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BETWEEN THE LINES | HIGH SCHOOLS

Engilman Sees Sylmar Heading for a Fall

November 08, 1996

How ripe for a loss is the Sylmar High football team? Very, according to Sylmar Coach Jeff Engilman, whose teams have won 51 consecutive conference games dating back to 1989.

"If it's not Monroe [this week], it could be Canoga [next week]," he said. "And if not then, then in the first round of the playoffs. They're doomed for an early exit."

Despite Sylmar's 6-2 record, Engilman is not enjoying the season--for reasons that have little to do with football. More than a handful of starters are in serious academic trouble and could be ineligible for the playoffs. Moreover, Engilman said he spends as much time checking on grades, attendance, homework and makeup assignments as he does preparing for upcoming opponents.

"It's been a long year," said Engilman, who has hinted at retirement the past three seasons.

This "hard-to-handle" team reminds Engilman of his final season at Manual Arts in 1984. The Manual Arts players, Engilman said, were undisciplined, unruly and inconsistent.

But before buying into Engilman's doom and gloom, here's something to keep in mind:

That same Manual Arts team won not only a league title, but also the City Section 3-A Division championship.

An omen?: Grant outgained Sylmar, 221 yards to 190 last week, but lost the game, 27-14.

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Edge to Hart: Who better to predict the winner of tonight's game between Hart (6-2, 3-0 in Foothill League) and Burroughs (7-1, 3-0) than Valencia Coach Brian Stiman, whose Vikings have endured back-to-back 37-7 and 42-13 losses to both teams?

"Hart," Stiman said. "I'm not going to take anything from [Burroughs Coach Robert dos Remedios] and his club. Hart is just a little more physical, defensively, and Hart is extremely large on the offensive line. Both offenses are incredibly potent. But it could be a helluva game."

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Questionable records: Record-keeping tends to be a hit-and-miss proposition among high school football programs--which makes it difficult to declare Justin Fargas of Notre Dame or Robert Milton of St. Francis the career rushing leader of their respective schools.

While Notre Dame and St. Francis have existed for decades, statistics--particularly from the distant past--just aren't kept at either campus, making comparisons to past players impossible.

Yet Fargas and Milton, who rank first and second among rushers in the region this season, won't likely be forgotten.

Fargas, who has rushed for more than 200 yards in six games, officially became Notre Dame's career leader with 2,141 yards after rushing for 228 yards in only eight carries against Bishop Montgomery. Fargas broke Lei Malieitulua's official school mark of 1,936 yards from 1991-93.

Milton, who rushed for 239 yards and two touchdowns last week against Harvard-Westlake, raised his season total to 1,407 yards and his career total to 2,264.

Milton might just as well be declared the school's career leader, according to Terry Terrazone, St. Francis' athletic director and the school's football coach from 1983-88.

"We used to keep [statistics] years ago," Terrazone said. "But it just fell by the wayside."

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Lighting it up: After a successful debut with daytime football at El Camino Real three weeks ago, the Conquistadores are ready for phase two of a plan to play all home games at their Woodland Hills campus.

Donated portable lights will be used tonight for El Camino Real's homecoming game against Cleveland. It will be the first-ever night contest at school and part of a campaign to raise money to install permanent lights.

The game is important in the standings, too.

Victories in the next two games will help assure the Conquistadores a berth in the City Section 4-A Division playoffs.

"The lights are great," said Coach Bob Ganssle. "But I've got to worry more about the football team."

*

Tense moments: The Highland football team accomplished the improbable by holding Antelope Valley's Tony Walker to 114 yards of total offense and keeping him out of the end zone.

Walker created a scare by intercepting Camy Smith's first pass attempt, but his momentum carried him out of bounds after a seven-yard return.

Said Highland Coach Lin Parker: "When he touches the ball, your whole life passes before your eyes."

Reaganomics: For weeks, offensive lineman Andrew Reagan had been begging Verdugo Hills football Coach Don Scott Jr. for a chance to carry the ball.

Scott promised if Verdugo Hills ever led in a game by four touchdowns, Reagan would get his chance.

Late in a 56-13 victory over Hollywood last week, Reagan's wish came true.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior gained seven yards in his first--and probably last--carry of his high school career.

"He was very, very happy," Scott said.

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Great Scott: Buena football Coach Rick Scott entered the season four victories shy of career triumph No. 100.

He's halfway there.

Scott, in his ninth season at Buena, has enjoyed better seasons--particularly at Hart, where Scott led the Indians to a Southern Section championship during a four-year coaching stint that ended in 1987. This year, Buena (2-6, 1-4 in Channel League) is playing for little more than pride.

But Scott, whose career record at both schools is 98-47-4, plans to be back.

"I've got four more years, at least," Scott said. "Depending on how my hairline goes."

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