The coaches at Canyon and Hart should trade scouting reports for their Southern Section semifinal games this week.
Canyon meets Muir, a team that defeated Hart, 28-14, in the Coastal Conference final last season. Hart meets Santa Maria, a team Canyon beat, 33-6, in the 1984 Northwestern Conference final.
Hart Coach Rick Scott believes Canyon must watch for Muir tailback Ricky Ervins running pass patterns out of the backfield. "They clear a zone and try to isolate him one-on-one with a linebacker," Scott said.
Canyon Coach Harry Welch believes Hart quarterback Jim Bonds should pass and pass and pass. "Santa Maria is a well-drilled, basic type of team," Welch said. "But they haven't seen anything like Bonds. There is no way for them to simulate him in practice because no one can throw like he does. If Bonds is on, Santa Maria doesn't have a chance."
Likewise, Scott believes Canyon can win because Muir has never defended against a quarterback as talented as Canyon's Ken Sollom.
"I see Canyon having a lot of success on offense," Scott said. "It may be a high-scoring game, 30-28, that type of thing. I don't see Muir stopping Canyon's passing attack."
Welch suggested Hart should travel the 200 miles to Santa Maria without stopping. "We left at noon, arrived around 3:30 and ate dinner in Santa Maria," he said. "That way if a player is queasy from the drive, he has four hours to recuperate."
Welch agrees with Scott's point about Ervins. Scott does not agree with Welch's travel tip.
Said Welch: "Muir is using Ervins the way Hart uses Chris Hite. I don't think we can stop him, just hopefully prevent big plays."
Said Scott: "The travel really is our No. 1 concern. But we're going to break it up with two stops so we don't lose kids to Walkman radios. We'll stop and eat in Goleta and stop at a park in the Santa Ynez Valley and walk through some plays."
Shrining lights: Welch and Muir Coach Jim Brownfield were both on the staff of the South All-Star team for last summer's Shrine game. "I gained a lot of respect for Jim," Welch said. "He is lovably weird. He's abrasive at times and is strong on discipline. But his players love him for it."
Toorn it up: Because of numerous injuries, Jim Vander Toorn, a 5-11, 215-pound tackle, is the only Hart defender to have played all 12 games. "Jim patrols the middle like Merlin Olsen used to for the Rams," Scott said. "He's the stable one." . . . Fourteen players have started on Canyon's offensive line this season. Tackle Sean Sweetnam and guard Sean Wheeler are the latest to be injured and have been replaced by sophomore Rick McKeon and senior Rick Gonzalez.
Center of attention: Crespi's Russell White is hardly your average high school sophomore. How many 15-year-olds are making their national television debut this week? A segment on White will air on ESPN's Scholastic Sports America program, which is scheduled to run Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. White also appeared in Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd last week. Is White cracking under the pressure? "The attention is great," White said. "Everyone at school comes up to me and talks to me. A sophomore, getting all this publicity, it's fun." OK, it was a dumb question.
Great expectations: Calabasas had finished 2-8 and 6-4 the last two seasons. And there have been numerous other down moments since the school opened in 1975. But Coach Larry Edwards, who has vivid memories of bad times past, isn't overwhelmed about this year's 8-3-1 record. It is, he said, what he expected. "We had in our minds to be in the finals," Edwards said. "Now the kids are beginning to believe."
The rich get richer: As if Crespi weren't strong enough, Quinn Fauria has returned to the Celts' lineup. The sophomore defensive lineman recovered a Colton fumble on the Crespi five-yard line last Friday. It was his first appearance after missing three games because of a sprained ankle and broken hand. "He means a lot to our defense," Coach Bill Redell said. "He's so quick. Without Quinn the past three weeks, we didn't get the excellent pass rush."