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Orange County Prep Review / Tom Hamilton : Big A Proves Big Bust for Section Playoffs : Disappointing Crowds Suggest Smaller Site Would Be More Profitable

December 15, 1986|TOM HAMILTON

Last spring, Valley Christian Principal Bruce Keuning reviewed the proposed 1985-86 fiscal budget for the Southern Section at an executive council meeting in Norwalk.

Keuning, the treasurer of the organization, declared the year a financial success and he had the figures to prove it. But there was a glaring $35,000 loss of projected revenue from the 1985 football playoffs that should have opened the eyes of the council.

The Southern Section receives half of the gate receipts from all playoff games, the revenue being one of the organization's main sources of income.

Keuning claimed that bad weather hurt attendance during the four-week playoffs. But the fact is the playoffs were plagued by only one weekend of rainy weather. Crowds were generally down at all games, and the section took a big loss when the Big Five Conference game featuring Edison and Long Beach Poly drew only 9,131 fans in Anaheim Stadium.

This year, section officials made a good move by staggering the nine conference championship games on two evenings. Five conference title games--the Big Five, Central, Coastal, Desert-Mountain and Southeastern--were played on Friday night.

Four more conference games--the Eastern, Northwestern, Inland and Southern--were scheduled for Saturday night. All drew well, with one exception.

For the second straight year, the section's "glamour game" was a bust in the Big A. The Crespi-St. John Bosco battle for the Big Five title drew only 12,651 fans in the 66,000 seat Anaheim Stadium.

The game featured Crespi running back Russell White, the most talked about prep player in Southern California with a 12.5-yard-per-carry rushing average. Yet an attractive game drew only the support groups of the two parochial schools.

Southern Section administrator Bill Clark, when asked how much longer the organization can schedule the Big Five Conference game at Anaheim, said: "Not much longer with the crowds we've had the past two years.

"The biggest problem is that there isn't a facility suited for our event. We need a 20,000- to 25,000-(seat) stadium for the game, and there isn't one around here."

Santa Ana High School's Scootie Lynwood, one of the premier point guards in the county, has been dismissed from the team by Saint Coach Greg Coombs.

Lynwood, a 6-foot junior, missed practices and became ineligible academically. Coombs decided to drop him from the team on Friday.

"He failed to meet the team standards after we gave him second and third chances," Coombs said. "It's unfortunate. Scootie is a talented player, but the team comes first and he's got to learn that."

Lynwood has been replaced by Leo Leon in the starting lineup.

El Toro's football team may be the first county team to finish 14-0 since Edison turned the trick in 1980, but Santa Ana quarterback Richard Fanti said he wasn't impressed following a 26-10 loss to the Chargers.

"I don't think they were that good a team," Fanti said. "Esperanza had a better defense; we just didn't play well. If we played them 10 times, I think we'd beat them nine out of 10.

"We had too many people out and had a player suspended, and that was our downfall. We didn't play a full game. We played well in the first half but fell asleep in the second.

El Toro Coach Bob Johnson, when told about Fanti's comments, said: "That's a little bit of sour grapes."

El Toro quarterback Bret Johnson completed passes to five players against Santa Ana, but surprisingly none to wide receiver Scott Miller. Miller entered the game as the team's leading receiver with 63 receptions for 1,020 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Prep Notes

Former Servite quarterback Steve Beuerlein of Notre Dame has been selected to play in the Blue-Gray All-Star game Dec. 25 in Montgomery, Ala. . . . Former Troy High and UC Irvine pitcher Gary Wheelock has been named the pitching coach for Oklahoma City, the Texas Rangers' Triple-A team in the American Assn. . . . Marina basketball Coach Steve Popovich, explaining why guard Brian Sterzer decided not to play this season: "He came into my office and said, 'Coach, I like to be in a situation where I can win or lose the game.' I told him to try bowling." . . . Wide receivers Steve Koehl of Foothill and Dave Marsh of Villa Park were inadvertently omitted from the coaches' All-Century League football team that was submitted to The Times. . . . Orange High is accepting applications for a varsity tennis coach in a walk-on capacity. Interested parties should contact Panther athletic director Dave Zirkle at 997-6236. . . . The winter meeting of the Orange County Athletic Directors' Assn. is scheduled for Jan. 26 in the Anaheim Stadium Club. The group will honor booster club presidents. The group's upcoming clinic dates include a sports medicine clinic on Feb. 7 at Anaheim Memorial Hospital; a baseball clinic hosted by Augie Garrido at Cal State Fullerton Feb. 14 and a football clinic Feb. 28 at Rams Park in Anaheim.

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