The end came suddenly for Kevin “Troy” Telles, whose death on Sept. 11 cast a pall over the second weekend of Southland football, particularly in Orange County. The only comfort in the tragedy seems to be that football was his passion, and the third-year varsity player at Garden Grove was doing it in his final moments.
Telles, 17, died shortly after collapsing during the fourth quarter of Garden Grove’s 9-0 victory over Westminster. A night that began in celebration – the host school, Westminster, was playing its first game in its newly-renovated stadium – ended in shock and tears.
There was no contact on the play for the senior described by coach Joe Hay as the “heart and soul of this program.”
Telles was used to contact. He was a 6-foot, 206-pound linebacker who also did double-duty as a fullback. He was looking for someone to block when, according to witnesses, he fell forward on the artificial surface, his arms underneath him, and went into convulsions.
An emergency room specialist was on site and, along with athletic trainers, began CPR and cardiac defibrillation immediately. Paramedics arrived four minutes after a 911 call at 9:16 p.m. Efforts to sustain Telles lasted 30 minutes before he was taken to Huntington Beach Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:25 p.m.
With Telles’ departure from the field, the game was ended with 2 minutes 11 seconds remaining.
An initial autopsy report Sunday was inconclusive, pending further tests. A resident of Santa Ana, Telles is survived by parents Robert Telles and Irma Gonzalez and seven siblings.
According to his brother, Telles’s world revolved around football.
“He went out doing what he loved,” Edgar Garduno told the Orange County Register.
The community responded swiftly to help the family offset the cost of burial. A carwash Saturday raised more than $4,600, with $700 contributed by the Garden Grove Fire Department. To donate, call 714-663-6115.
A wake will be held Thursday, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. Funeral services are scheduled for Friday, 1 p.m., at St. Columban Catholic Church in Garden Grove followed by burial at Rose Hills.
After an emotional week, a step toward normalcy begins when Telles’ teammates play their regularly scheduled game against Irvine Woodbridge Thursday, 7 p.m., at Irvine High.
Yet with Telles’ absence, there won’t be anything normal about it.
Another heavy heart
Norco linebacker Paul Senn played in his team’s 47-44 loss to Los Angeles Crenshaw just two days after discovering his father dead; Joe Senn was 51.
“I made a commitment to my teammates,” Senn told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “Football is what I love doing. I went to school Thursday, I knew in his heart he wanted me to play.”
The teams combined for 898 yards, and it wasn’t close to being decided until Norco failed on its final offensive play, at the Crenshaw 16, with 4:36 left in the game. Three Norco turnovers led to two Crenshaw touchdowns.
Musketeers fire volley for respect, or is it publicity?
With Ventura St. Bonaventure and Westlake Village Oaks Christian creating most of the hype northwest of Los Angeles, a team that doesn’t usually get a lot of serious looks is Moorpark even though the Musketeers have reached the section finals three of the last four seasons.
Moorpark made a bold statement on Saturday when it beat Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, 27-14, behind the passing of Brady Rohach (13 of 23, 143 yards, 1 TD), the running of Austin Edmondson (25 for 128 yards, 2 TDs) and a defense that twice intercepted passes – and recovered a fumble – by heralded quarterback Ryan Kasdorf (22 of 34, 230 yards, 1 TD).
This week the Musketeers rise to No. 4 in the MaxPreps state rankings, trailing only St. Bonny, Oaks Christian and Anaheim Servite. The victory over Notre Dame, which dropped from No. 3 to No. 7, isn’t the only impressive nonleague win thus far. Moorpark opened with a 28-27 overtime victory against Chula Vista Eastlake from the San Diego Section.
Moorpark had agreed to change the date of its game to give Notre Dame an extra day of preparation after playing Monday at the Dallas Cowboys new stadium. If you believe in Karma, you’ve got believe that a good gesture was rewarded. If not, you’ve got to believe Moorpark is pretty darn good.
The biggest win of all
There were some outstanding performances over the weekend, including Moorpark’s upset of Notre Dame, Crenshaw’s 47 points in a victory over Norco despite missing injured tailback DeAnthony Thomas, and St. Bonaventure’s mastery of Long Beach Poly that dropped the Jackrabbits to an unprecedented 0-2 record.
However, Corona Centennial’s 31-27 victory over Temecula Chaparral might rank as perhaps the best victory of the young season. Not because it was such a well-played performance (it wasn’t), but because Centennial lost 16 starters to graduation yet beat a team that was ranked No. 1 in the Inland Empire by the Riverside Press-Enterprise and No. 8 in the state by MaxPreps.
In its preseason advance, the Press-Enterprise called it the No. 1 game to see this season in the Inland Empire (No. 3 on the list: Centennial’s game against Santa Ana Mater Dei on Friday at the Santa Ana Bowl).
It was Centennial’s fourth consecutive victory over Chaparral since they met in the second round of the 2006 playoffs when undefeated Centennial was beaten, 42-28.
This was supposed to be Chaparral’s coming out party, but right now it looks like Centennial owns the Pumas. Michael Arredondo threw two touchdown passes and Chris Gonzalez returned an interception 25 yards for a score.
Centennial, ranked No. 5 by the Press-Enterprise and No. 14 by MaxPreps, scored twice in the first six minutes and gave up two touchdowns in the last 3:03.
Credit Chaparral coach Tommy Leach with taking the high road: “I’d rather play a team like Centennial, fight hard and lose than play an easy opponent. We know what we have to work on now.”
Don’t think this outcome won’t serve as motivation when the playoffs roll around.
The streak is over
St. Margaret’s Orange County-record 44-game winning streak was snapped on Friday when San Diego Francis Parker scored a 28-20 intersectional victory between the small-school titans.
Parker now is the heavy favorite to reach the State Small School Bowl provided it can win its section title. Harry Welch, who coached St. Margaret’s for 30 of those 44 victories – including last year’s Small School Bowl victory – also had a 46-game winning streak when he coached Canyon Country Canyon in the 1980s.
The Tartans had the unfortunate distinction of playing Parker the same week 12 seniors accounting for 15 starting positions spent three days at school-sanctioned senior retreat.
Don’t say ‘Boo’ to the City Section
Lucky Radley, a running back/linebacker at Woodland Hills Taft who is courting college offers, is waiting for the L.A. City Section to determine his eligibility. Radley played at Encino Crespi as a freshman and sophomore; transferred to Taft where he was ruled ineligible before playing at Agoura as a junior; he is now at Taft (again).
According to the Daily News, Taft coach Matt Ketterer said the City Section is dragging its feet: “Lucky has done everything in terms of providing information. It’s a little frustrating because every time we turn around, the (City Section) wants something else. It’s like a mini-witch hunt. It’s ridiculous.”
John Aguirre, City assistant commissioner in charge of football, responded: “If it’s appropriate, we want the kid to play. That’s what we’re in business for, to allow kids opportunities for athletic experiences. But we’re also the office that oversees that the rules are complied with.”
Three dots and a cloud of dust
Anthony Barr of Los Angeles Loyola is out for the season after breaking his ankle in a 26-7 loss to Mission Viejo on Friday. He had surgery on the foot Sunday. The Cubs now turn to junior Jared Baker, who got everyone excited when he carried nine times for 111 yards and a touchdown in his debut two weeks ago against Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (compared to Barr’s 30 for 125 and two TDs). He carried seven times for only 12 yards (to Barr’s nine for 32) against Mission Viejo. ... Mission Viejo’s Donny Ruggles has returned punts for touchdowns in each of the first two games, 62 yards in the opener against Inglewood Morningside, 30 yards against Loyola. ... Devon Blackledge of St. Bonaventure scored on runs of 80, 1 and 57 yards, and with its 27-7 victory over Long Beach Poly, the Seraphs have avenged all seven of their losses this decade, according to the Ventura County Star. ... Valencia running back Steven Manfro carried 19 times for 190 yards in his varsity debut against Thousand Oaks. He also caught 13 passes for 145 yards, and completed a 44-yard pass. Next up is Lake Balboa Birmingham, a City power that’s struggling. According to the Daily News, Birmingham RB Trajuan Briggs is out with an ankle injury. ... Anthony Wilkerson of Tustin put up another 300-yard game against rival Santa Ana Foothill and now has rushed 70 times for a state-best 671 yards and 11 touchdowns. Yards should be harder to come by Friday against Orange Lutheran, but don’t be surprised if Wilkerson has another big night against the best defense he will face this season. ... Oaks Christian is looking for another defining victory in its program when it plays on the road against Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline on Friday in what could be coach Bill Redell’s 200th victory.
Basketball recruiting news
Keala King, a 6-foot-5 guard who transferred from Compton Dominguez to Santa Mater Dei, has committed to Arizona State.
Kevin Telles’ death was a reminder that we’re not immortal. Although life is meant to be lived robustly, it is also delicate. A poor decision can prove just as fatal as a weak heart. There are no guarantees, not for adults, not for kids, so treat those around you accordingly. The last thing you say to someone might be the last thing they hear. You’ll want it to have value.
Martin Henderson began covering Southland preps in 1993 for the Los Angeles Times. He contributes to the Orange County Register, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and San Bernardino Sun, and offers up motorsports opinions at Racescribe.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.