The sprints in Friday's City track semifinals at Birmingham High--and possibly contests right on through the state meet--could be carry-overs of rivalries from Marine League football, where Michael Ford and Calvin Holmes battled for supremacy with Gardena's Pee Wee Smith right behind. They may be remembered as the Pigskin Pacesetters.
San Pedro senior Ford and Carson junior Holmes battled through the league meets and had the best times in last week's City qualifier. Ford won the Marine League 100 meters but strained a leg muscle and lost the 200 to Holmes. In last week's City quarterfinals each won his heat in the 100 and 200. Ford had the overall best time in the 100, Holmes the best in the 200. Smith was on Holmes' heels in both races.
Ford and Smith, both wide receivers and defensive backs, will be playing collegiate football on scholarships next fall. Holmes will be back in the Carson backfield.
The 400 relay also could be a South Bay affair dominated by football players, at least through City finals. The best times in the quarterfinals belonged to San Pedro, which ran a school record 42.41, Carson and Banning. Ford anchors San Pedro's quartet, Carson has both Holmes and backfield mate Alvin Goree and Banning features Archie Jean, Walter Harris and Ron Hill.
Harris had the best preliminary times in both hurdles.
In CIF track finals Saturday at Cerritos, football players won't be as prominent as Hawthorne tries to defend its title and advance toward another state championship. Thanks to a breakdown by much of the Muir boys team last week, Hawthorne is thought to have a good chance at a fourth straight state title.
Hawthorne does boast All-South Bay linebacker Robert Morris in the hurdles. He ran a personal-best 14.36 in the 110-meter highs last week and is expected to produce points there. Hawthorne's top challenge in the 4-A finals could come from Simi Valley.
El Camino College basketball Coach Paul Landreaux landed a big one this week when he signed Redondo High star Steve Florentine. The 6-7 center-forward was an All-South Bay and All-CIF selection and co-player of the year in the Bay League, where he averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds a game despite drawing double and triple coverage. He's a fine shooter with 15-foot range, and an effective inside player.
In what appears to be another solid recruiting year, Landreaux has also signed 6-4 San Pedro High star Zlatko Josic, co-player of the year in the Marine League; 6-6 All-San Gabriel Valley forward Charles White from Monrovia and 6-4 guard James Anderson from St. Anthony.
He stressed, however, that Florentine, who was recruited by several Division I schools in the area, is the cornerstone of his recruiting this year. "We signed the best player in the South Bay," Landreaux said. "I'm really excited. He's the key to our program. We worked very diligently to get him."
More basketball signings were announced at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where men's Coach Dave Yanai and women's Coach Alice Textor went after guards.
Yanai signed 6-3 point guard Kelly Frazier from Mt. San Antonio College, the second point guard he has signed this spring. Frazier, a San Dimas High graduate, averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds and 7.6 assists for Mt. Sac.
Yanai also signed 6-4 Rolling Hills High forward Mike Rudberg. He figures to play a backup role behind returning starters William Alexander and Brian Edwards.
Textor has signed 5-5 point guard Bernadette Tillis out of Van Nuys High and 5-6 guard Angela Wells from Compton College. Tillis averaged 16.5 points and 6 assists for Van Nuys and was a three-year letter winner. Wells, a Lynwood High graduate, played a season at Utah State before transferring.