It is, indeed, the age of new conservatism.
Harry Welch probably doesn't run yellow traffic lights or drive 80 m.p.h., even if the fast lane is wide open. He no doubt returns library books on time, drinks bottled water, recycles newspapers and obtains licenses for his dogs each year at City Hall.
If blackjack is the game, he won't take a hit on 16.
"If you haven't seen any face cards and the dealer's showing nine, no way," Welch said.
With the storm trooper haircut and wraparound sunglasses, Welch might seem like a cross between Harry Callahan and Al Davis, but beneath the suntan and gritty voice beats the heart of a . . . \o7 librarian?\f7
Just tie, baby?
"A lot of people have misconceptions and stereotypes of people they don't know," Welch said.
After Friday's loss at Quartz Hill, type-cast Canyon downcast.
With 1 minute 11 seconds left and Canyon trailing, 14-7, the Cowboys gained only two yards on three consecutive running plays beginning at the Quartz Hill three-yard line. On fourth down, Mike Torres managed to squirm into the end zone on his second effort to cut the lead to one point.
Based on Welch's 10-year track record, most bystanders assumed that Welch would go for the two-point conversion and the victory. Instead, Welch, after watching an offensive line that had not exactly been moving around Quartz Hill bodies at will, sent in the kicking team to shoot for the tie.
But the snap from center was high and bounced off the hands of holder Chad Engbrecht. The kick never took place. Canyon (3-2-1) walked away with a head-scratching loss in its Golden League opener.
Twice in the game Welch elected not to punt on fourth-down situations and twice Canyon succeeded in gaining first-down yardage. On this occasion, Welch preferred to play the percentages.
And anyone who views Welch as a high-rolling risk-taker is just plain myopic, he insisted.
"I just didn't see it," Welch said of Canyon's chances of scoring on a two-point conversion. "It took us four shots to get into the end zone from the same spot as the conversion."
Canyon twice rallied from seven-point deficits and Welch conceded that the prospects of a tie on the road against the defending league champion sounded darned, well, acceptable.
"I thought that if we could come from behind and leave without a loss in league play, we'd be in pretty good shape," he said.
Those who expected Welch to roll the dice include Quartz Hill Coach John Albee.
"I'd have went for two to try and beat 'em," Albee said, putting himself in Welch's shoes. "Harry's always a gambler, isn't he? I was really surprised at the call."
The situation, Welch said, did not warrant aggressive play selection. "I don't have a lack of faith (in the team)," he said. "I'm being more of a realist. If we're moving the ball, we may go for it.
"I don't always go for it on fourth down. When they (the team) believe in themselves, I believe in them."
If this sounds a tad contradictory, perhaps it is because Welch also has questioned the decision.
"I'll second-guess it always," he said. "But I was just being objective about our chances."
In a similar situation five years ago, Canyon's 46-game win streak was halted at Antelope Valley when quarterback Ken Sollom's dive toward the goal line on a two-point conversion attempt came up inches short. Canyon lost, 21-20.
On-deck circle: Next up for Quartz Hill is another Golden League opponent that survived a conversion scare in the final seconds and came away with a 'W.'
As in \o7 Whew.\f7
Saugus' 14-13 win over Ridgecrest Burroughs was preserved when linebacker John Lopata tackled quarterback Todd Mather on a two-point conversion attempt with 18 seconds remaining. Lopata's mitts were definitely the wrong ones to run toward--in the spring, he is a catcher on the baseball team.
Saugus is 4-2 and has won four consecutive games for the first time in at least 10 years. First-year Coach Jack Bowman said he was told last week that Saugus won three games in succession in 1981.
Before that, nobody seems to know. Concerns are firmly rooted in the present.
"There's an attitude now that we can play with people when we keep our poise," Bowman said.
Lopata was not the only defensive player to knock the cotton out of Mather. Defensive end Chris Finicle recorded four sacks Friday and has 15 for the season.
All-American connection: If the right hand doesn't get you, then the left hand will.
Last season, tailback Terry Barnum rushed for six touchdowns as Alemany spanked Chaminade, 41-7. Receiver Richard Dice, who like Barnum this year was selected to several preseason All-American lists, did not score.
The pair combined forces Friday as Alemany (4-2) handed Chaminade its first loss, 13-3. Barnum, hobbled by a sore right ankle, threw a 35-yard halfback-option pass to Dice that gave Alemany a 7-3 lead.
"If a college is looking for a quarterback, his pass to Dice looked pretty good," Chaminade Coach Rich Lawson said.