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Sylmar Coach to Miss First Game in 29 Years Because of Back Injury

November 13, 1986|STEVE ELLING

Sylmar Coach Tom Richards said he will miss Friday's pivotal Pac 8 game against Venice because he will be in the hospital with a bad back.

"In 29 years of coaching, this will be the first time I ever missed a practice or a game," Richards said from his bed at Holy Cross Hospital in Woodland Hills.

Richards was hospitalized Monday after aggravating a nerve in his lower back during last Friday's 9-7 win over Poly. Sylmar could clinch a City Section 2-A playoff spot with a win at home over Venice.

Physicians have advised Richards to stay in bed four to 10 days or face surgery.

"The only way I could make it to the Venice game is in a wheelchair, and that would be just before the kickoff," Richards said. "I guess it could be one of those 'win-it-for-the-Gipper' things."

Assistants Obbie Brown, Steve Perez and Lee Anspacher will coach the Spartans.

Richards' injury may be the least of the assistants' concerns. The entire Spartan starting backfield will miss the game. Times All-Valley running back Sean Hampton has a strained knee ligament; Michael Hampton, Sean's cousin, is listed as doubtful, and quarterback Rick Negrete broke his arm two weeks ago.

Sylmar is 5-3 overall and 3-3 in the Pac 8.

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