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Notebook : Ocean View Finishes on Top of the World

November 15, 1994|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

You probably have never heard of Nathan Traxler, but he is an offensive and defensive lineman for Ocean View. He was one of those players who, until the Seahawks broke their 36-game losing streak three weeks ago, had only a scoreless tie against Huntington Beach his freshman year to consider as a highlight.

While the county's best teams prepare for the playoffs, Ocean View is done, the victim of a 2-8 season, happy to finish on top.

On top of the world, that is.

Ocean View finished with a flourish, upsetting second-place Westminster (6-4) on a scoring pass from Ted Norman to Terry Schneider--and Jon Dempsey's extra point--with three seconds left to win, 7-6. That gave the Seahawks victories in two of their last three games.

"It's such a positive way to end the season; it gives you something to build on all year long," second-year Coach John Donnelly said. "It shows the kids the correlation between perseverance and reward. They've worked so hard through all the stories about the losing streak, all the chides they had to hear from fellow students and in the community, to go out a winner like this is really positive. They finally got to achieve the reward that we kept telling them all year was coming."

The effects were immediate. Two players approached Donnelly Monday asking how they could come out for the football team, though it might be hard to start for next year's Seahawks--they have nine starters back on offense, seven on defense.

"It's just a whole different feeling around the school, a feeling of hope, and they can be a part of it," Donnelly said. "It's hard to recruit on campus when kids think you're just going to lose anyway. All the kids last year that went 0-10, they helped start the program. Even though they were 0-10, they made vast improvements over the 0-10 season from the year before.

"Rome wasn't built in a day. Building a program is systematic, and with the excitement, it will really help the off-season program."

But maybe the greatest tribute to Ocean View's program comes from Traxler who, like Calvin Silva and Brett McMahon, spent the last three years on the varsity, trudging through infamy.

"We worked hard last year, and the year before, and this year. We worked until dark and beyond," Traxler said. "The main thing I learned out of my high school career was whether we won or not, I knew I had something that would stay with me the rest of my life. . . . Even if I don't win and achieve my goal, I still gave 100% and did my best--and that's what counts."

*

The only thing that stood between Ocean View winning its final three games was a 13-0 loss to Tustin (1-8). The Tillers had the game in hand with 1 1/2 minutes left, but needed to convert on third and three from the 10. The play in the huddle was a dive, but quarterback Kevin Timone recognized the Ocean View defense and called an audible--a pass--which he completed to Greg Carnal at the one.

Tustin Coach Tim Ellis immediately called time out.

"We had an audible to a certain defense, and Kevin, not thinking where we were in the game, called an audible," Ellis said. "So I called time out and told him to sit on the ball because there was no sense in running up the score.

"We've had our noses rubbed in it a couple of times. Having been on the other end, I was real conscious of that, and I apologized immediately. I think it sets a bad example. We had the game in hand; scoring there doesn't prove anything and doesn't show any class. You have to remember that at some point in time, the shoe will be on the other foot."

*

Two weeks ago, Villa Park lineman Matt Welch was on an operating table undergoing heart surgery. Saturday, he played for the Spartans in a 27-8 victory over Santa Ana Valley.

Welch, who played tight end and on the defensive line, also will be ready for the Spartans' first-round playoff game Friday against Corona del Mar.

"We're happy he's back," Villa Park Coach Pat Mahoney said. "He was our second tight end in our two tight-end set and he played half the game on defense."

One day after playing in a 14-0 victory over Orange, Welch was taken to the hospital and was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition. On Nov. 2, he underwent a relatively new procedure.

An electrical probe, inside catheters, was inserted into several major arteries and veins to repair the condition, and one day later he was cheering his teammates on to a 14-10 victory over Canyon.

"He's playing as well as he was earlier in the season," Mahoney said.

*

Canyon receiver Greg Jacobs caught eight passes against El Dorado in his first game of the season, then went on the record: "I want to get in the 70 range."

He finished the regular season with 61 in nine games. He gets another shot at El Dorado on Friday.

*

Included in the Pacifica football program are short biographies of the Mariners' returning lettermen, with their nicknames. The offensive line has some monikers that make you wonder.

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