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Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table

Round Table Luncheon: Santa Barbara Aims to Right the Wrongs of Season-Opening Loss

San Marcos water polo coach Jeff Ashton has two NCAA Division 1-bound student athletes on his squad: UCSB commit Spencer Wood (left) and Princeton commit Miles Cole. Click to view larger
San Marcos water polo coach Jeff Ashton has two NCAA Division 1-bound student athletes on his squad: UCSB commit Spencer Wood (left) and Princeton commit Miles Cole. (Barry Punzal/Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara High football coach JT Stone didn’t hold back in describing his team’s season-opening 35-7 loss at Saugus last Friday.

“Everything went wrong, everything. Everything, you name it, went wrong,” he said at Monday’s first Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon of the 2016-17 school year at Harry’s Plaza Café.

Stone then looked at the positive side of the Week Zero game.

“On a positive note, the good thing is we get to get better. We can’t get any worse. We are a very good football. It was a first game, it was tough,” he said

Stone noted the Dons need get back to basics.

“We got to shrink everything and be good at the little things. We’re going to work hard and be back on track this Friday.”

He lauded the play of Esteban Solis and Jeremiah Phillips

“He gives maximum effort in everything that he does,” Stone said of Solis. “He was one of the players that left it on the field on Friday.”

On Phillips: “He was a bright spot for us,” said Stone, who added the sophomore has tremendous potential.

The Dons travel Friday to Santa Maria, which is coming off a win over San Luis Obispo.

“I don’t know what their coach as done there but it’s a total different team than last year,” said Stone.

San Marcos: Jason Fowle has been bombarded by a lot of new things in his first year as a full-time employee at San Marcos.

“There was a lot of learning there on all sides for me,” he said. That included coaching his young Royals football team in a 52-0 season-opening loss against solid Santa Ynez squad.

“We certainly didn’t expect to start the season this way with a blowout loss but it happened. Now we have a concrete starting point,” he said. “Credit to Santa Ynez High. We lost our nerve against a bigger, stronger, more aggressive opponent and we started to make fundamental errors that you can’t make and expect to win a game let alone be competitive against a really good team like Santa Ynez.”

Fowle said he’s encouraged the team will bounce back. “We got a lot of good things going on. We learned from our mistakes and continue to move forward.”

The first Round Table press luncheon of the school year featured athletes and coaches from football, water polo and volleyball. Click to view larger
The first Round Table press luncheon of the school year featured athletes and coaches from football, water polo and volleyball. (Barry Punzal/Noozhawk photo)

Fowle introduced senior defensive tackle Anthony Hernandez and senior linebacker Josh Harrah.

He said Hernandez is a “spirited young man” who has made great improvement over the last three years. “He’s our anchor on the defensive line.”

Fowle called Harrah “a stellar individual.  It doesn’t take long to notice that this kid has a good head on his shoulders. He’s a got bright, bright future ahead of him.”

Harrah is a team captain.

The Royals are back in action Friday at Morro Bay.

“We’re looking forward,” Fowle said. “Only positive things can come from here on out. Every team I’ve been on as a player and a coach, the best ones always stressed how important the transition is between Week 1 and Week 2 has been. And were looking to make that leap of improvement this week against Morro Bay.”

Laguna Blanca: Coach Shane Lopes is a traditionalist when it comes to playing high school football on Friday.

Laguna usually plays on Saturday afternoons.

“We don’t have Friday Night Lights but we have Friday football games,” he said.

“We’re taking advantage of the late sunset. We’re looking to get more kids on campus at our games and create a better atmosphere at our games.”

Lopes is breaking tradition when it comes to offense, using a two quarterback system this season. He said junior Javier Abrego is one of the quarterbacks as well as a running back, wide receiver and defensive back. “He’s come a long way.”

Lopes also praised senior captain Will Bartholomew as the team’s leader.

The Owls play under the Friday Night Lights this week at Animo Robinson in Los Angeles.

Dos Pueblos: Fifth-year coach Nate Mendoza said he was proud how his team battled back at Division 3 sixth-ranked San Juan Hills in the season opener. The Chargers rallied from a 22-0 deficit and tied the game only to lose 36-29.

He lauded quarterback Kellen Roberts for fielding some bad snaps on the ground and making plays. He praised Cyrus Wallace and Marcellus Gossett for standout performances.

Wallace caught nine passes for 150 yards. “He was the game breaker for us,” Mendoza said. “More impressive was his ability to block.  Though he’s a catching machine, he’s also out there being a great team player and blocking for us nonstop.”

Mendoza noted Gossett “put on a show at defensive end. He had 2 1/2 sacks, two quarterback hurries, two passes batted down and five total tackles.  It was a standout effort by Marcellus.”

The Chargers, sixth in Division 10, play at Cabrillo in Lompoc on Friday night.

Bishop Diego: Assistant coach Steve Robles praised the play of juniors Isaiah Veal and John Harris in the 21-0 shutout of Righetti.

He said Veal made key tackles, intercepted a pass in the third quarter and ran the ball well.

Harris rushed for 200 yards on 21 carries in three quarters

“He’s an exceptional athlete and humble,” Robles said. “What we find in him, he had a long run called back and he’s able to turn the page and not worry about that and move on.”

The Cardinals host Mission Prep on Friday at SBCC.

Carpinteria: Athletic director Pat Cooney said the school is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The first graduating class was 1917.

“It’s fun as a history teacher to look back at why physical activities, interscholastic sports got started,” Cooney said. “Somebody at the top of the government thought we have to get people ready for military and girls ready for civil service. Little did we know they were sitting on this thing we enjoy today. What a great thing they started back then.”

The Warriors open football season Friday at Santa Ynez.

VOLLEYBALL

UCSB Women: Gaucho sports information director Mitchell Clements said the team is off to a good start. The Gauchos went 2-1 at the UNLV Invitational.

“From what we’ve seen so far, it’s a really young team that has come together pretty early to make some stuff happens,” Clements said.

Cara Gamberdella begins her second term as Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table president. Click to view larger
Cara Gamberdella begins her second term as Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table president.

Lindsay Ruddins was named Big West Freshman of the Week after notching 59 kills in three matches. Libero Emilia Petrachi also played solid in the tournament.

The Gauchos host a five-team tournament Friday through Sunday at the Thunderdome. They’ll be joined by Colorado State, Baylor, Pitt and Cal State Bakersfield.

Providence Girls: The Patriots are being coached by a pair of former Westmont teammates, Kayta Goyich and Madison Serrano.

“To pair a couple of Westmont alums who are cut from the same cloth,” athletic director Steve Stokes said. “It’s been really good for our girls.”

The coaches are moving senior Elleney King from outside hitter to setter.

Stokes said the program has improved its wins record each of the last three years.  “We hope to keep that going.”

Laguna Blanca: The defending CIF-champion Owls opened their season with an impressive three-set sweep over Pasadena Poly.

“They were more physical, they were bigger,” coach Jason Donnelly said. “All of sudden the game started and we won three. The skills we have in terms of our ability to control the ball and compete I wouldn’t trade for anyone over 6-feet tall in high school volleyball, to be honest with you.”

Donnelly introduced team captain Madison Nicholson, a six-rotation outside hitter, and junior setter/hitter Kelly Bickett.

“She’s tough as nails, she’s a competitor,” said Donnelly of Bickett. “When it’s game time, she’ll be there. I love the way she competes.”

Westmont Women: The Warriors are off to a 7-0 start despite a rash of injuries.

“We’ve had only two-thirds of our team available,” said sports information director Ron Smith, who rattled off the type of injuries: three sprained ankles, one Achilles tendon, one meniscus tear, a shoulder labrum tear and an infected blister on the foot.

The Warriors don’t play their first home match until Sept. 16.

BOYS WATER POLO

San Marcos: Coach Jeff Ashton said the CIF’s new playoff power-ranking system were placed the Royals in Division, “which is a great honor to be considered one of the 16 best programs, but it also makes the task in front of us very difficult moving forward. We got some great young men, a bunch of guys I’m really happy to be in that fight with.”

Ashton introduced two of those young men: center Miles Cole and attacker Spencer Wood. Both four-year varsity players are headed to the next level. Cole has committed to Princeton and Wood to UCSB.

Santa Barbara High: Coach Mark Walsh brought two seniors who have worked their way into the starting lineup. Walsh said Connor O’Keefe has put in his time after being a top sub the last couple of years. “He’s really working hard. I’m excited to see his progress.”

Will McManigal takes over as the Dons’ goalie. He is the last of six McManigals to play for Walsh, said the coach

“When he’s on we’re very tough to beat,” Walsh said. “He’s improved the most since last year. The guys have a lot of faith in him.”

Walsh said the Dons are hosting the 24-team Santa Barbara Invitational next week. The tournament will feature the three local Channel League schools as well as top programs from throughout the state.

“Come see future Olympians,” said Walsh.

Dos Pueblos: Connor Levoff made his debut as coach of the Chargers. He said the team is 10 days into training and has 10 more days of practice before opening the season at the Santa Barbara Invitational.

He brought juniors Jason Teng and Harry Smith. Teng, a three-year varsity player, will play a variety of roles because of his versatility. Smith brings comic relief and is easy going, but in training he “zips it up, works hard and grinds as hard as anyone,” said Levoff.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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