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Notebook

Servite Principal Apologizes to El Toro Boosters

December 10, 1996

Servite Principal Raymond Dunne sent a letter of apology to El Toro booster president Fred Johnson for an incident that took place during the teams' second-round Division V football game Nov. 29.

According to the letter, when Murle Sango fumbled in the third quarter, Servite defensive coordinator Jeff Sanchez used Sango's name while cheering in the press box. It gave the impression Sanchez was deriding Sango, who led El Toro to a victory over Servite in last year's title game. The press box is directly above El Toro boosters, whose reaction was loud and defensive as they shouted back at the coaches.

"He was practically cheering that Murle screwed up," said Johnson, who is a counselor at La Quinta.

Rick Garretson, receivers coach and Servite's dean of students, tapped Johnson on the shoulder from the press box and apologized before the game ended.

After the fumble, when Sango did anything on the field, the boosters turned to the press box with a "take that" attitude. At one point, they unfurled a sign and held it up, trying to prevent the coaches from seeing the field. El Toro principal Jack Clement dispatched security to the area; StaffPro remained there the rest of the game, which Servite win, 47-34.

"In looking back, [Sanchez] was wrong, and maybe we were wrong to react so vehemently," Johnson said. "But it was like, 'Where did this come from?' . . . It's like someone coming to your house and criticizing your furniture."

Dunne's apology was for using Sango's name, saying it was inappropriate; he found nothing else that was inappropriate based on interviews and looking at the game tape, which was filmed from the press-box roof. He also noted that the tape picked up obscenities aimed at the coaches from the boosters, and that El Toro students yelled inappropriate language at Servite players as they entered the field for the second half. "Unfortunately, emotions often get the better of people," Dunne wrote.

*

Fountain Valley Coach Lori Biller has many ways by which to remember this year: a Southern Section Division I-A girls' volleyball championship and the birth of her first child, Christopher Tracy Biller.

Christopher was born at 4:54 p.m. Thursday at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital.

After winning the school's first Southern Section volleyball title Nov. 23, the Barons advanced to the second round of the State Division I tournament, where they lost at Bakersfield Centennial on Nov. 30.

Coach Biller never missed a step. At the team banquet on Wednesday night, Biller began to feel contractions. She checked into the hospital the next morning and a few hours later gave birth to Christopher, who weighed 9 pounds 11 ounces.

"I think we have a middle blocker," said Biller's husband, Tracy.

*

It's mentioned here only for historical purposes, but Huntington Beach Claremont's girls' basketball scored only two points in its 61-point loss to Liberty Christian. It set a county record for fewest points in a game. Saddleback scored three points in a loss to Mission Viejo in the 1980-81 season.

*

Chad Johnson, kicker for El Toro, finished his career with 31 field goals, one fewer than all-time leader Keith Vanderhoff of El Modena (1981-83).

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Servite's football program has to get credit for playing to win. The Friars, after scoring in the fourth quarter against Newport Harbor to make the score 7-6, went for the two-point conversion. They made it. It was the first of four fourth-quarter touchdowns in which both teams converted two-point conversions, ending with Newport Harbor posting a 23-16 victory.

Servite Coach Larry Toner refused to make too big an issue of an inadvertent whistle that cost his team a defensive touchdown on an apparent fumble in the first half. Instead, the down was played over.

"I don't want it to take anything away from Newport Harbor," he said. "They played a great ballgame and had a great game plan, and I would prefer to leave it there. Their effort was too good."

*

Rancho Alamitos' 21-6 loss to Pacifica in the Division VIII semifinals not only cost running back Leo Kosi a chance to play for a Southern Section championship, it also cost him an opportunity to set some Orange County records. Kosi, who ran 30 times for 152 yards and a touchdown, still finished in the top five in several career and single-season categories.

His 4,873 yards career rushing yards rank fourth all-time behind Derek Brown of Servite, Reuben Droughns of Anaheim and Ray Palleres of Valencia, who leads with 5,397 yards. Kosi's 2,444 yards this year place him fourth for rushing yards in a season, 152 yards behind Rancho Alamitos' Jeff Byrd, who set the record in 1992.

Times stff writer Dave McKibben contributed to this report.

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