Since the era of "West Side Story," violence among youth has increased at an alarming rate. Kids (and some childish acting adults) actually kill each other over a remark or gesture...or the color of what one wears. As I've said before, don't kid yourself, it happens everywhere, including the Redwood Empire.
Now we have a situation at Woodside High in the Central Coast Section, where after weeks of problems resulting from the team's losses and an apparent inability to deal with them on a mature basis, the administration of the school decided last week to shut down the football program for the remainder of the season.
The pundits and know-it-alls have made their numerous opinions known, so I figured it was time for an opinion from the expert...your humble servant. I grew up in the inner city and still call it my roots by serving on my high school alumni board. I've lived in places like La Jolla and Marin where it takes big bucks to own a home. I've covered high school sports in every one of the 10 CIF sections in California and even outside the state. And let me tell you the kids are all the same...yellow, black, white or brown. They want to play and win. Unfortunately, the adults some time get in the way.
Kids learn to swear from parents and coaches. They learn their behaviors from adults. If coaches are using profanity ALL THE TIME, then one would think the players would emulate the coach. If parents exhibit bad behavior or drink excessively, take drugs and beat their spouses...guess what.
I applaud the school administration in Woodside. I say zero tolerance. I don't care who is to blame. Life often teaches us a harsh lesson, even if our involvement in a situation is only partial of peripheral. There is only one way to compete at the high school level..."Pursuing Victory With Honor."
Super Seven Rankings
1) Eureka (9-0) -- The Loggers hold steady at No.10 in the state in Div. II after posting their fourth straight shutout, 41-0, on a rainy homecoming night against Windsor. That makes it 196-0 over the pasr four games. Just how good is Eurka compared to the rest of the Empire? Well, Windsor played some teams in Sonoma and Mendocino pretty tough and the Loggers blew by them easily...without star wide receiver Mo Purify, who missed the game with a brokn bone in his hand. Sam Vainuke led this week's onslaught with 189 yards on 19 carries with 2 TDs.
2T) Marin Catholic, Kentfield (8-1) -- The wind was whipping and the rain was falling in buckets last Saturday as Justin-Siena visited Kentfield to face Marin Catholic in a battle of top teams in the Marin County Athletic League. In fact, a punt by Marin Catholic's Steve Domecus caught a tail wind and traveled 70 yards into the end zone. Later in the game, Domecus would send another punt 58 yards, only this time it was into the wind. In the end, however, it was big plays and forced turnovers by the Wildcats and a couple of mental errors by the Braves that resulted in a 24-12 win that assures Marin Catholic a share of the MCAL title.
The state No. 4 Div IV (NCS 2A) Marin Catholic offense, including standout running back Khalil Bell, took a while to get untracked. The Wildcats (8-1 overall, 7-0 in Marin County league) managed only 16 yards of total offense in a scoreless first quarter. Justin-Siena would score first when quarterback Tyler Streblow scooted around right end 30 yards to put the Braves on top 6-0. After exchanging several punts, the Braves looked to have the Wildcats plugged up again when a costly running into the kicker penalty allowed Marin Catholic's offense to stay on the field. On the very next play, Wildcat quarterback Jim Collins found star receiver Ryan Chisholm over the middle as a Brave defender slipped and Chisholm raced 45 yards untouched into the end zone and Marin Catholic had a 7-6 lead; a lead it would not relinquish.
Bell was having his problems in the first half and was only able to gain 23 yards on seven carries. Coach Ken Peralta must have said something to Bell in the locker room at halftime, because the 6-0, 195-pound junior came out with fire in his eyes and legs. After receiving the opening kick-off in the second half, Marin Catholic moved to the Brave 49-yard line when Bell finally broke loose taking a handoff from Collins and racing past all the defenders for a touchdown. After Jake Merrill punched though a 25-yard filed goal for the Wildcats to make the score 17-12, Bell emerged from what looked like a Rugby scrum to the bewilderment of the Justin-Siena defenders who thought the play was dead. By the time they realized their mistake, Bell had scampered 44 yards for another score. For the game, Bell had 127 yards on 15 carries with 2 TDs and an interception on defense.
Marin Catholic closes league play on the road Saturday against San Marin. The Wildcats should be fired up for the affair in which a victory would give them the MCAL title outright and the No. 1 seed in the NCS Redwood Empire 2A Playoffs.
2T) Casa Grande, Petaluma (8-1) -- The Gauchos won the battle of chicken town and got to take home the eggs after a 28-14 win against Petaluma in the 10th Annual Egg Bowl. Guess who...sophomore Joe Trombetta had three of the touchdowns for the Gauchos while piling up 127 yards on 24 carries. Next up is the big showdown with Analy for Sonoma County League supremacy.
2T) Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa (8-1) -- Two teams with high powered offenses met at Montgomery High in Santa Rosa, but it was defense and the heavy rain that was the key in a 14-6 Cardinal Newman victory. The Cardinals harassed Montgomery's quarterbacks, sacking them four times with two interceptions and holding the pair to 1 for 11 and minus-2 yards. Newman also forced eight fumbles and recovered four in the muddy conditions. On offense for the Cardinals, Prince Edwards scored once on the ground while accounting for 77 yards on 11 carries while quarterback Mark Fitts completed 12 of 22 for 169 yards. Cardinal Newman goes to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in North Bay League play. With a win this week against a tough Piner squad, the Cardinals will win the league title and earn a high seed in the NCS Redwood Empire 3A Championship Playoffs.
5T) Novato (7-2) -- Many of the self-proclaimed pundits and believe that Novato's shutout of Casa Grande was a fluke. Not me. Novato's defense is probably only bested in the Empire by that of Eureka. The Hornets are only allowing an average of 147 yards of opposing offense a game. This past week, they shut out Terra Linda 15-0 and only gave up 41 total yards. Nuff said.
5T) Analy, Sebastopol (8-1) -- Posted a hard fought 21-7 win over El Molino in the Apple Game. The Tigers now go for their first Sonoma County league title in 17 years.
5T) Montgomery, Santa Rosa (6-2-1) -- The Vikings gave Newman all they could handle in losing 14-6. As a result of the closeness of the game, I have tightened up the rankings pending this week's final regular season contests.
On the Bubble
8) Redwood, Larkspur (7-2)
9) Ferndale (9-0)
10) Ukiah (4-3-2)
11) Middletown (9-0)
12T) Justin-Siena, Napa (6-3)
12T) Piner, Santa Rosa (6-3)
Next week, look for a feature on the 19-man squad of small school power Ferndale.
Editor's Note: Harold Abend is in his first year as a Cal-Hi Sports correspondent from the Redwood Empire. Previously, he has been the correspondent from the San Diego Section. Abend also has served as a media relations consultant for the CIF state office for many years.