With Times All-Valley nose guard Kyle Cummings sidelined because of a nagging ankle injury, Crespi used some new faces to shore up the position in Friday's 38-32 win over Riverside Poly.
The Celts used five different players to try to stop Poly's ground attack, specifically fullback John Gumpf, who rushed for a team-high 108 yards in 23 carries.
Cummings' replacements were all underclassmen, which is nothing new--Crespi starts eight underclassmen on defense.
"It's great for experience, but other than that, I don't think it's necessarily a good thing," Crespi Coach Bill Redell said.
Ever since the Celts' 38-14 win over Alemany four weeks ago, Crespi has used two underclassmen on the defensive line, three at linebacker and three at defensive back.
Because of injuries to other starters, Redell has been forced to insert inexperienced players. Crespi lost safety John Goetz, a senior, to a shoulder injury two weeks ago. Cornerback-quarterback Rob O'Byrne broke his right arm in the Alemany game.
In the win over Poly, Redell used six sophomores on defense, four of whom were playing in their first varsity game.
"That's one of the drawbacks of being at a school with 500 students," he said.
Ineligible?: Cleveland Principal Ida May Windham is expected to rule today on the appeal of basketball player Michael Gray, who might be academically ineligible for the first 10 weeks of the season because he failed a government class. City Section rules mandate that for students to participate in extracurricular activities they maintain a C average with no failing grades. Gray, a 6-0 senior guard, signed a letter of intent with Long Beach State during the early signing period this month. He averaged 13 points a game last season for Cleveland, which was 20-4 and advanced to the City Section 4-A Division final. Gray, an excellent outside shooter, was expected to benefit from the three-point rule, which goes into effect this season.
Gray seems resigned to an unfavorable ruling, setting his sights toward rejoining the team in January.
"It's hard to just accept," he said Tuesday. "You've got to pick your head up. When you're trying to make something of yourself, there are a lot of obstacles. I let one get in my way."
That's the way it is: Canoga Park Coach Rudy Lugo was disappointed but philosophical after the Hunters lost a tiebreaker to Locke at Fairfax High on Monday.
The win gave Locke (6-3) the final berth in the City 3-A Division playoffs that begin Dec. 4. Canoga Park finished the season with a 6-3 record.
In the tiebreaker format, the teams start at the 50-yard line and alternate plays until each team has run a total of eight. The team that scores the most points or penetrates the farthest into the opposition's territory wins.
"You can't help but walk away from something like that unhappy," Lugo said of the tiebreaking format. "No coach wants to be in a situation where winner takes all after 16 plays.
"But we have no one to blame but ourselves. That's the way it is and we have to live with it."
At the end of 16 plays, the ball was on Canoga Park's 30-yard line, giving Locke the victory.
So long, single-wing: It looks like Harvard's single-wing offense will last no longer than a single season. After the Saracens were eliminated by Bloomington, 39-13, in the first round of the Desert-Mountain Conference playoffs, Coach Gary Thran considered scrapping the old-fashioned offense and getting a good old-fashioned quarterback for next season.
"We've got a pretty solid kid--Scott Collins--coming up from the sophomore team who we think is going to come around at quarterback," Thran said. "I really feel we're going to go back to the conventional offense."
Tailback Marty Holly, the pilot of the single-wing, rushed for 1,169 yards and 15 touchdowns but passed for only 318 yards and a touchdown. Holly also got clobbered, running the ball on nearly every down. But the junior would just as soon wing it again next season.
"This year was really an experiment," Holly said. "But it was fairly successful. We moved the ball well. My body took a beating this season, but, yeah, I'd want to do it again."
Basketball: In his team's scrimmage Tuesday against Marmonte League champion Simi Valley, Saugus Coach John Clark planned to play his new center, Justin Scott, against Simi Valley's talented 6-10 center Don MacLean. Scott, a 6-7 transfer from Washington state, is Saugus' tallest player since 1980.
Actually, Scott was the Centurions' tallest player. He won't be suiting up against Simi Valley--or anyone else this season. Scott was declared ineligible last week by the Southern Section office because he already has attended eight semesters of high school.
"He's only played two years of high school basketball and only one year on varsity," said Clark, who coached the Centurions to their first 3-A championship last year after entering the playoffs as a wild-card team. "He's a 17-year-old senior and he's right where he's supposed to be."