PREP NOTES WITH A TWIST

Leo Robinson's historic coaching win.....Lynwood's No. 1 girls basketball team....Watch out for La Habra and San Diego Madison football teams.....QBs Tom Brandstater and Bryen Blankenship show stuff on both sides of the ball....Plus more from the best prep notes column in the state

•Remember when Gene Vollnogle, the former longtime coach at Carson, was the winningest coach in state history with 289 all-time varsity career wins?
Well, Vollnogle is now sitting at No. 4. Moving up into the No. 3 spot last week was Woodlake's Leo Robinson. After his team defeated Orosi 36-0, Robinson moved his career total to 290 wins since 1962.
The best player Robinson ever had probably was his own son, Ron, who was not only an excellent quarterback but went on to pitch in the major leagues for the Cincinnati Reds.
Oceanside El Camino's Herb Meyer and Santa Fe Springs St. Paul's Marijon Ancich are both over 300 wins and also have passed Vollnogle's total in recent years. Of course, De La Salle's Bob Ladouceur is catching up to all of them.


•Lynwood's girls basketball team debuted at No. 1 in the Student Sports preseason FAB 50 national rankings. The Knights are on top with junior point guard Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood returning plus transfer Kamecka Simmons from Long Beach Poly plus the two big girls -- Tiffany and Jazelle Burries -- in the middle.
Wiley-Gatewood was the state player of the year as a sophomore, but may have to pass the ball around even more this season. Another key transfer for the Knights is Brandi Kimble, coming over from Hart of Newhall.
The next California team in the FAB 50 didn't land until No. 20, which was Narbonne of Harbor City. St. Mary's of Stockton (No. 26), Long Beach Poly (No. 30) and Mitty of San Jose (No. 40) were the only other California squads to crack the list.

•The Central Section has no teams in the state top 20 at this point of the season and if Central High of Fresno takes its first loss in the next two weeks then it may be awhile before one gets back in. Buchanan of Clovis dropped from the top 20 this week after losing 34-20 to Clovis East. That came one week after the Bears had defeated Clovis, 40-33, and the loss to the Timberwolves completely threw the section rankings out of whack.

•Central is a team most didn't pick among the top five in the section at the start of the season, but the Grizzlies did have a good win last week of 37-0 over Bullard of Fresno and they are 7-0. Bullard had won four in a row coming into the game, but Central rolled behind RB-WR Byron Sconier, who scored on a 66-yard run and caught 37 and 34-yd TD passes from QB Juan Navarro. Navarro also finished with 154 rushing yards.

•Was Loyola overrated? It looks that way after the Cubs' 28-10 loss last week to Mater Dei, but there seems to be a pattern for every Loyola season in recent years.
It goes like this: 1. The preseason ranking is high because there's some strong aspect of the previous team that is coming back; 2. Team plays at least one clunker at some point early or midway through the season and loses; 3. Team starts to strengthen at the end of the regular season; 4. Team goes on a playoff run and either knocks off a favored opponent or plays somebody like Long Beach Poly very close.
The first two so far have happened again. Playing in a tougher league this year might make the second two more difficult.

•Madison just might be the top team in the city of San Diego this season. At least that's what San Diego Section correspondent Harold Abend thinks as well as many coaches, including longtime Mission Bay coach/AD Dennis Pugh (current assistant whose team lost to Madison in week 3).
Against Christian of El Cajon's high powered offense last week it was Madison's offense that built a 37-0 lead as the Warhawks cruised home 44-7 to remain unbeaten. Marian and a revitalized Mission Bay await Madison in the section playoffs and the Warhawks may very well be 11-0 entering the semifinals.

•A team we're starting to really keep an eye on for the Div. III state rankings is La Habra. A lot of people scoffed several weeks back when Los Alamitos won by just 24-20 over La Habra, but it's now beginning to look like the Highlanders are a pretty strong team.
They won last week, 14-6, over Fullerton and are now No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Division IX rankings. And their only loss so far is still that four-pointer to the Griffins.

•Staging a golf tournament as a fund-raiser is not a new idea, but the folks at Golf America Inc. may be bringing it down to the prep level soon. A fundraiser last week at the Rio Vista Golf Club for Solano College athletics honored Al Besselink, senior PGA golfer and first winner of the Tournament of Champions at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas. Also scheduled to be there were California prep legends Jim Hines (Oakland McClymonds), Dick Bass (Vallejo) and Tug McGraw (Vallejo St. Vincent).
Entrants paid $125 per person and received green fee, cart fee, prime rib dinner, t-shirt and hat. And because the event also had sponsors (including Mike & Ike candy plus Aztec Signature Series Golf Clubs), most of the entry fees went directly to the cause at hand. More similar golf events are in the works. To play in one of them or for info about holding one of them, call 1-866-772-1391.

•It's common knowledge that Nike chairman Phil Knight is a huge fan of the Oregon Ducks. That's why it wasn't surprising to see that Edison of Stockton running back Lynell Hamilton was reportedly flown by Lear jet with a Nike executive on board when he went on his recruiting trip to Oregon last weekend.
Hamilton, who is still nursing a hip pointer injury, was taken by limousine after his team's game last Friday from Stockton to Sacramento International Airport where the Lear jet was standing by.

•If you're a quarterback scout and you like it when you see one of them getting out and banging around a few heads on defense, then two of them you'd like are Turlock's Tom Brandstater and Campbell Westmont's Bryen Blankenship.
Brandstater is a 6-4, 180-pounder who committed to Fresno State last week. In Turlock's 3-0 victory over Johansen of Modesto, Brandstater completed 10 of 15 passes for 115 yards. On defense, as a safety, though, he came up with two interceptions to help key the win. Brandstater is one of those tall, lanky types with a strong arm who plays at a school more known for running the ball.
Blankenship, meanwhile, has had some 200-yard passing games in the past and the strapping 6-4, 230-pounder is on many college recruiting lists. Last week, Blankenship started on defense as a linebacker for the first time and responded with an interception and several big stops in helping Westmont defeat Prospect of San Jose, 29-7. As a QB, Blankenship completed 11 of 22 passes for 200 yards and two TDs and also ran for 42 yards on five carries and scored one TD.
Big passing stats may be fine, but athletic ability for a QB can be even more of a predictor for future success. Brett Favre, for example, was chosen to play in the Alabama-Mississippi high school all-star game as a safety, not as a QB.


Golden State Preps Top Stories