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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | ERIC SONDHEIMER

Fargas Finds Big Ten Climate Just Ducky

November 08, 1998|ERIC SONDHEIMER

A smorgasbord of notes, quotes and opinions from across the San Fernando Valley and its surrounding communities:

Remember when former Notre Dame High tailback Justin Fargas was trying to decide whether or not to attend Michigan last February? People wondered if he could handle the rainy, muddy conditions of Big Ten Conference football.

Then came his 120-yard rushing performance three weeks ago against Northwestern. Michigan fans, sportswriters and coaches were in awe that a teenager from sunny Southern California could handle wet weather so well.

"I told them, 'We had El Nino going my senior year, so I got a lot of experience,' " Fargas said.

Fargas isn't dominating, let alone starting, for the Wolverines. He has rushed for 260 yards and scored one touchdown in nine games. But give him time. By next season, when he's physically stronger, he'll be every bit as good as when he gained 6,352 yards and scored 77 touchdowns in high school.

"To me, it's just high school at a higher level," he said. "I didn't come into high school and was immediately at the top of my game. It took a while getting used to. I see the same things happening here."

Fargas said the biggest adjustment he has made involves his running style.

"You can't really do a lot of the same things that I was able to do--running over people and breaking as many tackles," he said. "You can still do it, but it's a little more difficult."

Fargas is waiting to experience his first Ann Arbor snowstorm.

"It hasn't snowed, but it's cold," he said. "I get homesick every once in a while. Everybody does. It's just another adjustment. Things are going well. I've met some real good friends in my classes. I'm having a good time outside of football."

Like high school, Fargas continues to carry around a notebook to write down rap tunes that come to mind.

"I get into trouble sometimes at study table for writing rap," he said.

Fargas takes issue with the comment of Notre Dame assistant Joe McNab, who suggested that current Knight defensive lineman Travis Johnson is a better rap singer than Fargas.

"He's crazy," Fargas said. "Travis knows that too."

Fargas has shown he's not afraid of wet weather, but he wouldn't mind some occasional sunshine.

"I haven't put my shorts on yet," he said. . . .

Hart's days as the region's No. 1-ranked football team may be coming to an end. Notre Dame's 17-14 upset win over Loyola could catapult the Knights to No. 1 in this week's local ratings. Hart lost to Loyola earlier in the season, 23-22. . . .

Linebacker John Perry of Chaminade is having an MVP-type season. He has made more than 125 tackles. Against Bishop Montgomery, he contributed four sacks. "He was unconscious," Coach Ed Croson said. . . .

Agoura is 0-5 in the Marmonte League, but don't let that obscure the talent of senior receiver/defensive back Garrett Lepisto. He had 10 receptions for 222 yards and three touchdowns against Newbury Park. He's also a top basketball player. . . .

Granada Hills (9-0, 6-0) figures to be the underdog Friday night in its Northwest Valley Conference showdown with Taft (8-1, 6-0), but Toreador Coach Troy Starr plans to make sure his team isn't overconfident. He remembers facing Granada Hills as a 25-year-old assistant coach at Carson in 1987. Carson was heavily favored but lost to the Highlanders and coaches Darryl Stroh and Tom Harp in the City 4-A final. "That was the first page in lessons learned the hard way," Starr said. . . .

Former Camarillo quarterback Joe Borchard, a sophomore at Stanford, is happy that his alma mater has found its winning ways.

"I'm proud of them," he said. "They've caught fire like when I was a senior."

Camarillo lost its first two games in 1996, then won the next 12 en route to the Southern Section Division III title. The Scorpions lost their first two games this season and have won seven consecutive games. . . .

Paraclete has two young football players with bright futures. Freshman tailback Curtis Brown and sophomore defensive back Michael Washington project as college prospects. . . .

With Southern Section teams beginning basketball practice Saturday, beware of improving sophomore guard Aaron Bobik of Newbury Park. He is close to 6 feet 3 and one day could become a better player than his brother, Daniel, last season's Ventura County player of the year.

"He's going to be a good one," Panther Coach Steve Johnson said. "The sky's the limit." . . .

Mark Todd, father of 6-11 J.J. Todd of Chaminade, said of the basketball recruiting process, "I don't care about a scholarship. I want to trade his food bill." . . .

One of the region's top girls' basketball players, guard Jaline Bradley of Channel Islands, is expected to sign a letter of intent with UCLA on Wednesday. . . .

Buena has another promising freshman girls' basketball player in 6-2 Courtney Lavere. . . .

Crespi basketball Coach Dick Dornan is going all out for Midnight Madness festivities Friday night. The show begins at 10:15 p.m. with a barbecue, but things really heat up at 11 with the arrival of the Laker Girls. There will be a $100 half-court shooting contest, a one-on-one game against the mascot and a scrimmage at midnight. "They'll be an inspiration," Crespi forward Marcin Jagoda said of the Laker Girls. . . .

City Section basketball practice begins Monday, and Chatsworth Coach Fluke Fluker isn't wasting any time. He has scheduled a practice tonight at midnight, with the team sleeping over in the gymnasium. . . .

Three former College of the Canyons baseball players are attending Oklahoma City University: outfielder Rick Nadeau, infielder Kris Yeaman and pitcher Chris Baker. . . .

Former Sylmar baseball Coach Denny Thompson is the new principal at Canoga Park.

*

Eric Sondheimer's local column appears Wednesday and Sunday. He can be reached at (818) 772-3422.

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