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PREP FOOTBALL : Season Openers Bring Surprises Amid Business as Usual

September 12, 1993|BARBIE LUDOVISE | Barbie Ludovise's column appears Wednesday, Friday and Sunday

Frogs, smog and fajitas.

The password at L.A.'s coolest nightclub?

A really weird personal ad?

Nope, just a hint of what's in store for the 1993 high school football season. Observations are as follows . . .

* Los Alamitos.

Three days ago, Coach John Barnes was sitting in the Los Al teachers' lounge, smiling like a baby after a big burp. Now, after a 37-0 victory over Long Beach Jordan, we know why:

The Griffins, winners of two consecutive Southern Section titles, are even better than originally hyped.

Some believed Barnes was a candidate for depression because that ace quarterback--what was his name?--graduated and ran off to Stanford. Truth is, Barnes' pained expression during the summer had nothing to do with football. It had to do with golf--a seven-iron to the face, to be exact. Seems Barnes' son was practicing his swing one day and . . . whack . Dad's face suddenly required 13 stitches.

Barnes laughs about it now, just as he does about the motto he wears on his T-shirt: "Threeee-peat," it says.

After Thursday night's victory, wouldn't "Tim Who?" be better?

* Tustin.

Like Jay Leno, Tim Ellis--Tustin's rookie coach--is in the unenviable position of replacing a legend. Unlike Leno, Ellis so far has earned a unanimous thumbs up.

Being 2-0 helps, of course. Especially when one of the victories is a 14-O victory over longtime rival Foothill, a tenacious performance former Tiller Coach Marijon Ancich would have loved.

Ellis says the Tillers made the transition well. The idea, Ellis says, was "not to bury Marijon, but to move on."

Ancich, now at St. Paul in Santa Fe Springs, will be happy to hear it. On the same night Tustin buried Foothill, Ancich's team was burying Bishop Montgomery, 39-0.

* Jason Reynolds.

A junior high school friend and I used to debate which would be the worst torture imaginable. She insisted there would be nothing worse than being blindfolded and locked in a room full of severed body parts. I argued it would be far more torturous to be tossed in a swimming pool filled completely with frogs.

After watching Tustin linebacker/fullback Jason Reynolds in action Friday night, I'm starting to think the swimming pool wouldn't be so bad.

All you sideline Walter Mittys? Reynolds is your remedy. Watch this young man play and you'll never again be tempted to play football. He is a 245-pound bulldozer, a tidal wave in cleats. On one tackle, he tossed tailback Tramel Robinson--all 160 pounds of him--like a tiger would a cat toy.

Foothill running back Ethan Taub got up after every Reynolds hit, which was impressive indeed. Don't pat him on the back yet though. He's probably too sore.

* Santa Ana Valley.

A year ago, the Falcons were trying to figure a way out of the county's longest losing streak of 13 games. A month ago, with the sudden resignation of Scott Strosnider, they were trying to find a head coach.

Now they have a new coach (Scott Orloff) and a season-opening victory (21-14 over University) to boost their spirits.

And what of that dark cloud hanging over the school?

Turns out to be plain, ol' smog.

* Gary Meek.

It was Wednesday afternoon, three days before his team's game against Irvine, and Meek, the Esperanza coach, was looking pooped.

The broiling heat was partly to blame, as perhaps was a long summer of football and the fact that Meek's double-bypass surgery was less than four months ago.

Asked if he had any observations on the season, Meek merely shrugged. It wasn't until a visitor turned to leave that Meek perked up and said:

"Next time," he said, "bring me a steak fajita sandwich."

* Mater Dei.

A 21-0 shutout over Servite? Nothing personal, Monarchs, but this is getting to be a yawner. Once again, you have a talented quarterback, a tailback who tears apart the field, a defense that doesn't let up, fans who never sit down, the world's best marching band . . .

Do us a favor and try something different. Tie-dye your uniforms. Wear bunny ears. Throw an eggplant instead of a football. Scrap those chalk talks at halftime--play "Duck, Duck, Goose" instead.

Put Jell-O in your helmets. Speak Swahili in the huddle. Do step aerobics in the end zone. Quote Kerouac on third and long.

No? Well then, wake us up when you get to the Big A.

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