kirk gets most of the carries.
Carpinteria has a new coach, Coley Candaele, but returns several familiar faces on defense.
Offense, however, could be a problem. The Warriors have yet to decide on a quarterback and will rotate at running back.
Bishop Diego allowed only 7.9 points a game last season, but hopes for an equally defensive season are questionable with the graduation of several key players.
New Coach Joe Di Poalo has installed the same 4-4 defense he used the past 10 seasons as defensive coordinator at Santa Barbara City College.
“It’s pretty difficult to run against,” said Di Poalo, who played linebacker at Weber State for Mike Price, the coach at Washington State.
Fillmore can only get better.
“Thank goodness for that,” said Coach Norm Andersen, who went 3-8 in his first season.
“We started from a pretty low point [last year], improved a bit and got better. We’re making progress . . . I think.”
Tight end Ricky Beall, a 6-1, 200-pounder, was the Flashes’ leading receiver with 14 catches and three touchdowns.
Several players recently left Oak Park.
Starting quarterback-safety Marques Massengale was declared academically ineligible and moved to Colorado. Fullback-defensive end Travis Johnson transferred to Notre Dame and tackle Tony Clinker moved to New Orleans when his father took a new job.
Coach Dick Billingsley said the team has recovered.
“We found out about all those kids in a three-day period right before practice started, but the kids have done a good job filling in,” he said. “The morale is the best it’s been in a long time.”
Tackle John Murphy, a 6-5, 225-pound center on the basketball team, is adjusting quickly in his first year of organized football.
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AT A GLANCE
* THE PROVEN: St. Bonaventure High will have the Frontier’s top secondary with all-league safeties David Chapparro and Pat Devericks. Further bolstering the Seraphs’ defense are linebacker Ben Baumer and defensive end Brian Miller, both seniors. Carpinteria has linebackers Justin Keeler and Jared Frary and defensive end Eric Soto, who were all-league selections.
* THE PROMISING: Fillmore’s Phillip Zavala completed 54 of 85 passes last season, with three touchdowns and six interceptions. St. Bonaventure’s mammoth offensive line includes 6-foot-4, 277-pound sophomore right guard Adrian Ayala. Said Coach Jon Mack during two-a-day practices: “This kid improves, even from 6:30 this morning to 5:30 at night. He’ll be a big-time player before it ends.” Bishop Diego’s Joey Stupar is a 6-4, 210-pounder who will play quarterback, tailback and safety.
* FAST FACT: Quarterback Jeff Roberts, who likely will start for Oak Park, compiled interesting statistics for the Eagles last season. Roberts threw five passes, had one interception, one completion and one touchdown.
* 1996 STANDINGS: 1. St. Bonaventure, 3-0-1 (conference), 12-1-1 (overall); 2. Bishop Diego 3-1, 9-2-1; 3. Carpinteria 2-1-1, 3-7-1; 4. Fillmore 1-3, 3-8; 5. Oak Park 0-4, 1-9.
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Tri-Valley League Schedules
All games 7:30 p.m. unless noted. Sites and times subject to change.
Sept. 19--at Frazier Mountain
Sept. 26--El Segundo
Oct. 3--L.A. Baptist at Alemany High
Oct. 17--*at Carpinteria
Oct. 24--*St. Bonaventure
Oct. 31--*at Oak Park
Nov. 7--*Bishop Diego
Nov. 14--at Santa Paula
Home Site: Fillmore High
Sept. 12--at El Segundo
Sept. 19--at Calabasas
Sept. 26--Mary Star
Oct. 3--at Nordhoff
Oct. 18--at Santa Clara
Oct. 24--*Bishop Diego
Nov. 7--*at Carpinteria
Nov. 13--*St. Bonaventure at Ventura High, 7 p.m.
Home Site: Oak Park High
Sept. 12--Paraclete at Antelope Valley College
Sept. 18--Bell-Jeff, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26--at Nordhoff
Oct. 2--Santa Maria St. Joseph, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9--at Harvard-Westlake, 3 p.m.
Oct. 17--*Bishop Diego at Santa Barbara City College
Oct. 24--*at Fillmore
Nov. 1--*Carpinteria, 1:30 p.m.
Nov. 6--Calabasas, 7 p.m.
Nov. 13--*Oak Park, 7 p.m.
Home Site: Ventura High