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THE HIGH SCHOOLS : Crespi's Star Burned Brightly but Briefly

September 13, 1987|STEVE HENSON | Times Staff Writer

It's another good morning, America, although you'd have a difficult time convincing a sheepish Crespi football team. The Celts, supposedly the No. 1 prep team in the nation, are red-faced after Redlands played them to a 17-17 tie in the season-opener Friday night.

Parts of the game and a pregame locker room segment were broadcast live across the nation on an ABC special edition of "Good Morning America," called "Good Evening America."

The national exposure was supposed to continue. Coach Bill Redell was scheduled for an interview Monday morning on the show and the team, presumably fresh off a red, white and blue victory, was supposed to grin and holler, "Good Morning America!"

But Roy Rogers fell off the saddle. John Wayne was beaten to the draw. And the Celts were drawn in the badlands of Redlands.

They begged off.

"I told them we'd cancel," Redell said Saturday.

The Celts may as well also cancel subscriptions to ESPN and the National Prep Poll, both of which ranked them No. 1, and U.S.A. Today, which ranked them No. 2. Crespi probably will be ranked next week just above Needles.

And while Redell hasn't been needled, he's been second-guessed. You over-hyped the team, he's been told. Hollywood Bill, he's been called.

But Redell refuses to second-guess himself.

"If I had it to do again, I'd do it exactly the same way," he said. "I made a big deal about the TV coverage and the No. 1 ranking and I don't regret it at all. I loved it.

"Crespi is a 500-student high school. I'm not going to turn down an opportunity to go on national TV and receive that kind of publicity for Crespi High School."

Redell also sticks by his decision to call three straight sneaks in the fourth quarter by quarterback Rob O'Byrne when Crespi had the ball inside the Redlands 1-yard line with the score tied and 1:47 remaining. O'Byrne was stopped on the first two plays and fumbled the ball away on the third.

"In my judgment, after watching the films, he broke the plane of the goal line and scored all three times," Redell said.

Although he was visibly upset with the officials immediately after the game, Redell admitted the outcome was decided by the players.

"The refs blew calls in our favor, too," he said. "The officials did not cost us the game."

Rather, Redell points to a breakdown of the running game after tailback Russell White suffered a hip pointer in the second quarter.

"Without Russell White, we're certainly not the No. 1 team in the country," Redell said.

White is questionable for Friday's game against Palmdale, but there is no question that Crespi won't be ranked No. 1, with or without White.

"We were on top of the mountain and I was waving the flag," Redell said. "People say the fanfare and publicity cost us but I wouldn't have changed anything. Did we deserve to be No. 1 for a week? Yeah. I think so."

Crossing a Canyon: After finally defeating Canyon, 41-21, in his fourth try, Hart Coach Rick Scott spoke in the relieved tone Saturday morning of a man who had just hiked across the Grand Canyon.

"I'm just glad it's over and we can get on with the rest of the schedule," he said. "So much is made out of that game."

Scott's task now is to get his team back on level ground.

"You'd have thought we won the CIF championship," he said. "People were on the field an hour after the game. Parents had video cameras out and everything."

The 41 points are the most scored against Canyon since Burroughs beat the Cowboys, 45-14, in the 1982 season opener, Coach Harry Welch's first game at Canyon.

An uncommon victory: With a ground-oriented offense and strong defense, Thousand Oaks traditionally turns out teams that win by uncommonly boring scores like 14-6 or 17-10. A scoring splurge for the Lancers is a 27-14 win.

So it's no surprise that Thousand Oaks' 62-6 drubbing of Inglewood on Thursday night set a school record for points in a game. Since the school opened in 1963, Thousand Oaks twice scored 56 points--against Newbury Park in 1984 and Royal in 1985.

"I almost hate to see a score that one-sided," Thousand Oaks Coach Bob Richards said. "But the positive thing is that we didn't play down to their level."

Or as Lancer assistant Rob Elliot said: "We steamrolled a team we should have steamrolled."

Leading the way was an offensive line that made shingle wood of Inglewood with devastating chop blocks. Interestingly, the line was the team's question mark during the preseason.

"I'm glad they were being doubted," said Elliot, who has coached the offensive line for 10 years. "It fired them up, and I'll tell you, this line is better than last year's."

That's quite a compliment. Last year's line, which helped the team to a 10-2 record, included All-Valley players Gus Nelinger, Mike Yasenchok and Mike May, all of whom have graduated.

Greg Banks, a 6-0, 235-pound senior tackle, is the only returning starter. He's joined by junior tackle Rick McCathron (6-3, 230), tight end Mike Hutten (6-3, 205), senior guards Eric Dennis and Don Musella and junior center Lance Burch.

"Dennis is the best guard I've coached," Elliot said.

And if the line continues to block as well is it did against Inglewood, the Lancers might repeat as Marmonte League champions.

Hoover movers: Dick Flaherty was glad that Saugus' season-opening 14-0 victory over Hoover was played Thursday night. It gave students and faculty a chance to congratulate the team the next day at school on its first victory since 1985.

"The faculty and student body were elated," said Flaherty, the Centurions' first-year coach.

The players were more relieved than anything. Before the game they had admitted to Flaherty that they were fearful of losing.

"They were afraid of losing and getting into the syndrome of last year," Flaherty said. "After the game it was funny. There wasn't any of the whooping and hollering you'd expect. The kids were too emotionally drained."

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