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Air to Be Filled With Footballs

Recreation: Future and former players to participate this weekend in flag football competition.


There will be a look back at the past and a glimpse of the future this weekend when more than 580 teams compete in the NFL Air-It-Out four-on-four flag football competition Saturday and Sunday at Balboa Park in Encino.

From former high school, college and pro athletes to current high school and youth players, the competition brings together players of all ages, shapes and sizes.

Who can pass up the opportunity to watch teams with such intriguing names as Pulling Hamstrings, The Relics, Rough Necks, Air Force I, Hail Yes, Da Flyers, Dip Squad and Thugs?

"We always come up with a stupid name and this one is no exception," said Scott Brewster, 29, a former Notre Dame High wide receiver who plays for Pulling Hamstrings. "We're bringing our ace wraps. It should be fun. I went out to put my cleats on and almost killed myself."

There are four divisions--Top Gun, Weekend Warrior, Coed/Women and Youth. The Top Gun champion advances to the national finals in Orlando, Fla.

Brewster's team includes brother Robbie, a wide receiver on Notre Dame's 1994 Southern Section championship team, former wide receiver Rocky Palamara, 30, former quarterback Brendan Cowles, 28, and former wide receiver Brian McGarry, 32.

They could meet Da Flyers, made up of former Notre Dame players Joey and Vinny Orlando, Bobby Hughes, Matt McElreath and Chris Sheff.

"We've got plays and everything," said McElreath, 27, a former baseball star at Pepperdine.

Former Antelope Valley High and Washington defensive back Tommie Smith is on a team made up of players from his semi-pro team, the California Dolphins. Asked if Antelope Coach Brent Newcomb should come out to coach, Smith said, "I don't think his heart can take it."

Former Pierce College quarterback Jamie Grossman, former Carson High and Brigham Young quarterback John Walsh, former Crespi quarterback John Laufenberg, former Canyon running back Ed Williams, former Saugus quarterback Bobby Cowan and former Newbury Park baseball star David Lamb are expected to participate.

The competition also serves as a sneak preview of the future.

Several young, promising high school quarterbacks have entered the competition.

They include sophomore Zac Wasserman and freshman Cory Miles of Westlake, sophomore Ben Santiago of Simi Valley, sophomore Jon Palacios of Royal, sophomores Jon Brewster and Brandon Hance of Notre Dame, freshman Kyle Matter of Hart, sophomore Chris Lombardo of St. Bonaventure, junior Dallas Enoch of Calabasas and freshman John Sciarra of St. Francis.

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