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FOOTBALL REWIND

Herrick Starts With Bang

September 15, 2003|Eric Sondheimer | Times Staff Writer

Somebody should have pinched 15-year-old sophomore quarterback Michael Herrick of Valencia just to make him understand that what he accomplished in his varsity debut was no fantasy.

Herrick completed 33 of 44 passes for a school-record 421 yards and rallied the Vikings from a 21-0 deficit to defeat La Puente Bishop Amat, 31-28, Friday night at Bishop Amat.

"It's pretty unbelievable," said Herrick, who passed for two touchdowns and ran for two. "I was real excited. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a varsity quarterback."

Coming from the same Foothill League that features national recruit Nathan Longshore of Canyon Country Canyon and All-Southern Section player Sean Norton of Newhall Hart at quarterback, Herrick is under no illusion he's going to be the league's top passing threat this season.

But with one magical opening-game performance, he sent a message that Valencia intends to challenge Hart's 58-game Foothill League winning streak through the air.

Valencia failed to beat the Indians when it had outstanding tailbacks Manuel White and Charles Burnley, but Coach Brian Stiman has been slowly trying to build a consistent passing attack.

Stiman had no trepidation turning the offense over to the 6-foot-1, 160-pound Herrick, the son of longtime high school and junior college basketball coach Greg Herrick.

"He's a real thinking quarterback," Stiman said. "He takes an intellectual and classroom approach to the game. We said, 'Forget the fact he's a sophomore. If the kid can play, he can play.' "

With a matchup against Longshore and Norton looming, Stiman just wants Herrick to keep improving on a weekly basis.

"In all honesty, he has a lot of respect for Norton and Longshore," Stiman said. "Those guys are premier quarterbacks who are going to be playing college football. He knows he has another two years of growth and maturity."

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Norton didn't play in the second half of Hart's 20-17 loss to Los Alamitos because of a rib injury, but X-rays showed there was no fracture and the chances are good he'll be able to play in the Indians' game Friday night against Ventura St. Bonaventure.

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Defensive coordinator Ralph Caldwell of Los Angeles Dorsey prides himself on having linebackers who are fast and hard hitters. He has another good one in senior Joey Rucks, who had 15 tackles in the Dons' 20-6 season-opening victory over Sylmar.

"He's probably going to be the next in our long line of All-City linebackers," Caldwell said.

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A year ago, Huntington Beach Edison had the region's No. 1 quarterback in Tommy Grady, but the Chargers couldn't protect him and slumped to a 4-7 record.

So it was a bit surprising that Edison opened the season with a 26-21 upset of San Clemente, scoring the first 20 points.

Junior Abel Cardona had 117 yards and four touchdowns in 29 carries and sophomore Brian Shrock completed 11 of 19 passes for 150 yards. Most important, Shrock was sacked only once, and the Chargers had no turnovers and few penalties.

*

Palisades unveiled a promising 6-2, 215-pound sophomore tailback in Andre Harris, who rushed for 136 yards in the Dolphins' 12-10 victory over Harbor City Narbonne.

"He's a bruiser, but he's still a baby," Coach Jason Blatt said.

Palisades blocked a 23-yard field-goal attempt in the final seconds to secure the victory.

*

Among the interception returns for touchdowns last week were 100 yards by Jared Anderson of Yucaipa, 99 yards by Greg Lemon of Diamond Bar, 94 yards by Uche Anyanwu of Encino Crespi and 92 yards by Terrail Lambert of St. Bonaventure.

Atascadero pulled off perhaps the best comeback of the week, erasing a 26-0 first-quarter deficit to defeat Lompoc Cabrillo, 39-38.

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Experience must count for something because rookie high school Coach Craig Fertig guided Costa Mesa Estancia to a 24-8 victory over Anaheim Magnolia.

Fertig was an assistant on two national championship teams at USC and coach at Oregon State. He took over an Estancia program that was 1-9 and 0-10 the last two seasons.

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Coaches are usually pleased if they can get one of their players above the 100-yard rushing mark. Imagine the elation of Compton Dominguez Coach Willie Donerson when three of his players rushed for 100 yards or more in a 26-14 victory over Anaheim Esperanza.

Quarterback Terry Mixon gained 123 yards in 11 carries, running back Dion Bell had 112 yards in 11 carries and running back Darryl Crummie had 100 yards in 21 carries.

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Two young quarterbacks hooked up in an exciting duel in Hemet.

Junior Brandis Dew of Hemet passed for 267 yards and two touchdowns in his team's 33-31 victory over Palm Springs. Sophomore Scott Saunders passed for 250 yards and three touchdowns.

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