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Prep Rally: Cross-country teams will be chasing Newbury Park

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Prep Rally. My name is Eric Sondheimer. The cross-country season picks up steam this month, and the focus will be on Newbury Park and coach Sean Brosnan, who has top boys’ and girls’ teams.

Loaded runners at Newbury Park

Newbury Park junior Colin Sahlman (left) sprints to the finish line pursued closely by sophomore teammate Lex Young.
Newbury Park junior Colin Sahlman (left) sprints to the finish line pursued closely by sophomore teammate Lex Young in the Invitational 3200 meters on May 9, 2021 at the Arcadia Invitational. Steve Galluzzo / For The Times
(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

The cross-country season will be all about how many records Newbury Park sets. “Our guys are phenomenal,” Brosnan said. “Our girls will shock some people.”

Former Newbury Park distance standout Nico Young (center) with twin brothers Lex (left) and Leo.
Former Newbury Park distance standout Nico Young (center) with twin brothers Lex (left) and Leo.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)
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Back for the boys is the state runner of the year in Colin Sahlman, plus his brother, Aaron, a junior. Then there’s the twin brothers of Nico Young, Lex and Leo. There’s also Daniel Appleford, who a standout 3,200-meter runer and juniors Aaron Cantu and Hector Martinez.

The boys are pointing toward the Woodbridge Invitational Sept. 18 at Silver Lakes Sports Complex in Norco, plus the Clovis Invite at Woodward Park on Oct. 9, along with the Southern Section championships Nov. 20, the state championships Nov. 27 and the national championships the following weekend in Portland.

The girls’ team features senior Samantha McDonnell and freshman standout Tiffany Sax. The Panthers cruised to victory in their season debut in the Cool Breeze Invitational at the Rose Bowl with 71 points. Great Oak was far behind with 185 points.

The Cool Breeze invitational was the first opportunity to see who’s in training shape. Isaiah Givens of Pasadena won the boys’ portion with a time of 14:07. In the girls’ race, freshman star Sadie Engelhardt of Ventura made quite a first impression with a winning time of 15:59.9.

A coach making a difference

Chatsworth junior football player Rayshaun Tillman (left) and coach Marvin Street, who helped him turn around his life.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)
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Tall and thin and wearing a black mask, 16-year-old RayShaun Tillman walked out of the classroom filled with football players at Chatsworth High and offered a firm, confident handshake, adding mystery to the story that brought me here.

In eighth grade, Tillman got all F’s. In ninth grade, he got all F’s. Something changed, because now he’s eligible and getting A’s in geometry and French while scoring touchdowns for the unbeaten football team.

“I just never went to class,” Tillman said.

Enter football coach Marvin Street, who decided to intervene and make an attempt to give Tillman a chance to turn around his life.

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Here’s a profile on the impact a teacher/coach can have on a player.

Father/son relationship

Former NFL kicker Mick Luckhurst (left) and son, Michael, a QB and kicker at Bishop Diego.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Whether sitting or standing atop La Playa Stadium, the view here of Leadbetter Beach is one of those invigorating moments that sends your mind and body into relaxation mode. You can feel the cool breeze bouncing off palm trees and see waves splashing against the sand.

For Mick Luckhurst, this stadium on the campus of Santa Barbara City College has been serving as a seven-year playground whenever Bishop Diego has a home game and one of his three boys is in action.

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The last of the Luckhurst children, Michael, is a 6-foot-3, red-headed senior quarterback/kicker who still hasn’t adopted his father’s British accent. The sons only make fun of it behind his back, though not too loudly, for he has been their kicking coach, and you know father/coaches only tolerate so much, especially after a missed field goal.

“Everyone secretly loves it,” Michael confessed.

Except this is a story about how much fun can be experienced when a father and son know the parameters of the sports experiment and unite through the good and bad times knowing the memories and experiences will be cherished forever.

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Here’s the story of a former NFL kicker helping to be the facilitator in his sons’ sports experience.

A Bear and a Tiger

Freshman quarterback Bear Bachmeier (left) and junior receiver Tiger Bachmeier of Murrieta Valley.
Freshman quarterback Bear Bachmeier (left) and junior receiver Tiger Bachmeier of Murrieta Valley.
(April Bachmeier)

Possibly for the first time in high school football history, a receiver named Tiger caught a pass from a quarterback named Bear.

“It’s been something we’ve been talking about for a few years,” Murrieta Valley junior receiver Tiger Bachmeier said of catching passes from brother Bear Bachmeier, a freshman quarterback.

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It happened two weeks ago in the season opener against Paloma Valley.

In the third quarter, Tiger was going to run a streak pattern, but the defensive back backed off so he changed his pattern to a 15-yard out.

“It was a tight spiral right into his hands,” Bear said.

It was the first of what could be many connections over the next two seasons.

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“I couldn’t pause the game and give him a big hug,” Bear said. “It was a big moment for us.”

A broadcaster told his audience, “Welcome to the jungle.”

Oldest brother Hank was a star quarterback at Murrieta Valley who now plays for Boise State. Their sister, Ella, runs track at University of Redlands. They have an 11-year-old brother, Cougar, who’s learning to play quarterback. They live in the rural gated community of Rancho Capistrano surrounded by the Cleveland National Forest.

Here’s a look at these brothers, who will be gaining attention.

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CIF allowing Sunday competitions

The CIF announced Tuesday that it was suspending its state rule this fall prohibiting Sunday games to help schools dealing with COVID-19 issues and wildfires.

The suspension of bylaw 504.M does not allow teams to practice on Sundays but move games to that day by mutual agreement when games had to be postponed because of COVID-19 or air-quality issues.

Here’s the complete information.

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Banning goes big

Banning linebacker Anthony Jauregui, right, tackles Peninsula High wide receiverAaron Wakefield-Carl.
Banning linebacker Anthony Jauregui, right, tackles Peninsula High wide receiverAaron Wakefield-Carl.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

It’s called the “heavy” offense when Wilmington Banning puts 275-pound Luke Ahkiong at fullback with 225-pound Jakob Galloway and 6-foot-3, 225-pound Seth Fao side-by-side at running back. They love hitting and running over people.

“Galloway is a monster,” Fao said. “Luke, once something gets in his way, he’s not stopping.”

The three combined with sophomore quarterback Andrew Devoe to put on a show in a 38-13 victory over host Peninsula.

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Here’s the recap.

The Times’ top 25 rankings

A look at the top 25 high school football teams in the Southland.

Rk. SCHOOL (W-L); last week; next game; last rank

1. ST. JOHN BOSCO (3-0); defeated Bishop Amat, 47-7; vs. East St. Louis (Ill.), Friday; Sione Hala is having big season making tackles at safety; 1

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2. MATER DEI (1-0); idle; vs. Henderson (Nev.) Liberty (at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman), Friday; Domani Jackson lost for season after injury; 2

3. SERVITE (2-0); idle; at Bishop Amat, Thursday; Mason Graham has six sacks in two games; 3

4. CORONA CENTENNIAL (2-0); defeated Sierra Canyon, 35-14 (Saturday); at JSerra, Friday; RB Jason Cortes gets MVP award at Honor Bowl; 5

5. NORCO (3-0); defeated Rancho Cucamonga, 62-28; vs. Murrieta Valley, Sep. 17; QB Kyle Crum is most underrated player; 6

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6. LOS ALAMITOS (3-0); defeated Paramount, 50-0; at Clovis Buchanan, Friday; a showdown with Santa Margarita is looming in another week; 7

Here’s the link to remaining teams.

It’s time to start paying attention the the CalPreps.com power ratings, because that’s how Southern Section and City Section playoff divisions will be decided. Here’s the link to Southern Section ratings. Here’s the link to City Section section ratings.

Here’s the link to week three schedule.

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Football rewind

Senior running back Tahj Owens of Loyola rushed for 234 yards and scored five touchdowns in a 62-21 win over Culver City. Loyola’s point total broke a school record that lasted 47 years. Joe Tatum completed 17 of 20 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns.

Verbum Dei, which didn’t play football last spring and didn’t hire a coach until June, is off to a 3-0 start. The new coach, Kevin Smith, spent 18 years as an assistant at Long Beach Poly, Narbonne and St. Anthony. Running back Semaj Harris has been a standout in wins over Hawthorne, Morningside and Maranatha.

Running back Daniel Anoh of Palisades.
(Craig Weston)

Palisades has been impressive in its three victories over Cleveland, San Fernando and Granada Hills. Running back Daniel Anoh is one of the best in the City Section.

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Will Burns, a standout shortstop, is showing he’s a pretty good quarterback for Trabuco Hills. He’s helped his team to a 2-0 start, passing for 306 yards and rushing for 62 yards.

Arlis Boardingham of Birmingham had five touchdowns in a loss to Leuzinger.

Dorsey continues to rise in the City Section, routing Narbonne to improve to 2-0. Veteran quarterback Josh Coleman and a strong defense have been leading the Dons’ resurgence.

Crenshaw played its first game of the season and came so close, losing to Roosevelt 21-20 on a missed PAT.

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Guy Bellingrath of Westlake had three interceptions in win over Oxnard Pacifica.

A look at unbeaten Orange Lutheran rallying to defeat Edison on a late field goal.

Girls’ volleyball

It was No. 1 vs. No. 2 last week when Marymount traveled to Redondo Union. These two teams could meet in the Southern Section Division 1 final.

Unbeaten Marymount prevailed, winning three straight sets after dropping the first set. Stanford-bound Elia Rubin stood out as usual. It remains to be seen which team will be able to beat Marymount this season but it would be big news.

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El Camino Real earned the City Section respect with a 3-2 win over Westlake.

Venice defeated Culver City to win the Classic tournament championship. Logan Takahashi was named tournament MVP.

City Section treasure

Rick Obrand holds his own autograph Louisville Slugger bat at his home.
(Luca Evans / For The Times)
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With the grandeur of pro sports in Los Angeles casting a long shadow, the memories of many high school sports careerd can fade into darkness.

But in a room at the end of the hall in Rick Obrand’s quaint Harbor City condo — a small corner office that used to be a bedroom for his sons — those memories remain very much alive.

It’s the 74-year-old Obrand’s life’s work, a museum of treasures. Folders of detailed reports on alumni from every school — across the United States and beyond — stacked a bookcase high. Thousands of never-before-seen letters, addressed to Obrand, from pro athletes writing about their high school days.

He’d never sell any of it. The papers, the binders, the photographs — they all keep alive the memory of the athletes who through the decades would trot out on their local field to support their community.

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He’s known as the City Section historian. Here’s his story.

Water polo

Harvard-Westlake pool welcomes back water polo.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Harvard-Westlake, despite having one of the youngest teams, is off to a 5-0 start after defeated San Diego Cathedral Catholic 14-7. Jack Burghardt scored three goals to lead the Wolverines. Harvard-Westlake faces Laguna Beach on Thursday in preparation for the the prestigious South Coast tournament starting on Sept. 16.

Brea Olinda won the Ayala tournament championship with an 11-8 win over Eastvale Roosevelt.

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Newport Harbor opened with a 13-9 win over The Bishop’s from La Jolla. Ben Liechty scored three goals.

Portola won the Corona tournament, defeating Crespi in the final 18-8.

Girls’ golf

The girls’ golf season is beginning to pick up, with Charissa Shang of Oak Park serving notice after she won the Lady Pirate Invitational last month with a 6-under 30 on the front nine at Sterling Hills Golf Course.

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame has set up a nonleague match with power Walnut next month. The Knights have an outstanding senior in Marley Franklin and a top freshman in Alexis Faieta.

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Notes . . .

Standout senior girls’ basketball player Hannah Stines has transferred from Orangewood Academy to Fullerton Troy, where she used to play as a freshman and sophomore. . . .

Junior Triston Jewell of Mater Dei has been selected by USA Lacrosse to the USA Select 18U team. . . .

Rolling Hills Prep is having a breaking ground ceremony on Wednesday for two new beach volleyball courts that will be built on campus for the CIF’s newest sport. . . .

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The Ron Massey Memorial Fall Hoops Classic will be held Sept. 18-19 at McBride High School in Long Beach. Teams scheduled to play include Mater Dei, St. John Bosco, Bishop Montgomery and Heritage Christian. . . .

Standout cornerback Domani Jackson of Mater Dei suffered a knee injury in the Monarchs’ opening win over Duncanville and will be sidelined for the rest of the season, the school reported. It’s a tough loss. Jackson is the state record holder in the 100 meters and is committed to USC. But the Monarchs have lots of depth in the secondary. Mater Dei plays Liberty at Bishop Gorman on Friday. . . .

Crossroads basketball player Henri Adiassa has committed to Lehigh.

From the archives: Matt Corral

Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral played high school football at Oaks Christian and Long Beach Poly.
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)
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If you made a bet that Matt Corral wouldn’t stay longer than a couple of years playing at Mississippi, you’ve lost big time. And who wouldn’t have made that bet? Corral was anything but predictable. He had committed to USC in 2016 while playing quarterback for Oaks Christian. Then he left for Long Beach Poly in 2017. He changed his commitment to Florida. Then he ended up at Mississippi.

Here’s a 2018 story from 247 Sports explaining his recruiting journey.

What people always forget about Corral is his toughness and belief in his own ability. He’s in his fourth year at Mississippi and recognized for having one of the strongest arms in college football.

Recommendations

From the Columbus Dispatch, a story on a high school football team faking its way to having ESPN televise the game against IMG Academy.

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From the Seattle Times, a return to normalcy in high school football in Washington.

From the San Diego Union Tribune, a story on two Oregon-bound cornerbacks at San Diego Lincoln.

From the Los Angeles Times, a look at former West Torrance quarterback Steve Sarkisian.

From Yahoo, a look at the quarterback exodus from California.

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From the Los Angeles Times, a profile on former Moorpark receiver Drake London, a star at USC.

Tweets you might have missed

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Until next time...

Have a question, comment or something you’d like to see in a future Prep Rally newsletter? Email me at eric.sondheimer@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latsondheimer.

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