Mike Sheppard, Cal State Long Beach--The 49er football coach had just one word to describe the effect a proposal by University President Dr. Stephen Horn to drop football will have on recruiting: "devastating." Speaking last week after Long Beach had played perhaps its last football game, which it won, 34-21, over the University of the Pacific, Sheppard said he hopes Horn will make "a fast decision" and act in favor of football. The third-year coach said he thought a key to Horn's decision might be better student support of the program.
THE LETTER: Bruce Cantley, California High School--The school's principal, responding to a letter he received from Bell Gardens High School football Coach Dave Newell, said he is prepared to take the necessary steps to upgrade the Condor football program. That includes hiring a new coach who will "make us a contender in the next few years." The new coach would be Cal's fifth in the past five years. California finished 2-8 under interim Coach Jay Roundy this season. In his letter, Newell, a Cal High district resident, said he wanted to "alert the guy (Cantley) to the reality of the situation" with the school's football team. Newell said he felt a lack of continuity in coaching staffs had created a situation that "was no fun for the kids" and that it appeared that the school "did not support the football program." Newell wrote the letter following Bell Gardens' 55-0 rout over the Condors, which was ended by officials with eight minutes after a bench-clearing melee. "Newell meant to help, but I feel he didn't understand the facts about what we've been doing to build the program," Cantley said. A former head coach at Cal High pointed the finger farther up the ladder, however, and doubted that much can be done to rescue the program: "Districtwide, there is a lack of interest in athletics in general," the former coach said.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?: Lynwood High--Is the school's nickname the Knights or The Wood? It's listed both ways in separate publications that keep track of such things. A spokeswoman for Principal Larry Tripplett said it had been The Wood for sometime. But the media routinely refer to the school in stories as "The Knights."
FOR THE BOOKS: Benji Smith, Leffingwell Christian High--According to Cal-Hi Sports of Sacramento, the running back set three state records in eight-man football this fall. In nine regular season games, the senior scored 40 touchdowns for 244 points and rushed for 2,282 yards.
Hector Ruelas, South Gate High--The 5-6, 175-pound junior defensive lineman set a school record with 77 tackles this season.
FIESTA QUEEN: Brooke Fraser--The 20-year old former Long Beach City College student was recently selected to be the queen of the Fiesta Bowl. She now attends the University of Arizona. The game will be on Jan. 2 and pits the top-ranked Miami Hurricanes against the second-ranked Nittany Lions of Penn State. Brooke is the daughter of Bill Fraser, basketball coach at Long Beach City College. She was selected from 200 applicants.
FOOTBALL STREAKS: Dominguez High--The Dons made their first appearance in postseason play since 1971 but were beaten in the opening round of the Southern Section Southern Conference playoffs by Santa Ana High School. Santa Ana is at Lynwood Friday night in a semifinal game. Dominguez tied with Lynwood, 14-14, in San Gabriel Valley League action.
John Glenn High--The Eagles have not advanced to a playoff since 1970.
La Mirada High--The Matadors won their last four games and advance to the Southern Section playoffs for the fifth consecutive time, but were beaten in the opening round of the Central Conference playoffs, 14-7, by Anaheim. Anaheim has advanced to Friday night's semifinals against Bolsa Grande.
Santa Fe High--The Chiefs will have to wait until next year for another shot at snapping the Southern Section's longest active losing streak. Montebello's 42-7 win that ended the regular season was the 19th consecutive loss for Santa Fe.
Centennial High--The Apaches are on the heels of Santa Fe after an 0-10 season. Centennial has lost 15 straight, dating to 1985.
Norwalk High--The Lancers have advanced to the Southern Section playoffs as the Suburban League's No. 3 team each of the past five seasons. Norwalk has lost all five of its playoff openers. On each trip Norwalk has opened with an Orange County team.
FOOTBALL AWARD: Roland White, Compton College--The Tartar wide receiver was chosen an offensive player of the week by the Junior College Athletic Bureau in Compton's season-ending, 34-26, loss to Long Beach City College. White set a South Coast Conference single-season reception record of 69 by catching 11 passes in the game.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Bill Friedrich, St. John Bosco High--The coach of the 12-0 Braves had this to say about his unsung quarterback, senior Bill Sterner, while describing his attributes in a phone conversation: "You may be talking about the CIF (Southern Section) player of the year."