The name is the Raiders, they train in Oxnard and they cannot settle on a quarterback, but any similarity to the NFL team ends there.
These Raiders--from Channel Islands High--are winners, having captured their first Marmonte League title since 1979.
Channel Islands (5-1, 8-1-1) defeated Westlake, 27-6, Friday night to clinch the championship with junior Vince Medina calling signals. Medina had lost his job three weeks earlier to sophomore Mark Contreras but had regained the starting nod by impressing Coach Joel Gershon in practice.
"We make an objective decision each week based upon practice performance," Gershon said. "Contreras could win the job back this week."
The quarterbacks, while not exactly bosom buddies, respect one another.
Contreras led Channel Islands to a 56-18 win at Royal three weeks ago and Medina, who had started most of the season, was not especially pleased. Contreras took a seat across the aisle from Medina for the bus ride home.
"Everybody was whooping it up and celebrating loudly," Gershon said. "But Mark was subdued. He knew what Vince was feeling and wasn't about to gloat. There was a certain dignity there that was impressive."
Spinning records: Marc Monestime of Thousand Oaks is progressing slowly but surely toward the county career rushing record. Monestime, a senior tailback, has 1,209 yards in 200 carries to give him 3,589 yards for his career. Hilria Johnson, who played quarterback at Channel Islands from 1977-79, holds the record of 3,709.
John Johnson, Hilria's brother, rushed for 241 yards in a 27-7 win over Westlake last week to break Hilria's single-game school record of 226.
Channel Islands' defensive tackle Rogers Jones, a 5-11, 205-pound senior, has a school-record 17 sacks.
Cheers for Musketeers: The Moorpark Musketeers (3-7, 3-3) won their final two Tri-Valley League games, including a 21-6 victory against St. Bonaventure last week.
"I'm proud my players were able to pull together and play well despite all the distractions we had this year," Coach Bob Noel said. "There was no animosity, no fighting on the field."
Noel's first victory against St. Bonaventure in his four years at Moorpark was unexpected by everyone but the team.
"The kids got on the bus, gave one cheer and went home," he said. "They expected to beat St. Bonaventure even if no one else did."
Dial-a-Play: At the tone, please leave your name, number and the play you want Oak Park to run this week.
It's called Dial-a-Play. Oak Park Coach Ron Veres wants to utilize the helpful suggestions he receives from parents every week.
Fans will be able to call the school's football office and suggest a play--along with a promise to donate money. They don't even have to leave their name.
Veres and his coaches will select one play to be used during that week's game. The person's name would be announced on the public address system immediately before the play is run.
"I can just hear it now," Veres said, laughing. " 'This play was conceived by Dr. Smith.' The play goes for minus-2 yards. 'Better luck next time, Doc.' "
Veres came up with Dial-a-Play two weeks ago as a joke. He stopped laughing when it was pointed out that Dial-a-Play could raise money.
"I'm sure we have several fans who would donate $5 or more just to have their play run in a football game. Or just have the opportunity to make an anonymous phone call," he said.
Moving up: The Southern Section 2-A volleyball semifinals had a familiar look to Marmonte League fans. Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and Royal all made the semifinals, and Thousand Oaks (20-1) defeated Newbury Park in four games in the final for its second consecutive 2-A title.
The Marmonte League may have dominated the 2-A for the last time, however. "I'm certain the league will be moved up to the 3-A next season," Royal Coach Steve Snyder said. "We're just too dominant in the 2-A."
San Gabriel won the 3-A title Saturday last week over Agoura in four games after defeating Nordhoff in three games in a semifinal match. Nordhoff was the defending state Division II and Southern Section 3-A champions.
JC Watch: Ventura College completed its first winless season since 1961 after losing to Bakersfield, 56-30, Saturday in a Western State Conference game. The Pirates finished 0-9 overall and 0-6 in conference play.
Despite the dismal season, Ventura Coach Phil Passno is optimistic about next year. Several of the best Pirate players were freshmen.
Quarterback Juan Moreno, a freshman who passed for 1,001 yards in three late-season starts, is a bright spot as is the freshmen receiving tandem of Robert Worsley (24 catches) and Dwayne Strayhorn (21 catches).
"We've got nowhere to go but up," Passno said. "Moreno, the receivers, fullback Greg Benjamin and three of our offensive linemen will be back.
"Our team morale during the year was good. We didn't have people leaving the program. It was the kind of a situation where if kids can stick through this adversity, they must be pretty tough."
Where Ventura needs the most improvement is on defense. The Pirates allowed 410 yards per game, one of the worst totals in the state.
"We need some athletes who can really run and chase people down," Passno said. "We need to re-establish ourselves on defense."