They won't forget Colby

There isn't a day that goes by that Dave Perkins doesn't think about Matt Colby.

Perkins sees him every day. In his living room, there's a photo of his former high school football player. Colby played for Perkins at Estancia and Costa Mesa.

Perkins plans to spend time with Colby before Estancia's home game against Northwood on Thursday night. Perkins, now an assistant at Northwood, knows where to find Colby.

Close to the visitor's locker room at Jim Scott Stadium, there's a tree planted in Colby's memory. Ten years ago on this day, Colby passed away after a Costa Mesa game he played in and Perkins coached.

That tragic night is one Perkins will never forget. After the third play of the game, Perkins saw Colby, a linebacker, make it to the sideline and then collapse.

At 17, Colby died from bleeding and swelling of the brain caused by repeated blunt-force injuries to the head. Perkins lost more than a player.

"It was like losing my son," Perkins said. "His mom [Kelli] was a single mom and football coaches become like father figures."

Perkins' son, A.J., a quarterback, was Colby's best friend. The two played together at Estancia before they transferred to Costa Mesa in 2001 for their senior year.

Perkins became the Mustangs' coach that season. Before the games began, Perkins drove Colby to summer school.

Who drove was about to change when it came to the spring graduation. Kelli had a gift for her son.

"His mom had a car for him," Perkins said. "He was looking forward to graduating. He was looking forward to the rest of his life. He was just a fun teenage kid."

That is how Freddy Gonzalez remembers Colby, his friend and teammate. Gonzalez was one of six other Estancia players who joined Colby at Costa Mesa.

Many of those same teammates will gather for a bonfire at B Street on the Balboa Peninsula Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to remember Colby. They will look at pictures, tell stories, and cry.

"It's tough," Rodriguez said. "You look at pictures and go through some of the highlights from back then, and you ask yourself, 'Where we could've been with this guy today?'

"When you hear his voice [in one of the highlight films] saying his name, year and what position he plays, it's always a shocker that he's gone. We miss him."

Around this time of the year is always complicated for Perkins. One day he's up, a couple days later, he's down.

On Tuesday, he celebrated his daughter Alley's 18th birthday. On Thursday, he gets to pay his respect to Colby before coaching a game at the first school Colby played for under Perkins.


The Newport Harbor girls' volleyball team is off to Chicago.

The Sailors are competing in the Asics Challenge at Mother McAuley High on Friday and Saturday. Newport Harbor opens the prestigious two-day tournament in pool-play action with matches against Stagg of Palos Hills, Ill., and Cary Grove of Illinois.

Some of the top teams in the nation by ESPN are at the tournament, including No. 3 Berkeley Prep of Tampa, Fla., No. 5 Assumption of Louisville, Ky., No. 26 Joliet Catholic of Illinois, No. 31 Martin County of Stuart, Fla., No. 34 Sacred Heart of Louisville, Ky., No. 38 Marist of Chicago, and No. 41 Huntley of Illinois.

Newport Harbor, which is No. 37 nationally, is coming off the Dave Mohs Tournament in Huntington Beach. The Sailors almost made it to the finale for the second straight year.

The Sailors fell to host Edison, 16-25, 30-28, 15-10, in a best-of-three semifinal match on Saturday. Edison, ranked 35th, lost to No. 7 Los Alamitos in the title match, as the Griffins swept, 25-17, 25-23, giving them their third straight Dave Mohs title.

After the Asics Challenge, the Sailors play host to the Griffins in Sunset League play on Oct. 6.


Sage Hill School opens Academy League girls' volleyball play at home against rival St. Margaret's on Friday at 5 p.m.

The match features the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA poll. The Tartans are the defending section and league champions.

The Corona del Mar girls' volleyball team is ranked 48th in the country by ESPN and No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Division I-AA poll.


Former Costa Mesa standout Andrew Albers is playing football again.

Albers is an offensive lineman at Orange Coast College. In the summer, the 6-foot-8, 285-pounder walked away from a preferred walk-on spot with the University of Utah because he said he was burned out and wanted to become a youth pastor.

Frank, Albers' father, was hoping his son would return to the sport. The big guy is back.


On Roger Carlson's 75th birthday, the press box at Newport Harbor's Davidson Field will bear his name on Oct. 6.

What a gift for someone who spent many nights inside the press box, covering football games for 40 years at the Daily Pilot. There is a ceremony planned for Carlson at the stadium at 6:30 p.m., before Newport Harbor plays host to Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach.

Twitter: @dcpenaloza

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