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BETWEEN THE LINES | HIGH SCHOOLS

Meyer, Lewis Have Something Good Cooking

September 12, 1997

After a grueling football practice in the heat, Burbank High football players Mike Meyer and Daniel Lewis enjoy nothing better than a home-cooked meal, freshly prepared by. . . themselves.

Lewis and Meyer aspire to be chefs. Both routinely cook and have enrolled in nutrition and home economics classes.

"Some of the guys think it's a wimpy profession," Lewis said. "And to have two football players on the same team that want to be chefs? That's kind of weird."

Until recently, the teammates were unaware of their shared love of the culinary arts. Since then, they've been planning a team meal.

"That's a lot of mouths to feed," said Lewis, who prepared fried chicken for a team picnic during the summer.

"That was the best fried chicken," teammate Justin Mills said.

Lewis' specialty is Italian food but he doesn't cook beef or pork. He says he does not eat his own cooking but seems to be full by the time he serves the meal.

"That's how it always ends up," said the 6-foot-2, 195-pound defensive end. "I always end up tasting it all the time."

Meyer has a different approach.

"I make everything," said Meyer, a 6-3, 285-pound offensive lineman who has been dubbed "Big Country" by teammates. "And I eat everything I cook."

Meyer became interested in cooking by watching cooking shows on television.

"I love to watch those guys cook," he said. "Between that and ESPN, it's about even."

Lewis, who plans to take night cooking classes once football season ends, says he got interested in cooking through his sister, Chelise, who is a chef.

"To me, it's important," he said. "There's nothing better than a good meal."

Decisions, decisions: The schooling of Notre Dame tailback Justin Fargas continues daily, and not just in the classroom and on the field, but on the phone.

Hotly pursued as a Division I college prospect, Fargas spends a good chunk of his evening hours speaking with recruiting coordinators.

"It's hard because everything sounds good and all the coaches are nice," Fargas said. "But it's their job to be nice to you."

Fargas said he is leaning toward USC and Michigan with several other schools "in the back of my mind" and that he is doing his best to make an informed decision.

"It's about asking myself what are the real reasons for my choice?" Fargas said. "I try to look at everything from uniforms to the plays they run to the chance for playing time. I'd be lying if I said a day doesn't go by that I don't think about being in college but I don't want to look too far ahead. I want to be a high school student still, you only get to do that once."

Circle of coaches: The first play at Monroe this season seems to be a reverse.

First-year coach Sloan Bunting was named to succeed Fred Cuccia, although Don Senegal served as an interim coach in 1996 while Cuccia recovered from a stroke.

In 1987, Cuccia took over a South Pasadena program previously coached by Bunting.

Jeff Chi, a player under both Bunting and Cuccia at South Pasadena, coaches his first game for Hoover tonight.

The opponent?

Monroe.

Stress time: First-year Alemany football Coach Jim Bonds spent the first two weeks of the preseason starved for sleep and gasping for air while dealing with a myriad of unforeseen duties, such as ordering new uniforms, issuing equipment and dealing with parents and reporters.

"I wasn't used to having the administrative stuff tacked on and it snowballed on me," Bonds said. "Coaching [on the field] is my time to relax and do what I enjoy most, but I couldn't even do that completely and it was frustrating."

Curtis transfers: William Curtis, a 6-foot-6 boys' volleyball player, has transferred to Harvard-Westlake High. Curtis, a junior, played swing hitter for Crossroads last year.

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