West wins All-Star Game 29-10
By Derry Eads Sunday, June 8, 2008
Photo By James Glover II/Staff Photographer
The East''s Langston Jackson makes his way around the West''s John Tuschka during the Ventura County East-West All-Star football game that took place at Ventura High School on June 7, 2008.
Nixon and Simi Valley's Langston Jackson were the West and East offensive players of the game, respectively. Jackson scored the only touchdown for the East on a 32-yard run in the first half.
Loren Powers of St. Bonaventure and Newbury Park's Chance Flaaten were the West and East defensive players of the game, respectively. The sportsmanship awards went to Ron Tatham of Newbury Park and Calen Albert of Ventura.
The game was co-sponsored by the Ventura County Football Coaches Association and the Ventura Downtown Lions Club.
Special teams produced the biggest play of the game.
East coach Charlie Wegher of Agoura and West coach Todd Therrien of St. Bonaventure had agreed to change rules to allow teams to rush kickers.
With Westlake's Jordan Mannisto poised to kick a 22-yard field goal, St. Bonaventure's Christian Mohan broke through the center of the East offensive line and blocked the attempt. Rio Mesa's Jerell Thomas picked up the loose ball and returned it 95 yards for a touchdown to give the West a 7-3 margin.
"I have been doing that (blocking kicks) all year long," said Mohan. "I made a bull move to the inside. I'm 6-foot-4 and with my arms stretched out, it's like I am 7 feet."
Jackson, whose brother Lorne Jackson was the MVP of the Ventura County Boys' Basketball All-Star Game, scored on a 32-yard run with 8:40 left in the half to close the deficit to 15-10.
In what may have been the game's most controversial play, Serna threw deep to Hueneme's Travaun Nixon. Nixon caught the ball at the East 1-yard line. As he twisted, the ball appeared to come loose. Nixon dove for it and scored to give the West a 22-10 margin early in the third quarter.
"The ball fell close to the pylon and I just went for it," said Nixon. "Coach (Therrien) said that he was going to showcase my talents. I am thankful for that."
A 59-yard TD pass reception by Nixon was nullified in the second half because of a penalty. A trick play set up the game's first score. Ryan Murry of Moorpark threw a 33-yard halfback option to Cameron. Mannisto, the Ventura County career field-goal record holder, hit on a 26-yard field goal.
Cameron completed 7 of 11 passes for 58 yards.
"We didn't convert for touchdowns inside the red zone on our first two opportunities," said Wegher. "That and the blocked field goal did us in."
The West rushed for 95 yards in the half, 67 on two carries by Serna. Besides his blocked field goal, Mohan had two tackles for losses.
All-Star football game about more than winning or losing
By Stephen Dorman firstname.lastname@example.org
This was one occasion where losing didn't sting so much.
For the final game of their high school careers, many of the area's most talented seniors gathered at Larrabee Stadium in Ventura on a scenic Saturday afternoon for the 35th Ventura County EastWest All-Star Football Game.
Although his East team was defeated by the West, 29-10, Agoura High quarterback Doug Shumway said the overall experience outweighed the final result.
"It was a lot of fun, especially practice," Shumway said. "The game didn't turn out how we wanted it to, but the practices were enjoyable and everyone had a really good time."
For three weeks Agoura head coach Charlie Wegher worked with an East squad composed of players from the Marmonte, TriValley and Prep leagues.
Oaks Christian, a five-time CIF-Southern Section champion, and Grace Brethren were the only local programs without a player representing East County at last weekend's showcase.
Wegher, who was coaching in his second All-Star game, said working with so many talented athletes was a rewarding experience that required a great deal of effort by the coaching staff.
"Getting to know the kids we competed against was a lot of fun," Wegher said. "There are some good athletes and some real good character guys."
The coach said players such as Newbury Park's Ron Tatham, Royal's Derek Morris and Oak Park's Dustin Geyer demonstrated a solid work ethic during practice.
While most players had the entire three weeks to sharpen their pigskin playing skills before the big game, others were still competing in spring sports and could only work out with the East team sporadically.
Take Simi Valley's Chance Cross, for example.
Eight days before Saturday's game, Cross was at Dodger Stadium playing in the CIFSS Division I baseball championship, helping Simi Valley defeat Long Beach Wilson, 4-1.
Cross said he began noncontact workouts with the East team during the baseball playoffs but had to miss more and more time as the Pioneers' postseason run progressed.
Still, the Princeton-bound safety was able to shake off his gridiron rust and produce a pair of tackles, including one for a 3-yard loss, against the West All-Stars.
"In football you rely a lot on instincts," Cross said. "In baseball you have to focus much more on doing your own thing.
"Today I was able to come out here and just run after the ball. It was a lot of fun."
The game itself started out well for the East before a blocked field-goal attempt late in the first quarter led to an avalanche of points by the West.
A fumble recovery by Moorpark lineman Garrett Meadows gave the East the ball on the West's 46-yard line midway through the opening quarter.
On the ensuing play, Moorpark wide receiver Ryan Murry found Newbury Park quarterback Colby Cameron open down the sideline for a 33-yard pass play. Cameron had passed the ball to Murry before hauling in the flee-flicker reception.
The drive stalled shortly thereafter, and a 36-yard field goal by Westlake's Jordan Mannisto gave the East a 3-0 lead.
Viewpoint defensive back Jamie Wheeler-Silverman, who recently led the VHS boys' volleyball team to its record-tying fourth consecutive section title, intercepted a pass on the West's next possession, giving the East the ball back on the West's 36.
Eight plays got the East's offense within five yards of pay dirt, but the West defense once again held its ground on third down and forced a field-goal attempt by Mannisto.
This time things didn't go as smoothly for the East, as St. Bonaventure defensive lineman Christian Mohan penetrated the pile and blocked the kick.
Rio Mesa's Jerrell Thomas picked up the loose ball and sprinted 95 yards for the go-ahead score. Considering that Thomas also shined for the Rio Mesa boys' 4x100 relay team, which recently competed at the CIF state meet, it's easy to understand why no one was going to catch the speedster as he streaked down the sideline.
"I had my eye on the touchdown, and nothing could stop me," Thomas said.
With his team leading 7-3, St. Bonaventure quarterback Casey Serna displayed incredible athletic ability by rumbling from one side of the field to the other on a 43-yard scoring scamper.
A two-point conversion made it 15-3 West with 10:31 remaining in the second quarter.
Led by Cameron and Simi Valley running back Langston Jackson, the East drove 89 yards in less than two minutes to score its first and only touchdown of the contest. The drive was capped by Jackson's 32-yard run into the end zone.
The game remained 15-10 in favor of the West at halftime.
En route to earning Most Valuable Player honors, Serna led the West on two more scoring drives in the second half as a five-point cushion ballooned into a 29-10 victory.
Efficient in the first half by gaining 132 yards, the East's offense could only muster 88 total yards in the second half, while the West rolled up 197 yards after intermission.
"They turned it up and hit us before we even knew what happened," said Shumway, the Agoura quarterback, of the West's second-half surge.
Simi Valley's Jackson was honored as the East's Offensive Player of the Game. Newbury Park's Chance Flaaten logged a team-high eight tackles and was named Defensive Player of the Game for the East.
Tatham, the Newbury Park linebacker, earned the East's sportsmanship award.
During the East's final huddle after the game, Thousand Oaks' Evan Yabu was serenaded by his teammates with the "Happy Birthday" song.
Yabu, who also intercepted a pass and had his own fan club- complete with handmade Tshirts- at the game, was enjoying the moment, as were the rest of the guys.
"I appreciate it," Yabu said. "I appreciate the love."
East boys, West girls win All-Star games
By Rhiannon Potkey Saturday, May 31, 2008
Simi Valley's Lorne Jackson and Mike Meza continued the school's athletic bliss by leading the East to a 117-105 victory over the West at the Ventura County Basketball Coaches Association All-Star games.
Player of the Game honors
Jackson was given the award for the boys after scoring 29 points and grabbing six rebounds to outduel Ventura High's James Staniland (27 points).
Jackson skipped Simi Valley's CIF-SS Division I baseball game at Dodger Stadium to participate, and capped the night with an alley-oop pass to Meza (14 points) for a dunk.
"We wanted to play together one last time," Jackson said. "It was a whole lot of fun to get to do it with a lot of other talented guys from our league. I wouldn't have missed it."
Simi Valley High basketball player Lorne Jackson, left, and Oaks Christian High basketball player Chelsea Carlisle are the Ventura County Star''s boys'' and girls'' basketball players of the year for 2007-08.
"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses.
No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins."
- Bob Moawad
"It will always be the ball and me.
I want to be what I've always wanted to be: dominant.
I'm aware if I'm playing at my best I'm tough to beat. And I enjoy that."
- Tiger Woods
"Hard work spotlights the character of people:
some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their
noses, and some don't turn up at all." - Sam Ewing
Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value. Albert Einstein
First and foremost
By Derry Eads Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Ventura County had never had a 30-game softball winner.
Not until Simi Valley High reach that standard this spring, it won them consecutively.
Three years after its 16th straight losing season, the Santa Clara football team not only repeated as the Frontier League champion, but won the Mid-Valley Division crown for the program's first section title in 42 years.
Area schools combined to win two state and 13 CIF-Southern Section team championships as well as 17 individual, one doubles and nine relay titles.
The final weekend of the spring season was historic for Simi Valley.
Not only did the school's baseball team become only the second Ventura County school to win a Division I championship, its softball team reached the Division I final, losing to Valencia.
Simi Valley, behind Marmonte League co-MVPs Lorne Jackson and Michael Meza, shot up the state rankings with impressive December tournament wins and finished the year with a 26-2 record.
Marmonte's finest athletes honored for wintertime work
Call it a clean sweep for the Simi Valley High boys' basketball team.
Simi Valley seniors Lorne Jackson and Michael Meza have been named co-Players of the Year in the Marmonte League. Jackson was also honored as Ventura County Most Valuable Player by CaliforniaPreps.com.
Hall of Fame welcomes five
Five members enshrined
By Loren Ledin Monday, June 9, 2008
More than winning trophies or games or championships, Steve Hoffman says athletes should treasure one intangible above all else.
"Opportunity," says the Ventura College women's soccer coach. "When you get the opportunity, you need to take it and see what you can do. Some fail. Some succeed. But everything good starts with opportunity."
Joining Hoffman are Jim Bittner, the 29-year head football coach at Moorpark College; Willie Ruiz, the former Simi Valley and Cal Lutheran soccer standout; Kevin Smith, the esteemed cross country and track and field coach from Oak Park High; and Ernie Carrasco, the former football and baseball standout from Channel Islands High"I was always taught to train hard in order to be successful," he said. "There's no other way to do it."
The hall of fame also selects Players of the Year for high school and college.
The boys' high school choice announced Sunday was Lorne Jackson, Simi Valley High's basketball standout, who led the Pioneers to a 27-2 mark last winter and the Marmonte League championship.
The 6-foot-2 senior point guard, who will attend Pepperdine, topped the county in scoring at 22.9 points, was second in assists with 190 and also averaged 6.7 rebounds per game.
He was also the program's all-time leader in steals.
At the CIF State Track and Field Championships, Royal's Phillip Burks became the third Ventura County triple jump to leap past 48 feet. The county record is 48-1034 by Moorpark's Christopher Merriweather in 2003.