Santa Paula High coaches are still upset about the events surrounding the removal of Freddie Torrez from Saturday's 35-21 loss to Santa Clara.
The controversy began because Dr. Michael Huff removed Torrez from the game because he felt the player was in danger of rupturing his spleen.
Santa Paula coaches were unaware that Huff was the game physician and questioned his authority to remove Torrez.
Torrez, who starts at outside linebacker and fullback, had complained about pain in his side after getting hit numerous times during the first half. Torres, however, did not believe he had suffered a serious injury.
"Some guy comes running out on the field and says Torrez has to come out," Santa Paula Coach Mike Tsoutsouvas said. "I told him he's not hurt. The guy goes crazy and starts yelling at us that he's the game doctor. We don't even know who he is. He was wearing a Santa Clara jacket and he never identified himself."
Tsoutsouvas said he had his player examined by another doctor before Torrez was allowed to continue to play in the second half.
Huff, who works as a family physician in Oxnard, said he didn't see Torrez get hurt in the first half, but was asked for advice about the player's condition. Huff said he later witnessed Torrez get hit a half-dozen more times in the side during the second half and felt that Torrez could have been suffering from a ruptured spleen.
"By the way he was grabbing his side, I had reason to believe that if he played further, he could suffer a significant injury," Huff said. "I also felt that it was possible that nothing was wrong. But it wasn't worth the risk. He was taken out of the game at my request."
Huff admitted, however, he should have handled the situation in a more professional manner. "The situation was handled poorly for a number of reasons," he said. "There was a failure to communicate between me and their coaching staff. It was 100% my fault."
Add Torrez: The Santa Paula starter is healthy enough to play, but will not be in the lineup for tonight's finale against Calabasas.
Torrez was suspended from school for a week by Santa Paula administrators because he cursed at Huff and slammed his helmet into the ground after being removed from Saturday's game.
Torrez has a 3.2 grade-point average and an excellent attendance record, according to Santa Paula athletic director Henry Jacinto.
Add suspensions: Also, four Santa Paula players were suspended before the Santa Clara game because of disciplinary reasons.
They are kicker Juan Carlos Rodriguez, fullback Jamie Jimenez, defensive tackle Richard Polcori and tight end Gabriel Alcantar. None will play this week.
Ups and downs: For lessons in the importance of maintaining quality football teams at the freshman and sophomore levels, look no further than Hueneme and Fillmore highs. Not only do players become acquainted with the philosophies of their varsity coaches, but they also develop an attitude toward winning and losing.
Hueneme (0-9 overall, 0-6 in the Channel League), for example, may suffer their first winless season under Coach George Machado. That team is composed of seniors who also failed to win a game at the freshman and sophomore levels.
"It's like the old story about the circus elephant," Machado said. "You teach a baby elephant not to run away by tying a heavy chain from his leg to a stake. What happens after a short time is the elephant stops pulling on the chain.
"That's why you see an older elephant tied to a stake with a thin rope. It doesn't want to make the effort.
"I thought we had as much talent as Dos Pueblos and San Marcos. But they traditionally win and play well as a team. We didn't have the intestinal fortitude to pull the rope. We were afraid to take the extra step to become a good team."
Fillmore (9-0, 4-0) has become the upstart of the Tri-Valley League and the Flashes believe they has can knock perennial league champion Carpinteria from its perch tonight.
The juniors on Fillmore have never lost a Tri-Valley League game at any level.
"To the kids, Carpinteria is no big mystical entity that we have to worry about," Fillmore Coach Curtis Garner said. "They have beaten them as freshman and sophomores and they see no reason why they can't beat them as juniors. I think their confidence has rubbed off on the seniors."
Add Fillmore: Quarterback/safety Chad Van Winkle, who missed two games with torn ligaments in his right (throwing) thumb, will start on defense and be used in a reserve role on offense.
Art Sosa, who started the season at wide receiver, has been the quarterback the past two weeks. Garner is reluctant to make any changes. Sosa, more of a running threat than a passer, has 11 completions in 33 attempts for 141 yards and three touchdowns.
"I think we're getting the job done with Sosa as quarterback," Garner said. "Van Winkle did a great job for us earlier this season, but I hate to make a change when we're winning."
In six starts, Van Winkle has completed 37 of 70 passes for 531 yards and four touchdowns.
Young leader: St. Bonaventure sophomore Peter Houston made his season debut at quarterback against Fillmore after injuries sidelined senior Chris Conley (separated shoulder) and junior Jeff Hicks (torn ligaments in his right knee).
Houston completed five of 10 passes for 30 yards with one interception.
"I thought he did a real good for a sophomore playing against one of toughest defenses around," Coach Damian Wilkerson said.
Water polo: Ventura High finished in a tie with Dos Pueblos for the Channel League title with a 9-1 record and is ranked fifth in the final 2-A poll.
Ventura will open the playoffs Thursday against the winner of Tuesday's Temple City-Pasadena Poly wild-card match. Buena, which finished third in league play at 6-4, travels to Cabrillo today.