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ERIC SONDHEIMER/ ON HIGH SCHOOLS

St. Francis quarterback makes a big comeback

A week after Justin Posthuma made a crucial fumble, he throws the winning touchdown pass against Loyola.

October 26, 2009|ERIC SONDHEIMER

From the "lessons learned" file comes the story of senior quarterback Justin Posthuma of La Canada St. Francis.

A week ago, he fumbled inside the 10-yard line with just over a minute left against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame that probably cost his team a victory.

On Friday night, he completed a three-yard touchdown pass to Travis Talianko with 11 seconds left to give St. Francis a 27-23 victory over Los Angeles Loyola, its first win over the Cubs since 1982.

Afterward, Posthuma addressed his teammates.

"I want to let you know last week was one of the hardest times of my life because games mean everything to me, and that was the position I wanted to be in," he said. "For me to drop the ball, I let my team down and fans down. I take full responsibility for the loss."

He went on: "It was hard for me to come to school Monday, but every one of you had my back, and I love you like brothers."

Said Coach Jim Bonds: "He's such a unique kid. I knew he'd come out stronger. He's so much fun to coach."

And the lessons learned?

"Sports aren't always fairy tale endings," Posthuma said. "You can't really predict the outcome of anything."

He added: "It's not how you start; it's how you finish."

Asked who told him that, Posthuma said, "I think it was the NFL Network."

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Parents beware

There's a new weapon in the arsenal of CIF commissioners around the state, and that is the ability to invoke a new rule that makes a student ineligible for one year if the commissioner believes the transfer was athletically motivated.

Southern Section Commissioner Jim Staunton has used the rule at least a half-dozen times since July 1. City Section Commissioner Barbara Fiege used the rule for the first time when she made Westlake Village Westlake quarterback Michael Bercovici ineligible after he transferred to Woodland Hills Taft in the middle of the season.

What's interesting is that the commissioners know they can't just make players ineligible based on suspicion. They have to come up with evidence because their decisions are subject to appeal, and invoking the rule too often will lead to a backlash. The rule already has made some longtime supporters of cracking down on transfers uncomfortable.

Staunton declared two brothers ineligible before the football season after they moved from Duarte into the West Covina South Hills district, and he was upheld on appeal.

But he declined to invoke the rule when quarterback Dylan Lagarde abruptly left Long Beach Poly several weeks ago after losing his starting position and transferred to Los Alamitos, where he started last week and passed for 195 yards. Staunton interviewed the family and couldn't prove it was an athletically motivated transfer.

So get ready for some nasty encounters between parents and commissioners.

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Baseline excitement

Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos dropped Rancho Cucamonga from the unbeaten ranks on Friday with a 31-28 Baseline League victory. Who knew there was life after the graduation of Los Osos quarterback Richard Brehaut?

But the hot team in the Baseline is unbeaten Upland (7-0). The Highlanders' starting defensive unit has given up 21 points all season. Defensive lineman Marcus Gluck, a member of the school's 400-meter relay team, has eight sacks. Jake Van Ginkel has seven field goals, booms the ball into the end zone on kickoffs, and averages more than 40 yards on punts.

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The next MacGyver

The most ingenious invention of the month goes to members of the Lakewood Mayfair chain crew. When their fourth-down marker malfunctioned in a game against Bellflower, they used a blue cloth to signify fourth down.

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eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

twitter.com/latsondheimer

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