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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL | ON THE SIDELINES

Barons Honor One of Their Own

September 09, 2000

The spirit of Scotty Lang lived on Friday night at Dana Hills High.

Fountain Valley played the Dolphins in the first game of what would have been Lang's senior season. An offensive lineman, Lang died last Nov. 15 after collapsing from a heart ailment during practice.

But Lang has never strayed from his teammates' hearts.

On Thursday night, teammates gathered in a ceremony to honor Lang.

Former UCLA quarterback Matt Stevens was invited to speak about what it's like to lose a friend. His best friend, Greg Bolin, died in a car accident in June, 1996, at age 32. Bolin was also Fountain Valley Coach Eric Johnson's former roommate while he coached at Mater Dei.

After Stevens spoke, each Fountain Valley senior addressed the team about his remembrances of Lang. Former Baron defensive lineman Steven Fifita, who is serving as a volunteer assistant coach this season until he leaves for the University of Utah in January, was moved to tears when asked to speak.

"It was real emotional," Johnson said. "But I think they're holding up well."

The team has added a yellow "75" decal--commemorating Lang's number--to the front of each player's helmet. The school is also constructing a monument and a film room in Lang's honor.

*

El Toro's game plan Friday was to make second-ranked Edison throw the ball.

"We have to take away [running back] Darryl Poston, but if you try to take away him, you have the quarterback [Richard Schwartz]," El Toro Coach Mike Milner said beforehand.

"Still, I'd rather be shot in the back than between the eyes."

El Toro kept it close, losing, 21-17.

*

San Clemente quarterback Dan Coviello still had a look of disbelief on his face Friday night as he entered Lake Elsinore stadium on crutches. Coviello, a two-year starter, tore cartilage in his left knee while dirt biking a week before practice.

"It's emotionally draining," he said. "It's my team out there. I was ready to shine. I worked really hard in the off-season."

Coviello said he wishes he could go back three weeks.

"I should have been more conservative," he said. "I'd give anything in the world to take back what I did. But riding a bike is something I love to do."

Coviello, also a big snowboarder, said he loves to live on the edge.

"I guess it's the consequences being so bad that makes it so much fun for me," he said.

Though his doctor told him he'd be out for three months, Coviello said he will try to return this season.

Coviello said his injury might cost him a scholarship. He was being recruited by New Mexico and several Division II schools.

*

Irvine quarterback Travis Otott couldn't praise enough his offensive line of Matt McKinney, Nick Gasper, Max Malapas, Ramin Kashani and Tyler Wright.

"My mom made them steak [Wednesday] night and I think it helped them," Otott said Thursday, adding that reserves Steve Corbet and Ali Sarkeshik also chowed down.

The 16-ounce T-bones didn't go to waste. "I out-ate them," said Otott, who was well-protected against the Trojans during Irvine's 41-17 victory Thursday. "I had two. Well, I out-ate some of them."

*

Tustin High starting quarterback David Miller was not in his usual place under center Friday night. He stood instead on crutches on the sidelines.

Miller suffered torn cartilage last week in a scrimmage against San Clemente, but at least he could smile.

"Well, I can see my knee now," he said, looking down at his swollen knee. "I hope I'll be back for league."

Junior Brian Judd took Miller's place and led the Tillers to a 6-0 victory.

*

A familiar face will again be roaming the Sunny Hills' sidelines this season. Tim Devaney, who was at the helm of the Lancers for 19 years and whose teams won 12 league titles and three Southern Section titles during his tenure, has rejoined the Sunny Hills' staff after a one-year hiatus.

Devaney's main assignment this season will be to restore life to the Lancers' offense. Sunny Hills' offense averaged only 11 points per game last season. Devaney will work with the quarterbacks.

"I'm pleased to be working with [Coach] David [Fenstermaker] this season," said the easy-going Devaney. "I missed being away from football last year. I missed the kids and I missed the coaches. What happened here last year [2-8 record] was unfortunate, but high school programs run in cycles. We need to be healthy and play mistake-free football this season if we are going to be competitive."

*

Robert Coons and Scott Miller graduated from Orange County high schools in the late 1980s, played football at local community colleges and spent two seasons together on the Miami Dolphins.

Now, both are back in the county as assistant football coaches this fall. Miller, who played wide receiver for El Toro, Saddleback College and UCLA, is in his second year as receivers coach at Mission Viejo.

Coons played tight end for El Dorado, Fullerton College and Pittsburgh before playing five NFL seasons in Miami and Buffalo. He's in his first season as tight end coach at Loara.

"I was more nervous my first day in the classroom than I am out here on the football field." Coons said. "I'm not doing anything out here. I'm just spectating. In the classroom, it's all on me."

*

Santa Margarita played Chino Hills Ayala Friday night at Cal State Fullerton, but it was a home game for Ayala.

The Bulldogs do not have a stadium on campus and normally play home games at Chino High, but Chino had scheduled a home game Friday, Ayala Coach Lou Randall said.

They tried a few other stadiums, but could only come up with Fullerton, where Santa Margarita will play four times this year. The other three are Eagle home games.

Santa Margarita's three other "home" games this season are at Saddleback College.

"I guess this gives them a seventh," Randall said.

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