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September 16, 1993|PAUL McLEOD


The turnover game continues for high school football teams this fall. Fifteen of 37 Southeast and Long Beach area schools have new coaches, continuing a trend that has remained fairly constant for more than a decade.

Many coaches cite poor working conditions, low wages and long hours as some of the reasons for not staying on jobs longer.

"Some of the guys get burned out, others use the job to move on to better ones," said Whittier High Coach Mike Fitch, a six-year veteran.

Fitch said constant changes create turmoil in some programs.

"If you've had two coaches in four years," he said, "those poor quarterbacks have to learn a new system again and again. That's tough."

St. Anthony's Dave Radford has been a coach at three Long Beach schools over the last 25 years. He said many coaches enter the profession with the lone purpose of teaching students how to play football. In reality, though, teaching is just a small part of the job.

"As a head coach you get tired of doing everything but football," he said. "Coaches have to deal with getting assistants certified, the budget, fund raising, player eligibility. It's a lot like having a real job."

Radford said schools that retain the same staff for long periods of time generally provide more support to help coaches spend more time coaching and less time dealing with distractions. He credits officials at those schools for setting priorities appropriately.

"Some administrators want to win on Friday night, but from Monday to Thursday they're thinking about other things," he said.

Consistency helps build stable programs.

"At least in my situation," Fitch said, "even if the kids don't like you, they know things are going to remain the same each year, that you will be there every day and they won't have to deal with too much change."


It was a rough opener last week for the area's new coaches. Only four won games. One of those was Marijon Ancich, whose return to St. Paul High in Santa Fe Springs was marked by a 39-0 rout of Bishop Montgomery of Torrance.

Ancich coached the Swordsmen for 20 years, then left for the college ranks in 1981. He has never lost an opener at St. Paul.


Former Downey Vikings Coach Phil Dunaway had a rude awakening in his first game as coach at Lakewood. Peninsula High of Rolling Hills Estates scored on two of its first three possessions and rolled to a 20-8 victory. The Lancers' lone highlight was a 19-yard scoring pass from Marquis Nave to Kevin Quijano late in the second quarter. Lakewood had a minus-11 yards rushing.

Dunaway was appointed Lancer coach less than two months ago when Mark Rose resigned to take a teaching job in Santa Maria.


Huntington Beach High was all set to host Downey last Thursday in a season opener. But Downey officials thought the game was to be played on Friday. By the time the mistake was discovered, the Vikings could not make the 7:30 p.m. start. The game was rescheduled for Saturday, and Huntington Beach, one of the top teams in Orange County, defeated the Vikings, 28-12, to spoil the debut of first-year Coach Grant Warhurst.

Note to Downey officials: Your game this week, according to the schedule you supplied to the CIF Southern Section office, is at home Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Schurr.


Termites, dry rot, splinters. The bleachers at Clark Avenue Field in Long Beach were in such disarray earlier this summer that St. Anthony High officials faced a dilemma: Either spend money to fix them or dole out even more money to rent a stadium for the Saints to play in this season.

It did not take much thought on the part of the school football booster club. With the football team providing the labor, Clark Avenue Field looked like new when the Saints played Valley Christian on Friday. It took two weekends to refurbish the 2,000-seat stadium, which is just south of Del Amo Boulevard, and cost about $10,000 in materials, according to Coach Dave Radford.

"We gave up a couple of practices to work at the stadium," Radford said. "We had crews working from 6 in the morning until 10 at night."

Some supplies were donated and others were bought, Radford said, but much of the money to rebuild the stadium was raised by the players through candy sales. Booster club members Jim Davis and Tom Walsh coordinated the effort.

The Saints celebrated the stadium, but not the game--Valley Christian won, 20-15.


When Poly plays host to Banning High of Wilmington at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Veterans Stadium, it will afford fans one of the few opportunities this season to see an intersectional game.

California is divided into 10 autonomous geographic zones. The Southern Section, which includes the Southeast/Long Beach area, is the state's largest with more than 500 schools. Yet the debate has been raging for years about which of the three sections in Southern California--Southern, City or San Diego--is strongest.

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