PREP NOTES WITH A TWIST

How many of the nine California high school alums in this year's World Series can you name? Should Central Catholic of Modesto continue to be included in the Division V state rankings? Those answers plus a 50-yard PAT, rare wins for Needles and Kennedy of Granada Hills and more from the best prep notes column in the state.

WORLD SERIES ALUMS: Both first basemen in this year's World Series, at least when the games are at Yankee Stadium, are from Sacramento high schools. Derrek Lee of the Florida Marlins was an all-state standout during the 1989 season at El Camino of Sacramento. A few years later, McClatchy of Sacramento was led by the hitting and overall play of senior Nick Johnson. Lee has hit in the No. 4 or No. 5 spot in the order for Florida the entire season and had a clutch two-run double in the team's historic eight-run inning in Game Six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. Johnson had three hits for the Yankees in Game Two of the World Series, but during the games at Florida, when no designated hitter is used, it will be Jason Giambi at first base instead.
Giambi, in his second full season with the Yanks after winning the MVP award while with Oakland, also is from a California high school. He attended South Hills High of West Covina. Giambi, Lee and Johnson are part of a nine-player contingent of World Series players who are from the Golden State.
Based on the 25-man rosters of both teams, the six others from California are pitcher Mark Redman (Escondido); pitcher Dontrelle Willis (Encinal, Alameda); outfielder Jeff Conine (Eisenhower, Rialto); pitcher Jeff Weaver (Simi Valley); pitcher David Wells (Point Loma, San Diego); and infielder Aaron Boone (Villa Park).
If you combine the total of former Florida (4) and Texas (4) high schoolers in the World Series, California still wins. California's total also is superior to that of Venezuela (4), Puerto Rico (4) and the Dominican Republic (5), although the number of international players overall (17) in the World Series is climbing higher and higher each year.

KENNEDY WINS, COLFAX LOSES: The longest winless streak that ended last week was the one belonging to Kennedy of Granada Hills. A 27-13 triumph over Reseda ended it at 0-16 for the Golden Cougars. In the other direction, Colfax lost to Oakmont of Roseville 28-18, ending a 23-0-1 unbeaten streak and a 20-0 win streak. As it turns out, that early season seemingly significant 44-7 Colfax win over visiting Dimond of Anchorage when Dimond was 4-1 going in and rated No. 1 in Alaska was of little consequence. The win raised Colfax high in the Division III state ratings, but Dimond didn't win another game and finished 4-5, including a 44-14 state playoff loss to Juneau-Douglas of Juneau. Juneau-Douglas in turn lost in the state final last week to East of Anchorage 33-15. Only in Alaska, where there are less than 30 high school football teams and a lot of long weary plane trips, could ratings be so skewered.

CALIFORNIA VS. THE WORLD: Golden State teams had their best weekly record of the season last week vs. Nevada, going 5-2, while also winning a game vs. Oregon but losing another vs. Arizona. Del Norte of Crescent City made it a sweep of the two Klamath Falls public high schools this season with a 28-26 triumph over Mazama. The most significant win vs. Nevada was by Needles, which went 0-9 last season, defeating The Meadows of Las Vegas 13-7 in overtime. Needles had lost to a Nevada team two weeks ago 71-0. Ouch! For the season, California is now 28-23 vs. Nevada, 9-4 vs. Oregon, 4-11 vs. Arizona and 49-41 overall. California's poor showing vs. Arizona is due partly to San Pasqual Valley of Winterhaven playing in an Arizona league where the Warriors are 0-4. Winterhaven is in the southeast corner of California near Yuma, Arizona.

CENTRAL CATHOLIC SHOULD BE DIVISION IV: If you thought De La Salle wins big every week, you haven't been following Central Catholic of Modesto. The Raiders were the No. 1 team in the state in Div. V last year and barring a major upset will land in that position once again this season. Southern League games involving Central Catholic are almost always over by halftime and Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoff games figure to be equally lopsided.
Why is Central Catholic in the Division V state ratings instead of a higher placement? It's simple. It's because the school also is Division V according to its section playoffs and plays in a Division V league. There were meetings last week to perhaps find a way to get the Raiders out of their league and into a Division IV league, but both votes went in the other direction.
This is clearly one of those examples where Division V schools in the Sac-Joaquin Section are being exposed to horrendous routs because one particular school doesn't fit a particular mold. Solutions include Central Catholic going to a De La Salle-style independent schedule, but there currently is not a rule on the books for a school to be included in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs if it is not in a league. We say if the North Coast Section can make the obvious exception and automatically include De La Salle in its Class 4A playoffs, why can't the Sac-Joaquin do the same with Central Catholic? If the routs continue, we'll have no choice but to move up the Raiders into the Div. IV state ratings even if that move isn't made by anyone else.

NEW WASHINGTON HOOP GENERAL: The preseason state rankings for boys and girls basketball are going to be out soon, and one boys team definitely in the mix is Washington of Easton. The Panthers return all five starters from last year and should be a force in state Division III and for the NorCal overall top 15 all season. One who's not going to be back is head coach Vonn Webb (the closest Mike Tyson look-a-like we've seen), who recently accepted an assistant coaching position at Fresno State. Last week, it was reported by the Fresno Bee that Washington athletic director Jeff Cardoza also will assume the role of boys basketball head coach. Cardoza has been part of the Washington basketball coaching staff in the past, so the Panthers shouldn't miss a beat despite the lateness of the change at the top.

FROM ONE WEEK TO THE NEXT: Two weeks ago, Palo Alto's Nathan Ford set a single game state record by completing all 16 of his passes. Would he add on to that total? Hardly! Ford missed on his first eight throws last week but regrouped to finish 9-of-19 for 138 yards and two TDs in a 31-19 victory over Milpitas.

FIFTY YARDS, ONE POINT: After one of Bellarmine of San Jose's touchdowns in a 30-8 win over St. Ignatius of San Francisco, Juan Gamboa successfully kicked a conversion that had to travel 50 yards. That's because two 15-yard penalties against the Bells set the ball back considerably. A 50-yard PAT might be some kind of state record, but a few weeks ago we did hear about a 51-yard PAT from a kicker in Washington D.C.

HAVING A "RIPPEN" GOOD TIME: Rio Linda is off to a 5-1 start and one of the reasons is due to 5-9, 160-pound senior runningback and all-state name candidate Bayland Rippenkroeger.


Golden State Preps Top Stories