A week before the high school football game between Oaks Christian and Bishop Diego, this comment appeared in the Los Angeles Times: “Priest scheduled to be on hand to issue last rites to Bishop Diego before kickoff.”
Bishop High’s principal, Tom Elewaut, happens to be a priest. During the football season, he celebrates a weekly Mass in the school chapel for the team and cheerleaders. At last Friday’s Mass, he incorporated a feature of the last rites, a recitation of the Litany of Saints. Each congregant invoked his or her patron saint.
“St. Anthony,” said quarterback Anthony Martinez.
“Pray for us,” intoned the entire gathering.
Martinez said later, “I prayed that all our players don’t get hurt, and we do the best we can.”
The Mass would have become exceedingly morbid if Fr. Elewaut had dwelled on St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose feast was that very day (Oct. 17). Ignatius was an early Christian martyr, killed by wild beasts in one of Rome’s gruesome spectacles under the reign of Emperor Trajan.
“I did not want to bring that up,” the priest said.
Hours later, Bishop Diego’s Cardinals were thrown to the Lions-the ironically chosen mascot of Oaks Christian. The game at La Playa Stadium was as one-sided as Ignatius’ execution. Final score: Lions 61, Bishop Diego 0.
Fortunately, the Cardinals emerged from the wreckage without any serious injuries. But the imbalance of physicality and skill on opposite sides of the ball was glaringly evident. Oaks Christian is stocked with future Division I college stars who are attracted from a wide area to the private school in Westlake Village. NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana moved his family from Northern California so his son Nick, a junior quarterback, could play for the Lions.
“It was hard,” said Bishop running back Paul Garcia, a 150-pound freshman. He often disappeared under swarms of Oaks Christian defenders.
The Lions’ primary ball-carrier was Malcolm Jones, a 6′, 217-pound junior. He dragged the Cardinals all over the field. On one remarkable occasion, Jones leaped entirely over Bishop’s Sam Verhasselt, a 6’2″ safety who had lowered his shoulder to attempt a tackle. “I’ve seen him do that on film,” Cardinals coach Tom Crawford said. “The safeties come up, and he hurdles them. They’re probably pleased he doesn’t run them over.”
Oaks Christian led 48-0 at halftime after Montana threw four touchdown passes. Playing QB for the Lions in the fourth quarter was freshman Trevor Gretzky, whose father used to shoot pucks pretty well.
On some level, it’s exciting for the local kids to take the field against such a star-studded opponent. But that allure wears thin when the score gets out of hand. This Friday (Oct. 24), it’s Carpinteria‘s turn. Oaks Christian will host the Warriors at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s so uncomfortable the week we have to play them,” said Carpinteria’s Coach John Hazelton, who has only 20 players to suit up. “You just want to have a drink.”
Hazelton expresses admiration for Oaks Christian’s commitment to excellence. “They are a beautifully coached team,” he said, also pointing out that the Lions have 15-you can count them on sideline-varsity football coaches. He just does not think they belong in the Tri-Valley League with teams that play small-school football.
Oaks Christian Head Coach Bill Redell agrees that his team has outgrown the TVL. “This is not fair,” Redell said after the Bishop Diego game. “It’s a shame.” He’d like to see the Lions go into the Marmonte League with Westlake, Agoura, et al., but those schools don’t want to become punching bags either.
So, until somebody finds a viable alternative, the 61-0 executions will continue.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK: Randy Person scored six touchdowns in an eight-man football scoring fest, Cate School’s 57-34 victory over Laguna Blanca. Anna Samson had rounds of par and one-over-par last week for the Dos Pueblos High girls golf team. The Round Table Scholar-Athlete Award winner from Santa Barbara High is water polo player Ken Myers, a Junior Olympics All-American and a 4.77 student.
GAMES OF THE WEEK: Goleta Valley football bragging rights are at stake Friday night when Dos Pueblos plays at San Marcos. On Friday and Saturday, Santa Barbara High’s annual Tournament of Champions will feature the best in girls volleyball, including Archbishop Mitty from San Jose, Mira Costa from Manhattan Beach, and hometown contenders Dos Pueblos and the host Dons.
Top Sporting Events: October 23-November 2
Thursday, October 23
High school girls golf Dos Pueblos at Santa Barbara, Montecito CC, 3 p.m.
High school boys water polo Ventura at Dos Pueblos, 3:15 p.m.
Friday, October 24
High school girls volleyball Tournament of Champions at Santa Barbara High, 11 a.m.
College women’s soccer Moorpark at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 11 a.m.
College men’s water polo UC San Diego at UCSB, 3 p.m.
High school football Dos Pueblos at San Marcos, 7 p.m.; Santa Barbara at Buena, 7 p.m.; Bishop Diego at Nordhoff, 7:30 p.m.; Carpinteria at Oaks Christian, 7:30 p.m.
College women’s volleyball Cal State Fullerton at UCSB, Thunderdome, 7 p.m.; Ventura at SBCC, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 25
High school girls volleyball Tournament of Champions at Santa Barbara High, 9 a.m. Championship match, 6:15 p.m…
High school football (eight man) Dunn at Laguna Blanca, 1 p.m.; Cate at Thacher, 3 p.m.
College women’s soccer San Diego Christian at Westmont, 1 p.m.
College men’s soccer San Diego Christian at Westmont, 3 p.m.; UCSB at Cal State Fullerton, 7 p.m.
College football SBCC at L.A. Pierce, 7 p.m.
College women’s volleyball Cal State Northridge at UCSB, Thunderdome, 7 p.m.
Sunday, October 26
College women’s soccer UCSB at UC Davis, 12 p.m.
Monday, October 27
Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon, Harry’s Plaza Cafe, 12 p.m.
Tuesday, October 28
High school girls golf Channel League Championships, first round, Santa Barbara Golf Club.
High school girls tennis Dos Pueblos at Santa Barbara, 3 p.m.
High school girls volleyball San Marcos at Dos Pueblos, 6:30 p.m.
College women’s volleyball Azusa Pacific at Westmont, 7 p.m.; Cuesta at SBCC, 7 p.m.
College men’s soccer Oxnard at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 29
High school girls golf Channel League Championships, final round, Santa Barbara Golf Club.
College men’s soccer UCSB at Cal State Northridge, 2 p.m.
High school boys water polo Malibu at Carpinteria, 3:15 p.m.
Thursday, October 30
High school boys water polo San Marcos at Dos Pueblos, 3:15 p.m.; Buena at Santa Barbara, 3:15 p.m.
High school girls volleyball Carpinteria at Bishop Diego, 6 p.m.
High school football St. Bonaventure at Santa Barbara, 7 p.m.; Santa Clara at Bishop Diego, La Playa Stadium, 7 p.m.
Friday, October 31
High school cross country Santa Barbara County Championships, Lompoc River Park, 2:30 p.m.
High school boys water polo Nordhoff at Carpinteria, 3:15 p.m.
High school football Buena at San Marcos, 7 p.m.; Dos Pueblos at Ventura, 7 p.m.; Nordhoff at Carpinteria, 7:30 p.m. (Eight man) Laguna Blanca at Ojai Valley, 7 p.m.
College women’s soccer Taft at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 1 p.m.; Long Beach State at UCSB, Harder Stadium, 7 p.m.
College men’s soccer Citrus at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 1
Running Santa Barbara Half Marathon and 5K, Leadbetter Beach, 8 a.m.
College women’s volleyball California Baptist at Westmont, 3 p.m.
College football West L.A. at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 6 p.m.
College men’s soccer UC Irvine at UCSB, Harder Stadium, 7 p.m.
High school football (eight man) Montclair Prep at Cate, Carpinteria High, 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 2
College women’s soccer UC Irvine at UCSB, Harder Stadium, 5 p.m.