After the first day of classes and a three-hour practice that ended in darkness Thursday, the last thing most of Hart High's football players had in mind were unusual household chores. But Andy Iacenda, sore, tired and hungry, actually relished the thought of packing boxes.
Iacenda's family moved into its new house Friday and the change of residence also means a change in schools. But most important to the Iacenda family, the move from Burbank to Valencia allows him to switch football teams. In transferring from Burroughs to Hart, Iacenda has taken an express elevator from the Foothill League's basement to its penthouse.
Iacenda, a senior fullback, was a second-team all-league selection last season, but was disenchanted with the Burroughs' program. Recognizing their son's unhappiness, Iacenda's parents moved up their plans to relocate.
"The subject of Andy's potential on the field was a very emotional decision for us," said Iacenda's father, Andy Sr. "If Andy did not want to make the move, our relocating probably would have waited at least until the end of high school."
But Iacenda's transfer was not without complications. He was not allowed to attend some of his classes Thursday because his parents did not meet the school district's proof of residence policy, said Hart principal Laurence Strauss.
The Iacenda's home closed escrow Thursday and Iacenda was admitted to school later that day after his father presented the district office the appropriate papers along with house keys and a contract with a moving company, Strauss said.
To meet the district's policy when he transferred last spring, Iacenda and his father lived in rented rooms. Iacenda's sister, Briandy, also a senior, decided to remain at Burroughs. Iacenda transferred because he thinks college recruiters will ignore Burroughs this season. A year ago, Burroughs was last in the league with a 2-8 record. Hart, the defending league champion, is ranked No. 1 in the Northwestern Conference, and its games figure to attract considerable interest.
"I'm not concerned with how much I personally get the ball, just as long as I get a fair shot," Iacenda said. "If I can't do it myself, I don't want any special exposure.
"I just hope that some of the kids at Burroughs get the look they deserve. There are some really talented players there, but I just don't know how many colleges will come around."
Iacenda, 6-0, 220, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds and has been contacted by several schools, including Nebraska, Washington and Stanford.
"We're legitimately recruiting him," said Dick Baird, Washington's recruiting coordinator. "We consider him one of the top fullbacks in the Valley, which we consider the area between Los Angeles and San Francisco."
Said Hart Coach Rick Scott: "He gives us a force up the middle that people have to respect. He has the speed that if the defense misses him at the line, he can score."
Teamed with halfback Chris Hite and highly regarded quarterback Jim Bonds, Iacenda may give Hart its best backfield ever, Scott said.
This is the second straight year that Hart's fullback has been a transfer. Iacenda replaces Brian Baie, who rushed for 13 touchdowns in 1985.
Iacenda, who gained 363 yards on 81 carries at Burroughs, expects to carry the ball more at Hart. Injuries have sidelined Hart's two leading receivers--David Lee and Bryan Milner--and Scott said the Indians' traditionally balanced offense may give way to a run-oriented attack, despite the presence of Bonds. Iacenda said the most difficult transition has been making the mental adjustment to Hart's program.
"It's been hard trying to get that winning attitude that everyone else has," he said. "Coming from a 2-8 team, I have to work my butt off just to hang with everyone else."
He will receive his first test Friday, when Hart plays Canyon, which has won 38 consecutive games. During the middle of last season, Iacenda considered leaving Burroughs for Canyon. But during the spring, he instead chose Hart.
"I have a lot of respect for Harry Welch, but I didn't know how I would fit into the streak over there," Iacenda said, referring to Canyon's coach. "I've never been in a game this big. I've been nervous for about a month."
But the game that may cause Iacenda the most tension will be against Burroughs, although he has no quarrel with its new coach, Bob Dunivant, or his former teammates.
"I have to convince myself that it's just another game," Iacenda said. "I hope that after the game, win or lose, I can still go across the field and shake hands."
Regardless of what happens, Iacenda said he won't second-guess his decision.
"The thing that has impressed me the most about Hart is how much Coach Scott has taken me under his wing," he said. "If I got hurt right now and couldn't play, I wouldn't regret making the change.
"I've learned so much already. Not just about football, but about life."
It appears Iacenda has found a home at Hart.