By unofficial count North Torrance High running back Tom Button ran all but two plays from scrimmage in the first quarter last Friday. The two plays he didn't handle were passes.
By official count, North ran 59 times in the game and Button had 46 of those carries. That's two short of the state record for a single game, according to Cal-Hi Sports. Button gained 146 yards and scored all four North touchdowns in an exciting 29-28 victory over Muir.
Officially or not, the 160-pound junior--who also starts at cornerback--had to be one tired Saxon after the game.
That was Button's first game as the primary running back. The week before he carried eight times against West Torrance. Coach Steve Schmitz liked what he saw. "I don't like putting a first-year varsity guy on the field both ways. so we kind of eased him in," Schmitz said. "He looked good against West so we decided to start him against Muir. He responded. He's one tough little cookie."
A week earlier Schmitz and his staff juggled the offensive line, returning all-star Jim Tulette from center to guard, shifting Pat Morris from guard to center and Keith Finney from fullback to guard. Tulette is also going both ways again, playing defense on every other series.
The combination worked against Muir, which was faster but had trouble with North's size. North will be even more formidable when 215-pound fullback Hector Murillo returns from an injury, either this week or next.
Button had been Murillo's understudy but may find himself in the backfield with him in coming weeks. Schmitz said he had no idea Button was so close to a record. His 46th carry was a one-yard plunge for the winning touchdown.
"We weren't going for records. We were going for the win," Schmitz said.
Definition of explosive: Carson High's football team nursed a 7-3 lead to the halfway point of the third quarter Saturday against Bishop Montgomery. Four minutes later it was 30-3. Carson scored near the six-minute mark on a draw to Calvin Holmes.
Just under the three-minute mark Alvin Goree took a screen pass and turned it into a 55-yard touchdown. Half a minute later Carson's defense trapped Bishop Montgomery quarterback Todd Viter for a safety, and Goree returned the ensuing kick 62 yards for another touchdown. That was 16 points in about 30 seconds and 23 points in four minutes.
Knights Coach Andy Szabatura had said before the game, "I fear their speed. I fear Alvin Goree." His fears were well-founded.
Carson's basketball team will compete in the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Tournament Dec. 16 to 22 in Fairdale, Ky. The 16-team tournament will include 12 Kentucky teams, among them the four top-rated squads in the state, plus teams from New York City, Washington, D.C., Memphis and Carson.
Tournament directors are forecasting the appearance of two of the nation's top big men in Louisville Eastern's 7-2 Felton Spencer and Carson's 6-10 Clifford Allen.
The forecast may be premature, however. Allen, who played for Carson in the summer leagues, has yet to play for the school in a varsity game after spending last year at the California Youth Authority. His presence this year is reportedly in question because of a possible parole violation.
Meanwhile Allen is the only South Bay player listed among the top 75 prospects in the new Sporting News Basketball Preview. St. Monica point guard Earl Duncan is also listed, and Crenshaw forward Stevie Thompson is listed among the Top 10.
Loyola Marymount University Athletic Director Brian Quinn has been named one of six inaugural inductees in the Serra High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Quinn, class of '59, starred in basketball and baseball at Serra and continued his career at Loyola, where he played on the last Loyola team to win a conference basketball championship in 1961.
The other inductees are Curt Altenberg, who went on to football stardom at UCLA; Dave Nelson, who played major league baseball and is now a coach with the Chicago White Sox; Dave Buelow, Serra's first basketball star; Theo Viltz, who was a track and field standout at USC; and Chuck Heil, a two-time All-CIF pitcher.
The six will be officially inducted in a ceremony at the school Oct. 27.