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SOUTHERN SECTION FOOTBALL REPORT

Neighbors Finally Get Together

October 09, 2003|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

When Santa Monica St. Monica High defeated Santa Monica, 19-15, last Friday, it was noteworthy not only because a Southern Section Division XI team defeated one from Division IV, but also because the teams played at all.

Santa Monica High was established in 1891 and St. Monica in 1899. The schools are less than 1 1/2 miles from each other, yet Friday was the first time the teams had met on the football field.

"They never wanted to play us," St. Monica Coach Randy Robinson said. "They always said they had too much to lose."

An assistant for nine years at St. Monica, Robinson, a 1986 Santa Monica graduate, has been pushing for a game against his alma mater since taking the head job in 2000.

Santa Monica Athletic Director Mike Griswold finally agreed and the teams signed a two-year contract. Robinson said he expects the contract will be renewed indefinitely when it expires.

The game Friday drew a near-sellout crowd to Santa Monica College.

"It was a great opportunity to show that we aren't just a little Division XI school down the street," Robinson said.

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Two veteran coaches hope to cement their status in the Southland on Friday by reaching the 200-victory plateau.

Brent Newcomb of Lancaster Antelope Valley and Lalo Mendoza of L.A. Salesian each has 199 victories. Antelope Valley (3-1) plays host to Barstow (2-2), and Salesian (3-1) plays host to L.A. Garfield (1-3). Both games are at 7:30 p.m.

"The [assistant] coaches are all teasing me about it," said Mendoza, who won section titles in 1981 and 1982 during his 28-year stint at L.A. Verbum Dei before taking over at Salesian two years ago. "They have all these plans for me, but if they do what they are talking about, then they're going to be coaching someplace else next year."

Newcomb, who has won section titles in 1981, 1988 and 1994 during his 26 years with the Antelopes, believed he had already passed the milestone, but some of his assistants reminded him about three forfeits in 1993 for using an academically ineligible player.

"I've done it on the field," Newcomb said. "Now I just want to get it official so everyone stops talking about it."

Next in line is Kevin Rooney, who has a 196-82-5 record in his 24th season at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

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Dante Hall he is not, but Trevor Lyne of Ventura St. Bonaventure had a punt return Friday against Saugus that is worth noting nonetheless.

It was three yards.

Far shorter than those by Hall, the Kansas City Chief star who has returned a punt or kickoff for touchdowns in four consecutive games, but also much more rare.

Saugus punted out of its end zone, but the punt was partially blocked. The ball hit the ground and took a sideways bounce into the arms of Lyne at the three-yard line.

Lyne, a sophomore, was making his first start after being called up from the junior varsity.

"That's why we brought him up," Coach John Mack said. "He displayed his athletic ability on that play."

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With a young, inexperienced offense, La Canada St. Francis isn't exactly scoring points in bunches, so its defense has countered by preventing points in bunches.

St. Francis has 11 interceptions. Six came in a season-opening, 31-6 victory over Arcadia, and five came last week in a 21-14 victory over Pasadena.

Junior James Eland leads St. Francis (4-0) with four interceptions.

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