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City Plans No Investigation of Grant Charges

Football: Lancer Coach Bill Foster believes Birmingham coaches intercepted his staff's play calls and used them to help register 30-21 victory.

September 24, 1997|PAIGE A. LEECH and MICHAEL LAZARUS | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Despite a plea to the City Section commissioner on Tuesday, Grant football Coach Bill Foster conceded there is no way to prove his contention that Lancers' headphone transmissions were overheard by their counterparts at Birmingham in a game on Friday.

Foster believes Birmingham coaches overheard--through cross transmission--the offensive plays being called among three Grant coaches who were wearing headsets in the Lancers' 30-21 loss at Birmingham.

Birmingham Coach Dave Lertzman, who did not wear a headset Friday because it was broken, denied the accusations. "We didn't do anything," Lertzman said. "It's juvenile. I'm being faulted for having my kids prepared."

Commissioner Barbara Fiege said Tuesday she told both parties the conflict is between the schools because it is impossible to investigate the allegation and her office would not get any further involved.

An assistant told Foster at halftime Friday night that a former Grant player witnessed Birmingham coaches intercepting Grant transmissions.

Initially, Foster dismissed the allegation. But by the middle of the third quarter--after watching his offensive unit get stopped at every turn--he was convinced otherwise and took off his headset.

Foster said he uses basic football terminology for his plays and any coach would know what the play would be and who was supposed to get the ball if overheard.

"It's basic stuff," Foster said. "A dive is a dive and a pitch is a pitch and a blast is a blast."

On one play, Foster called a trick play--a halfback option. Foster said Birmingham coaches were heard yelling, "Here comes the halfback pass."

Foster said his players kept telling him, "Coach, they know all our plays."

Lertzman contends Grant ran only four running plays against Verdugo Hills the previous week and it wasn't difficult to see what Grant was going to do based on its formation.

As for the halfback option--which resulted in a one-yard loss--Lertzman said his team prepared for trick plays in practice.

"When I [coached] at Monroe in 1990, [Grant] ran that play for a touchdown," Lertzman said. "We got hurt by that play. I was going to make sure we didn't get hurt again."

Asked if he would eliminate Birmingham from next year's schedule, Foster balked.

"Actually we'd like to keep them on the schedule and go for their throats," Foster said.

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