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Athletic Round Table: Every Day is Big Leading Up to Santa Barbara-San Marcos Big Game

The San Marcos cross country team was represented by, from left: Anna Chase, Madi Funk, Ty Burre, coach William Stehmeier, and Will Snyder. The Royals run at the Channel League No. 2 meet on Thursday at Lake Casitas. Click to view larger
The San Marcos cross country team was represented by, from left: Anna Chase, Madi Funk, Ty Burre, coach William Stehmeier, and Will Snyder. The Royals run at the Channel League No. 2 meet on Thursday at Lake Casitas. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

San Marcos plays Santa Barbara High in the 58th Big Game on Friday night at Warkentin Stadium.

At Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe, San Marcos football coach Jason Fowle shared the message he gave to his team going into this week.

“Before we can have a Big Game, we have to have a big Monday,” he said. “We have to have a big week of practice. That’s our goal for today.”

The Royals (1-6, 0-1) will have starting quarterback Jacob Villarreal back on the field for the crosstown rivalry against the Dons (3-3, 0-0). Villarreal, who cracked his left elbow in the second game of the season, returned in last Friday’s 42-0 Channel League loss at Buena.

“We were kind of holding our breath a little bit going into the game,” Fowle said. “He managed to make it through the whole game. I was proud of him for the way that he stood in (the pocket), delivered the ball and got rid of it when had to.”

Villarreal took some knocks but got right back up.

“There was a little bit or rust that we hope we can knock off with another week of practice,” said Fowle.

The coach said seniors Nathan Valdovinos and Javier Castillo are examples of how the San Marcos football program is moving forward. They are both hard workers who love playing the game.

Castillo, a team captain, is back to 100 percent after dealing  with a high ankle sprain

Dos Pueblos

Athlete of the Week Michael Elbert of Dos Pueblos might have made the play-call of the week in the Chargers’ 35-7 win over Ventura in the Channel League opener last Friday.

“We were down 7-0, missed a field goal and had the ball on the 7-yard line with a fourth down,” DP coach Nate Mendoza recalled of the situation during his presentation.

“Michael was basically yelling in my face … in a good way: ‘Coach, throw me a slant, I’m wide open,” Mendoza continued. “This is how much I trust Michael. I ran a slant and Michael was wide open and he scored a touchdown.

“He definitely wanted praise and I wanted to give him praise for that. Nice call, Michael.”

Mendoza introduced running backs Rob Alfaro and Erick Lopez. Alfaro, who was hampered with an injury he suffered just before the season opener, is now coming into his own. 

“He had some strong runs for us. We’re excited to have Rob back,” said Mendoza.

Lopez has been “Mr. Consistent,” Mendoza said. “He’s a tough runner and he’s Michael’s back-up at safety. We have lots of trust in Erick on both sides of the ball and appreciate how hard he works for our team.”

The Chargers (6-1), who are riding a six-game win streak, have a bye week before playing their second league game against Buena on Oct. 20.

“We’ve won six games in row and are definitely feeling good,” Mendoza said. “But we know that nobody cares about a six-game winning streak and that we’re 0-0 every week we go into a game. That’s the way we approach it.”


Coach Rick Candaele was pleased how his Warriors played in last Friday’s 30-14 win over Santa Paula.

“We played so good it surprised me, and I mean that in the best way possible,” he said. “I thought it would be a competitive game. We just played well. My wife said it when I got home and she never says anything nice.”

Candaele praised the play of Leo Vargas and Isaac De Alba. Both players rarely come off the field. Vargas is a running back and outside linebacker and De Alba plays fullback and linebacker. 

“He leads our team in tackles,” Candaele said of De Alba.”He does everything we ask.”

On Vargas: “He had a great game. He never gets off the field unless I’m going to yell at him,” the coach cracked. 

Vargas returned a kickoff for a touchdown. But it was a play he made late in the game that Candaele appreciated the most. He chased down a Santa Paula player on a kickoff return and tackled him at the 5. The Warriors were leading 30-7 at the time. 

“I thought that was the biggest play of the game, and I told him so,” said Candaele. “I appreciate that effort.”

The Warriors (3-3) play Trinity Classical in their Homecoming game on Friday night.

“Homecoming is always a big deal in Carpinteria,” said Candaele.


Santa Barbara High

Coach Chad Arneson said his team has experienced highs and lows this season.

An example was the Dons’ five-set loss at Dos Pueblos. They rallied from a 0-2 deficit and led 7-3 in the fifth set but “couldn’t seal the deal,” he said.

Arneson noted that Brenna Carney came off the bench and provided some big plays in matches against DP and Ventura.  Bishop Diego transfer Talia Medel has been a spark plug since becoming eligible at the first of the month.

The Dons host Laguna Blanca in a non-league game on Tuesday.

“We’re looking forward to a great match,” said Arneson.

Dos Pueblos

Assistant coach Sarah McKinny said setter Grace Crozier and libero Alison Minnich were the team MVPs in the Chargers’ wins over Santa Barbara and Buena.

“Both played crucial roles on this team,” McKinny said. “Grace’s hype and go-get-em mentality on the court along with Alison’s constant determined presence in the back row is very much appreciated by teammates and coaches.”

She added: “Last week’s wins definitely were important to the overall morale and confidence of this team and we’re excited. Hopefully, we’ll carry that into this week’s match as we take on crosstown rival San Marcos at home.”

The Chargers (14-12, 2-3) have won two in a row.


The sixth-ranked Warriors will take a 21-match win streak to Missouri for  the Columbia Fall Classic at Columbia College. They’ll play three teams ranked in the top-15 in the NAIA.

Sports Information Director Ron Smith reported that the Golden State Athletic Conference will be having a post-season tournament for the first time. The Warriors lead the GSAC with an 8-0 record.


Assistant coach Trevor Mattson reported that the Gauchos host Cal Poly in a Big West women's match on Saturday at home at 5 p.m. Cal Poly is in first place in the conference after knocking off Hawaii. 

The Gauchos lost in three sets at Hawaii on Saturday. They did have 50 digs in the match, led by Emi Petrachi’s 21.


San Marcos

The Royals ran with 37 teams at a meet in Huntington Beach last weekend, and the girls finished in 13th place and the boys 16th.

“It was a good showing,” coach Lawrence Stehmeier said. “We had a chance to run in a large crowd.”

The Royals run in the second Channel League meet on Thursday at Lake Casitas.

Stehmeier said senior Ty Burre “is giving 100 percent out there. It’s great in his senior year to see the kind of success he’s having.”

Sophomore Will Snyder set a school record on the Huntington Beach course.

From the girls team, freshman Anna Chase is pushing the varsity runners, Stehmeier noted.

Madi Funk has run at No. 1 and 2 for the Royals and finished sixth at Huntington Beach. 

“I don’t know if we’ve seen the best,” Stehmeier said of Funk’s potential. “I don’t think we have. I don’t think she knows what the best is.

“We’re having a great season and having a good time,” he added. “We’re in a tough league and we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do on Thursday.”


Juan Gomez is a four-year runner who has great work ethic and is a fine example for everyone else on the team,” said Candaele, speaking for coach Angel Silva.

Shayla Alvarez is a sophomore who has a twin sister on the team. Silva is happy the sisters came out for the team.

Dos Pueblos

Coach Micks Purnell reported that Joseph Pearlman ran faster at the Clovis Invitational than he did last year.

Emmi Wyttenbach, who switched from soccer to cross country and track, is the No. 2 runner on the girls team. 

“She does everything with a lot of concentration, a lot of focus,” said Purnell.

The Chargers head to the Channel League No. 2 race at Lake Casitas on Thursday.


Santa Barbara

Eva Kershner has “improved immensely,” said assistant coach Danny Echt. “This is her senior year and she’s holding her own extremely well.” Kershner has a  33-14 record in singles.

Hannah Echt is the anchor in doubles for the Dons, Echt said. “She’s a senior and is showing wonderful leadership.”

Santa Barbara is in third place in the Channel League behind co-leaders San Marcos and Dos Pueblos.

Dos Pueblos

Coach Liz Frech said her “young, brave team is experiencing tennis to its fullest.  We’re learning a lot of life lessons in practice and matches.”

Frech brought four talented freshmen: Alessa Somer, Neve Greenwald, Cami Chou and Mia Chou.

The Chargers (11-3, 5-1) play Channel League matches this week against Ventura and Santa Barbara and face Stockdale in a non-league match on Friday.


Jessica Lord is a steady baseline player who frustrates opponents with her defense, said Candaele, reporting for coach Charles Bryant. Lord is involved in several clubs on campus and plays in the marching, concert and jazz bands.

Diana Gonzalez is the team’s emotional leader and a very aggressive player.

“Both players were instrumental in our early season success,” said Candaele.



The men’s and women’s teams play important GSAC games against The Master’s College on Saturday at Thorrington Field. 

The Homecoming games will be the Warriors’ last regular season games at home. If both teams win, they’ll move into second place.

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