Chaminade Coach Rich Lawson's knees were knocking in the first quarter Friday night, largely because he had just seen his best running back, Tim Lavin, nearly get his left knee knocked off by a Calabasas tackler.
"It really got to me," Lawson said. "He's the best we have and really it shook me up."
Visions of a season going down the tubes were dancing in Lawson's eyes because it was quickly learned that Lavin (6-1, 205) had suffered a severe knee sprain and would not be dancing in the Chaminade backfield for some time.
Lavin, a senior who entered the contest with 226 yards in two games, was injured on Chaminade's first possession. On the play that sidelined him, he was hit so hard he fumbled.
"Took a helmet right in the knee," Lawson said. "It hurt just to watch it on the film."
Lawson watched in dismay as Lavin was helped from the field. Chaminade was already 0-2 on the year, and with Lavin leaving, 0-3 was in sight.
Perhaps it was understandable, what with his concern for Lavin's safety and his team's livelihood, that Lawson was a little lost later in the game.
Trailing, 10-7, in the third quarter, Lawson was scurrying around on the sideline, getting ready to send in a play. Instinctively, he wheeled around.
"I reached behind me and grabbed onto the closest guy there," Lawson said. "I thought it was Jonas Escalara." It wasn't.
Escalara, Lavin's backup, had returned a kickoff 93 yards for the first Chaminade score.
"When I realized who I grabbed, I thought 'Oh, what the heck.' So I told him to go in there and run the sweep."
Enter Tony Collatos, whose knees were no doubt shaking as well--Collatos, you see, had yet to carry the ball this season.
"The next thing I know," Lawson said, "the guy's going 61 yards for a touchdown."
The run came on Collatos' first carry, and the touchdown provided all the points Chaminade would need in the 28-10 win.
Collatos finished with 55 yards on three carries. Chaminade's John Hreno scored two touchdowns and finished with a game-high 105 yards on 13 carries.
"It was great to see the kids hang in there after losing a guy as important as Lavin," Lawson said.
Mixed-up match-up: Those who attended Friday's game at Moorpark must have been a little confused when they saw members of the L.A. Jordan team on the field for warm-ups. Was there a typo in the local newspaper? Didn't we have Venice scheduled for tonight?
"It was a little like who's on first," Venice Coach Al Dellinger said. "It's been a big mess."
Venice had contracted to play Moorpark on Friday--according to Moorpark's schedule, that is. On the Venice calendar, however, the game was to be played next week.
"It was basically a mix-up on our part," Dellinger said. "We just got the dates confused. We didn't even get it straightened out until Thursday afternoon."
Jordan, which wasn't scheduled to play Friday, was a last-minute substitute. Because of the snafu, Venice--which defeated Hamilton, 19-18, Friday--will be idle next week. Moorpark will face Fillmore.
Moorpark might be wishing that it had a bye Friday. The Musketeers lost, 48-7, the team's 15th consecutive game without a victory.
Flagged down: Granada Hills, which entered Friday's game against Alemany as the No. 1-ranked team in the Valley by The Times, had 11 penalties for 85 yards in a 17-14 upset loss to the No. 10 Indians.
Alemany had three penalties for 15 yards.
Warmed up and ready: It might have been the first game of the season for Kennedy and Crenshaw on Friday, but the fans were in midseason form.
Los Angeles City School District police broke up several fights in the stands--at least six, according to one report. A Los Angeles Police Dept. helicopter was dispatched to monitor the incidents, most of which took place near the end of the game.
"The version I got afterwards was that some of their people worked their way into the Kennedy stands when it became apparent that Crenshaw was going to lose," Kennedy Coach Bob Francola said. "There was a lot of stuff going on, and I was told there was even a weapon flashed.
"It's really a shame this stuff always seems to happen at City schools. After the game our kids are sitting there in the locker room saying, 'The dummies are out there again.' It should have been a great night--the first game of the year, the drill team, the band. It's too bad."
Kennedy exhibited most of its spirit on the field, winning, 35-21.
Off to a flying start: San Fernando's new pass-oriented offense made its debut with a 24-6 win over Manual Arts, and senior quarterback Joe Mauldin showed why the Tiger coaching staff decided to scrap the school's 15-year-old wishbone tradition.
The new offense includes a four-receiver, sprint-out passing game that requires Mauldin to make split-second decisions to either pass or run.
Mauldin is showing improvement with every down.
"He should have thrown it a couple of times when he ran with it in the first half," San Fernando Coach Tom Hernandez said. "We probably lost a couple of touchdowns when he ran and we had guys wide open."