At which point in a football game--a Southern Section playoff game, to be specific--should a coach call off the dogs? At which point is the game won?
"We don't pull our first string out of the game unless we have the game in the bag," Burroughs Coach Butch McElwee said. "And I don't think we have the game in the bag until we're 35 points up."
Last week, in Burroughs' Northwestern Conference quarterfinal-round game against La Canada, McElwee settled for 30. But he was criticized by La Canada Coach Nic Larez.
"They had their first string in there with four minutes to go and they were still throwing the ball," Larez said. "I'm just not appreciative of his style. He has a different view of when the game is over."
Not until Burroughs held a 37-7 lead with two minutes to play did McElwee replace his starters.
Larez, however, labeled Burroughs "classless" and refused to shake McElwee's hand after the game.
"When you get your butt kicked as bad as we did, it sounds like sour grapes," Larez said. "Let's just put it this way: I would have rested some of the guys a lot earlier."
Larez said he considered the game to be over midway through the third quarter when Burroughs recorded a safety to extend its lead to 23-7. But the Indians went for more, including a 76-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jeff Barrett to tight end Jason Teitel for their final score early in the fourth quarter.
"Why not stay in?" Barrett said. "It's almost my last game in high school. And it wasn't a bomb bomb. It was just an ordinary throw and three defenders collided. Jason just ran all the way for a touchdown. It was, maybe, a 20-yard pass at the most."
It was Barrett who most angered Larez.
"He was taunting us," Larez said. "We were doing the best we could and when one of our kids would tackle him he would kind of smirk at us.
"It permeates the entire program."
Barrett denied taunting.
"For some reason they were being real jerks and twisting my head and stuff," Barrett said. "I just got up real fast. It's like Walter Payton once said, when a defender takes a hard shot at you and you pop back up, it makes him think 'Wow! He's not hurt.' "
Barrett pointed out that he attempted only 12 passes, 9 of which he completed for 202 yards and a touchdown. McElwee also argued that Burroughs wasn't pouring it on.
"I was really surprised to hear Nic say that," McElwee said. "I don't think 37-7 is running it up. This is the playoffs. I have a job to do and that is to win football games. If they don't like it, tough."
Running back rerun: When Crespi defeated Servite, 45-38, in Friday's Big Five Conference playoff game, it marked the first time the schools had ever played on the football field.
But at least one player thought it might happen again--and soon.
"We'll see them again next year," Servite running back Derek Brown said after the game.
Brown hooked up with Crespi's Russell White in a duel between two of the state's best running backs. White finished with 251 yards and four touchdowns and Brown had 216 and four touchdowns. Both are juniors.
After the game, a Servite assistant consoled Brown and told him he was better than White. At times, Brown was; in one stretch that spanned the second through fourth quarters, Brown scored four times in eight carries on runs of 9, 39, 53 and 46 yards.
"It came down to the best," Brown said. "It'll be the same thing next year."
Grade check: Taft Coach Tom Stevenson breathed a sigh of relief after the City Section's 10-week progress reports came out last week.
Taft (7-2), which plays host to San Pedro in the first round of the City 3-A playoffs Friday, lost only one starter, wide receiver Uda Walker, to academic ineligibility.
"Our junior varsity team was pretty hard-hit," Stevenson said. "But our varsity kids did pretty well."
Walker, a senior, had five catches for 83 yards this season.
So, you're my teammate: Last Wednesday was the first practice of the semester in which all of North Hollywood's basketball players were able to suit up and practice.
"It's incredible," Coach Steve Miller said in exasperation.
The Huskies, expected to be one of the top City 3-A teams this year, have been plagued by numerous minor injuries.
All-City forward Dominic Nappi suffered a severe ankle sprain on the first day of practice and missed three weeks of practice.
Alan Breslauer, a 6-3 senior guard, missed two weeks because of tendinitis. Guard Duane Braxton was out three days because of a sprained ankle.
Another player was injured but didn't miss any practice time; senior guard Danny Klein's eye glasses shattered and cut his face during an alumni basketball game.
"I'm glad it wasn't the league when this happened," Miller said. "I'm glad we can work it out now. You never know when you'll get injuries, you just hope they never occur."
Last year, North Hollywood had no major injuries and won the East Valley League title before falling to Granada Hills--the eventual 3-A champion--in the playoffs.
Miller said if the team is going to repeat, it needs to avoid any more visits to the doctor.
"That's the way it has to be. If it doesn't happen, it's going to be hard," Miller said.
Staff writers Steve Elling and Chris J. Parker contributed to this notebook.
VALLEY BASKETBALL TOP 10
Selected by sportswriters of The Times
Last 1986-87 Rk Yr Team League Record 1 3 Simi Valley Marmonte 26-2 2 1 Cleveland Valley 20-4 3 7 Taft Valley 15-7 4 NR North Hollywood East Valley 15-7 5 10 San Fernando Northwest 15-9 6 8 Kennedy Valley 13-8 7 4 Westlake Marmonte 21-8 8 NR Notre Dame Del Rey 8-13 9 NR El Camino Real Valley 8-14 10 NR Van Nuys East Valley 8-11