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Between The Lines | High Schools

Hart-Granada Hills Just Doesn't Add Up

September 11, 1996

The early candidate for mismatch of the year in high school football?

Hart-Granada Hills on Thursday night at College of the Canyons.

Hart is defending Southern Section Division II champion. Granada Hills was winless last season.

Hart last season averaged just under 40 points, scoring at least 23 in every game. Granada Hills never scored more than 22.

"At least we'll get a chance to play in front of a good crowd," Granada Hills Coach Brad Ratcliff said.

Slim fast: Highland Coach Lin Parker looked in the mirror three weeks ago and decided he should diet.

These days when he looks, he sees a new man. To his amazement, Parker has lost 40 pounds, dropping from 272 to 232 over his 6-foot-1 frame.

"I'm wasting away," he said. "A big wind is going to whip up and pin me against the fence someday."

Parker, 52, couldn't be happier. "I was [28 pounds] from being a 300-pound person, and I didn't like the idea of that," he said.

Of course, 30 years ago he had a different weight problem. As a starting offensive tackle and team captain at Cal State Northridge, he was trying to gain weight.

"[In college] I struggled to get to 200," he recalled. "My grandmother gave me six eggs a day."

Snap, crackle, flop: Highland's football team muffed all five snaps on kick attempts during its season opener Friday night against Silverado High in Henderson, Nev.

Despite blowing opportunities on three field goals and two extra points, the Bulldogs managed to win, 12-0.

Grounded: Mission League followers expected sophomore Dante Ward to replace two-year starter Ryan Bowne, who graduated last spring, as quarterback at Notre Dame. Ward (5 feet 10, 160 pounds) was most valuable player of the Knights' freshman team and is considered one of the region's most-promising young athletes.

But Ward won't be calling signals. At least, not this season.

Ward injured his shoulder while throwing in spring practice and probably won't be taking any snaps. Senior Jorge Piedra, Bowne's backup and a standout defensive back, is the projected starter.

But that doesn't mean Ward won't have an impact. "He's going to play someplace--secondary, receiver, returning kicks," Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney said. "He's a very good athlete. He makes a lot of things happen."

No triple threat: Charles Merricks, Channel Islands quarterback the past two seasons, is not playing football to concentrate on other sports. Merricks, a basketball guard and left-handed baseball pitcher, is a senior who played three varsity sports as a sophomore and junior.

"He broke his foot during the summer and that was a factor, but more than anything he believes he has a legit shot at college in another sport," football Coach Joel Gershon said.

Replacing Merricks will be Nick Ciari, a senior who played behind Merricks last year, or junior Bronson Lucas.

Made in the shade: Like many coaches trying to beat the summertime heat, El Camino Real's Bob Ganssle usually wears a wide-brimmed straw hat to combat the sun during afternoon workouts.

In Ganssle's case, the hats are more than a fashion statement.

After surviving skin cancer, Ganssle is under orders to protect his skin. That's a problem for someone who dislikes sunscreen.

"My doctor said he would have my head if I ever went outside without any protection," Ganssle said.

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