Archive for September, 2010



A homecoming classic ended with a last-minute hookup, a field goal just feet short of its tying target, and a Titans crowd waiting to finally exhale.

Eastlake backup quarterback Josh Palet’s 22 yard touchdown pass to Jordan Hines with 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter gave the 3rd ranked Titans just enough to edge a gritty Steele Canyon team 20-17 at Stan Canaris Stadium in our 619 Preps Game of the Week.

Postgame video interviews: Josh Palet and Jordan Hines

The 5th ranked Cougars (3-1) took the lead in a wild first quarter and protected it through a hard-hitting second half, only to see the Titans (4-0) steal the game on a desperate final drive.  Even then Steele Canyon fought back, but a last-gasp 48 yard field goal was online but short as time expired.

Taking over at their 28 with 1:19 remaining and no timeouts, Eastlake found itself quickly in desperate straits.  Palet, who entered the game with just under 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter in relief of the starter Hines, fired three incomplete passes.

On fourth and 10, Palet hung in the pocket and found senior tailback Chris Fletcher open in the right flat.  Fletcher cut upfield and scampered 53 yards to the Steele Canyon 19.

“I read the defense before the play, Chris found an opening, and I threw it to his hands, simple as that,” said Palet.

Two plays later, Palet’s fade into the left corner of the end zone was brought down by Hines in double coverage for the game-winning 22 yard reception.

“It’s the moment I live for,” said Hines, “Josh put it up there and put the game in my hands, and I had to come through and do it for my team.”

IMG_0838Prior to the late home team heroics, Steele Canyon was controlling the ball and the line of scrimmage, on the way to a first win ever against the South Bay’s top team.  Indeed, this game was tantalizingly close to being in the Cougars’ back pocket, as they were twice one play away from sealing the victory.

“The guys played hard, and that’s what we ask of them,” said head coach Ron Boehmke.

Behind the hard and shifty running of senior running back Jake Wragg (23 carries, 163 yards, TD), the Cougars milked the clock and kept Eastlake’s offense on the sideline.

After a wild first quarter which saw both teams break huge runs and score two touchdowns, Steele Canyon started the second quarter with a 17 play, 66 yard march.  While the drive only netted a field goal and a 17-13 lead, the Cougars had set the tone for (most of) the remainder of the game.

Junior tailback Josh Isbell ran for 166 of his 185 yards in the first half for Eastlake, and left the game after taking a punishing hit from Steele Canyon junior linebacker Jake Ruysschaert over the middle on his 17th and final carry of the game.

“Steele Canyon adjusted really well to what we do,” said Hines, “They pretty much knew our offense, you’ve got to give them a lot of props.”

The Titans were held to 41 second half rushing yards after gaining 180 before halftime, but necessity forced them to take to the air.  After Isbell was knocked out of the game, Palet entered and hooked up with Hines on a 29-yard catch to put Eastlake in scoring position.

The drive made it all the way to the Cougars’ 5, but on fourth and inches Fletcher was absolutely crushed by Steele Canyon junior defensive back Chanceller James and stopped cold at the line of scrimmage for a goal line stand and a turnover on downs.

Needing to run off the final 5:36, the Cougars picked up two rushing first downs.  On the second, a quarterback line buck up the middle for 15 yards by Brad Boehmke, with his offensive line pushing Eastlake down the field, the game seemed all but over.

Out of time outs, the Titans had one more set of downs to defend, and they held Wragg to six yards on three straight carries.  After a delay of game and a punt, Palet and Hines were set up for their Marino-to-Duper act.

The rest was homecoming history.

As if to make the night even better, the junior Hines was named his school’s homecoming king and Big Man On Campus.  This was at halftime, as part of an extravaganza that included a fireworks show.  They may want to come up with some new awards for the postgame.

“This is just about the best day ever,” said a beaming Hines.

The Cougars, meanwhile, can leave South Bay knowing they are still a power to be reckoned with in the East County this year.

“We would love to have beaten those guys and gotten to 4-0,” said Coach Boehmke,  ”but if anything it shows we deserve to be where we are in the county rankings and what it takes to play a county champion.”

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One of the biggest issues in college football that is not receiving enough attention is the over-signing of players. Every college football prospect should be concerned with over-signing because there is a chance it can happen to any player once they reach the college level. For this reason, I have listed below important information about over-signing and what you should know.

What is Over-Signing?

All NCAA college football programs are limited to having 85 scholarship players on their team per year. These 85 players include both returning players and new recruits. When a program signs more players than the allotted 85, this is over-signing.

In order to get back down to the 85 players they are allowed to give scholarships to, college football programs go about it a few ways. First, they usually wait to see which players, if any, become ineligible to play. Student-athletes can become ineligible by not making grades, getting in trouble with the law, etc. Then, programs will usually ask players to ‘gray shirt’ for a year. ‘Gray shirting’ is when you give up your scholarship benefits for a season so a peer can use them. Lastly, programs just start making cuts to reach the 85, which is obviously devastating to those student-athletes.

How to Overcome Over-Signing

While there are many college football programs in the nation that do contribute to the problem of over-signing, there are just as many who try at all costs to avoid this issue. These programs would rather sign a few less players than the allotted 85 so they do not have to make those upsetting cuts later on. This then gives the program freedom to sign a few walk-on players later on.

As a college football recruit, it may be in your best interest to research which programs do and do not over-sign when considering your options. By considering football programs that have a reputation of not over-signing, you may ultimately be saving yourself from heartbreak and hassle later on.

To find out more information about over-signing in college football, visit oversigning.com

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Participation in sports can often be a way to make new friends and participate in something you love doing. It can also give you many more benefits than just the thrill of the game. Playing sports can actually give you skills that you can use outside of the playing field. The skills you learn can be used towards landing your dream job or accomplishing life goals. These skills that can be learned from playing sports can ultimately be the reason you get picked over your competitors in many different aspects of ‘real life.’

Leadership skills

One main skill that is easily learned from playing team sports is leadership. Leaders are needed in sports to encourage the team to achieve its goals. Players rely on other players to motivation and encouragement. Having leadership skills will put you well ahead of others when it comes to competition in the ‘real world.’

Teamwork

Being able to work well in group settings is crucial when it comes to your future career. Most careers require that you work well and collaborate with varying groups of people. Playing team sports also requires you to come together with others in order to achieve a common goal. If a team was full of players who could never cooperate, it’s obvious that the team would never be able to win, or even have an enjoyable time for that matter. So playing sports shows potential managers and bosses that you are able to put differences aside with others in order to accomplish the task at hand.

Determination

Another characteristic athletes develop as a result of their involvement with sports is determination. Athletes show determination by practicing in both regulated practice times and on their own. They also work hard to be the best at their position which will ultimately help to win games. Determination is an important characteristic managers and bosses are looking for because it shows strength and that the individual will not give up if given difficult tasks.

Passion

For an athlete to stick it out and play their hardest in his or her given sport for a long time, it’s almost certain that player is very passionate about the game. This passion is easily seen by others and is often contagious. Managers and bosses want passionate employees working in their company because they are more likely to put their all into their work and be a pleasure to work with. Passion from playing sports can be easily translated into a job you love.

Obviously, I’m sure you can think of other skills and characteristics you also gained by playing sports that would help you greatly in your future endeavors and career. It’s important to focus in on those specific strengths you identify in yourself and use those to your advantage.

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Recently, it seems like anytime you turn on the television or internet you hear that another college student-athlete is in trouble for violating some sort of NCAA rule. These violations can result in consequences that not only greatly affect the player, but can also do serious harm to the team as a whole. For this reason, it is important to know what is expected of student-athletes when they reach the college-level playing field.

Two scandals that are currently in the college sports realm are those of Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green and former USC running back Reggie Bush. Both of these incidents have gained a vast amount of media coverage, but while both of these athletes violated NCAA rules, they have very different consequences.

A.J. Green and the selling of his own jersey

At first glance, this violation seems pretty harmless. A.J. Green, who is considered one of the top receivers in college football, sold the jersey he wore in the Independence Bowl last year to an agent for $1,000. After investigating into this, the NCAA suspended Green for four games. Green was not suspended, seemingly, for trying to make a profit. Rather, he was suspended for his communication with the agent, which is a major violation.

Reggie Bush and the receiving of benefits

Rewind back to 2005: Reggie Bush was an all-star running back for one of the nation’s elite football programs and ended up winning the Heisman Trophy for his talents. Now in present day, Bush has forfeited his award and his former school is dealing with an immense amount of consequences for his actions.

After a four-year long NCAA investigation, it was found that Bush had received money, gifts and benefits from agents. Bush forfeited his Heisman Trophy after talks that the Heisman Trust would eventually take it away from him anyway. But Bush is not the only one having to deal with the consequences of his actions; USC was hit hard with numerous sanctions, including a four year probation, a two year ban from bowl games, and a loss of 30 scholarships over a three year span.

What to learn from these incidents

These two incidents are just two of many current investigations being made by the NCAA for rule violations. The newly appointed NCAA president, Mark Emmert, has come out saying that he is going to continue being tough on rule-breakers so future student-athletes will not make the same mistakes.

It’s so crucial for aspiring college players to pay close attention to the violations and subsequent consequences of these current scandals. Upon reaching the college playing field, student-athletes are held to a much higher standard and are under so much more scrutiny. Anything done that violates NCAA rules will eventually be caught, and it’s never too late to pay the price for such actions. For this reason, student-athletes need to be aware of NCAA rules so they don’t make the same mistakes when they reach the college level.

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The Oceanside football program has been the class of San Diego Section for years.  Even in a season filled with youth, and even with their home field under wraps, the Pirates still have the talent and heart to be able to pull out a tough game.

Overcoming three critical turnovers and taking advantage of one very lucky bounce, the 5th ranked Oceanside Pirates (2-1) came from two touchdowns behind to beat the 10th ranked Mira Mesa Marauders 17-14 in our 619 Preps Game of the Week.

With Simcox Field still undergoing renovations, Oceanside’s home game was moved down the road to rival El Camino’s home field, Herb Meyer Stadium.

Postgame video–Oceanside WR Anthony Mount and head coach John Carroll:

After trailing 14-0 late in the second quarter, the Pirates grinded their way to 17 unanswered points using trick plays, a crucial deflected pass for a touchdown, and some late hard rushing yards to seal the deal.

Anthony Mount had 3 catches for 88 yards and a TDAnthony Mount had 3 catches for 88 yards and a TD

Sophomore quarterback Tofi Pao Pao’s 31-yard scoring pass to senior wide receiver Anthony Mount with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter put the Pirates ahead for good.  Mount sparked the Oceanside offense with a pair of huge catches, the other being a 48-yard completion on a wide receiver option pass.  Mount caught three passes overall for 88 yards and a touchdown, and also ran seven times for 52 yards.

Pao Pao, who had a fumble and interception which led directly to Mira Mesa’s 14 points, finished the game completing 12-of-20 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, with the one pick.

“That sophomore took some big hits, bounced up and made some huge throws,” said Oceanside head coach John Carroll, “We’re excited about him.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Mira Mesa (1-2) took advantage of some huge plays on defense to forge a 14-0 lead.  First, senior defensive lineman Gabi Musallam hammered Pao Pao dropping back to pass, who fumbled.  Senior tackle Lloyd Gowen scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 31 yards to the Oceanside 2-yard line before being tackled.

From there, senior fullback Tyler Lehrke punched it into the end zone for a 7-0 Marauders lead.

On the following drive, the Pirates’ offense was triggered by a double pass, with senior wide receiver Demario Coleman hooking up with Mount on a 48 yard connection.  Four plays later the Pirates were knocking on the door at the Mira Mesa 3-yard line, when Pao Pao attempted a quick flare to senior wideout Brenden Wright.

Mira Mesa senior cornerback Anthony Payne jumped the route and intercepted Pao Pao’s pass, and he was loose down the right sideline for an 88-yard return.  Mount wound up wrestling him down at the Oceanside 8, but two plays later Lehrke was back in the end zone with a three-yard scoring run, and it was 14-0 Marauders.

Taking over with less than two minutes to play in the half, the Pirates got a big play on broken coverage, and then a critical lucky break.  First, the Marauders failed to account for Coleman on a fly pattern down the right sideline, and he hauled in a 42-yard bomb to get Oceanside into scoring position.

Two plays later, Pao Pao rolled right from the Mira Mesa 22 and tried to fire underneath to Wright.  The ball was deflected off his hands, then off the hands of Payne, and ricocheted behind both of them and to the right, into the far corner of the end zone.  There was Coleman, who made a diving catch for an improbable 22-yard touchdown.

Gary Blevins' Marauders have played a fierce schedule so farGary Blevins’ Marauders have played a fierce schedule so far

“That was fortunate for them,” Mira Mesa head coach Gary Blevins dryly noted.

The Marauders switched quarterbacks mid-game with little success.  Sophomore Trey Lomax played most of the first half, completing 2-of-8 passes for 31 yards.  Junior Dominic Richardson, who had missed the first two weeks with a shoulder sprain, played the entire second half and finished 3-of-10 for 34 yards.

“We’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do (at QB),” said Blevins, “it’s a long season.  We’re going to need two quarterbacks to get through it.”

Listen to a postgame interview with Mira Mesa head coach Gary Blevins:

The Oceanside defense held Mira Mesa to 60 yards in the second half, including three straight three-and-out series.

IMG_0817Oceanside coach John Carroll talks to his team after a 17-14 win over Mira Mesa

“I’m very proud of the way our defense played,” said Carroll, “we had one or two mistakes but for the most part our defense certainly gave our offense a chance to win the football game.”

After forcing a Marauders punt on the opening series of the third quarter, Oceanside strung together a 13-play, 62-yard drive to close within four points of the lead.  Senior kicker Jose Basurto was able to connect on a 32-yard field goal to make it a 14-10 Mira Mesa lead.

The Marauders then picked a particularly bad time to commit their only turnover of the game, as Richardson fumbled on a scramble, giving the Pirates a short field from the Mira Mesa 23 yard line.

While Oceanside retreated seven yards on their first two plays, Pao Pao used a good pocket on 3rd-and-17 to whip a bullet over the right seam into the hands of Mount.  The 5′6″ receiver extended for the pass and sped into the end zone, tumbling across the goal line to give Oceanside a 16-14 lead.  Fernando Elizarraraz’s extra point accounted for the final margin of victory.

The Pirates then stuffed Mira Mesa on their next two drives and seemingly had the game in hand, but for the third time a major mistake would give the Marauders a golden chance to steal the win.  Pao Pao scrambled on a 3rd-and-25 from deep in his own territory and fumbled 10 yards downfield, with Lehrke picking up the loose ball at the Oceanside 30.

Richardson used an 11-yard completion to Marcus Smith and four hard runs by senior tailback Marco Lazaro to gain a first-and-goal from the Oceanside 4-yard line.  That was all the Marauders could muster, though, as two Lazaro line bucks were stuffed for a loss, and Richardson threw incomplete on third down.

Senior kicker Louis Salazar had a chip shot 22-yard field goal to tie the game with 4:29 left but hooked it wide left, keeping Oceanside in front by three.

The Pirates never gave Mira Mesa another chance.  Keegan and Mount carried four times each on a draining 11-play drive which leeched the final 4:29 off the clock.  Mount’s 19 yard carry on 3rd and five from the Oceanside 48 forced Mira Mesa to use their final timeout, essentially icing the game.

“It was all about heart on that third down,” said Mount, “We wanted it more than they did.”

Already having taken on a brutal preseason schedule, things get no easier for Oceanside.  They battle the current #1 team in our 619 Preps/NC Times Top-10 poll, Vista, in two weeks.

This story will be updated later with postgame video from the field.

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Your academic strength is just as important as your athletic strength. Take time to read the few tips to ensure your academic skills stand out as much as your athletics.

Find the time that works best

Figure out the time that your brain is most awake. We all had those friends rushing to get homework done in homeroom before school started, but for some, mornings may be good time to get work done. Just set aside more time than homeroom alone. If you’re always exhausted and feeling a little brain-dead after school and practice, get to bed early and wake up earlier to give yourself some time to finish assignments, study and research before you even head off to school.

Chip away at big assignments

Procrastination seems like something we all develop in our teen years and have a hard time getting over. It never pays off, but many of us push assignments to the last minute. Instead of ignoring an assignment until the night before, work on it in small doses. This will help for more balance, and help to ease the stress of a big assignment. It will also help you to look at things with fresh eyes and do a better job than if you had crammed all your work into the night before.

Set up study dates

Some of us prefer to work alone, but as you know from sports, things can get done more efficiently with the help of your team. This can also be true for school work. Find someone you know you can work well with, who is also a friend and set up times to work on assignments together. This way you will have something to look forward to come study time and also someone to help you out.

Treat school on the same level, if not higher

At SportsForce, we work hard to highlight your athletic achievements by showcasing your video. But as many of you already know, academics is very important in the recruiting process. It is easy to get in the mindset that your sport deserves all the attention because it is what will get you recruited, but colleges look for academic strength too. Don’t put your schoolwork on the backburner. Think of all the time you devote to athletic training and work to put in equal time towards your academics. Seeing a strong athlete and student is a great selling point for college coaches.

Get extra help when needed

This is a tip that can be applied to college and high school. There is absolutely no shame in going to a teacher or tutor for extra help; that’s what they are there for. In classrooms it’s sometime unavoidable that not everyone is on the same page understanding material. If you feel lost, ask your teacher to meet with you to get extra help. You will absolutely benefit and teachers will appreciate the initiative you put in.

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Whether you perform in a team sport or an individual sport like track, swimming, or golf, it is important that you be a team player. A team player is defined as a person who can function effectively as part of a group of individuals, sharing information and striving towards a common goal. These qualities are not only shown in your athletic field, but reflected in your day-to-day functions. They play an essential role within your friends, family, jobs, academics, and athletics. Being a team player will help you improve your game, increase positive attitudes with those around you and within yourself, and create great opportunities.

Communicate Effectively

Listen to and understand what others have to say. If you have a problem, speak up in a respectable manner. Talk to your teammates to figure out a solution together.

Support Each Other

The support from just one person can make all the difference. Help each other out. Offering compliments and advice will only bring your team closer together. Cheer for your teammates and they will do the same for you.

Be Responsible

If you are expected to do something or be somewhere on time, then do it right. Gain the trust of your teammates. They should be able to rely on you and you should be able to rely on them.

Dedicate Yourself

Show that you are committed to your team, even if that means sacrificing your free time. Let them know that you will try, try, and try again until you reach your goals. Contribute what you can and prove that you are willing to share the workload.

It doesn’t matter if you are the best or worst player on your team; every athlete must work together in order to reach the team’s full potential. Following these four simple steps will bring out the best in you and your teammates. Being a team player will make you a better athlete and a better person, and  it shows great character and qualities that college coaches are looking for.

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As an athlete, you are guaranteed to experience some kind of sports anxiety, better known as “choking,” that will affect your overall performance. The nervousness usually arises due the mind acknowledging that you are performing in front of an audience and that there are certain expectations you feel you must exceed. Whether it’s during a normal training day or the biggest game of the year, the bottom line is that the feelings are there and should be dealt with. Some people deal with it better than others, but for those that struggle under the conditions, there are methods to reduce, if not eliminate, that anxiety physically and mentally.

Understand that pre-performance butterflies are normal.

Don’t try to fight off these jitters. Instead, accept them and use them to excite yourself.  This is a normal feeling of adrenaline that will fade away once the game or race begins.

Don’t rush.

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for your performance. Arrive early, get a solid warm-up, and stay relaxed.

Visualize.

Mentally prepare yourself. Close your eyes, focus on taking slow, deep breaths, and imagine yourself performing well.

Stay in the moment.

Once the event begins, try not to think about the outcome. Instead, focus on what’s happening in the present. Take the performance one step at a time. Stay focused, positive, and have some fun!

Review the performance.

Once the event is over, acknowledge the overall performance. Notice things that you can improve on but don’t focus on them. Focus on the things you did well. Recognize the thoughts, behaviors, and actions that assisted your performance. Use your overall performance review, including the physical and mental aspects before and during the event, to train for the next race or game.

For athletes who “choke’ during competition, it is important to know that the thoughts you have regarding the event can be controlled with the appropriate mental exercises. It helps to understand why you experience those feelings and what you can do to treat them. Follow these basic tips and remember that it’s not all about performing perfectly. Learn from your experiences, use them to improve your game, and just enjoy your sport!

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