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NOTEBOOK

Coach Takes Blame In Tale of the Tape

November 17, 1998|From Staff Reports

Poly High co-coach Lee Jackson said he accepts full responsibility for the Parrots not making the City Section Divisional football playoffs after he failed to show up for a mandatory film exchange Saturday at Manual Arts.

Poly was selected for the playoffs, but then had to forfeit its spot. Jackson, a second-year coach, said he did not read a playoff bulletin "thoroughly enough" and did not realize a Poly representative was required to be at Manual Arts.

The bulletin stated, in part, "Important: Each coach whose team is included in the City playoffs (or has a chance to be included) must bring tapes/films of two out of the last three conference games played to Manual Arts on Nov. 14 for exchange purposes. Any team that does not complete the exchange by 1 p.m. will forfeit its playoff berth."

Thirty-two teams made the playoffs, and Jackson was the only coach of a school selected for the playoffs that didn't send a representative to Manual Arts.

Contrary to a previous report, Jackson said North Hollywood Coach Jason Garrison, the conference representative, had nothing to do with Poly's failure to attend the meeting.

Barbara Fiege, the City commissioner, said she mentioned the mandatory playoff meeting for coaches at a preseason coaches' meeting. It was also mentioned in a two-page special playoff memo sent out to coaches and included in the playoff bulletin.

Poly quarterback Harold Berreondo said players were stunned by the news.

"There was a lot of frustration and a lot of players crying," he said. "We worked so hard and can't fulfill our goal. It was like a dagger in the heart."

This is the third time in a year that a Poly team has been ousted from the City playoffs for rule violations. Last fall, the football team was headed for the playoffs when it had to forfeit three victories because of an ineligible player. Then the boys' soccer team, one of the top-seeded teams in the playoffs, was removed because of an ineligible player.

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Fourth-seeded Sylmar High would have had an intriguing first-round opponent in the City Championship playoffs even if San Pedro, the two-time defending champion, hadn't been selected as the 13th-seeded team.

Neighborhood rival Kennedy was also under consideration to play the Spartans in the first round, a matchup the head coaches of both teams wanted.

"It would have been a good game for everybody," Kennedy Coach Bob Francola said.

The teams haven't met since a colorful two-game series ended after the 1994 season-opener. They tied in 1993 days after a Kennedy assistant coach videotaped a Sylmar team meeting on Labor Day that resulted in the Spartan football team being placed on probation.

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El Camino Real is fortunate that Westlake was on its schedule this season.

The Conquistadores face Venice and the City Section's best quarterback, J.P. Losman, who has committed to UCLA. Westlake, which defeated El Camino Real, 27-6, is the closest thing the Conquistadores have faced to Venice's wide-open passing attack.

"We're going to have a lot of work to do," El Camino Real Coach Rick Hayashida said. "We haven't done so well against the pass this year."

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Hart is top seeded in Division III, but the high school career of Jerry Owens, the Indians' star receiver, is over.

Owens suffered a broken right leg in a game against Canyon last Friday night and will be in a full-leg cast for the next four weeks.

The injury, a spiral fracture in the right tibia, occurred on a kickoff return just before halftime of Hart's 48-10 victory.

"I'm really upset that my football career at Hart is over," said Owens, who had 63 catches for 1,373 yards and 16 touchdowns--all region highs.

Owens expects a full recovery and plans on playing basketball for Hart this winter.

"The doctors said there is no ligament damage and no tendon damage and that if I'm going to have a break, this is the best kind to have," Owens said.

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Notre Dame, which plays host to Long Beach Wilson in the Division I playoffs Friday, will be without defensive end Alec Moss for at least two weeks. Moss has a second-degree sprain in his left shoulder.

The Knights (9-1), ranked No. 1 in the region by The Times, will also be without receiver Chris Nassour, who has a severely sprained ankle.

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Crespi, winless in the Mission League and loser of five consecutive games, will travel to Littlerock for a first-round Division III game. The Celts (5-5, 0-3) made the playoffs as an at-large team.

"We kind of figured, based on record and looking at the other teams, that it'd probably be us," Crespi defensive coordinator Richard Fong said. "We figured with the format they gave us that 5-5 would do it."

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Thousand Oaks' 42-41 victory over Newbury Park last Friday did not cost the Panthers, who, despite the loss, are Marmonte League champions and seeded No. 1 for the Division IV playoffs.

But the victory helped Thousand Oaks dramatically, vaulting it to second place in the league and the No. 3-seeded playoff position. Thousand Oaks (5-4-1) tied Westlake and lost only to Simi Valley in league play.

"Most of the teams that were ranked all year are in the other bracket," said Lancer Coach Mike Kelly, referring to Newbury Park, Westlake, Hueneme and San Luis Obispo.

In the first round on Friday, Thousand Oaks faces Lompoc, the third-place team from the Northern League.

Unfortunately for the Lancers, their victory over Newbury Park was costly in another area.

Wes Cobos, the region's leading rusher with 1,577 yards, suffered an ankle injury early in the second quarter and will probably be sidelined against Lompoc.

"It looks like a second-degree sprain and I don't think he'll play for at least a week," Kelly said.

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