Sean Pollard had it good. He was an assistant coach at Woodland Hills Taft under Troy Starr. He was head coach at Woodland Hills El Camino Real. He was an assistant at Moorpark College.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, he accepted the head football coaching position at Van Nuys in 2009, a school that had gone 0-10 the previous year, 2-8 in 2007 and 0-9 in 2006. Was he glutton for punishment?
"There were times you couldn't believe some of the stuff you were seeing," Pollard said.
Pollard welcomed the chance to build something from scratch, and on Friday night, when Van Nuys defeated previously unbeaten San Fernando, 29-13, the Wolves clinched at least a share of the Valley Mission League championship, their first league title since 1964.
"To have a turnaround like this is fun," Pollard said. "It's great to see when they buy into a program and succeed."
Kyle Jean, whose cousin is New York Jets running back Joe McKnight, rushed for 217 yards to lead the Wolves, who are 8-1 overall and 5-0 in league going into a final regular-season game Nov. 2 against Reseda.
Kurt Scoby, a standout junior running back at Santa Fe Springs St. Paul, has filled out paperwork to transfer to Los Angeles Cathedral, which could make for an interesting game next Saturday if he gains eligibility.
Earlier this season, he rushed for more than 300 yards against Studio City Harvard-Westlake. This week, Cathedral faces Harvard-Westlake. If Scoby is granted eligibility, the Wolverines would have to try to tackle him for a second time in the regular season.
First he has to be officially enrolled at Cathedral, then change residences and practice. It may not happen in time for Harvard-Westlake's homecoming.
Junior quarterback Ajene Harris of Crenshaw showed off a skill he hasn't displayed much this season — scrambling ability — during a 34-14 win over Dorsey. He already has a strong arm, and being able to run adds another weapon to the Cougars' attack.
It appears that Crenshaw (7-1) and Harbor City Narbonne (8-0) are on a collision course to meet in the City Section Division I championship game, and the winner should receive a berth to a CIF state championship regional bowl game.
A school-record eight-touchdown performance by running back Terrell Newby of West Hills Chaminade has given Coach Ed Croson added evidence when he declares that Newby is one of the best in the state.
"Once he got a seam, he was gone," Croson said of Newby, who rushed for 360 yards in 16 carries during a 78-34 victory over Harvard-Westlake.
Nebraska and Arizona State are strongly recruiting Newby, a senior who had runs of 79, 80 and 68 among his eight touchdowns.
Here comes Carson
After going 0-6 to start the year while facing one of the toughest schedules in the state, Carson has won its last two games in the Marine League with shutout victories over San Pedro, 28-0, and Washington, 53-0.
Kendell Sparks rushed for 117 yards against Washington. Carson could be a team opponents will want to avoid in the City Section playoffs.