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High Schools | SOUTHERN SECTION FOOTBALL REPORT

Santa Fe Steps Up in Class

September 25, 2003|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

Santa Fe Springs Santa Fe might be one of the best-kept secrets in high school football this season, but the Chiefs hope to change that Friday night when they play Huntington Beach Edison at Huntington Beach High in a matchup of undefeated teams.

"It's a huge respect game for us," Coach Jack Mahlstede said. "It's a step up in class."

Santa Fe, No. 2 in the Southern Section Division VII coaches' poll, has outscored Norwalk Glenn and Montebello, 104-2, in its first two games. The Chiefs advanced to the Division VII semifinals each of the last two years and have won six Del Rio League titles in the last 10 years.

Edison, ranked No. 17 by The Times and No. 8 in Division I, is a perennial major-division power.

"This will show the kids what it's like to face good-quality competition," Mahlstede said. "Our goal is to win a championship, and we need to play tough people in order to prepare for that."

Speed and athleticism highlight Santa Fe's offense, which has plenty of go-to options. Receiver Nate Kimbrough is 6 feet 3, 190 pounds and has committed to Arizona State. Running back Dontrell Mitchell is small at 5-10 and 170, but is quick and shifty. Quarterback Danny Banzet, 6-3, 190, has completed 19 of 29 passes for 339 yards and two touchdowns without an interception.

The defense has intercepted four passes and hasn't given up a point. The opponents' two points came when a second-string Chief quarterback was called for intentional grounding in his end zone.

"They're loaded," Edison Coach Dave White said. "They've got athletes all over the place. Their receivers and running backs are faster than anyone we have."

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Corona Centennial receiver Corn Tatum was released from Riverside County Regional Medical Center on Sunday after spending a week receiving treatment for numerous injuries he received in a Sept. 14 car accident.

Tatum, a senior who was expected to be Centennial's top receiver, broke his arm, collarbone and jaw when the car he was driving collided with another car while he was going to the store, Centennial Coach Matt Logan said.

"It's amazing he's home," he said. "When they found him at the accident, he wasn't breathing, so it's a miracle that he's home a week later. All things considered, he's doing pretty well."

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The list of teams that lost last weekend includes a who's who of Southern California football: Santa Ana Mater Dei, Los Angeles Loyola, Long Beach Poly, Newhall Hart, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, Lake Balboa Birmingham and Woodland Hills Taft.

Mater Dei was a Division I finalist last year, Loyola and Poly were Division I semifinalists, Hart was a Division II finalist, Notre Dame was the Division III champion and Birmingham and Taft played in the City Section Championship game.

Since 1990, those seven teams have combined for 19 Southern and City Section titles.

The losses were particularly hard for Mater Dei and Hart, as both dropped to 0-2 for the first time since 1990.

Hart hasn't started 0-3 since 1985, and the last time Mater Dei started 0-3 was 1968. The Monarchs also lost three in a row to open in 1989, Coach Bruce Rollinson's first year at the school; however, a 28-22 setback to Fountain Valley later became a victory when the Barons had to forfeit.

"You remember it because it's your first season, you're supposed to be the new guy who comes in and turns the program around and doink-doink-doink, you're 0-3," Rollinson said.

"I'm 15 years older and a lot more gray, and it still hurts to lose."

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On Tuesday, Mater Dei officials released a written apology by Rollinson for remarks he made during a televised interview at halftime of Friday's game between the Monarchs and Mission Viejo.

Rollinson told a Fox Sports Net interviewer during the live broadcast that the best way to stop Mission Viejo receiver Marty Tadman would be to "shoot him."

"So many people in this day and age take things too seriously," said Mission Viejo Coach Bob Johnson, who said the apology had been received. "Sure, Bruce could have used a better choice of words, but my feeling is the guy meant it as a compliment."

Tadman caught seven passes for 102 yards in Mission Viejo's 22-11 victory, which extended its winning streak to 30 games.

Rollinson would not comment on his remarks.

Times staff writers Dan Arritt and Lauren Peterson contributed to this report.

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