PREP NOTES WITH A TWIST

Centennial is where the heart is for returning standout Arron Afflalo......Sylmar's Jeff Engilman latest with 200 career coaching wins.....San Bernardino football team scores 54 points in loss....Skyline's speed receiver and more from the best prep notes column in the state. Photo courtesy Kirby Lee/The Sporting Image.

AFFLALO GOING BACK TO CENTENNIAL: We're slated right now to release our preseason state boys and girls basketball rankings within 10 days, but maybe we should wait to see if anybody else like Arron Afflalo decides to transfer back to the school they came from.
Afflalo, a 6-5 senior guard and a strong candidate to be 2004 Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year, enrolled at Division V powerhouse Price of Los Angeles two months ago, but on Tuesday of this week he's re-enrolled back at Centennial of Compton. His father, Danny Afflalo, told the Long Beach Press-Telegram's Louis Johnson that the shift was made back to Centennial after they were assured by UCLA coaches and administrators that acceptance into the school would not be hindered by Centennial's accreditation problems.
"As much as I enjoyed by short time at Price, the only reason I was over there was because of the (accreditation) situation and the stigma attached to it," Afflalo told the Press-Telegram. "It was something I had to do at the time. But now that it's cleared up, Centennial is where I want to be."
Afflalo averaged 26 points with nearly six rebounds and five assists per game last season. With him back, along with super sophomore Jervaughn Johnson and others, Centennial will now be re-evaluated for its preseason state ranking and may now be closer to the top five. Without Afflalo, Centennial was definitely going to be behind Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood as preseason No. 1 for Division III. Now, however, hmmm.......

ENGILMAN WINS 200TH GAME, ROONEY UP TO 198, MENDOZA STILL AT 199: This 200-win club for football coaches is getting pretty big and in the last few years it seems we're averaging three to four new members every season. The latest to achieve the milestone win was Sylmar's Jeff Engilman, who reached the 200 mark after the Spartans downed Monroe of Sepulveda, 28-21, last Friday. And Sylmar needed a trick play called by the coach -- a 55-yard TD catch by Alan Perez off a double pass -- with 44 seconds left to pull out the victory.
Engilman is in his 24th season of coaching and the victory vs. Monroe upped his career record to 200-62-5. He started his career in the early 1980s at Manual Arts of Los Angeles and in eight seasons there won two L.A. City Section Class 3-A titles. At Sylmar, Engilman's teams have set a state record with 69 straight league wins and won two L.A. City titles.
Engilman joins the 200-club just two weeks after Antelope Valley's Brent Newcomb did it. Last week, Kevin Rooney from Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks won his 198th game when the Golden Knights downed Alemany of Mission Hills, 40-0. Meanwhile at Salesian of Los Angeles, coach Lalo Mendoza (who piled up most of his wins at Verbum Dei) remained at 199 since his team lost, 27-9, to Cantwell-Sacred Heart. Both Notre Dame and Salesian face strong opposition this week as Notre Dame plays 6-1 St. Francis of La Canada while Salesian plays unbeaten Bell-Jeff of Burbank.

RECORD BOOK QUESTION WE THOUGHT WE'D NEVER GET: This one came from reporter Ken Silman of the Hayward Daily Review, who was curous about coaching records. His question was about Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland girls volleyball coach Tim Newman, who used to be Lisa Newman before a gender-changing operation. Regardless of lifestyle, Newman has teams that are among the best in the Bay Area and any coaching record list would simply be done according to whatever name is current. It's similar to someone who would change their name by marriage. You wouldn't put asterisks next to that person's name because they went by a different name before and you wouldn't count the wins in any way being done by a different person, either. Coach Newman, good luck on continuing to pile up the victories.

SAN BERDOO LOSES DESPITE MONSTER OFFENSE: One of those state record categories you don't want to be mentioned in is for most points by a losing team. San Bernardino is now on that list after dropping a 70-54 game last Friday to Arroyo Valley. The Cardinals are tied for fourth, trailing only the 62 scored by Artesia of Lakewood in a 82-62 loss to Bloomington in 1994, the 56 scored by Paraclete of Lancaster in a 62-56 loss to Garces of Bakersfield in 1999 and the 55 scored by Newbury Park last year in a 58-55 loss to Royal of Simi Valley.
Arroyo Valley charged back from a 24-7 deficit in the first half and took a 48-32 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Hawks benefitted from eight San Bernardino turnovers, although they couldn't otherwise stop the Cardinal offense. With Richard Murrell rushing for 244 yards on 33 carries and scoring four touchdowns, San Bernardino piled up 677 total yards. Arroyo Valley's total offense was not reported, but quarterback Michael Coleman, just a junior, racked up more than 300 by himself. Coleman passed for 172 yards and one TD and rushed for 160 yards and four scores.

SKYLINE STREAKER: When Skyline of Oakland football coach John Beam raves about a player, you tend to listen. Beam, after all, has sent dozens of players to major colleges and even a few to the NFL. He called early this week to find out what he could do to ensure that wide receiver Kenny O'Neal received as much attention as possible and was in line to get as many post season honors as possible, including the All-American variety.
O'Neal may not be as well-known as other California wideouts like Cameron Colvin, Derrick Jones, Michael Bumpas and Lavelle Hawkins because he played last season in Georgia and didn't attend many spring and summer camps due to track commitments. In a recent game between Skyline and Oakland Tech, which has highly-regarded RB Marshawn Lynch and DB Virdell Larkins on its team, O'Neal was dazzling. We saw the highlights and his two streaks down the sidelines for touchdowns certainly showed off his world-class speed. What we didn't know, according to Beam, was that O'Neal made those kind of plays even though Oakland Tech was sometimes triple-teaming him.
O'Neal is not unique as a blazing track athlete -- he ran a 10.42 in the 100 meters in the summer and will be one of the nation's top sprinters this spring -- but he's not one of those sleek-looking track guys, either. He is 5-11, 205 pounds and Beam says he's done 330 pounds in the bench. Even in such a great year for wide receivers in the state, O'Neal appears to be a unique talent. He'll probably be going to a college to play football and run track, so schools like Texas and USC may have an edge. Beam said most offers so far have come from the Southeast Conference and that O'Neal has a lot of family in Georgia.

UNBEATEN STREAKS, WINLESS STREAKS: With Los Alamitos losing last week and Colfax two weeks ago, the updated longest current unbeaten streaks list is as so (on the field): De La Salle (Concord) 145-0, Mission Viejo 35-0, Central Catholic (Modesto) 30-0 plus one win by default, Marian Catholic (San Diego) 20-0, Escalon 19-0-1, St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 19-0. Kearny of San Diego ended a winless streak at 0-20-1 last week with an upset over San Diego 33-19. After Kearny lost to Hoover of San Diego two weeks ago, it looked like the Komets wouldn't win a game this year. But they didn't give up. Two other teams ended 0-17 streaks last week: Hawthorne, with a 36-21 victory over winless West of Torrance, and Foothill of Bakersfield, with a 16-7 triumph over Highland of Bakersfield.

CALIFORNIA VS. THE WORLD: Besides De La Salle's win over Evangel last week, California went 3-3 vs. Nevada, 1-0 vs. Oregon and 0-1 vs. Arizona for a 5-4 overall record. A pivotal game was Torrance Lutheran, playing its first reported season of football, traveling to Henderson, Nevada and defeating Warren-Walker 64-14 in an eight-man game. Modoc of Alturas edged Burns 27-26 to give California a fine final season record of 10-4 vs. Oregon (California was only 6-9 vs. Oregon last season). The overall season record now stands at 54-45 including 31-26 vs. Nevada.

CREATIVE SCHEDULING, PART I: Athletic directors in fire-impacted areas are going to have to be extremely flexible in scheduling contests in the next few weeks and the first instance of it took place Tuesday night at Bishop Amat of La Puente. The Lancers' home field was the site of a Baseline League football doubleheader involving four schools who had games postponed from the previous Friday. In the first game, Upland defeated Los Osos of Ontario, 45-14, behind Brandon Sellers' 159 yards rushing and two TDs. Then Etiwanda of Rancho Cucamonga played Alta Loma and posted a 28-0 win. The winners were led by running back Chris Lavalle, who had 169 yards rushing and scored three TDs.

DEFAULT THAT MAKES SENSE: With no wins on the season and only 14 players in uniform, Waterford took a default loss last week rather that take the field against the state's No. 1 ranked Division V team. That team, Central Catholic of Modesto, has outscored its opponents by 330-42 this season. Waterford has been outscored by 302-29. Central Catholic may have to get used to more schools taking default losses if the football team stays in the Southern League.

SACKS GALORE: Capuchino of San Bruno recorded an incredible 17 quarterback sacks last week against Woodside in a 38-31 triumph. This is not a typo. The total of 17 has been reliably reported. If that isn't a state record, we can't imagine what is. See "state stat stars" for details. It's also now apparent that the large number of sacks reported by Modoc of Alturas this season, as many as 12 in one game, includes more than QB sacks. Maybe tackles behind the line of scrimmage?

500TH WIN FOR POWAY VOLLEYBALL COACH: An easy three-game sweep of Rancho Bernardo last week gave Poway girls volleyball coach Lisa Reis her 500th career victory. The Titans won by scores of 25-4, 25-12 and 25-14. She became just the second reported coach in state history with 500 girls volleyball coaching wins and trails only DaeLea Aldrich of Manhattan Beach Mira Costa. Reis began coaching at Poway in 1980 and has led her teams to 12 league titles and 10 San Diego Section crowns.

A FINAL TASK FOR JIM DUEL: We'll take this chance to wish the best of luck to outgoing CIF state sports information director Jim Duel. He was the first to hold that post, starting in 1989, and he's always been very pleasant to work with. Jim is leaving the CIF to start a travel company where he lives in Sebastopol.
One of the last items on Jim's agenda was to prepare a nomination to the National High School Hall of Fame for a legendary quarterback. We won't say who, but in looking up info on that quarterback it led us to come to the conclusion that perhaps even stronger arguments could be made for others in the same vein as that quarterback. The nomination in question is not for Steve Bartkowski from Buchser of Santa Clara or for Anthony Davis of San Fernando or even Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren. If that one quarterback makes the cut, all of the others would be worthy for the national honor as well. Take care, Jim, and thanks for all you did on behalf of California high school sports.


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