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A Rough Night for New Dad

November 04, 2002|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

When Fullerton Eastside Christian bolted to a 20-0 lead over Express League rival Huntington Beach Liberty Christian on Saturday night, Eastside Christian Coach Mike Blankenship thought he was going to be able to quickly turn his attention to more important matters than an eight-man football game.

His wife, Natalie, was waiting for him at the hospital after undergoing a Cesarean section the night before to deliver premature twins. Blankenship was eager to check on his new sons, Elijah and Brea, who were in intensive care, and spend a tender moment with his wife on their sixth wedding anniversary.

As it turned out, Liberty Christian was not in a cooperative mood.

The Minutemen rallied to take Eastside Christian into double overtime before emerging with a 72-70 victory when Liberty Christian quarterback Pat Doney scored on a two-point conversion run at Murdy Park in Huntington Beach.

"It was kind of surreal," Blankenship said. "We were up 20-0 and I thought we had the game."

Luckily for Blankenship, things went more smoothly at the hospital, where his wife and children were making quick recoveries.

Eastside Christian looked as if it had secured the victory on the last play of regulation when a flock of defenders converged on Doney, only to watch him complete a wobbly pass to Mark Becklund in the end zone.

The teams traded touchdowns in the first and second overtimes, but Eastside Christian was unable to convert a two-point conversion run in the second extra period when Liberty Christian defenders stuffed quarterback Matt Ellis.

The teams combined for 994 yards of offense. Liberty Christian freshman David Burch rushed for a school-record 351 yards and three touchdowns, and brother Brandon added 123 yards and two touchdowns.

Ellis threw for four touchdowns and rushed for five, racking up 375 all-purpose yards for Eastside Christian. T.J. Fakehinde caught three touchdown passes and ran for another score.


Santa Fe Springs Santa Fe rang its victory bell earlier than usual while defeating previously unbeaten Whittier Pioneer in a key Del Rio League game at Pioneer.

The large copper-and-iron relic, which looks and sounds as if it hails from a 19th-century schoolhouse, usually sits in the school's main office and is sounded during the "nutrition break" on Mondays following each Chief victory.

But Santa Fe wheeled the bell onto its sideline for the big game against Pioneer, then ranked No. 1 in the Southern Section Division VII poll. Santa Fe, the defending league champion, was ranked No. 2.

As the final seconds of its 35-16 victory ticked off the clock, Santa Fe obliged its fans' chants of "Ring the bell! Ring the bell!"


Play-calling signals aren't the only ones being traded along the Pioneer sideline.

Franky Duarte, a junior wide receiver and defensive back for the Titans, is deaf and requires the services of an American Sign Language interpreter to communicate messages from coaches and teammates during games.

College students Randy Salazar, Andi Montgomery and Cyndy Parral, who are either certified sign-language interpreters or obtaining their certification, take turns walking alongside Duarte, signing when needed.

"I guess it was like my first language," said Salazar, a sophomore at El Camino College whose parents and sister are deaf. "Whenever the coach wants Franky to go in, we tell him, and help them communicate."

The interpreters work at Pioneer throughout the week as translators in classes for Duarte and nine other deaf students.

Duarte, the only deaf student on the football team, is a transfer from La Mirada, where he played on the junior varsity team last year.

A reserve at Pioneer, Duarte saw limited action on punt returns and at receiver against Santa Fe.

When he is on the field, Duarte relies on teammates, who point on the plays scrawled on their wristbands in the huddle.

"He usually gets it, so we don't have to be on the field," Salazar said. "He knows what's going on."


Chino running back Jacob Flowe may require surgery to repair pelvic injuries suffered in a car accident Thursday that forced him to miss the Cowboys' 21-14 loss to Chino Hills Ayala. Flowe was not seriously injured in the accident, which required him to be hospitalized for two nights as a precaution.

"I was blessed," said Flowe, who suffered a cut above his right eye. "Just a couple of scratches and bruises."

Flowe said his car was totaled after being hit head-on by another driver who ran a red light. A friend riding with Flowe also had only scrapes and bruises.

Flowe, who has rushed for 568 yards in seven games, was expected to return to full speed this week after an ankle injury suffered against Glendora two weeks ago had limited his playing time against La Verne Damien.

Chino Coach John Monger said he planned to hold Flowe out of this week's nonleague game against Lompoc.

Flowe said he has a doctor's appointment on Nov. 11 to assess his recovery and determine if surgery is necessary.


Two players appear to have made quick recoveries from concussions.

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