For a few exhilarating minutes at Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium last Friday night, a football game broke out between the Carpinteria High Warriors and the Oaks Christian Lions. The Warriors drove the ball across midfield on their first two possessions, sandwiched around Paul “Munchie” Aguilar’s interception of a pass by Oaks Christian quarterback Nick Montana, son of you-know-who.
The Lions had clobbered Bishop Diego by a 65-6 score a week earlier, and 59 points seemed like a realistic spread for this contest, yet here was Carpinteria holding its own midway through the first quarter. Then a razzle-dazzle reverse pass by the Warriors backfired-Oaks Christian picked it off-and at that point the visitors said, “Okay, you’ve had your fun. Now stand up against the wall while we take aim.”
Oaks Christian proceeded with the execution, although it was not as grisly as feared. The final score was 43-0. It was 34-0 at halftime, after Montana had thrown three touchdown passes. Backup quarterback Trevor Gretzky, son of you-know-who-else, directed a scoring drive in the second half. The announcer couldn’t help himself. “Gretzky skates to the 10,” he said. But there was no Zamboni grooming the field between periods.
One of the halftime highlights was the departure of actor Will Smith, flanked by bodyguards. He had seen his son Trey, a junior wide receiver, catch an eight-yard TD pass from Montana.
Carpinteria put its own performing artists on display at halftime. Three Warrior football players – John Bustillos, Zachery Boberg, and Grant Coleman – are members of the school’s 15-piece band. Wearing their football gear, they blew their horns in a medley of Michael Jackson tunes. “That’s a great thing about small-time football,” Carpinteria coach Ben Hallock said. “We’ve had players in the band for years.”
Another talented Warrior is Jeremy Stein, a linebacker and, most impressively, a punter. His towering vertical spirals were as pretty as the horizontal spirals tossed by Montana. Stein, who is averaging more than 40 yards a kick, sent seven footballs skyward on Friday, and not one was returned. He twice drove the ball over the head of the deep safety; on every other punt, Oaks Christian wisely called for a fair catch.
The lopsided score was a result of Oaks Christian’s physical dominance. Such players as Cassius Marsh, a 6’5″, 288-pound defensive lineman, threw their weight around. Carpinteria’s offense went nowhere after Aguilar, its only experienced quarterback, hurt his shoulder late in the first half and did not return to the game.
“We feel proud about our effort,” Carpinteria assistant coach Van Latham said. “We played hard, played with some courage. When we lost our quarterback, we were in an emergency situation.”
The best thing about the game from the Warriors’ standpoint was that it was the last time they will have to face Oaks Christian on the football field. The CIF Southern Section voted last week to put the Lions in the Marmonte League, where they can pick on somebody closer to their own size, starting next year. Their other sports will remain in the Tri-Valley League with Carpinteria and Bishop Diego. Hallock couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the well-heeled Conejo Valley school. “It’s too bad they see themselves in such a poor light that they don’t want to play at a higher level with all their programs,” the Carpinteria coach said.
Also moving into the Marmonte League will be St. Bonaventure, which has been wreaking havoc on Channel League football teams since 2002. The Seraphs have already whipped San Marcos, but Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara High still have to face them before the season is over.
GAMES OF THE WEEK: UCSB hosts the top-ranked USC Trojans today (Thu., Oct. 29) in a 4 p.m. men’s water polo match. : In a Thursday-night football game, Dos Pueblos High could claim the “city championship” if it defeats visiting San Marcos. Santa Barbara High hosts Buena on Friday night. The “Littlest Big Game” between the eight-man football squads of Cate School and Laguna Blanca will take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Laguna’s Hope Ranch field. : Santa Barbara High’s Tournament of Champions once again features the best in girls volleyball on Friday and Saturday (Oct. 30-31). If the seedings hold up, the state’s No. 1-ranked team, Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, will face No. 2 Dos Pueblos in the championship match at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday. Other contenders include Santa Barbara, Newport Harbor, and San Diego’s top team, La Costa Canyon. : UCSB senior Rebecca Saraceno, who just collected her fourth Big West player of the week award, will be showing her stuff in two home volleyball matches this weekend, Friday against Cal State Fullerton and Halloween night against defending champion Long Beach State.
WORLD SERIES PREDICTION: Captain Jeter leads the Yankees to victory in six games.