Estes was the 2002 State Junior of the Year who opened eyes wide during that campaign for his hard-hitting, anticipation, running with the football and just having a knack for the big play. Observers say he hasn't been quite up to that level this season and last week he was suspended and removed from the school for unspecified reasons.
It'll be interesting to see if Estes is still selected to any All-American teams based on preseason accolades. We feel strongly that whenever a player is kicked off a team that all potential postseason honors are given up as well. If Estes had suffered an injury, that would be different, but this wasn't an injury. Estes won't be on any of our all-state teams and he shouldn't be all-league, all-county or all-anything, either. Besides, football shouldn't be important to Estes and his family right now. We, of course, hope his situation improves and that someday he's starring at a major college.
So with Estes out of the picture, who would now be the major contenders to be the 2003 Mr. Football State Player of the Year? This could change all the way through the San Diego Section finals on December 17, but here's our outlook:
Terrell Jackson (Centennial, Corona): The 2001 State Sophomore of the Year could still wind up with similar numbers as last year when he scored 50 touchdowns. He got shut down last week against Norco, but it was in the playoffs last year when he really exploded, anyway.
Sean Norton (Hart, Newhall):He's having a terrific year after that early rib injury he suffered against Los Alamitos. If Hart makes a run at the CIFSS Div. II title and Norton comes up big in the finals, he'd be tough to ignore, despite the lack of college offers.
Marty Tadman (Mission Viejo): Mr. Versatile for the Diablos has made so many big plays for his team -- on offense, defense, special teams -- that he'd be our pick right now to be the Orange County Player of the Year.
LeAndre Matthews (East Bakersfield): Sizzling runner for the Blades isn't on as good a team as the others, but he's been among the state rushing leaders all year long after doing the same as a junior. LeAndre rushed for over 2,000 yards in his regular season, which just concluded.
Others (NorCal): Willie Glasper DB-RB & Terrence Kelly RB-LB (De La Salle); Dwyane Brown RB (Cordova, Rancho Cordova); Austin Collie WR-KR-K (Oak Ridge, El Dorado Hills); Will Taufoou LB-FB (St. Francis, Mountain View); Lavelle Hawkins WR-QB-DB-KR (Edison, Stockton); Jose Rojas RB (Clovis West); Jeff Schweiger DE-OL (Valley Christian, San Jose); Kenny O'Neal WR-KR (Skyline, Oakland); Tom Haug RB (Monte Vista, Danville); Shawn Benjamin RB (Watsonville); Worrell & Gerwin Williams RB-LB (Grant, Sacramento); Mike McCoy WR-KR (Colfax); John Taylor WR (Mt. Whitney, Visalia); Joe Mortensen LB-FB (Clayton Valley, Concord); Alan Darlin LB-FB (Laguna Creek, Elk Grove).
Others (SoCal): Anthony Celestine WR-KR (Burroughs, Ridgecrest); Arian Foster RB (Mission Bay, San Diego); Nate Longshore QB (Canyon, Canyon Country); Michael Dunn WR (St. Monica, Santa Monica); Jamaal Floyd RB (Claremont); Damon Morton WR-KR & Dion Morton QB-DB (J.W. North); Rudy Carpenter QB (Westlake); Patrick Gates RB (Marian Catholic, San Diego); Russell Allen FB-LB (Vista); Anthony Vernaglia LB-RB (Orange Lutheran).
Note: We'll be starting our process to select the 2003 All-State football teams in about two weeks. Nominations, comments, information is always welcome. E-mail to email@example.com or FAX to (209) 463-1219.
CUSSING ON COACH CANCELS GAMES: Anybody who's ever been on the sidelines of just about any high school football game knows that swearing and profanity are tolerated at many schools. Coaches swear at players all the time, but what happens when players swear at their coach?
After a game two weekends ago in which Woodside dropped a 30-12 game to Terra Nova of Pacifica, Wildcats' coach Packy Moss came back to the locker room and heard frustrated players yelling profanities about him. It's not clear if the cursing was directed to him or about him and he overheard, but school administrators took the verbal assault as a case of harassment and last week canceled the team's final two games.
"We don't allow kids to harass each other, and we don't allow them to harass our staff," Principal Linda Common told the San Jose Mercury-News. "We certainly have to take a stand."
Sports talk radio in the San Francisco area used the case as a topic about sportsmanship in athletics. Some called in support of the decision. Others criticized it as punishing too many students for the actions of a few.
It is understandable that Woodside players were upset. The Wildcats started out 2-1, then lost a series of excruciatingly close games before falling by a more lopsided margin against Terra Nova. It's important to note that school administrators canceled a winnable game against South San Francisco and the homecoming game against Menlo-Atherton.
IT'S A HUGE GAME FOR THESE TEAMS: You probably know who Bob Ladouceur and Bob Johnson are, but what about Jim Lamb and James Stewart? They're the head football coaches at Garden Grove Bolsa Grande and Westminster La Quinta, respectively, teams that will square off Friday night, November 14 in a Garden Grove League game at La Quinta. Bolsa has a 43-game losing streak and has scored 73 pts while givng up 412 in nine games this season. Nevertheless, the Matadors are favored over an Aztec team that has scored just 19 pts and allowed 487 in nine losses. La Quinta's last victory was last year against Bolsa Grande, so the La Quinta players do understand what it takes to win. But do the Bolsa players?
QUICK SIGNINGS: Several of the state's most prominent non-football athletes signed letters of intent on Tuesday, the first day they could do so, according to NCAA guidelines. Among those scribbling their names on the dotted line were track sprinters Lionel Larry from Dominguez of Compton (USC) and Shalonda Solomon from Long Beach Poly (South Carolina), softball pitching standout Taryn Mowatt from Santiago of Garden Grove (Arizona), girls basketball forward Lorie Rayford from Morningside of Inglewood (TCU), baseball pitcher Erik Davis of Mountain View (Stanford) and baseball slugger Ryan Conan from Mitty of San Jose (Santa Clara).
TAKING A PAGE FROM DE LA SALLE: The Central Catholic of Modesto football team last week reached an agreement with other schools in its league to compete as an independent next season. The Raiders are routinely winning against Southern League opponents by 50-point margins and one team already took a forfeit loss this season. Next year, though, Central will be automatically given the league's No. 1 berth into the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and will be allowed to schedule independently. It's a similar situation that was worked out prior to the 1998 season by national powerhouse De La Salle of Concord and other members of the Bay Valley Athletic League. Two opponents already on Central Catholic's schedule for next season are Colfax and San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno. The Raiders have won 33 straight games and should be No. 1 in the state for Division V once again this season.
CALIFORNIA VS. THE WORLD: The only games left are Nevada state playoff games, and yes, some California high schools do get to contend for state football championships in that state. Last week, California went 2-2 in the first round of those playoffs with South Tahoe of South Lake Tahoe defeating Elko 34-21 in a 4A game and Tahoe-Truckee of Truckee beating Dayton 30-20 in a 3A game. North Tahoe of Tahoe City lost to powerhouse Bishop Manogue of Reno 65-0 in 3A while Needles lost to Faith Lutheran of Las Vegas 42-0 in 2A. That brings California's season record vs. Nevada to 37-28 and 60-47 vs. all out-of-state competition.
NAME GAME: Scoring an overtime touchdown on a pass reception to win a game last week for University of Los Angeles was none other than Thomas Jefferson. There is a Thomas Jefferson High in Los Angeles, too, but we've never heard of a player at that school by the same name. No word on whether University has a George Washington or John Adams on its roster.