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High Schools | SOUTHLAND FOOTBALL REWIND

Markham: Kids Are All Right

September 16, 2002|BEN BOLCH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It looks as if Don Markham, the coach who garnered national attention last season by calling his Rialto High football players "a bunch of jerks," has found a more conscientious and agreeable bunch in his return to Bloomington.

The Bruins ended a 10-game losing streak Friday by rolling over Colton, 40-14, in Markham's first game at Bloomington since 1997. Glennard Williams had 242 yards and scored three touchdowns running out of Markham's trademark double-wing formation.

Victories no longer move Markham, 63, who has five Southern Section titles--three at Bloomington--and 275 wins in his career. What matters to him is coaching a team full of players willing to listen and dedicate themselves to improvement.

Markham's verdict after Week 1 at Bloomington? The kids are all right.

"They're trying and they're listening and they're polite," he said.

"I think they tend to, as much as they can, police each other. It certainly is a step up from last year."

Last year was one Markham would rather forget, even though he guided Rialto to only its second winning season in the school's 10-year history.

"The players wouldn't listen, wanted to do whatever they wanted to do," he said. "They didn't want to go to practice and thought they knew everything."

Markham expressed interest in the Bloomington job when it came open after last season, but the post went to Stewart Roper. Markham moved on, accepting a job as offensive coordinator at Eastern Oregon before receiving a phone call in July.

The caller told him: "Don't throw out your old Bloomington shirts yet."

Roper was dismissed after inconsistencies were discovered on his resume, opening the door for Markham to return to the program he had coached for four seasons in the mid-1990s. He was welcomed back by coaches Jesse Ceniceros and Jeff Stuckey, who had worked under Markham at Bloomington before and never left.

"I can't see myself going anywhere else," Markham said. "I think I'll just stick here and finish [my career]. I don't know when that's going to be.

"I just take each year and see if I'm having fun and the kids are listening. If no one's listening and we're not winning, we'll know when to quit."

A battle of heavies: Newhall Hart and Los Alamitos may rank among the top teams in Southern California over the last decade, but their meeting Friday was the kind of test neither is accustomed to in an opening game.

Los Alamitos had won its last 11 openers, fattening up on teams such as L.A. Washington and Cypress by an average score of 39-7. Hart was 10-1 in openers since 1991, outscoring opponents such as Quartz Hill and Granada Hills by an average tally of 40-13. The lone loss for Hart was a 38-33 defeat to Honolulu St. Louis in 1995.

The teams' string of early success resulted in their meeting Friday.

"It's hard to get games when you get good," Los Alamitos Coach John Barnes said. "Nobody wants to play you, so you've got to play good teams."

Neither team had its record blemished Friday. The game ended in a 21-21 tie after Hart quarterback Sean Norton connected with receiver Cody Kase on a 68-yard pass as time expired.

Just another victory: With its 49-0 victory over Rialto Eisenhower on Friday, Corona Centennial won its third consecutive game against the Eagles and took a 3-2 lead in a series that dates to 1998.

"I didn't expect [a blowout]," Centennial Coach Matt Logan said. "I need 11 game balls for that offense."

The Huskies had outscored Eisenhower, 100-99, in the previous three games, with the Eagles winning the first game between the teams, 25-0.

Considering last year's turn of events, the decisive victory shouldn't lead to overconfidence for the Huskies. Centennial was 10-0 and the top-seeded team when it suffered a double-overtime loss to Riverside North, 35-28, in the Division V quarterfinals.

Really offensive: An off-season knee injury wasn't the only reason for Santa Margarita running back Ashton White's tentativeness early during the Eagles' game against Orange El Modena. Santa Margarita is also breaking in four offensive linemen, who struggled at times to open holes for the senior standout.

"We have to do a better job of blocking for him," Eagle Coach Jim Hartigan said after Santa Margarita escaped with a 17-10 victory. "We have to get better up front to establish the run."

White, who finished with 90 yards in 27 carries, said he felt about 80% healthy. The Eagles will need him at full strength Friday when they play Redlands.

Home cooking? Huntington Beach opened its enviable schedule Thursday with a 35-29 victory over Fountain Valley Los Amigos. The Oilers, one of only four Southern Section teams to play seven home games, are the only section team to play all but one of their games at home.

Two of Huntington Beach's three road games, against Huntington Beach Edison and Fountain Valley, will be played at Huntington Beach High. The Oilers will have to travel only once, when they play Los Alamitos on Oct. 17 at Veterans Stadium, Long Beach.

Injury report: Esperanza senior running back Shaun Wildenstein is expected to return this week when the Aztecs play host to Fallbrook at Valencia High after suffering a knee contusion in the second half Friday against Compton Dominguez..... Westlake Village Westlake running back Kenneth Mackins could be sidelined three weeks because of a separated shoulder suffered during the Warriors' 45-0 thrashing of Santa Paula.... Joe Bernardi, a sophomore offensive lineman at Hart who was expected to start, will have season-ending surgery for torn knee ligaments later this month.

Extra point: Jason Moss, Chatsworth's starting quarterback the last two seasons, has passed a required class to regain his academic eligibility. He will be available to play in the Chancellors' third game, against Crespi, Coach Bill Coan said.

Staff writers Martin Henderson, Eric Sondheimer and Peter Yoon contributed to this report.

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