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No Guts, No Glory for Coaches

October 02, 1994|STEVE HENSON

The decision is made in a matter of seconds, but it must be lived with for an entire week.

It's fourth down or a game's last play, deep in opponents' territory. Go for it, or try to kick a field goal?

The call is made and the players try to execute it. The gun sounds and the coach either is labeled a genius or a dolt, no in-between. Dolts are in good company. Form a line behind Don Shula and Art Shell.

Trailing by three points last week, Shula's Miami Dolphins go for it on fourth and goal from Minnesota's 10-yard line with less than three minutes to play and fail. The Vikings win, 38-35.

Trailing, 20-3, late in the first half, Shell's Raiders go for it on fourth and three at the San Diego Chargers' six-yard line. A running play comes up short as eventually do the Raiders, 26-24.

Next up would be Kennedy High's Bob Francola. His team trailed, 7-6, and faced fourth and five at the Granada Hills six-yard line with five minutes to play Friday night. Francola sent in a kicker who had missed seven of eight extra-point attempts to try a 22-yard field goal.

The kick ended up closer to the concession stand than the goal posts. Kennedy lost, and Francola was left muttering about recruiting a kicker from the soccer team.

Equally doltish was a call made by Birmingham's Chick Epstein with 16 seconds to play in the first half and his team on Taft's four-yard line. Epstein elected to run the ball. The play was stopped and Taft took a 10-0 lead into the locker room.

Epstein didn't have to be Einstein to figure out that a field goal would have been preferable: Birmingham lost, 17-15.

Geniuses, line up behind Bobby Ross, coach of the Chargers.

Trailing by two with two minutes to play last week, the Chargers faced fourth and one at the Raiders' 24. Ross risked a permanent place in the dolt hall of fame by going for it. Stan Humphries passed to Ronnie Harmon for eight yards and moments later John Carney kicked the winning field goal.

Newbury Park Coach George Hurley, take a bow for sticking with kicker Chrissy Sanford, despite her failed extra-point attempt earlier in the game.

With Newbury Park trailing Agoura, 13-12, Sanford gave the Panthers a 15-13 victory with her first field goal on the last play of the game.

Also basking in brilliance is Roger McCamy of Simi Valley.

Holding a 6-0 lead in the third quarter, the Pioneers faced fourth and four from Camarillo's eight. McCamy kept Tim Wolleck, perhaps the area's best kicker, on the sidelines and went for it.

Tim Bennett threw a five-yard pass to Chris Azzinaro for a first down. Azzinaro scored a couple of plays later and Simi Valley eventually won, 20-14.

Of course, had the plays called by Francola and Epstein been executed successfully, they'd be candidates for MENSA along with Hurley and McCamy.

Maybe next week. Nobody can go from dolt to genius faster than a football coach.

Or vice versa.


Fair and square: With five players suspended for roughhousing a junior varsity player, Montclair Prep lost to Kilpatrick, 26-14, for the first time in five meetings between the schools.

Sheer coincidence, said Montclair Prep Coach George Giannini. "Kilpatrick is a good team and would have beaten us even if those kids had played," Giannini said. The suspended players will be reinstated this week, he added.


Tie-dyed: In preparation for Homecoming, several Quartz Hill seniors were instructed to paint something on the football field. "Something" turned out to be a huge mellow yellow peace sign.

Perhaps it had a subliminal effect on the game. Quartz Hill and Saugus tied, 12-12.


Reed all about it: Tailback Larry Reed was sidelined with a sprained right ankle, so Van Nuys (3-1) used opportunistic defense to defeat North Hollywood, 22-20.

The Wolves intercepted a pass and recovered three fumbles, the last by Allen Vides at Van Nuys' 13-yard line with less than a minute to play.

Reed, who should play next week, has 441 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.

"It would help," Coach George Engbrecht said. "He is a threat to score from anywhere on the field."


Timmbbbeeerrr!!: On a key third-down play against Burbank, El Monte Arroyo wide receiver Robert Ochoa began to lose his balance while the quarterback called signals. To the astonishment of Burbank players and coaches standing a few feet away, Ochoa leaned forward, farther, farther, farther, until he fell flat on his face for a five-yard penalty.

Burbank went on to fell Arroyo, which has reached the Southern Section playoffs every year since 1983.

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