TOP TEAMS FIND WAYS TO WIN
It's forever been said that in football, or any sport, a really good team will find a way to win no matter how tough things look. What better examples than what our top two teams had to overcome this past weekend. Both trailed by large scores, both managed to keep their unbeaten records spotless by pulling out victories and now they stand atop the eighth week of the J.C. GRID-WIRE rankings.
FOOTHILL 42, SANTA ROSA 35 The type of score that everyone predicted, but who thought SRCC would lead at halftime by as much as 35-21. Bear Cub QB Greg Alexander had tossed 13 of 15 for 281 ys and 3 TDs in building up the lead, but the Owls came roaring back and shutout the highest scoring team in the state in the 2nd half. Meanwhile Foothill QB John Riddell was firing away on his own and piling up the yardage. He hit on a long pass to tie the score with 2:17 to play and then when there were but 13 seconds left he connected on a 27-yard aerial to Miles Anderson for the winning tally. Riddell hit on 27 of 46 for 354 yards and 3 scores and Alexander finished with 22 of 25 for 417 and 3 TDs. JC fans in Northern California, should make plans now for next year's clash between these two teams. Foothill has won each of the last 3 years but look at the scores: in '04 it was 36-30 in OT; in '05 it was 47-42 and then the latest 42-35.
SADDLEBACK 23, ORANGE COAST 17 Saddleback coach Mark McElroy knew better than to take the OCC Bucs lightly. Their only loss had come at the hands of powerful El Camino and the defense was a strong point. OCC took a 17-point early lead starting with the 99-yard return of the opening kickoff by Nathan Barnett, then forcing two turnovers to make it 14-0. Each team added a field goal before Saddleback scored on a 65-yard pass, Nick Nelson to Maurice Clark. 17-10 at halftime. Clark scored on a 26-yard reception in the third to tie it up, both teams missed FGs and OT found P.T. Gates taking over to lead the winning drive by catching a Nelson pass for 9 yards and the victory. Gates totaled 103 hard-fought yards on 20 carries, Clark gained 159 on 5 catches and Nelson was 14 for 28 for 201. OCC safety Chris Sassily led the stout defense with 9.5 tackles and an INT.
ALL-TIME TOP PLAYERS IN NJCAA RANKS POST-1980 in one man's opinion.
QB Will Hall, N.W. MISSISSIPPI, 2000
RB Mike Rozier, COFFEYVILLE, 1980
RB Charlie Garner, SCOTTSDALE, 1990
RB Corey Dillon, GARDEN CITY/DIXIE, 94-95
TE Jeremy Shockey, N.E. OKLAHOMA 1999
WR Ron Fair, PRATT, 1986
WR Larry Brackins, PEARL RIVER, 2004
OL Bryant McKinnie, LACKAWANNA, 1998
OL Stockar McDougle, NAVARRO, 96-97
OL Duce Lutui, SNOW, 2003
OL Walter Jones, HOLMES, 1994
OL Tom Kuusisto, NORTH HENNEPIN, 80-81
PK Tim Hardaway, GEORGIA MILITARY, 95-96
DL Grady Jackson, HINDS, 1995
DL Luis Vasquez, ARIZONA WESTERN, 2005
DL Jason Buck, RICKS, 1984
DL Jason Ferguson, ITAWAMBA, 1994
DL C.J. Ah You, SNOW, 2004
LB Kendrell Bell, GEORGIA MILITARY, 1998
LB Mike Sellers, WALLA WALLA, 1993
LB John Randolph, COFFEYVILLE, 1987
DB Scott Case, N.E. OKLAHOMA, 80-81
DB Phillipi Sparks, GLENDALE, 1988
DB Dwight Sistrunk, ILLINOIS VALLEY, 1985
P Grant Campbell, RICKS, 1980
AP Mel Gray, COFFEYVILLE, 1981
Tough to pass up DBs like Fred Smoot, HINDS, Sam Harris, HARFORD, Juran Bolden, GULF COAST, Larry Kendrick, PEARL RIVER. And ditto for linebackers like Torrence Marshall, KEMPER, Johnny Rembert, COWLEY COUNTY, Jeff Kelly, GARDEN CITY and David Dixon, HUTCHINSON, but what are you going to do. Remember, it's a combination of what they did in JC and after.
CALIFORNIA'S BEST POST-1980 TEAM
QB Steve Sarkisian, EL CAMINO, 1994
RB Maurice Morris, FRESNO, 98-99
RB Jonathan Smith, PASADENA, 2001
RB Alonzo Washington, GAVILAN, 1986
TE Delanie Walker, MT. SAN ANTONIO, 2003
WR Keyshawn Johnson, WEST L.A., 1993
WR Imani Percoats, MERCED, 1998
OL Gaylord Kuamoo, SANTA ROSA, 1982
OL Andy Baroncelli, BAKERSFIELD, 1983
OL Tupe Peko, CERRITOS, 1998
OL Eduardo Vega, PALOMAR, 1989
OL Francisco Tipoti, SAN FRANCISCO, 2000
PK Rick Frank, FULLERTON, 1984
DL Isaac Sapoaga, CANYONS, 2000
DL Guy Teafatiller, CERRITOS, 1983
DL Dallas Mauga, GROSSMONT, 2004
DL Jeff Cummins, EL CAMINO 1989
DL Chris Mims, L.A. SOUTHWEST, 1989
LB A.J. Jenkins, MERCED, 1986
LB Ken Harvey, LANEY, 84-85
LB Desmond Bishop, SAN FRANCISCO, 2004
DB Sherman Cocroft, CABRILLO, 1981
DB Niu Sale, EL CAMINO, 1988
DB Gibril Wilson, SAN FRANCISCO, 2001
P Ruben Rodriguez, SEQUOIAS, 83-84
AP Jason Sehorn, SHASTA, 90-91
Keep in mind this is just one man's opinion, but it is all mine. After last week a longtime friend and golfing buddy, Shav Glick, recently retired after over 50 years with the L.A. Times sports dept., called to ask why Benny Scott wasn't on the NJCAA All-Star team. Scott, who played in the 1949 Jr. Rose Bowl for the Little Rock team that beat Santa Ana 25-19, was of all things a real kiss my foot scatback, who could have traded places with Larry Heater as the all-purpose guy. Then Glick wanted to know where was Earl Leggett, who played on the "Ironman" Hinds team in 1954 against El Camino. Hinds used just 13 players and Earl may have been the best. He certainly had a fine career as a player and coach in the pros. Can't win ‘em all.
NOTES AND STUFF…Two of the 3 longest FGs in pro history were kicked by JC grads. Tom Dempsey, PALOMAR, in 1970 had a 63-yarder for New Orleans, and Matt Bryant, TRINITY VALLEY, boomed a 62-yarder Sunday to win a game for Tampa Bay.
Saw two games last Sat. and watched the Zebs march off 39 penalties for 393 yards. It's amazing that EL CAMINO, SANTA ANA, GOLDEN WEST and CERRITOS were able to score 108 points. The Mission Conf. avg. 10.3 penalties per team, for 81.7 yards.
Come on refs, let the kids play. Some pretty good coaches have worked the JC circuits. How about, Bill Walsh, Dick Vermeil, John Madden, Jim Fassel, Don Coryell, just to name a quick few. And Burl Toler, 1951 CCSF, would be my head of referees. Pete Rozelle, CCSF, could be the commissioner of all four of the selected All-Time teams.