Last year, remember, Westchester of Los Angeles would have been a lock for preseason state No. 1 on the boys side until it was ruled that transfers Gabriel Pruitt and Ray Reese were going to be ineligible. This year, it's not as dramatic but Bakersfield High's potential ranking is going take a hit with the announcement last week that 7-1 transfer center Robert Swift has been declared ineligible.
With Swift potentially joining a lineup that already includes 6-6 junior Titus Shelton and quick point guard Derek Lee, we were looking at the Drillers to be as high as No. 5 in the state to start the year. But Swift wasn't given the go-ahead by CIF Central Section commissioner Jim Crichlow, who also cited two violations that might keep Swift on the bench no matter where he plays this season. Crichlow told the Bakersfield Californian that the violations involved fraudulent information presented to the CIF and pre-enrollment contact between Swift and his family and Bakersfield High.
Swift, who has committed to USC, played at Garces High last season, then transferred to Highland High just after the final game. His family has been reportedly trying to sell their home and relocate into the Bakersfield High attendance boundary. The family said they plan to appeal Crichlow's ruling.
ALL ABOUT ORVILLE OVERALL: Kerry Wood's sensational outing on Tuesday night for the Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves conjured up some really old memories in a California valley town.
In addition to pitching a two-hitter over seven plus innings, Wood delivered a game-winning two-run double in the sixth inning. He became the first Cubs pitcher to get a game-winning hit in a postseason game since Orville Overall way back in the 1907 World Series.
Many people watching the FOX Sports broadcast probably laughed at hearing the name "Orville Overall." But it's a familiar name to Cal-Hi Sports.
Orville Overall just happens to have been one of the best high school age baseball players in California around the turn of the last century. He's in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book, in fact, as the 1900 State Player of the Year as well as the 1899-00 State Athlete of the Year.
Overall went to Visalia High School. In those days, though, top young baseball players like him were primarily on town teams as there was little to no interscholastic baseball competition. Overall did play on the Visalia High football team and was an outstanding player, mentioned frequently in sketchy game reports at the time.
Thanks to Kerry Wood on behalf of Orville Overall fans everywhere for letting Orville's name come to life once again.
"DOC" HOLLIDAY MOWS DOWN FORTUNA: Ferndale QB Brandon "Doc" Holliday fired a 15-yard TD pass and ran for cover of the end zone with TD runs of
62 and 13 yards, all in the first half, as the amazing Wildcats defeated favored Fortuna, 20-14. It was a fair fight, though. Fortuna knew he was coming.
Ferndale thus retains the Milk Can, possessed by the winner of this annual game, while continuing to defeat much larger schools. Ferndale has an enrollment of around 200, Fortuna approximately 1,000. The Wildcats won last year's North Coast Section "A" playoffs and finished at 12-1. The loss was 19-15 to Del Norte of Crescent City, this week's opponent. Small school football powers have come and gone but Ferndale, for decades, has kept on going.
CALIFORNIA WINS FOOTBALL WEEK VS. THE WORLD: California went 6-5 in out-of-state football competition last week, but continued to flounder against Arizona. Central Valley of Shasta Lake defeated Henley, Oregon, 35-13, while Sunny Hills of Fullerton downed visiting M.E. Lazerte of Edmonton, Alberta 43-13. California also went 3-1 against Nevada, but Arizona won four of five games. Season records are now 1-0 vs. Canada, 6-4 vs. Oregon, 16-16 vs. Nevada, 3-7 vs. Arizona and 32-30 overall. The win by Sunny Hills gives California an all-time record vs. Canada of 62-15.
You might say Canada is weak in high school football but one shouldn't say Alaska is. After all, Alaska has won three of the five all-time varsity games played against California. Yes, Dimond of Anchorage was demolished by Colfax this season, but Colfax is a very good team, Dimond was a long way from home, the Dimond JVs demolished the Colfax JVs and Alaska football is geared to freezing playoff conditions of straight ahead smashmouth football. On an icy field, you can't juke and jive as Colfax did. How would Colfax do against Dimond on an icy field in Anchorage? They call it simply "Alaska football."
LITTLE BIG GUYS: Marian Catholic (3-0), a school with only 450 students, has climbed to No. 1 in the this week's San Diego Union-Tribune Top 10. It's believed to be a first for the Crusaders in a section that has traditionally been dominated by the large-enrollment schools.
"I've been telling the kids, it doesn't matter where we're ranked now. It matters where we are at the end of the season," said second-year head coach Matt White. Marian, a Division IV school in the San Diego Section, is again opting to move up to compete for the section Division III title. The Crusaders were the preseason favorite in the South Bay League.
BLAIR, HOOPA, HERLONG FINALLY WIN: Blair of Pasadena ended a winless streak at 0-24-1 with a 25-6 victory over Keppel of Alhambra, which extended its own losing streak to 0-20. Hoopa of Hoopa Valley and Herlong also ended long winless streaks, Hoopa at 0-20-1 plus four losses by default with a 49-6 victory over Round Valley of Covelo and Herlong at 0-24-1 plus one loss by default with a hard fought 12-6 triumph over Greenville. Note: A default is the forfeit of a game not played.
LONGEST CURRENT WINLESS STREAKS UPDATED LIST: It's been determined that Hollywood was 0-9 on the field in 2001, not 1-8 as reported (maybe a win by forfeit). Anyway, Hollywood's on-the-field losing streak is now at 0-25. The complete current list: Bolsa Grande of Garden Grove 0-37, Hollywood 0-25, Anderson 0-24, Keppel of Alhambra 0-20. Desert Hot Springs 0-19.
It appears that Bolsa Grande of the above teams has the best chance of winning a game this season when it takes on La Quinta of Westminster on Nov. 14. It's too late for this season, but maybe Hollywood and Keppel could get together next season.
LONGEST CURRENT UNBEATEN STREAKS UPDATED LIST: De La Salle of Concord 141-0, Mission Viejo 31-0, Central Catholic of Modesto 27-0, Colfax 21-0-1 (18-0 win streak), Los Alamitos 16-0-1. With Evangel Christian of Shreveport, Louisiana losing, the De La Salle-Evangel game on Oct. 24 may actually have gained added interest. Since Evangel can't be No. 1 in the country if it wins, many fans from other states and in Southern California, too, will be watching and rooting for Evangel to win, thus giving their team a chance at the top national ranking.
BAKERSFIELD BLANKED: You have to go back to the 1986 season to find a doughnut next to the name of Bakersfield High in a football score. The Drillers were shutout last week by Centennial of Bakersfield, 21-0, and it marked the first shutout of the team in 205 outings. The 205-game scoring streak was the fourth longest in state history. The current and ongoing state record is 287 straight scoring games since 1979 by, who else, De La Salle of Concord. That total also is believed to be the best in U.S. history.
Note: Tom Shanahan and Bob Barnett contributed to this column.