Prep Notes with a Twist

This week's edition of the best prep notes column in the state leads off with correspondent Harold Abend writing about the Helix-El Camino game in San Diego. Cal-Hi Sports founder Nelson Tennis then tells us which school nicknames he'd like to see changed.


By Harold Abend

When Helix of La Mesa running back standout Reggie Bush went to coach Gordon Wood on Monday of last week to tell him he had been selfish in playing hurt against Vista and that he would need to sit out against El Camino to heal an injured and casted left wrist, some who read the story in the San Diego Union Tribune were predicting the beginning of the end for the Highlanders.

Not Wood. He was confident his players would answer the challenge...and in fact, they did, handing El Camino it's first defeat of the season 30-21 at newly named Jim Arnaitz field at home in La Mesa. Asked prior to the game what his plans were with Bush in street clothes the coach replied, "We'll be OK. A lot of people don't realize we have depth and talent at the skill positions...and our defense is ready to step up ," said Wood. "Watch 'Charles' (highly recruited senior wide receiver Charles Smith)...and number thirty-two."

It was non other than number thirty-two, junior running back Ken Cornist, who continuously frustrated El Camino defenders with double digit runs (8 total) in critical situations to finish with 18 carries and 122 yards rushing.

Then there was "Charles"...Smith. The 6-1 senior, who is reportedly being heavily pursued by Oklahoma, lit up the scoreboard. Smith first took a double reverse and left everyone in his wake, racing 59 yards for a score. Later, with Helix trailing 13-7, he got behind the defense again, this time taking in a 38-yard pass from quarterback Carl Puckett for a score. Finally after a 2-yard touchdown run by Puckett and a booming 48-yard field goal by Devin Dascenzo to put Helix up 24-21, Smith ran past everyone a third time to pull in a 36-yard pass from Puckett for the final score that sealed Helix's victory.


By Nelson Tennis

•We should take bets on how many weeks into each season it will take for the first highly-ranked team to be hit with a forfeit loss.

This year we made it only to week three as last week it was determined that Los Altos of Hacienda Heights would have to forfeit its opening-game win over Paloma Valley due to an administrative error.

It seems a transfer form for two of Los Altos' players was incorrectly filed. The Conquerors will now be listed in the state rankings with their on-the-field record and an asterisk.

Los Altos posted an impressive 41-16 win last week over La Mirada. After trailing 16-13 at halftime, the Conquerors rolled with a 195-28 yardage edge. Carlos Ordonez completed 11 of 18 passes for Los Altos for 247 yards and three TDs.

•How come Foothill of Pleasanton and Skyline of Oakland tied last week and they're not tied in the rankings?

First, there should never be ties in rankings. If you do enough research and have a rankings system in place that rewards strength of schedule and considers many other factors, there's no need for a tie.

It seems Skyline should have won the game, but a late fumble was pounced on by the Falcons in the game's last minute. That set the stage for Kyle Barker's touchdown pass to Joey Munn plus a two-point conversion pass to Munn with four seconds left that forced the tie. Foothill is ranked just one spot higher than Skyline only because the East Bay Athletic League this year, with Monte Vista, San Ramon Valley and Amador Valley, is absolutely fantastic.

If the Falcons win against all those opponents, they might be ranked ahead of everybody in the Bay Area other than De La Salle.

•We mentioned the Milk Can Game last week involving state-ranked Chino and crosstown rival Don Lugo of Chino.

But there's another Milk Can Game that goes back many more years. This is the one between Humboldt-Del Norte schools Ferndale and Fortuna and it has been played since the middle of the 1940s.

Fortuna had the Milk Can for five years, but Ferndale got it back after last week's 34-6 win. It also was the 100th win for Ferndale head coach Kim Jorgensen, a Ferndale native and Ferndale High grad.

•Speaking of rivalry games, the state's oldest high school football rivalry -- it dates back to a rugby game way back in 1892 -- was renewed yet again last week when Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco downed St. Ignatius of San Francisco, 30-14, at Kezar Stadium.

The win ended a four-year losing streak by the Irish, who last won in 1997 over S.I. by a 16-10 score. The Wildcats, however, are still way ahead in the all-time series vs. SHC with a mark of 47-23-7.

California now has two Breakers and no Artists. This is due to Laguna Beach High changing its nickname from the Artists to the Breakers.

One wonders if anybody at Laguna Beach thought to find out if there was another school called the Breakers in California. It's a nickname we like a lot, but for us the Breakers will always conjur up images of Pacific Grove first.

Pacific Grove fans probably aren't too happy, either, that their school's nickname is no longer unique.

•More recent nickname changes: Fremont of Sunnyvale from the Indians to the Firebirds; Tamalpais of Mill Valley from the Indians to the Red Tailed Hawks; Encina of Sacramento from the Apaches to the Bulldogs; Birmingham of Van Nuys from the Braves to the Patriots; Gardena from the Mohicans to the Panthers; University of Los Angeles from the Warriors to the Wildcats.

•Nickname Changes We'd Like To See: Bassett of La Puente from Olympians to Hounds; Florin of Sacramento from the Panthers to Flyers; Merrill West of Tracy from Wolf Pack to Zephrs (a west wind that blows down into Tracy from the Altamont Pass).

•Galt was 0-2 and had a 25-game losing streak going into its game last week with 2-0 Sonora, but the Warriors found a way to finally end their frustration and pulled out a 25-23 upset win over the Wildcats.

Also breaking a long winless streak last week was Hoover of Glendale, which smoked Keppel of Alhambra, 48-21. The Tornadoes had a 0-20-2 winless streak. They were led by Sevak Keshishian's 176 yards rushing on 21 carries.

•Steve Singleton, a senior shortstop at Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland, has verbally committed to a baseball scholarship at the University of San Diego.

Singleton will be a four-year starter this spring for the Dragons. He was selected in the summer to participate in the prestigious Area Code Games in Long Beach.

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