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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEW | What's Happening: Snapshots
of what's going on as teams prepare for their openers
this week.

WHAT'S OLD / Golden Years

September 09, 1997

Welcome to the Golden League, home of an ancient civilization.

Populating this aging society are the league's football coaches, a group of golden oldies who have more than 100 years of coaching experience between them.

Brent Newcomb begins his 20th year as coach and 29th on the staff at Antelope Valley High. Jim Bauer of Littlerock and Lin Parker of Highland are each starting their seventh years at their schools and have long coaching resumes. Ray De Shane of Lancaster has coached for 31 years, the last three at the district's newest high school. Even Jeff Williams, the baby of the group, is experienced, entering his seventh season as Palmdale's coach.

But they're all rookies compared to sagely John Albee, whose 30 years as the coach at Quartz Hill makes him the region's elder statesman.

"I've seen different things come and go, but football is always there," he said. "I still enjoy the game and I still enjoy working with the athletes."

Albee, 57, shows no sign of slowing. Of his five league championships, three have come in this decade--1990, 1991 and 1993--and his teams have reached the Southern Section playoffs 13 times, playing in the Division I championship game in 1990. Quartz Hill lost to Loyola, 24-14, at Anaheim Stadium.

Albee, who grew up in Bakerfield, left his hometown after he was unable to get a job in the school district there. He relocated to the Antelope Valley and put down roots. Deep ones.

"I like it here," he said. "It's like a throwback era. It has a small-town atmosphere and we get a lot of support from the community."

Adding to the homey feeling this season is the fact that Albee is coaching two players--wide receiver Jeff Llarena and defensive back Brian Gorrindo--whose fathers played for him. Albee's son Jimmy, a junior center, also is on the team.

WHAT'S NEW / Home Turf

Four teams will christen new on-campus stadiums, including three from the Golden League.

The fourth is Royal, which has played home games at Moorpark College in recent years. The Highlanders will host San Marcos on Friday night and the game will be preceded by a pep rally and dedication ceremony.

"The whole town is buzzing about this," Royal Coach Gene Uebelhardt said. "It's been a long time coming."

Southern Section Commissioner Dean Crowley will participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Highland on Friday night, when the Bulldogs open their new football stadium with a game against Valencia.

Littlerock, which along with Highland has played at an alternate site for its first eight seasons, opens its new facility Sept. 20 against Hesperia.

Lancaster, which will continue to play some home games at Antelope Valley and Quartz Hill high schools, opens its stadium Oct. 25 against Highland.

Also, Lancaster will become the area's newest varsity program. The Eagles, who will not have a senior class until next season, were 10-0 last year at the junior varsity level.

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