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Fall Notebook / Sean Waters : Not Much Separating Camarillo, Rio Mesa

September 22, 1988|Sean Waters

It seems appropriate that 2 high schools whose boundaries are separated by 1 city block should have a game decided by a foot.

Ernest Rittenhouse kicked 3 field goals, including a deciding 20-yarder, as Camarillo edged cross-town rival Rio Mesa, 9-7, last Friday.

Rittenhouse also had field goals of 27 and 42 yards.

Rio Mesa had a chance to win with 49 seconds left, but Matt Zarit's 39-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide to the left.

It was the 14th meeting between the schools and the 8th time Camarillo inched away the winner.

"We played well defensively," Rio Mesa Coach John Reardon said. "They didn't score a touchdown, but they definitely beat us."

To say these games have been close is an understatement. Seven times the game has been decided by less than a touchdown.

"It seems like the game always comes down to last 2 minutes of the fourth quarter," Camarillo Coach Carl Thompson said. "Whoever gets the ball last wins it."

Last season, Camarillo's Gil Valencia intercepted a pass with 39 seconds left to preserve a 33-27 victory. Quarterback Donald Dodson ran 23 yards for the winning touchdown with 1:35 to play.

In 1986, Chris Davidson ran a reverse 31 yards for the winning touchdown with 2:04 left to give Rio Mesa a 19-15 win. Camarillo had a chance to win in the final minute, but an interception by sophomore Geoff Freedman ended the threat.

Freedman jinx: Reardon has an interesting way of describing Freedman, a senior running back who has sustained injuries in each of the past three seasons. Freedman had a calf injury last Wednesday in practice and could be out for the season.

Said Reardon: "I call him a tight-skinned kid. His skin is really tight. His skin is so tight to his bones and his muscle fiber that he gets injured a lot. Of course, that's just a theory."

Add injuries: Three Camarillo players were also knocked out of the game, but quarterback Wes Nathaniel (bruised knee), flanker Tim Cornish (mild concussion) and fullback Greg Exler (bruised shoulder) are expected back in the lineup Friday against Hueneme.

Ventura tailback Chris Lambert, a transfer from Dos Pueblos, has a hairline fracture in the tibia of his left leg and will be out 2 to 4 weeks.

Newbury Park quarterback Wayne Cook has a hairline fracture at the base of his right thumb and will be out at least 2 weeks.

All-Frontier League inside linebacker Matt Pearson of Santa Clara tore ligaments in his right knee and will be out at least 2 weeks.

Westlake fullback Keith Burke bruised his shoulder and will be doubtful for Thursday's game at Ventura.

Better than Barry's bone: Coach Jack Davis joked that he and his son, assistant coach Joe Davis, run a better wishbone offense than Coach Barry Switzer and the Oklahoma Sooners.

"We've lost fewer fumbles, scored more points and we don't pay our players," Davis quipped. "We must be better coaches."

OK, so Davis likes to exaggerate a little, but he does have a right to be proud of the wishbone he implemented this season.

In its first 2 games, Oxnard has beaten Camarillo, 41-23, and Westlake, 26-0. The Yellowjackets lead the county with 806 total yards and have lost only 2 fumbles.

Davis bought training films from the University of Texas and the Air Force Academy to learn how to run the wishbone and studied them during the summer.

He gave himself only 3 weeks to teach the new offense to the Yellowjackets. He doesn't believe in running spring football practices or competing in summer passing leagues. "I still believe kids go to school for an education, not to practice football," he said.

Winning records: When Oxnard plays host to Channel Islands on Friday night, 2 of the winningest active coaches will be on the field at the same time. Davis (160-106-11) ranks eighth among Southern Section coaches and Joel Gershon (103-53-3) is tied for 21st.

Answer man: St. Bonaventure coach Damian Wilkerson likes to chide his assistant coaches, who are Washington Redskin fans, with this telephone message: "Hello. Damian Wilkerson here. I can't answer the phone right now. I'm discussing football strategy with Tom Landry for this coming season. Please leave your name, number and a message. I will get back to you as soon as I can."

That must be one sad conversation after last week's games. Santa Paula beat St. Bonaventure, 28-3, and the New York Giants beat the Cowboys, 15-12. "We have something in common," Wilkerson said. "Neither the Cowboys nor the Seraphs have a quarterback who is throwing the ball well."

Passing exhibition: St. Bonaventure held Santa Paula quarterback Rick Carpenter to 5 completions in 18 attempts for 71 yards and no touchdowns in the first half. But Carpenter came back in the second half to complete 14 of 18 passes for 252 yards and 4 touchdowns.

"It was like we had a different secondary in the second half," Wilkerson said. "The defensive backs were way too loose because they were afraid to get beat deep."

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