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SIDELINES : Notre Dame's Schwary Knows How to Play Political Football

October 21, 1994

When Neil Schwary graduates from Notre Dame High in June, a political reign that would make Franklin Delano Roosevelt envious will come to an end.

Schwary, starting left cornerback on the football team, has served as class president seven of the past eight years. Last year marked the first time since fifth grade he failed to win an election. Even then, he was appointed vice president.

"People don't realize it, but the campaign trail is really hard," Schwary said. "I spend a lot of time reaching out to younger students."

Schwary's years in office have been free of scandal (homecoming week always runs smoothly); his campaign tactics are void of personal attacks (he distributes pencils bearing his name); and his administration has no foreign policy (he has never met with leaders of rival Crespi).

Seriously, chairing an 18-member student council takes a lot of time. And soon after Schwary, senior class president, drops his gavel, he straps on a helmet as a member of a defense that has allowed an average of only 9.3 points a game.

As for a political career, Schwary, a self-described moderate with conservative tendencies, wants to make one thing perfectly clear: he is uncertain.

"I don't know yet," he said. "In politics, there are a lot of people who support what you do, and then there are people who don't like what you do. You can't please everybody."


Musical players: Newbury Park High's football team has taken specialization to a new position: quarterback.

Chris Czernek, a sophomore, and Justin Vint, a junior, are likely to rotate at quarterback the rest of the season. The game situation will determine who plays.

Vint is bigger, has a stronger arm and is a better runner. Czernek is better at the short, ball-control passing game. Against Westlake last week, the players switched frequently--occasionally in the middle of a series.

"Sometimes you put in a fast tailback when you want to go outside or a big tailback when you want to go over the middle," Coach George Hurley said. "We are doing the same thing with quarterbacks."


Good hands people: He wears a Valley College jersey and can catch a football with the best of them, but Casey Fenwick hasn't played a down even though the team is coached by his father, Jim.

The reason: Casey is 11 years old.

As ballboy for the Monarchs, he positions himself behind the goal posts after extra-point and field-goal attempts, fielding them like a veteran return man. Unfortunately, Dad often is too busy to notice.

"Some people saw him and pointed it out to me," Coach Fenwick said. No surprise there. Fenwick has another son, Tyler, who is a receiver on the Chaminade High team.


Cal State Northridge receiver Duc Ngo, who learned shortly before fall practice that he had another season of eligibility remaining, is making the most of his "second" senior year.

Ngo has 100 receptions in his career, moving him to within six of the school record set by Dick Billingsley in 1966-67. Billingsley is football coach at Oak Park High.


Productive players: Running back Terrence Thomas and receivers Billy Parra and Tom Herman have accounted for 81%--1,228 of 1,508--of the yardage gained by Cal Lutheran. Thomas has 639 yards rushing and receiving. Parra and Herman have gained 441 and 148 yards receiving.


Black is blue: An inexperienced offensive line and recurring problems with a twisted ankle have put the brakes on Michael Black. The West L.A. College running back and former Kilpatrick standout has only 358 yards rushing in six games.

In Black's best game, he gained 87 yards in a 19-10 loss to Glendale last week. He has only two touchdowns, both against Pierce in a 36-20 loss two weeks ago.

Black injured his ankle in a game against Moorpark on Sept. 24 and hasn't been able to regain the form he displayed last season when he rushed for 1,336 yards in 189 carries and scored 10 touchdowns.


Block party: In the five games she has been a starter for the Northridge women's volleyball team, freshman Rene Goth has 26 blocks--second to Heather Anderson (28 blocks) during that span.


About face(s): The Cleveland High football team, 1-9 last season and winless in Northwest Valley Conference play, is 4-2, including a 3-0 conference mark.

Quarterback Johnny Lopez, who last season didn't throw a touchdown pass and had seven interceptions, has eight touchdowns and only two interceptions.


End of futility: The Santa Paula High football team had not scored a rushing touchdown this season--spanning 21 quarters--until Jeremy Johnson scored on a 13-yard run in the second quarter last week against Calabasas. Johnson has scored all five of the team's touchdowns.


Big-play man: Every time Saugus High senior linebacker/tight end Matt Gillis gets near the ball, he seems to make a big play. In six games, Gillis has 39 tackles, eight sacks, four fumble recoveries, one fumble caused, one interception and one blocked punt. He has caught only three passes, but they have produced two touchdowns and a two-point conversion.

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