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October 27, 1994|KIRBY LEE

TALK OF THE TOWN

Long Beach Jordan football Coach Mike Ono didn't fret after the Panthers, who entered the season as the state's ninth-ranked team, dropped their second consecutive game to fall to 2-2.

Instead, he had a team meeting.

"I knew our offense was capable of scoring points, but I knew it would take a while for our defense to come around because we had so many inexperienced players," Ono said. "The kids were pretty upset, but we sat down and made it our goal to be ready by the time we played Poly."

Call it mission accomplished. Jordan beat previously undefeated Poly, 28-0, Friday to win its third consecutive game and take a step toward its first outright Moore League title in school history.

Jordan (5-2), which shared the league title with Poly in 1988 and 1990, earned its first victory in four seasons against the Jackrabbits. The Panthers, who opened Moore League play with a 71-7 victory over Millikan, have shutouts in two of their last three games in which they have outscored their opponents, 130-7.

Jordan limited Poly to 61 yards on offense and intercepted three passes, including two by cornerback Kason Smith who had a 46-yard touchdown return. Lineman Howard Faagata also had four tackles for losses.

Ono also credited the efforts of linebackers Ephraim Suluai and Chris Fields and free safety Raheem Elliott for helping shut down the Southern Section's fourth-ranked team in Division I.

"In the past we've always been outmanned by Poly, but the defense really rose to the occasion," Ono said.

CHEAP THRILLS

Bell Gardens quarterback Eddie Negrete smashed a school passing record, completing 17 of 31 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns Friday night against Alhambra.

But Negrete's performance and leadership during a furious second-half rally were not enough to offset a one-man show by Alhambra quarterback Aryn Hart in a 45-38 defeat to the Moors in an Almont League game at Bell Gardens.

The teams combined for 979 yards of offense, including 550 by Alhambra. Hart, a senior, completed 15 of 24 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 107 yards in 15 carries, including a 61-yard run for Alhambra (7-0, 2-0).

"It was a heck of a spectator game," Bell Gardens Coach Dave Newell said. "It was quite a night. We were in shock but that's what happens when you put your life in the hands of 16-year-olds. The people that paid $3 really got their money's worth."

Trailing 45-31, Negrete, a converted safety who surpassed the 1992 school record of 297 yards set by Robert Perez, combined with Ricardo Flores on a 30-yard touchdown pass with 4 minutes, 41 seconds left.

The Lancers had rallied from a 14-0 second-quarter deficit to tie the score, 31-31, on David Villegas' fourth touchdown of the game, a two-yard run, to start of the fourth quarter.

"Thirty passes was what most guys at Bell Gardens throw in a season," said Newell, who suffered his first career loss in 18 seasons when the Lancers had scored more than 30 points. "Ball control and the run is our trademark, but Alhambra couldn't stop it so we kept throwing."

Tight end Tadeo Gonzalez had six receptions for 103 yards. Flores caught five passes for 134 yards and Guillermo Alvarez had four receptions for 73 yards for Bell Gardens (4-3, 1-1).

"(Bell Gardens) never passes in their life, they always run the ball," Alhambra Coach Gil Ruedaflores said. "We were expecting them to run. We just couldn't believe it."

COACH SUSPENDED

Seven members of the Cal State Long Beach men's and women's cross-country teams and Coach Andy Sythe were suspended for one meet because of a preseason initiation ritual involving alcohol.

Sythe, six women and one man were not allowed to participate in Saturday's Bronco Invitational at Bonelli Park. First-year assistant Gwen Loud coached the team in Sythe's absence.

The August incident involved consumption of alcohol by current and former team members at the team's preseason training camp near Trinity Lake in Northern California.

Sythe did not participate in the incident and did not know about it when it occurred. But Athletic Director Dave O'Brien said Sythe was suspended for failing to report the matter in a timely manner. The athletic department became aware of the incident Sept. 28.

Pat Bendzick and Dennis Sweningson were fifth and sixth, respectively, in 25:32 and 25:41 in the 8,000 meters at the Bronco Invitational to lead the 49er men to a fourth-place finish. Long Beach failed to score in the women's race, fielding an incomplete team of three runners.

An investigation from student affairs is pending, but the 49ers will be at full strength for Saturday's Big West Conference meet at Utah State.

*

Long Beach Wilson placed second behind Concord De La Salle in the boys' individual sweepstakes race of the Mt. San Antonio College cross-country invitational Saturday. Jesse Barragan was 13th for the Bruins, covering the hilly, three-mile course in 16:11.

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