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NOTEBOOK

Throwback Game for the Valley

October 14, 1998|From Staff Reports

Anthony Davis, Charles White, Kevin Williams, Anthony Gibson. . . .

Darryl Stroh has faced many of San Fernando's top offensive players over the last four decades while helping coach the defense at Granada Hills. Now that he has come out of retirement to help guide the Highlanders to a 5-0 record, look who's standing in the way on Friday night, those Tigers from San Fernando.

"I've had a lot of games against them, most not very good," Stroh said.

Well, there are two positive highlights Stroh won't soon forget.

In 1970, when Stroh was an assistant coach for Granada Hills, the Highlanders beat San Fernando, 38-28, in the first City championship game played in the Valley. More than 15,000 fans packed Birmingham High to see quarterback Dana Potter of Granada Hills out-duel Davis.

Earlier that season, San Fernando handed Granada Hills its only defeat, 40-15.

Probably the most memorable game for Stroh was in 1977, when John Elway rallied the Highlanders to a 40-35 victory when he threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Chris Sutton with 13 seconds left.

Stroh laments the drop in fan interest for the Granada Hills-San Fernando game.

"No matter how good the teams are, no matter how good the rivalry is, you don't get the fan participation," he said. "That really adds to the atmosphere--a full house."

*

Andrew Malone of Kennedy High is the biggest player in the Northwest Valley Conference, but his impact on the Golden Cougars was small until last week.

Looking for a way to suppress the El Camino Real running game, Malone, who is listed at 415 pounds, was inserted at defensive tackle for the second half.

Malone did his job, helping hold the Conquistadores to 24 yards rushing in the second half and Kennedy came back to win, 20-14.

It was the first significant playing time in two seasons for Malone, who has only recently gotten into game shape.

"He was having trouble just warming up in August," Kennedy Coach Bob Francola said. "But he went the whole way. He pursued all the way to the sideline three times."

Malone might get the call again this week, when Kennedy faces Taft, which features Marquis Brignac, leading rusher among City Section teams from the region.

*

Kevin Mack of Rio Mesa, touted as a linebacker before the season, had a strong game on special teams Friday in a loss to Thousand Oaks.

Mack's four punts averaged 40.5 yards and he blocked two extra points.

*

Jason Stauffer leads the region with six interceptions, but it wasn't enough to keep the junior in Village Christian's defensive lineup.

"It wasn't a popular decision," Coach Mike Plaisance said of benching Stauffer on defense so he could concentrate on his duties as running back.

Stauffer, who has gained 300 yards in five games, will be used in nickel defenses.

"As good as he is as a DB, he's a better running back," Plaisance said. "And, when it comes to crunch time in a ballgame, he hasn't had anything left."

*

In the aftermath of any close loss, there will be second-guessing. Hart's 23-22 loss to Loyola is no exception.

With no time outs, Hart had the ball at the Loyola three-yard line with 15 seconds to play. Instead of trying a quick pass to the end zone, Coach Mike Herrington called for thefield goal team, which botched the attempt with a bad snap.

"The staff was divided on that decision," Herrington said. "We were trying to play the percentages. If somebody breaks through the line then we can't stop the clock and we don't even get the field goal off."

*

Faith Baptist could be headed to the Southern Section large schools eight-man title game this year if history means anything.

That's because the Contenders are 5-0 record for the fifth time this decade.

The four previous times, in 1991, '92, '94 and '96, Faith Baptist either won a section title or were beaten in the championship game.

*

Kevin Morris, a junior running back, is questionable for Highland's Golden League opener against Littlerock Friday night because of a sprained left ankle.

"It's nothing serious," said Morris, who has gained 385 yards and is averaging 8.4 yards per carry. "I'm hoping to be ready for Friday."

*

Quarterback Nate Dane of La Canada (2-3) has improved markedly in the last two games after struggling during the first three.

Dane, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior, has completed 26 of 48 passes for 506 yards and four touchdowns and had three passes intercepted in the last two games.

He was 19 of 48 for 356 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions in the first three.

*

Quarterback J.P. Blecksmith and wide receiver Peter Twist of Flintridge Prep combined to set four school records Saturday night in a 22-12 victory over Village Christian.

Blecksmith scored on an 83-yard run, longest in school history, and connected on a school-record 77-yard touchdown pass play to Twist.

Twist set school records for the longest reception and most reception yardage in a game with 144 yards on four catches.

Staff writers Michael Lazarus, Eric Sondheimer, Peter Yoon, John Ortega and correspondent Dave Desmond contributed to this notebook.

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