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Sailer Got 2nd Chance in a Hurry

October 18, 1998|ERIC SONDHEIMER

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

Four years ago, Chris Sailer made a choice. He gave up his dream of one day playing in the World Cup for the sometimes chaotic life of a kicker in college football.

On Saturday afternoon before 75,367 at the Rose Bowl, this Valley boy from Notre Dame High experienced his worst nightmare. Then, just as quickly, he became the hero.

Agony, then redemption. It's life as a kicker.

Sailer missed a 21-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of regulation, then made a 24-yard field goal in overtime to give second-ranked UCLA a 41-38 victory over Oregon.

"If you ask me, it was a fluke," he said of his missed field goal. "If you give me 100 chances, I'll make 99. I just missed."

That Sailer was able to immediately forget his miss is the special gift all good kickers possess. His holder last season, Chris Rubio, was on the sideline in street clothes teasing him, "I can't believe you missed that, Sailer."

Sailer only smiled. "That doesn't bother me," he said. "You have to have confidence, and when you're a kicker, it means putting it behind you.". . .

Former Antelope Valley High tailback Jermaine Lewis scored a touchdown in his return to the Bruins after sitting out a one-game suspension for his involvement in an off-campus fight.

"I learned a lot [about] patience," Lewis said.

Those people who don't know Lewis probably assumed the worst when reading about his troubles.

But Andy Iacenda, father of USC fullback Ted Iacenda, knows plenty about Lewis' character. He remembers the way Lewis acted in 1995 after Hart defeated Lewis' Antelope Valley High team in the Southern Section Division II championship game.

Amid the scenes of jubilation and devastation, Lewis embraced Ted Iacenda, an outstanding running back at Hart, and the two posed for a photo.

"When we went to take a picture, Jermaine grabbed Ted's hand to put it up, 'We're No. 1.' That was incredible class. He had lost the championship. There are adults who couldn't do that," Andy Iacenda said.

Andy said Ted was "very upset" when he heard about Lewis' suspension.

Ted went through his own ordeal with unwanted media exposure. He was charged with sexual assault in 1996. The charges were dismissed in January.

"It's devastating because people believe what they hear and read initially," Andy Iacenda said. "Ted can never be given back what was taken from him.". . .

Quarterback Nick Czernek of Newbury Park is 18 and growing older after surviving the Panthers' 32-25 thriller against Westlake on Thursday. "These games are fun, but they give me a heart attack," he said. . . .

Sophomore defensive back Ryan Foltz of Westlake created his own highlight film with his performance against Newbury Park. He's going to be the Warriors' next big-time receiver/cornerback, following in the tradition of Joey Cuppari and Travis Campbell. . . .

Outfielder Michael Falco of Agoura is enjoying his college recruiting trips. By the time letter-of-intent day arrives on Nov. 11, Falco will have made official visits to Santa Clara, Arizona, Oklahoma State, Tulane and Fresno State while visiting Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount on his own. The question Falco must answer: What was the most expensive dinner tab he ran up? . . .

To no one's surprise, freshman shortstop J.T. Stotts from Hart is making a positive impression during Cal State Northridge's fall baseball workouts.

"He's got as good athletic ability as anyone we've had," Matador Coach Mike Batesole said. "He's going to be something special."

Another freshman, outfielder Tom Morefield from Chatsworth, went five for five in an intrasquad scrimmage this week. Northridge's pitching staff has been strengthened by the addition of left-hander Daryl Grant, a transfer from Long Beach State who struck out 56 in 65 2/3 innings last season. . . .

Two of the region's top boys' basketball teams, Simi Valley and Sylmar, are scheduled to meet Jan. 16 at Cal State Dominguez Hills as part of the Double Pump Hoop Challenge. . . .

The next top Hart quarterback could be sophomore Kyle Matter, who has passed for 1,042 yards and nine touchdowns in leading the sophomore team to a 5-0 record. . . .

Larry Hatley, an All-Southern Section center for Burroughs' football team in 1986, has become a hot coach at Bonita High in La Verne. His team is 5-0 and ranked No. 2 in Division IX. Asked if he would ever be interested in returning to the Valley, Hatley said, "Absolutely.". . .

The best team during the 1998-99 school year could be the Harvard-Westlake boys' volleyball squad. "They're the best team in Southern California in years by far," said Crespi Coach Alvin Lamarre.

Harvard-Westlake has two of the nation's top five college prospects in 6-foot-9 Billy Strickland and 6-6 Will Curtis. . . .

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