If Moorpark High's football team loses at Atascadero in tonight's first round of the Southern Section playoffs, the four-hour bus ride home won't be so long for J.P. Dolliver, Juan Barron, Kevin Smyres and Chris Sedik.
Football season will continue the next morning because these four Musketeers coach a playoff-bound team of seventh- and eighth-graders.
Dolliver might be drawing up plays on the ride home; he's the offensive coordinator of the Moorpark Packers (7-1), who have a home playoff game against Port Hueneme at 11 a.m. Saturday. The Packers are champions of the Pacific Youth Football League Eastern Conference.
"We like the kids, especially the group we're with this year," said Dolliver, who for three years has assisted his father Brad, the head coach. "I really enjoy it. It's fun."
Dolliver, a junior quarterback who backs up junior Bryan Paul, has attempted only two passes this season, completing none. But coaching, he said, has made him a better player.
Holiday choices: Zack Hernandez is Christmas shopping . . . for colleges.
The former All-Southern Section quarterback from L.A. Baptist High announced this week he will leave Cal Lutheran to play at a junior college, and his top choices so far are Valley or Glendale, Hernandez said. He said he might also consider Pierce or Moorpark. He expects to take a month or so to decide.
Hernandez, who redshirted his freshman season at Division III Cal Lutheran, said he wants to play at the junior college level in hopes of earning a Division I scholarship.
"If I go to a junior college I can eliminate the fact that I went to a small high school," he said. "I want to push myself to see how high I can go."
Who needs 'em?: Canyon High Coach Larry Mohr has seen his program receive more notoriety for losing players than winning football games this season. The Cowboys, who have had six players either quit, become academically ineligible or be voted off the team by teammates, have won only three games but qualified for the playoffs with a 2-2 Foothill League record. Still, Mohr is angry at the negative image.
"People are writing about kids that quit or can't stay eligible and not giving credit to the kids that stick with us," he said. "I don't feel negative publicity is good for 16- and 17-year-old kids. But if a kid wants to get his name in the paper, he should just quit."
Tight end Travis Hall and receiver David Romines played both ways in Cal State Northridge's 60-7 loss to Northern Arizona and were twice rewarded by their coaches.
Hall, who started at safety, and Romines, at cornerback, were named the team's co-offensive and co-defensive players of the week.
Joseph Vaughn, a safety who intercepted two passes to tie the school single-season record of nine, shared the defensive award. Vaughn had 10 tackles and has won or shared team defensive honors four times. Mike Greslie and Ken Freitas shared special-teams honors.
MVPs: Linebackers Troy Tuck of Valley College and Justin Simo of Moorpark were named Western State Conference defensive co-players of the week.
Tuck, a freshman from Moeller High in Cincinnati, made seven unassisted tackles and intercepted a pass in a 43-6 victory over Compton last Saturday. Simo, a freshman from Newbury Park High, had eight solo tackles and returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown.
Who is the area's top high school quarterback? Statistically speaking, state your case.
Heading into the playoffs, Brian MacLean of Granada Hills High leads area passers with 2,146 yards. However, Dave Lins of Crespi, who ranks second with 1,883 yards, has a higher completion percentage (65.4%) than MacLean (58.3%).
Steve McKeon of Hart ranks third with 1,832 yards, but his completion percentage (63.9) is better than MacLean's and he has thrown more touchdown passes (19) than Lins (13).
Ricardo Gamboa of Poly, who ranks fourth with 1,760 yards, has thrown 16 interceptions--twice as many as Lins. Yet, statistically, one could argue that Gamboa is better than Lins.
Confusing? Perhaps that's why statisticians rely on a complex efficiency-rating system to determine whose statistics are best among NCAA and NFL quarterbacks.
Using the NCAA rating system, here's how the area's top four passers compare: McKeon (186.13), MacLean (153.7), Gamboa (130.27), Lins (128.78).
Adjusting the numbers: After further review, Valley College statisticians determined that Monarch quarterback Jim Arellanes passed for 639 yards two weeks ago against Bakersfield, five yards fewer than originally reported. Either way, it still is a state junior college single-game record.
Things to Do
Saturday, 1:30 p.m., UC Santa Barbara swim facility: Agoura and Royal face the top water polo teams in Division IV of the Southern Section in back-to-back semifinal matches. Royal will play No. 2 Santa Barbara, followed by Agoura against No. 1 San Marcos. One other regional team, Crescenta Valley, will play in the semifinals Saturday. The Falcons will meet La Serna in a Division III match at 2 p.m. at Caltech.
Compiled by Mike Hiserman. Contributing: Kennedy Cosgrove, Fernando Dominguez, Steve Elling, Jeff Fletcher and Dana Haddad.