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El Dorado Pushes Its Luck With Touchdown

November 03, 1998|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When push comes to shove, offensive players have to be pretty careful sometimes.

El Dorado, in its 17-0 Empire League victory over Kennedy Thursday, appeared to get away with a rules violation that essentially iced its victory over the Fighting Irish.

On fourth and goal from the one-yard line, El Dorado running back Tim Fairfield was stacked up by the Kennedy defense, but quarterback Mitch Nord put his shoulder into Fairfield's back and pushed him forward. After a delay, officials signaled a touchdown.

It gave El Dorado a 10-0 lead with 10 minutes 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Nord said afterward, "Not to brag or anything, but I don't know if he would have made it without me."

Speed Castillo, liaison for Orange County's officials and the Southern Section office, said Monday when told of the play: "That's aiding a runner. That's illegal. Five-yard penalty."

According to Section 1, Rule 9: "An offensive player shall not push, pull or lift a runner to assist his forward progress."

El Dorado, trying to win a share of its third consecutive league title, and Kennedy are tied for second place with 2-1 records in league. Both trail Katella (2-0-1).

Kennedy Coach Mitch Olson saw the play another way.

"The kid was still on his feet trying to push when the whistle blew," Olson said. "The push had nothing to do with the play because the play was dead on the whistle."

Olson argued that point unsuccessfully before the point-after attempt, and was charged a timeout to do so.

"Realistically, that didn't cost us the game because we played crappy," Olson said. "But it was a pivotal time in the game. . . . It's not like the score was 38-0."

*

As far as Kennedy's Olson is concerned, quarterback Mark Cook's return to the lineup last week is largely because of Cook's mother, Terry.

Cook tore cartilage in his right knee in the second half of Kennedy's victory over Buena Park in Week 5. He started Thursday against El Dorado and played well.

"He got hurt on a Thursday, saw a doctor at his HMO on Friday, saw a specialist Saturday and got surgery on Monday," Olson recounted before Thursday's game. "Doctors said he would be out two to six weeks, and he was cleared [Wednesday night]. It's been three weeks.

"His mom did a great job. She was on speed dial for him to get an appointment on Friday, and again on Saturday for the specialist. And they had a cancellation.

"Usually, it takes a week to get an appointment and two weeks to see a specialist. And [her effort] saved her kid. He gets to play his senior year. It was unbelievable."

Cook completed 10 of 16 passes for 121 yards and one interception. He ran three times for 20 yards.

*

Villa Park senior Dache Dameron broke the school career rushing record during Friday's 28-28 tie with El Modena. Dameron gained 89 yards to give him 3,025 for the last three seasons, surpassing the record of 3,002 yards by Grant Pearsall (1991-93).

Pearsall, a strong safety at USC, didn't play much at running back for the Spartans until his junior year. He still holds many school records, including 5,031 career all-purpose yards and 43 touchdowns.

*

Junior outside hitter April Ross had 24 kills in the final and was named the most valuable player at the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions Saturday when Newport Harbor defeated defending Division III state champion Mountain View St. Francis, 15-17, 15-12, 15-0, 16-14.

Joining Ross on the all-tournament team were teammates Brenda Waterman and Jennifer Carey, and Santa Margarita's Sarah Ballog, whose team finished ninth.

*

Pat Chesley scored all the points, but Ryan Schissler's contribution to Laguna Beach's first homecoming victory in 11 years can't be overlooked.

Schissler, a junior quarterback and free safety, broke up seven passes in the Artists' 17-0 victory over Estancia. During the Eagles' last five plays, Schissler had a tackle and broke up three passes.

"The last five minutes of the game, he was awesome," Laguna Beach Coach Dave Holland said.

Times staff writer Paul McLeod and correspondent Melanie Neff and contributed to this report.

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