It was a day filled with congratulations and good-luck wishes for the Bishop Diego, Dos Pueblos and Laguna Blanca football teams at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.
Bishop Diego and Dos Pueblos both advanced to their CIF-Southern Section divisional championship games this weekend, while Laguna Blanca finished as a CIF-SS runner-up in its first 8-man football division final last Saturday night.
Bishop plays Golden Valley for the Division 6 championship on Friday night at Canyon High in Santa Clarita. On Saturday, Dos Pueblos plays at Quartz Hill for the Division 10 title. Neither local school has won a CIF football championship.
With both head coaches, Nate Mendoza of Dos Pueblos and Tom Crawford of Bishop Diego, attending a CIF-SS Football Championships Luncheon in Long Beach, assistants Doug Caines (DP) and Steve Robles (Bishop) filled in to talk about making the finals and offer congratulations to each other.
“Nate really wanted to express congratulations to Bishop and their awesome season as well as Shane Lopes and Laguna for what they’ve been able to do to really put our area back in the football spotlight,” said Caines, who drew a round of applause for his comment.
Said Robles: “The first thing coach Crawford wanted to say is good luck to Dos Pueblos. It’s a lot of hard work to get where they’re at and bring home a championship. To coach Lopes and Laguna Blanca, congratulations on a great season.
“It’s a small community, and when we have three teams playing for CIF championships in different divisions, it’s really special as all the kids know,” Robles added. “Hopefully, you’ll see us back next week with a championship.”
Westmont men’s basketball coach John Moore is confident both teams will get it done.
“I hadn’t been to a high school football game in 10 years,” Moore said, “and I went to Bishop’s (quarterfinal) game against San Marino a couple of weeks ago and I saw a great unified group that’s going to win a CIF championship on Friday.”
“I can’t wait to see both teams bring it home.”
Chuckie Roth, who guided the San Marcos girls water polo team to the CIF Division 1 final last winter, shared his feelings of playing for a title.
“I know how special that is to play in a CIF championship-type setting,” he said. “Good luck. It’ll be great, and enjoy the moment. It doesn’t come every year.”
Caines, the architect of Dos Pueblos’ stellar defensive unit, introduced two of its outstanding players, free safety Michael Elbert and cornerback Daniel Arzate. Together, they’ve compiled 11 interceptions.
Elbert is one of the leading tacklers on the team with 60, has five interceptions and an 88-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
“Elbert is the quarterback of our defense,” said Caines. “He’s a special player. It’s really awesome to watch him be a coach on the field. The hallmark of a good player is he saves my butt when I make the wrong call. I would love to say I always make the right call, but that’s not how life works. It’s really been an honor to have a kid who knows the game and is smart and tough.”
Arzate is the team leader with six interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns.
“He’s really just a rare talent,” Caines said. “He’s not a kid you look at and say, ‘Wow, he’s a specimen.’ But when you line up against him, he leaves no doubt that he is the best cornerback on the field time and time again.
“It’s been amazing to watch him climb up my depth chart where he was two years ago to being just the lock-down corner he is now.”
The Chargers play at Quartz Hill for the Division 10 championship on Saturday. Quartz Hill hosted a CIF final last year and lost to Valley View, the team DP just defeated in the semifinals, 38-30
Robles said coach Crawford was pleased with the play of the offensive and defensive lines and the linebackers in the 45-27 semifinal win at Saugus.
The difference maker in the game was senior running back John Harris, who rushed for 319 yards and score three touchdowns on long runs.
Harris was named the Athlete of the Week.
“He’s a special athlete we have not seen here for a long time and may not see for a long time,” Robles said of Harris. “He extends plays for us and is special to watch.”
Robles noted that Golden Valley is “very big and athletic, and they could be a challenge. We need to be consistent as we have been, have a good week of practice and go from there.”
SPECIAL OLYMPICS ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Chris Evans was presented the award for his play on the tennis court.
Evans won bronze medals in singles and double at the recent Special Olympics Fall Games in Orange County.
“As a competitor, he rarely comes out of a competition without some hardware,” said tennis coach Liz Frech. “What I appreciate about him is his compassion and kindness to his teammates, most notably to his doubles partner. He’s amazing at calming people down.”
After watching the Dons win their season opener at Righetti last week, head coach Dave Bregante said his son and assistant coach, Joe, best described the team’s play.
“He says, ‘Dad, I think we’re going to have to play a little better,’” Bregante recalled. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to do that.”
The Dons are a young bunch, said the coach, “There’s only one player back from last year that played any significant minutes. Of my top eight players, there is a sophomore and a freshman, so we’re going to be real young.
“Of course, when you play young players, strange things happen. Hopefully, we can get through December and some time in January we can become a pretty good team.”
Coach Leo Quintero introduced two of his 10 seniors: Gabe Barajas and Vincent Gonzalez.
“It’s going to be an exciting season,” Quintero said. “We have 13 home games this year.”
The Warriors play some quality programs like Pacifica, Oxnard, Channel Islands and Dunn before heading into a rugged Tri-Valley League, where they face Santa Paula, Fillmore Cate and Grace Brethren.
The women’s team advanced to the State Final Four for the second straight year after beating five-time defending state champion Cerritos, 1-0, on Katherine Sheehy’s goal.
Sheehy was named Athlete of the Week.
The Vaqueros, 20-0-1, play Folsom Lake in the semifinals on Friday night at American River College in Sacramento at 7 p.m.
Dave Loveton, SBCC Sports Information Specialist, said the school’s athletic site — sbccvaqueros.com — will provide live streaming and live stats.
Coach Roth brought Maddie Owens and Tori Bray from his state championship team and said both players worked hard and represented the team really well.
He said Owens suffered a concussion about five weeks ago and was unable to play in the final four, but still made an impact on the team.
Bray suffered a shoulder injury out of the pool but still managed to contribute to the team’s success. She scored a goal in the championship game.
San Marcos Girls
Roth noted the radical change he’s experiencing, going from a SBCC team that was refined and in championship form to a raw San Marcos team.
“We have a lot of growth to do,” he said.
The team scrimmaged last week and he told the players that the “golden egg was 40 mistakes.”
“I want 40 mistakes then we can get better at 40 things,” he said. “And we definitely made 40 mistakes. It was great. And now we’re going to address those.”
Once the Royals clean things up, Roth said, “Our team should be pretty good.”
Ella Prentice and Megan Musick are two key players for the Royals.
On Prentice: “This girl is tough as nails,” he said. “She’s arguably one of our best front-court defenders and one of our best centers. She’s got a huge impact in what we do.”
He said Musick “plays really big in the water. She’s a talented lefty. She worked to get a lot of minutes this year. Her press defense is just phenomenal.”
San Marcos opens its season at Foothill in Santa Ana on Friday.
After playing against some tough teams in a tournament in Bethel, Tenn., coach Kirsten Moore realized that her team can defend.
I learned this team can be the best defensive team I’ve had at Westmont, and that’s saying a lot,” she said. “We’ve led the nation in defense for three of the last four years. I think this team has a chance to be better than those teams defensively.”
Joy Krupa has been a force at the defensive end. Moore said the 5-9 forward is tough. She played tackle football up until high school and was a wide receiver.
Moore said Krupa goes after rebounds like a wide receiver “and she blocks shots into the stands about six times a game. She brings incredible athleticism to the perimeter.
“The other thing I learned is we got a ways to go offensively,” she added. “We’re working on that. We knew that would be the case with our youth, especially at the guard position.
“I’m excited about the potential of this group and to see what we can accomplish.”
Coach John Moore said a player to keep an eye on is freshman guard Kyle Scalmanini. He is the son of a successful basketball coach, Ken Scalmanini of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College.
“He has talent and experience,” said Moore.