By Bill Dickens
Cathedral Catholic High senior running Tyler Gaffney, the California state football player of the year, has cast his future with Stanford University.
Some believed Gaffney was headed for Notre Dame because, like Stanford, the Fighting Irish offered the 6-foot-1, 215-pound standout the opportunity to play both football and baseball. Plenty of other colleges were interested in football – only – one of those being USC.
Although rated one of the top fullbacks in the nation, the jury is still out on Gaffney, who is an outstanding baseball player and could be drafted come June. Gaffney’s junior baseball season was cut short for an undisclosed reason, but he came on to bat near .500 in the playoffs as the Dons captured the Section Division III championship.
Gaffney rushed for 2,787 yards and 48 touchdowns during his senior season, leading the Dons to a 14-0 mark and a CIF State Division II title to go with their San Diego Section Division III crown. He also had eight receiving touchdowns to give him 56 for the season, fourth all-time in the state. The 2,787 yards, 48 rushing touchdowns and 336 points are all San Diego section records.
Seems hard to believe that Gaffney would turn to professional baseball right out of high school with big-time football already at hand. But money talks and there is plenty of big league cash out there that could sway Gaffney baseball’s way.
Gaffney batted .407 with 7 home runs and 35 RBI and a dozen steals as a sophomore.
Stanford already has a player similar to Gaffney on its roster, as junior Toby Gerhart is listed at fullback and rushed for 1,176 yards last season. Gerhart, also from Southern California – Norco – plays right field for the baseball team.
Gerhart was a big factor for Gaffney in deciding in favor of Stanford.
"That was a big thing," Gaffney told the North County Times. "Notre Dame had Jeff Samardzija, but a lot of it was Toby is there currently and they have the evidence to prove that I can play both sports."
Even though Gerhart is a returning letterman, Gaffney believes he'll see some playing time as a freshman.
Gaffney said the allure of playing in the Pac-10 at Stanford was appealing.
Section’s winningest coach returns
Two times Santana’s Wade Vickery attempted to retire as the San Diego Section’s winningest girls basketball coach in history after a 30-year career. Yet, the 55-year-old Vickery finds himself in front of the Sultans’ bench again for at least the final seven games of this season.
Vickery was basically blindsided when his former assistant coach and three-year Santana head coach Jim Mottershaw turned in his letter of resignation Monday (Jan. 26).
This is a challenging assignment for Vickery, who takes over a 14-5 Santana team that is tied with crosstown rival West Hills for the Grossmont North League at 1-0. The Sultans, who have not had one practice under Vickery, were slated to travel to El Cajon Valley on Tuesday (Jan. 27).
“We’ll be winging it against El Cajon Valley,” said Vickery, who has compiled a 609-119 record, with nine CIFSDS titles and 19 Grossmont League championships. “We’re not going to change much. Jim is a good coach who teaches fundamentals.”
Mottershaw, who has coached at the high school and collegiate level for 40 years, could not be reached for comment.
Leaf continues scoring drive
Troy Leaf of Foothills Christian knocked down another 29 points, hitting 12 of 22 shots from the field, as the Knights nailed Escondido’s Calvin Christian 76-51. A 6-foot-3 junior, Leaf now has 2,095 career points, which leaves him alone in 10th place on the CIFSDS scoring ladder.
Jaguars’ Johnson can shoot as well as catch
Having already established himself as the CIFSDS’ most prolific pass catcher with 2,930 yards, James Johnson of Valley Center proved he can play basketball, too. The senior scored 35 points in a 74-70 win over Ramona and then scored 29 points in a 71-56 Valley League win over San Marcos.
Mavericks Ducey scores a perfect 10
In La Costa Canyon victories over No. 1-ranked Hoover, San Pasqual and Fallbrook, Jake Ducey scored 38 points and had 10 3-pointers, including 19 points and five 3-pointers against Hoover.
Other Top Performances
— Rancho Bernardo wrestler Jonathan Beck won the 174-pound title bout at the San Pasqual Invitational on his way to being named the tournament's outstanding heavyweight wrestler to help the Broncos claim the team championship.
— El Camino senior Luke Evans tallied 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 69-62 nonleague loss to University City, scored 28 points in an 86-57 win over Rancho Buena Vista and had 17 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks in a 59-58 win over Vista.
— Meghan Brown of Canyon Crest Academy scored 25 points, including the winning basket with 26 seconds remaining in a 48-46 upset of No. 10 ranked Our Lady of Peace. She added 19 points, eight rebounds and five steals in a win over Francis Parker.
— Chen Cai of Maranatha Christian collected 25 points and 16 rebounds in a 67-41 win over Rancho Bernardo, scored 28 points in a 68-46 win over Preuss and 21 points in an 80-60 triumph over High Tech High.
— St. Augustine senior Stephon Lamar went on a three-game scoring binge, recording 31 points in a 79-76 win over University City, 25 points in a 62-49 romp over Cathedral Catholic and 26 in a 55-52 nod over Bellflower St. John Bosco.
Although it is down the road a piece there is an interesting boys basketball game matching Foothills Christian and San Diego on Valentine’s Day in the Cave at 7 p.m. The winner of that one should be rated the top team in the CIFSDS.
Coaches or commissioners. Who should make the playoff lineup?
Forget the power ratings. Not all teams produce enough input to allow that formula to be accurate.
Teams that believe they are worthy of playoff consideration must submit their record and why they believe they belong in the postseason. The CIFSDS commissioner’s office takes that information and determines how the playoff pairings should be aligned.
From this end, it should be a live debate. Yeah, I know the commissioners do not like dealing with coaches and their cry-baby complaints.
Among the reasons why the commissioner’s office doesn’t want to permit an open-ended oratory is because coaches make up no end of excuses, such as their best player was hurt for three weeks, etc., etc.
That’s the breaks. If the roof leaks or the bus runs out of gas, that’s the way it goes.
Yet, each coach that has a record worthy of consideration should be allotted 60 seconds to say his/her piece. Of course, there should be an advisory board of active coaches representing each league, as in the past, to take the pressure off the commissioner and assistant commissioner.
No doubt some leagues will vote as a clique, a block that certainly can tweak how the pairings line up. That practice is exactly why the commissioner’s office decided to do away with voting by the coaches. The coaches have been grumbling ever since.
That’s where the commissioner and his staff come in. If they smell a conspiracy, they should be able to call that group to the floor. If the ballots of coaches in that group are strikingly similar, the commissioner should have the right to disqualify all of those ballots.
Sounds harsh, I know. But something has to be done to make establishing playoff pairings more equitable without putting all the heat on the CIFSDS commissioner and his staff.