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NOTEBOOK : Occidental's Tucker Agrees to Deal With Rams

May 02, 1991|GARY KLEIN

Pete Tucker was disappointed that he was not selected in the NFL draft, but the offensive lineman from Occidental College believes it might have worked out for the best.

Tucker, a 6-4 1/2, 280-pound tackle from Huntington Beach, signed a free-agent contract with the Rams last week and will attend a mini-camp at the team's training facility this weekend.

Tucker said the Rams were in contact with him throughout the draft. He was signed after a workout with Ram assistant Hudson Houck, who emphasized to Tucker the team's need for young linemen.

"The Rams have three offensive linemen who are 33 or older," said Tucker, a Division III All-American last season. "Coach Houck was being real long range and talked about how they were looking for someone who could develop.

"If a team needed a player to step in right away, I honestly don't know if I'd be ready. But this is the best situation for me."

Tucker credits Occidental Coach Dale Widolff for initiating the move that changed Tucker from a linebacker to an offensive lineman after his sophomore season.

"If I were still playing linebacker," he said, "I wouldn't have had a chance."

Ouch: Eagle Rock High has not won a City Section football playoff game in 27 years.

Last season, the Eagles finished 6-3 overall, losing to Garfield in the first round of the 3-A Division playoffs.

Their reward?

Well, thanks to the City Section, it could be a possible suicidal meeting in the playoffs with perennial 4-A powers Carson or Banning.

In the latest confounding move by the City Section, schools were divided into 3-A and 4-A divisions for the playoffs based not on their tradition or average record, but solely on their 1990 performance.

Eagle Rock, therefore, was moved to the 4-A while other Glendale-area City Section teams Franklin, Verdugo Hills and Marshall remain in the 3-A.

"The philosophy is stupid," said Mike Lomen, who has been athletic director at Eagle Rock for 10 years. "A school like ours has a good team once every six or seven years."

Lomen said Eagle Rock will continue to play a schedule of 3-A opponents in the Northern Conference before the playoffs.

"You're never going to have a situation where everyone is happy, but there has to be a more equitable way to do this," Lomen said. "The best thing might be to put everyone in one division and let them play for one championship."

Where they are now: Former St. Francis High catcher Greg Zaun opened the minor league season with Kane County, the Baltimore Orioles' affiliate in the Class-A Midwest League.

Former Glendale College pitcher Wally Ritchie has been assigned to Scranton Wilkes-Barre, the Philadelphia Phillies triple-A affiliate in the International League.

A tragedy: John Hangartner, who was the 1954 Southern Section major-division football player of the year at Hoover High, died last Thursday in an automobile accident in Santa Fe Springs.

Hangartner, 54, played quarterback at Hoover and at Arizona State.

Hangartner coached football in Orange County for 22 years at Kennedy and Magnolia high schools. He retired from coaching in 1987 and was working as a counselor at a continuation school in Buena Park.

Runner-up: The Glendale College men's track team finished second last week at the Western State Conference championships at Santa Barbara City College.

Bakersfield College won the meet with 226 points followed by Glendale (163 1/2).

Hugo Allan Garcia of Glendale won the 5,000 meters in 15 minutes 23 seconds and the 10,000 meters in 32:35.

What's in a name: Crescenta Valley High Coach Tony Zarrillo had no doubts that freshman David Fielder had the ability to play on the varsity.

The question was where.

Fielder began the season as a reserve, then played left field before moving to right field and catcher. His latest destination is third base and it is likely to be his last stop.

"In his case, it was trying to find the best way to use him," Zarrillo said. "We think we finally found his place. He's staying at third for the rest of the season. He's the missing link to the infield. There are certain things he does you teach and coach. He does them naturally."

He is not too bad at the plate either. Fielder was three for three, driving in three runs and scored three times in a win over Glendale last week.

Staff writer Kirby Lee contributed to this notebook.

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