Dick Flaherty's football film festival found itself this week without any previews of coming attractions.
Flaherty, the Saugus coach, called El Segundo Coach Steve Newell last week, hoping to exchange game films in preparation for tonight's game at El Segundo. Flaherty planned a private screening session, but Newell played censor with his films.
"He said 'I'd rather not exchange films, Coach,' " Flaherty said. " 'You might scrutinize our films, detect some of our weaknesses and then go out and exploit them.' "
Gee, what a revolutionary concept: Screen your opponent in action, formulate a game plan, then put it to the test Friday night. That's the whole point behind coaches straining their eyes studying game films.
In Flaherty's neck of the woods, the Golden League, coaches are required to exchange game films before squaring off. And although Southern Section rules do not mandate film exchanges, the practice is customary.
"Normally, we do not exchange films in the preseason," Newell said. "It has nothing to do with this particular game."
Flaherty wasn't about to prepare with an idle projector. He obtained a film from Calabasas Coach Larry Edwards, El Segundo's most recent opponent.
"Coaches know coaches all over the place," Flaherty said. "They may have stuff on us, too."
Newell said that he doesn't have any film of Saugus, but he scouted the Centurions' 21-15 loss to Hart last week.
"After seeing what I saw," Newell said, "I'm glad I didn't exchange films with them. I thought they looked like the better team."
Flaherty was more amused than miffed by Newell's decision.
"Maybe he just felt that we do a better job of breaking down game films than he does," he said.
Said Newell: "I just felt it was to our advantage to not let him sit there and run the projector back and forth and pick out all of our weaknesses. We scouted them and we know that they've scouted us. Based on that, we'll let the chips fall where they may."
And the next salvo will be fired on the field.
What do you say now, Coach?: Before Taft's 44-0 loss to Crespi last week, Toreadors' Coach Tom Stevenson refused to acknowledge publicly how good the Celts were.
Sure, Crespi was the defending Southern Section Big Five Conference champion. Sure, Crespi was ranked No. 10 by USA Today. Sure, Crespi had Russell White, one of the nation's top high school running backs.
But no team is invincible, Stevenson said. Afterward, he wasn't so sure.
"I don't know if anyone can beat them this year," he said. "I didn't say this before, but they're great.
"Russell White is just phenomenal and J. J. Lasley is a great back, too. Russell has an extra jet. He's got a fifth gear and Lasley has a fourth gear. Most backs only have two or three.
"One of our assistants saw Anthony Davis and Charles White in high school and he says Russell is a cut above those two."
Stevenson also praised the Crespi coaching staff.
"They called an audible on a punt," Stevenson said. "That's something most high school teams can't do. Our kid fell asleep. Their punter saw it and threw a touchdown pass to an eligible receiver. That's the result of great coaching."
Head of steam: The Ventura County career rushing record appears attainable for Marc Monestime, Thousand Oaks' senior running back.
With six regular-season games to play, Monestime needs 763 yards--or 127 yards a game--to break Hilria Johnson's mark of 3,709 yards. Johnson played for Channel Islands from 1977-79.
Monestime, who has 2,947 career yards, has rushed for 546 yards in four games, averaging 136.5 yards a game.
Thousand Oaks (4-0), ranked third in The Times' Valley poll, has yet to play Royal, Westlake or Simi Valley, all teams that have had trouble stopping the run.
Marmonte League teams won't get a break once the Monestime show passes by, however. As expected, the league has produced a number of explosive backs.
Challengers for Monestime's league rushing title include Simi Valley's Tony Kerr (504 yards), Camarillo's Bill Bell (440 yards), Royal's Chad Sourbeer (440 yards) and Westlake's Noel Baker (343 yards).
Staff writers John Ortega and Tim Brown contributed to this notebook.