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Ancich survives hazing storm at St. Paul
Most of coaching staff reinstated after a hazing incident; ECR goes big; two former players perish in Afghanistan.
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Thursday, September 2, 2010 9:10am
Almost the entire football coaching staff at
St. Paul (Santa Fe Springs)
, including head coach Marijon Ancich, had been suspended by the school for more than a week while it and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles investigated a hazing incident. However, seven of the eight coaches — including the venerable coach — have since been reinstated, according to the Whittier Daily News.
The team had been coached in the interim by offensive coordinator Visko Ancich — Marijon's son — and defensive backs coach Rich Avina Jr., who were among those originally suspended on Aug. 19 but cleared and reinstated on Aug. 20. Suspensions for the rest of the coaches lasted eight days while the investigation was going on.
The incident took place on Aug. 14 in the locker room. According to a letter from principal Kate Aceves, Marijon and Visko Ancich, Avina, Lou Cabral, Oliver Cepeida, Rich Estrella and Anthony Wilson were "not found culpable of any knowledge of the incident."
One coach was not reinstated, and the Daily News reported that it was believed to be Juan Gonzalez, who had coached freshmen for four seasons and was promoted to varsity for 2010. Aceves told the paper that one coach's contract was not renewed "because of a personnel issue." She did confirm that an incident took place, but didn't expand, other than to say the majority of the football team "had some sort of involvement whether as a witness or participant."
Aceves also said the coaches and team will face disciplinary action, although it will not forfeit any games.
Ancich, with a 347-131-4 career record, is California's second-winningest coach behind Bob Ladouceur (356-25-3) of
De La Salle (Concord)
. Ancich had been No. 1 prior to the 2009 season.
St. Paul begins its season Friday at
, the defending Southern Division champion.
BIG BIG BIG
El Camino Real (Woodland Hills)
will have three starters on its offensive line who weigh 300 pounds or more. Using a Double Wing offense, they plan to run, run, run. Last season El Camino Real gained nearly 5,000 yards.
The beef up front include tackles Max Aldrich (6-6, 360) and Jamar Pugh (6-2, 310), and center Vinny McGinty (6-1, 300). Guards Eli Assouline (5-10, 250) and Jonathan Media (5-10, 265) are the munchkins of the group. They'll be blocking for Kawan Rally, who is no lightweight at 235.
The City Section Division II runner-up has six players in the 300-pound club, and the rest of the offense is pretty hefty, too. First up on their menu is
on Sept.3 at Pierce College.
SERVING WITH HONOR
A.J. Castro, a 2007 graduate of
Westlake (Westlake Village)
and son of the school's director of football operations, was killed Aug. 28 in a land mine explosion in Afghanistan. He was 20. He is the son of Hector Castro, the school's former booster club president, and was serving as a U.S. Army specialist attached to the 101st Airborne Division. He is the second former Westlake football player to die in Afghanistan: Frankie Toner, a Navy lieutenant, was killed last year; he was 26.
football team will pay tribute to Lance Cpl. Rick Centanni, killed in Afghanistan in March while on duty with the Marines, on Friday prior to its game against
Palos Verdes (Palos Verdes Estates)
. Esperanza has dedicated the upcoming campaign to Centanni and his No. 30 jersey, which has been "retired" for this season. Fans entering Placentia Valencia High stadium on Friday will receive American flags, and the Marine Corps Color Guard will march onto the field to lead a moment of silence followed by the National Anthem. Centanni was a running back on the 2006 and 2007 varsity teams that went a combined 19-4 and shared two Sunset League titles.
Senior Davion Orphey was ruled academically ineligible last week for
Edison (Huntington Beach)
, and a few days later junior quarterback
was ruled athletically ineligible by the CIF-Southern Section. Orphey was a major loss because he not only started at running back, but also defensive back; his absence probably hurt the defense more than the offense. The offense took its big punch in the gut when Favreau was determined to have transferred from
Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
to Edison for athletic reasons. The Chargers plan to appeal that decision.
Drake Griffin, a senior transfer from St. Paul to
, has been ruled ineligible for the upcoming season by the section office. He was expected to give added depth to the running game since he was a 1,000-yard rusher for St. Paul. He reportedly will appeal the decision.
Three football players who transferred into
have also been ruled ineligible by the commissioner's office. Those players are junior receiver Cameren Hemmings from
, junior linebacker Stephen Prescott from Roosevelt-Eastvale, and junior receiver Marcus Jones from Roosevelt. Coach Todd Gerhart told the Riverside Press Enterprise that the school wouldn't make an appeal, but "as a parent, I certainly would take that action." A fourth player, linebacker Scott Starr from Las Vegas, is pending approval.
Todd Hunt, a linebacker who moved from Connecticut and enrolled at Mater Dei, had his hardship waiver denied and was ruled ineligible by the Southern Section. Coach Bruce Rollinson says an appeal is on the way.
CITRUS HILL COACH IMPOSES OWN PENALTY
Pete Smolin, the football coach and athletic director at
Citrus Hill (Perris)
, agreed to a self-imposed five-day suspension when it was determined he had illegal contact with students who were not yet graduated from eighth grade. He served the suspension last week. Citrus Hill begins play on Friday against
Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley)
Barbara Fiege, commissioner for the Los Angeles City Section, clarified that it was the Los Angeles Unified School District — and not the section — that was requiring more night games for girls' sports.
THE TRANSFERS AMONG YOU
Jillian Alleyne, a 6-2 junior, has transferred from
Ayala (Chino Hills)
where she will play basketball.
(6-1, 185) of
has committed to Long Beach State to play men's basketball. ... Reynaul Baker, a guard last season with
Crenshaw (Los Angeles)
, has enrolled at Cal State Bakersfield to play basketball.
Hunter Virant, a junior left-handed pitcher at
, has committed to UCLA. ...
, a catcher at
, has committed to USC. ...
, a catcher at
, has accepted a scholarship to UC Riverside.
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
. You can reach him at