If Street & Smith's Football Yearbook is accurate, Banning High School is in for a big season defensively. The Pilots placed defensive back Marvin Pollard on Street & Smith's Top 50 high school seniors list and two other defensive players on "Seniors to Watch"--lineman Terrance Poe and linebacker Tyrone Rogers.
Four other South Bay players received designation as "Seniors to Watch"--Gardena running back John Frazier, Carson running back Calvin Holmes (listed as a "utility player"), offensive lineman Brian Kelly of South Torrance and St. Bernard defensive back Kevin Bayonne.
Pollard, a 6-3, 180-pound defender, is one of four Californians listed in the nation's top 50 seniors. The others are running back Leonard Russell of Long Beach Poly, defensive lineman Scott Spalding of El Toro and defensive back Tommy Booker of Vista.
Among Californians designated as ones to watch are Santa Monica linebacker Eric Davis and Verbum Dei linebacker DuBois McMillan.
A Banning High alumnus, basketball player Joey Johnson, is gaining notoriety despite playing in the obscurity of a junior college in Idaho. The high-jumping Johnson, youngest brother of Boston Celtics star Dennis Johnson and a local favorite for his astonishing array of dunks as a South Bay high schooler, earned mention in the latest edition of Sports Illustrated for extraordinary leaps off the court.
Sports Illustrated reports that last winter the 6-3 1/2 Johnson did a standing leap of 11 feet, 7 inches, touching a spot on a ceiling beam in the Corner Club Bar in Moscow, Ida., to boldly go where no man had gone before. The jump broke the 1963 record of former Idaho star Gus Johnson, one of the NBA's first legendary leapers, who had reached 11-4 on the beam--a height that was thought unapproachable. Gus was 6-7.
The magazine says Joey Johnson also competed in the Athletics Congress national junior track championships in Towson, Md., this spring and high-jumped 7-5, breaking the meet mark of 7-3.
Last season Johnson was reported to have improved his vertical leap to nearly 50 inches.
The Fram soccer team of Culver City-Palos Verdes won the national title for club teams (19 and under) Sunday in New Britain, Conn. The all-star team defeated the Dallas Kickers, 3-0, in the semifinals, then beat Oceanside, N. Y., 4-1 in double overtime in the championship game.
Danny Pena scored Fram's only goal in regulation, then added another in overtime. Marshall Balboa and Jorge Hurtarte also scored in overtime.
Pena, a recent Culver City High graduate who will probably play at Cal State Los Angeles, "was probably our most consistent player the whole tournament," Coach Tad Bobak said.
Bobak said his team played its best soccer in the shutout of Dallas. The final game, he said, was played in a fog that made the grass slippery. The conditions, coupled with the tough defensive tactics of the New York team, made the championship a hard-fought one.
"There was a lot of pressure, a lot of adversity, tenseness," Bobak said. "We didn't play the prettiest type of soccer but we played with a lot of heart and discipline. The way they man-checked us we couldn't breathe in the game. It was very, very tough."
The Fram defense was also stifling, allowing just the lone goal in two games. "We were very strong and organized," Bobak said of the defense. He singled out the play of goalie Carlos Pena, a member of the U. S. national team.
The championship had its down side for Bobak, who is stepping down as Fram coach after 14 years. He said he'll continue to coach girls teams. "I believe there's more future for the girls internationally," said Bobak, a Brazilian native. "I'd like to keep coaching (boys) if we could develop the players to go on and make a living in soccer, but the system in the States--the way it is now--will never allow us to develop the players to continue on like in Europe or South America."