El Camino College football coach John Featherstone is still fuming about a controversial call that decided the Warriors' Saturday loss to Fullerton College. Trailing 33-31, Warrior kicker Erik Estrada was called on for a 21-yard field goal attempt with 21 seconds left. What followed is still up in the air.
Estrada booted the ball high and far over the right upright, but the officials ruled the kick was wide. Featherstone still believes it was good. He reviewed a videotape of the game Monday but said the film was inconclusive.
Featherstone, waiting for another tape from Group W Cable company in Fullerton, said his videotape showed one thing: "The official was out of position. The rules state that there should be an official at least six yards behind each goal post," the coach said. "He wasn't even a yard back. . . . He started to lift his hands up, then he said it was no good. It's obvious he was confused.
"It was such a shame to have both teams play 59 minutes and 45 seconds of great football and have the game decided by that."
The call almost overshadowed an impressive performance by El Camino sophomore quarterback Craig Kennedy, who threw for 415 yards and led the final rally with four clutch passes.
"Craig really has grown and matured a whole bunch over the last two weeks," Featherstone said. "I thought we outplayed them."
And Kennedy wasn't even Featherstone's nominee for South Coast Conference player of the week. That designation went to wide receiver Shawn Hodges, who caught seven passes for 121 yards and "made two of the greatest catches I've ever seen at this level," the coach said.
Hodges, who is only third on the team in receiving behind Tony Nettles and Mike Wimberly, caught one pass after it had been knocked loose by a Fullerton defender and another after making a 180-degree turn to haul in a 21-yard touchdown toss from Kennedy.
Still, the loss puts the Warriors (2-1 in conference, 2-4 overall) in a position where they need to win their remaining four games to contend for the title.
"We can't afford to lose another game," Featherstone said. "We can't take anyone lightly."
El Camino plays Compton College on Saturday in a 7:30 p.m. home game.
Joe Bird teaches math at Mira Costa High School, but he put up his most impressive numbers outside the classroom.
Bird, a running enthusiast who began competing in triathlons two years ago, recently placed third in the 45-49 age group in the Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii. It was his first time in the grueling event, which has become so competitive that it is now by invitation.
Bird, who was cheered on by his family, had a total time of 10 hours, 50 minutes. The breakdown by event was 1:05 for a 2.4-mile ocean swim, 6:10 to bicycle 112 miles and 3:35 to run a full marathon.
Bird's finish, the best of any American in his age group (a Swede who was defending champ repeated), earned him an invitation back next year.
More immediately, he'll get back to marathoning, which he began 10 years ago. He is preparing to run his 10th Catalina Marathon.
Bird used to coach swimming and water polo at Mira Costa but now restricts his school activities to teaching--leaving him enough time for his own training.
The Palos Verdes High School girls cross-country team is being mentioned with the top CIF teams of all time after its performance in the Mt. San Antonio College sweepstakes last weekend. Billed as the West's largest prep meet, it showcased the P.V. girls, who took first place with a team score of 33, well ahead of runner-up Thousand Oaks' 112.
Palos Verdes' team clocking of 93:42 broke the course record by nearly two minutes. University High of Irvine had set the old mark of 95:24 in 1981, when it was rated the nation's top team.
Thus, the CIF Southern Section office says, "the girls established themselves as a strong contender for the best girls cross-country team in CIF-Southern Section history and probably among the top two or three in the country this season."
Lately the Idaho State University women's volleyball team has been going Hollywood--or fairly close--and it's been paying off. With a starting lineup of four Southern Californians, the team has built a 15-5 record and is off to a 6-0 start in the Mountain West Conference.
Over the weekend the school in Pocatello beat league rival Boise State behind the play of Lawndale native Marie Stielow, who had 21 kills, one service ace, six blocks and 10 digs. That earned her the conference player of the week award. She is the third player on the team and the third Southern Californian in four weeks to win the award.
For the season, Stielow, who went to Lawndale High and El Camino College, is the leading hitter in the conference and leads her team in service aces and digs.