Saturday, September 29, 2007

Who needs an energy drink?

I certainly do not — but not just because of that Yahoo! report that ran a few months ago about how they damage your heart and stuff.

Though I might have wandered back into the office sometime around 11:30 p.m. Friday a little drowsy after reporting on a game that started a half hour late, two scores woke me right up.

The first was San Luis Obispo's 26-14 win over Santa Barbara.

No, the Dons aren't some powerhouse team. They were 1-9 last season, which included a 34-14 spanking by the Tigers. Santa Barbara was, however, 3-0 this year — with a decent win over Righetti.

But my concern with the game wasn't the strength of the Dons but of San Luis Obispo. It's so hard to get a good read on the Tigers.

Their offense hasn't exactly clicked in the post Reese-to-Martin era. And though the defense is fast and talented, there aren't a whole lot of wide bodies donning black and gold.

But 26 points? That's a touchdown and a field goal more than San Luis Obispo has scored in any of its first three games. And it's more impressive against an unbeaten team.

So wake up and give the Tigers some credit. I sure will.

Another team I'm willing to give some props to is Templeton. The Eagles' 36-0 shutout of Los Padres League foe Santa Ynez is the second score that slapped me in the face — not because I didn't expect it but because it should quiet some of the Templeton critics, at least for a while.

Each year, it seems the voters in the Top 10 media poll (and others I'm sure) have been slow to give Templeton much respect. The Eagles haven't played the toughest nonleague schedule and the thinking is that they have to prove it in league before they get any respect.

But I'll give the benefit of the doubt to Don Crow's crew because we make it a little too hard for Templeton.

Just because its a school of somewhere around 800 kids, the notion is they can't be good at anything — especially in a league with Santa Maria schools whose enrollments can number more than twice that.

But the Eagles seem to be making a living of defiying predictions and overachieving.

How about giving Templeton some due until the Eagles show it's undeserved? Good until proven bad. Seems to me they've earned it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Update on a former Tiger

I stood up from my seat and took a step down the stands in San Luis Obispo High's gym to better hear the praise from Arroyo Grande moms who couldn't get enough of this blog.

Oh, how they loved looking at the videos of the kids saying how they read the blog.

This is how I heard it: "Blog, blog, blog ... adualtion ... praise ... you're so cool."

CRUNCH!!! A pair of shiny new crutches.

I looked down out of my euphoria to see I inadvertently stepped on them.

"Hey, watch it, Scroggs!"

It was Ben Hansen, a former three sport standout for the Tigers who graduated last spring. And he had a huge knee brace and a fresh-looking scar on his right knee.

Apparently, Hansen was all set to play football at Hancock College this fall but had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and is sitting this semester out.

He said he hurt the knee last spring in a rec league soccer game. Now he's out for the next eight months and hoping to return to the team next season.

I'll wish him good luck regaining the speed and accelleration that made him such a threat for the Tigers in 2006. Thank goodness all I stepped on were his crutches.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bring on league play

I gleaned one big thing from Mission Prep's 28-20 win at Morro Bay over visiting Orange Cove.

Well... two things.

First, Orange Cove has no orange on its uniform or helmets. No orange. Orange Cove? What were they thinking.

Second, I can't wait for league play to start in the other big conferences around here.

I'm tired of seeing Paso Robles and Atascadero drop 40-point scores on non-league foes. I want to see a showdown between the Bearcats and the Greyhounds (who DO have orange in their uniforms... and gray. Or is it grey?)

I want to see if Arroyo Grande can turn it around in PAC 7 play when it really counts. I can't wait to see the Eagles take on San Luis Obispo, which seems to play everyone close.

Is Righetti for real? What about Templeton? Don't forget Morro Bay.

See, Mission Prep is almost halfway done with Central Sierra League play. It was fun watching two teams undefeated in league square off to get a leg up in the title race.

The Royals basked in the victory with shouts and cheers of "we're No. 1." Orange Cove coaches called for a round of post-game jumping jacks.

It makes me realize how ready I am for Los Padres League play to get into full swing — for the PAC 7 to start working itself out — for the stakes to raise.

Bring it on.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

To Vic go the spoils

The results of this blog's first-ever poll are in, and Atascadero's Vic Cooper has won in a landslide plurality.

I put the question to you: Who's the best high school football coach in San Luis Obispo County? And out of the 134 votes tallied, Cooper (pictured right in a Tribune file photo by Joe johnston) came away with 44 — or 32 percent.

"I hope my better years are in front of me and not behind me," quipped Cooper, the only coach to tally more than 30 votes.

Technically, Cooper could have gone to 44 different computers and voted for himself every time, but that's probably not what happened seeing as how Cooper said he was skeptical of the poll and any deeper meaning revealed.

"There’s a lot of good coaches on the Central Coast," he said before giving compliments to San Luis Obispo's Craig Winninghoff (second with 29 percent) and Paso Robles' Rich Schimke (tied for fifth with 11 percent). "That’s a fairly nice honor ... Hopefully, that’s a good sign of having a good staff from top to bottom."

Morro Bay's John Andree took third with 27 votes (20 percent). Arroyo Grande's Tom Goossen (11 percent) was fourth, and the other coach tied for fifth was Mission Prep's Joe Silveira, a former longtime Coast Union coach.

If there was an option for a coach having the most success with the lowest enrollment, Templeton's Don Crow would have gotten more than the 11 votes, or 8 percent, that he got for coming into a tumultuous situation and churning out a playoff program every year.

Instead, Crow finished behind first-year Nipomo coach Russ Edwards (14 votes, 10 percent), a former San Luis Obispo assistant, and tied with Coast Union's Dave Clements, a second-year guy.

Kudos to all the coaches. These guys put in more work than most know, whether they're running eight-man programs or perennial powerhouses.

Check out the new poll, and if you have any suggestions for future questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

All in good fun

Cheering at girls volleyball matches has become the hot new thing to do in the fall.

And the Arroyo Grande students have taken it to another level in the past few years.

They call themselves the Blue Zoo. Some of them dress up in costumes or face paint. Some of them dance. All of them scream.

"It's real exciting for the girls because the school and the student body make a big deal out of it," Eagles coach Ernie Santa Cruz said. "(The players) enoy it and they enjoy the guys in the Blue Zoo rooting for them. It's becoming a big thing at all the schools. The support is there, and it's kind of like the seventh man."

Mission Prep's Michaela Laird knew what the Royals were in for in Arroyo Grande's home opening 3-0 win Thursday.

"We knew that we needed to talk it up and talk loud," Laird said, "but we're working on it. Overall, I don't think we let the crowd affect us too much."

Somtime in the third game, when the Zoo had already unleashed a few rehearsed cheers and done the wave, a wayward spike from Mission Prep's Natalie Fernandez zipped in the direction of the boisterous section.

Was it just a slip? Or was she trying to shut them up a la "Varsity Blues"?

Since Fernandez left the gym before she could be interviewed, we may never know.

In her spot, I might have sent one at them. Look how annoying these guys are -- if you're on the other team. (If you're on their side, they're great.)

The Blue Zoo

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Conspicuously absent

EDIT: Chloe Redman is intending to play for Cuesta College in the spring. You can read the update on this story here.

Tennis talk might not make the numbers spike on the hit count-O-meter, but there was some off-court drama at Morro Bay High for the Pirates' match against visiting San Luis Obispo that just may.

The buzz surrounded Morro Bay standout Chloe Redman — now apparently a "former" Morro Bay standout.

Redman (pictured in a Tribune file photo by Joe Johnston) finished as the second best individual in the Los Padres League as a junior last season and led the Pirates into the CIF-Southern Section Division IV quarterfinals by winning five of six sets in two playoff rounds.

She was set to return as arguably the best senior in the county this fall but was nowhere to be seen Tuesday, and Morro Bay coach Karen Roth declined to comment, only saying Redman was no longer at the school.

The loss is a big hit for the Pirates on the tennis and basketball courts, where Redman was a key rebounder and defender for coach Cary Nerelli.

Rumors were flying as to where Redman went, why and how. But nothing was confirmed as of Tuesday night. Expect an update in the coming days.

Monday, September 10, 2007

We've got spirit

Yes, we do.

Paso Robles football

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Doom and gloom in Paso?

The Paso Robles High football team's big 52-0 win Friday over Santa Ynez was impressive to watch.

But if there's anyone out there who can find a puny storm cloud in big load of silver lining, it's a coach.

And the Bearcats' Rich Schimke is an experienced one at that.

"We got a long ways to go," he said after the game. "We made way too many mistakes. I know it sounds weird, but you watched the second half. You saw all the penalties out there. We have to maintain our discipline."

The Bearcats were called for 85 yards worth of penalties on nine flags, 10 if you count one that was declined by the Pirates.

"And the fumble down there in the red zone," Schimke said, "we can't have that."

Lots of times coaches will undersell their team or accomplishments because they don't want their high school athletes to get too full of themselves. Or they don't want to provide bulletin board material to another team.

That's why what media members refer to as "coach speak" is so boring to read, yet it's use is nearly universal.

But don't write off Schimke's comments as a simple attempt to be humble in the wake of a dominant win.

It's the second week in a row Paso Robles has been dogged by penalties and turnovers in at least one half. There will come a time when an opponent will have the talent and experience to be able to capitalize on some of those mistakes.

So the Bearcats will work on them. They should.

And they should also enjoy the win. There was more than enough to be proud about.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Climbing the ladder

The Arroyo Grande girls volleyball team's season has stalled in the CIF-Southern Section divisional quarterfinals each of the past six seasons.

The Eagles are hoping to end that streak this year by finally breaking into the final four. They've got the talent with PAC 7 MVP setter Olivia Trudeau and their top five hitters back, including senior Brooke Arnold (right *Tribune file photo by Jayson Mellom). But if they want to extend their year, they've got to get a better playoff seed.

One way to ensure that is to improve their ranking.

Not to slight San Luis Obispo and Nipomo, but wins over county rivals just aren't impressing the Southern Section poll gurus. Another undefeated romp through the PAC 7 isn't going to get Arroyo Grande much. The Eagles only got a No. 8 seed out of it in 2006.

What Arroyo Grande needs to do is play its best in two non-conference tournaments this month. Otherwise, the Eagles could end up with another tough seed against another of the heaviest hitters from the south.

Circle these dates if you're Arroyo Grande: This Saturday, the Eagles head to the San Luis Obispo High tournament; and September 29, they play against a field of mainly Ventura County teams at Royal High in Simi Valley.

These are the spots where Arroyo Grande can improve on the preseason No. 8 ranking assigned to them by the section.

Oh, and it seems you aren't the only one reading this blog. See below.

AG girls volleyball

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Read this blog... or else!

A shameless testimonial.

Brett Hiatt

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