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Coach Well Prepared--for Loss, Not Victory

September 16, 1993

San Clemente water polo Coach Steve Yancey was prepared for the worst when his team opened the season Tuesday against Foothill, ranked third in the preseason Orange County poll.

So he wasn't prepared for the result, a 10-3 San Clemente victory.

"I was shocked," Yancey said. "I was expecting the same exact score, but the other way because offensively we're not a very potent team."

Phinney Gardner and Jon Hewko each scored four goals for the Tritons, ranked fifth in the county. Goalkeeper Gabe Gardner had 15 saves, including a block of a four-meter penalty shot.

Artie Tovar, a walk-on coach who guided the Estancia High School wrestling team last season, will not return because of time commitments to a new job, Eagle Athletic Director Ed Blanton said. Blanton said those interested in replacing Tovar, a former Estancia wrestler, should contact him at 760-3375.

John Selbe, who stepped down as head coach at Cypress after seven seasons, still walks the Centurions' sideline during football games as an assistant coach. Usually, his wife, Denise, also watches from the sideline. But during Thursday night's game against Kennedy, which the Fighting Irish won, 36-6, Denise was on the opposite sideline.

She was recently promoted to assistant principal at Kennedy after being a teacher and coach at Cypress the last four years. "John and I had fun with this all week," said Denise, a 1982 Cypress graduate.

Said John: "We did exchange some strange looks with each other the last few days, but Denise worked hard for this position and I'm proud of her."

It isn't surprising to see a Finneran leading the county in receiving after Week 1, but it's Brad, not Brian. Brad caught 11 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown in Santa Margarita's 35-32 victory over Bellflower St. John Bosco Friday night. Brian, the county's leading receiver a year ago, caught two for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Lost amid Esperanza's defensive collapse Saturday was the performance of linebacker Jim Stewart. He had two sacks and an interception, but the Aztecs lost to Irvine, 35-17. Stewart, who had 10 sacks last season, was as intimidating to look at as he was to play against. Both eyes were blackened, giving him a zombie-like appearance. Stewart also let loose several primal screams on the sideline.

Denis Dawson is the equivalent of a home run hitter for Loara. Dawson rushed 18 times for 211 yards in the Saxons' 20-14 victory over Western Friday, helping Loara to end an 11-game losing streak. But when Dawson wasn't breaking a long run, he was being held in check. He had carries of 94, 44, 21 and 14 yards (for 173 yards--a 43.3-yard average). Other than that, he carried 13 times for 35 yards--a 2.7 average. Dawson also had a 93-yard kickoff return.

Even though they were shut out, 19-0, Friday night by Mammoth Lakes Mammoth, Southern California Christian Coach Bert Esposito felt the Flames played a lot better than the score indicated, particularly on defense.

"We've got some good things that came out of this," Esposito said, singling out the play of linebacker Paul Cancino, a 5-foot-8, 230-pound senior--one of only four on the 15-player varsity roster.

"He earned a steak and lobster dinner," said Esposito, noting a hit Cancino made late in the game that sent the Mammoth player's helmet flying about five yards downfield.

Ready, aim, fire: Canyon has a quarterback named Gunnar Strunz. The Comanches' offense is the run-and-shoot.

Two teams opened the season with kickoff returns for touchdowns, but it didn't help either one win. Nick Ruzzi opened Troy's season with an 86-yard score in a 27-17 loss to Rancho Alamitos. Art Bell's 82-yard score gave Orange the early lead in a 17-13 loss to Newport Harbor.

Although Newport Harbor beat Orange, 17-13, to win its fifth consecutive opener Thursday night, Coach Jeff Brinkley was less than enthused with several aspects of his team's victory, including the coaching staff's inability to get players on and off the field in an efficient manner to keep his six two-way players rested. The Sailors had problems with penalties and players cramping. And in the end, Orange had a chance to beat Newport Harbor with one final drive.

"We weren't very prepared; that's not our style," Brinkley said. "We've never played that bad in a first game. . . . (The coaching staff) felt if we didn't beat ourselves, we should be in good shape. It almost turned into the nightmare we were afraid of. We controlled the game but couldn't put them away."

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