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October 27, 1994|ROB FERNAS

MISSING IN ACTION

The troubles of the Harbor College football team apparently have gotten to Coach Don Weems.

With Harbor (0-7) off to its worst start since 1960, Weems has taken a stress-related leave of absence and will probably sit out the rest of the season, Athletic Director Jim O'Brien said. The Seahawks have three games remaining.

"He'll be out at least the next two games," O'Brien said. "That's all I know. I would say it's doubtful that he'll be back (this season)."

Weems, who teaches health and physical education, has not been at school since Oct. 19, when he complained of feeling poorly and went home, O'Brien said. Assistant Eugene Miranda served as interim coach Saturday in Harbor's 45-17 Western State Conference loss to Los Angeles Valley.

"Don wanted to come to the game, but we didn't feel it was appropriate," O'Brien said. "He didn't feel well and he was advised by our administration to take it easy.

"He hasn't been himself for some time. It's typical of stress-related problems. He's just been down. I would say it's some type of depression."

Harbor has won only four of its last 17 games. The Seahawks were 4-6 in 1993, a season marred by a postgame brawl with Pierce College that resulted in penalties, legal repercussions and adverse publicity for the program.

Weems, who could not be reached for comment, has a six-year record of 23-35 at Harbor. He guided the Seahawks to an 8-3 mark in 1992, including a victory in the Western State K-Swiss Classic.

"He's a tough competitor," O'Brien said of Weems. "He never experienced that much losing until the last couple of years. He had a tremendous record, but now he's going through tough times."

UNPLEASANT VISIT

Crenshaw High didn't exactly roll out the red carpet Friday for the visiting San Pedro football team.

In fact, San Pedro Coach Mike Walsh can't remember when his team was treated more inhospitably.

"It was the most incredible incident I've ever run across in my life," Walsh said.

Walsh first became angry when no dressing facilities were provided for the Pirates, who were forced to stay on the field for more than an hour before the game and during halftime. But that was nothing compared to a pregame incident that resulted in Walsh and two of his assistants being removed from the field by campus police.

Walsh and the assistants, Joe Aguilar and Grant Beachley, were ordered off the field by Crenshaw Principal Yvonne Noble after they refused to cut short pregame warm-ups in order to accommodate Crenshaw's homecoming festivities.

Noble said San Pedro was asked to move to the far end of the field, but Walsh contends the Pirates were told to leave the field even though they were barely into their warm-ups. Noble said she called for campus police after San Pedro coaches directed "inappropriate statements" at her.

Walsh said Noble was the one out of line.

"She demanded that I listen to her," Walsh said. "I didn't know who she was. She grabbed me with both hands and pulled me back. I don't have the right to do that and neither does she."

After being removed from the field, Walsh said he stood near the stands for about 30 minutes before Noble and San Pedro Principal Rey Mayoral reached a compromise. Walsh and Aguilar were allowed to return to the field and coach, but Beachley was not. He spent the game in his car, parked on a street next to the field.

Walsh said the distractions hurt San Pedro in a 22-14 loss.

"I think it had a definite impact on the game," he said. "Our players had to be thinking, 'Is this a safe place for us to be?' They certainly weren't thinking about who they were playing that day or what impact the game had."

Mayoral said the school plans to send a letter to the City Section's Interscholastic Athletics Committee to complain about Crenshaw's failure to provide a dressing facility. Noble said the facility formerly used by visiting teams now houses a student business, Food From The Hood, and a new facility has not been found.

"It's something I've never thought about," Noble said.

In the meantime, Crenshaw has use of its locker room while the visiting team sits outside and uses the same restroom as the fans.

"We would never treat anybody like that," Mayoral said.

ELECTRIC GLIDE

Sometimes, you never know. After a week of uneven practices, Peninsula High football Coach Gary Kimbrell wondered if his team was ready for Friday's Bay League showdown against Hawthorne.

"I was real concerned last week," Kimbrell said. "It didn't seem like we were mentally prepared. But we were."

Peninsula proved it was ready on the first play from scrimmage when running back Petros Papadakis broke up the left sideline for a 70-yard touchdown run. The Panthers had a 24-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, on their way to a convincing 44-14 victory.

Kimbrell said any jitters Peninsula may have experienced during practice disappeared the night of the game.

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