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SIDELINES : Using a Lot of Loft, O'Laughlin Completes Most Important Pass

November 16, 1994

He already has championship rings from Southern Section titles he earned in football and basketball at Glendora High, plus a Big Ten Conference ring he earned as a backup for the Illinois football team.

And a year from now, J.J. O'Laughlin, Cal State Northridge's highly touted quarterback, will have yet another band to show off.

O'Laughlin is engaged to Kathleen Shannon, the setter on the Northridge volleyball team.

Shannon and O'Laughlin met at Illinois. He transferred to Northridge last fall; she followed this past summer.

Four months ago, while Shannon was back home in Chicago staying with her parents, O'Laughlin scheduled a visit.

After treating Shannon to dinner at a swank restaurant, O'Laughlin talked her into taking the elevator to the top of the Sears Tower, the world's tallest building. There, on one knee, he proposed.

Tourists within earshot applauded when Shannon agreed and O'Laughlin handed over an engagement ring.

He's good all right. How many quarterbacks take a knee and still hit pay dirt?

Rivalry sacked: USC-UCLA, it's not. But as rivalries go, the football opener between La Canada and Crescenta Valley highs has determined bragging rights along Foothill Boulevard for the past 19 years.

That's why the recent decision by first-year La Canada Coach Jim Clausen to discontinue the rivalry--at least for two years--has ruffled the Falcons' feathers.

"We are not happy," said Bob Canfield, Crescenta Valley's athletic director. "You don't just discontinue a rivalry. It's one of our top two gates of the season. I don't understand why they're doing this."

Clausen cited a difference in enrollment. Crescenta Valley has more than 2,000 students compared to La Canada's approximately 1,100. And even though Crescenta Valley holds only a 10-9 series edge, the Falcons have won the last three games, including a 28-0 drubbing this season.

"I was just trying to do what's best for my kids right now," Clausen said. "We need to get our program on par with theirs. It's a great opening game for CV, but it's not what I'd call a good opening game for us. I'd like to schedule them again, maybe after a two-year hiatus."

Weighty predicament: Oak Park High will play host to Riverside Notre Dame on Friday night in the opening round of the Southern Section Division IX football playoffs. But one look at some of the Titans' mammoth linemen had Oak Park Coach Dick Billingsley wondering if his team won't be lining up against the Notre Dame that calls South Bend, Ind., home.

"They're the biggest high school team I've ever seen," Billingsley said. "They've got one guy at 295 (pounds), two guys at 285, two guys at 265, three guys at 235, a guy at 230 and three guys at 220."

Oak Park's game plan?

"We're going to run like bunnies and get out of the way," Billingsley said.

Quotebook

At least one Northridge football player emerged a winner from last week's boycott of practice. When a reporter mentioned to lineman Jonathan Beauregard, who is accused of attempted murder, that the actions of his teammates were taking the spotlight off his problems, he cracked: "Write all you can. Keep it coming."

Honors

Midfielder Mathew Davis and fullback Ross Linhart of the Cal State Northridge soccer team were selected to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's All-Pacific Division second team in voting by coaches.

Davis, a junior, scored four goals and paced Northridge with nine assists to tie for the team lead in scoring with 17 points. Linhart, a junior, was the Matadors' top defender.

Midfielder Ron Lou, another junior, received honorable mention.

Stats

In Bob Burt's first five seasons as football coach at Cal State Northridge, his teams never had a losing season and were 34-21 overall. Northridge hasn't had a winning season in the past four, however, and is 15-24 in that stretch.

Leaders of the pack: The Thousand Oaks High boys' cross-country team is starting to dominate the Southern Section's all-time list for team times over Mt. San Antonio College's three-mile course.

The Lancers set the section record of 77 minutes 56 seconds in winning last year's Division I finals and they turned in the No. 2 performance with a 78:19 mark in last month's Mt. SAC Invitational.

On Saturday, their top five runners compiled a cumulative team time of 78:32 in the Southern Section preliminaries to move to fourth on the all-time list.

Camarillo, the 1989 state Division I champion, ranks third on the list with a 78:27 clocking and the 1985 Saugus squad is fifth at 78:36.

Dig it: Middle blocker Heather Anderson has moved into fifth on the Cal State Northridge career list in digs with 929.

The 6-foot-2 senior from Fresno Clovis High is 48 shy of fourth-place Kathleen Dixon, who had 977 digs from 1987-90.

Things to Do

Thursday, 2 p.m., at The Racquet Centre, Studio City: Defending champion Taft High will play Palisades in the City Section 4-A Division girls' team tennis final.

*

Compiled by Mike Hiserman. Contributing: Steve Elling, Vince Kowalick and John Ortega.

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