Zane Is Hoping to Return
The view from the sideline has never been this gloomy for longtime Baldwin Park football Coach Tony Zane.
Sure, the Braves have had their share of early-season adversity during Zane’s 30 years at the school, but the coach had always been quick to institute a new scheme or impart a few words of wisdom.
That hasn’t been the case the last two weeks, after Baldwin Park Unified School District officials banned Zane from coaching upon learning he has an irregular heartbeat. Assistant Larry Davis has coached the Braves in Zane’s absence.
Zane felt powerless as he stood on the Baldwin Park sideline Friday and watched the Braves fall to 0-3-1 with a 35-0 loss to Whittier Pioneer.
“It was hard to watch,” Zane said, “because we were playing a real good football team and we were playing with a lot of emotion, especially in the first half.”
The coach who guided his team to the Southern Section Division IV title in 1991 hopes he has observed his last game as a fan.
Zane, 61, taking medication for his condition, submitted a letter from his doctor to district officials last week. Zane said the letter explained he is not suffering from heart disease and has not suffered a heart attack, as was rumored on campus.
Carolyn Wertz, the school district’s assistant superintendent, has said officials would be willing to consider new evidence regarding Zane’s condition.
Zane, who said he has suffered no ill effects while coaching since being diagnosed with the condition four years ago, is optimistic that he can quickly return to his job.
“There’s nothing more wrong with me than there has been over the last three years,” he said.
With senior receivers Ryan Jenkins and Tyler Garcia sidelined by injuries and Glenn Ardrey, another senior receiver, out because of academic problems, Santa Ana Foothill needed a big game from junior Yoko Hamamura on Friday against Orange El Modena.
Hamamura delivered, catching four passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-winning 42-yard score with 1:03 left that completed a 21-point rally during the Knights’ 28-24 win. His first touchdown, a 48-yard play, pulled Foothill to within 24-14 with 10:41 left.
All this despite having no career receptions before Friday.
“They threw it to me once, but I dropped it,” he said.
Hamamura said he was so nervous when he heard his number called in the huddle with the game on the line that he “couldn’t even breathe.”
Now that Ventura St. Bonaventure’s and Lancaster Paraclete’s winning streaks have been ended at 43 and 28 games, respectively, Mission Viejo and Newhall Hart have the current longest runs of success in the Southern Section.
Mission Viejo (4-0), the defending Division II champion, has won 18 consecutive games. The Diablos suffered their last loss to Chino, 17-7, in the quarterfinals of the 2000 playoffs.
Hart (3-0-1), winner of four consecutive Division III titles, has a 26-game unbeaten streak. The Indians, who tied Los Alamitos, 21-21, in their opener, haven’t been beaten since losing to L.A. Loyola midway through the 2000 season.
Mission Viejo and Hart could meet in the Division II playoffs.
San Clemente’s senior quarterback Beau Budde suffered a hairline fracture in his left foot against Corona Centennial on Friday and is expected to be sidelined two to four weeks.
His replacement, junior Cole Bergquist, completed 12 of 24 passes for 115 yards and two interceptions. After completing his first seven passes--all in the first half--Bergquist struggled as Centennial pulled away for a 26-12 victory.
“It’s huge,” San Clemente Coach Eric Patton said of Budde’s injury. “It’s like taking USC in the late 1960s and saying, ‘O.J. Simpson got hurt, what do we do now?’ You still have other players and you’re still going to compete, but we drop off quite a bit.”
La Verne Damien scored a big victory for tiny Catholic schools with its 14-9 upset of Division I La Puente Bishop Amat, which at the time was ranked No. 15 by The Times.
“It feels great because we have always been the little brother Catholic school that people ignore,” said Damien running back Ian Johnson, who rushed for 174 yards and a touchdown against the Lancers.”
Staff writer Peter Yoon and correspondents John Klima and Eric Maddy contributed to this report.