Katella and Coach Fred DiPalma are off to a 6-0 start but have overcome challenges on and off the field.

Albano notes: DiPalma has Katella on right path


Katella football coach Fred DiPalma remembers his father and brother weekly as he rides the team bus to games or arrives at a stadium.

“This game is for you (two),” he tells himself.

“I think about my dad and my brother and how much they loved football. … It actually gives me an extra incentive.”

DiPalma’s brother, Don, 56, a former Katella assistant, died in February and their father, Fred, 82, died in the spring of 2014.

DiPalma’s father often attended games and Don was a key contributor when his brother coached in the Brea Lions Orange County All-Star Game in 2013.

But despite his personal challenges, which now include an ill sister, Denise, DiPalma and Katella (6-0, 1-0) continue to flourish on the field. The Knights are ranked fourth in the Southern Division.

“It’s been kind of a roller coaster,” DiPalma said.

“Football is a game, man. … I love it and we play it and it’s a big part of who I am and what I’ve been doing for the last 30-plus years, but it’s still a game and we’ve got to keep that in perspective.”

The Knights opened defense of the Orange League crown they won last season with a 46-26 victory Friday against an athletic Magnolia team with several returning linemen.

“The kids have raised (their play) each week,” said DiPalma, whose team plays Savanna (2-4, 0-1) on Thursday at Glover Stadium at 7 p.m. “I’m excited about the direction of our program. Our (participation) numbers are very, very good.”

Katella overcame another challenge last week. Senior tailback Randy Furbush was off to a fast start with 616 yards on 91 carries in the first five games, but he suffered a broken fibula against El Rancho of Pico Rivera on Oct 2.

“He was a difference-maker,” DiPalma said of Furbush.

The Knights rotated three running backs last week in their spread attack. Jorge Fonseca led the way with 148 yards and two touchdowns.

DiPalma credits the Knights’ offensive success to linemen Ector Loayza, Guillermo Bugarin, Chris Montano, Armando Robles and Angel Herrera along with tight end Nick Hurtado.

“It’s the line,” he said. “They’ve really been the determining factor.”


Santa Ana junior running back Jorge Briseno (leg) is questionable to play at Ocean View (3-3, 0-1) on Friday, Saints coach Charlie TeGantvoort said.

Briseno, who has rushed for 1,150 yards, was injured Friday in a 49-14 victory against Loara that improved Santa Ana to 6-0 overall, 1-0 in the Golden West League.

“He’s doing a lot better today. It was just a sprain,” TeGantvoort said Monday. “We’re very optimistic and look forward to him coming back.”

TeGantvoort, a second-year coach who played at Fountain Valley, said the next three games will be critical for Santa Ana. After Ocean View, the Saints play Segerstrom and Westminster.

“The next three weeks are huge for us,” he said. “The league championship will be decided in three weeks.”

With Briseno out early against Loara, Santa Ana moved his identical twin brother, Jonathan, to the featured running back spot and he responded with 185 yards.


Edison quarterback Grant Lowary (shoulder) was expected to have a MRI on Monday and won’t play Thursday against Marina, Chargers coach Dave White said. … Edison’s Tommy Mang and Turner Maza recorded 16 and 15 total tackles, respectively, in a 17-14 victory against Los Alamitos last week. Kenny Carmichael added two sacks for the Chargers (3-3, 1-0).

Contact the writer:

See archived 'Sports' stories »

Other Varsity coverage:
Inland Empire
Search Players

Water Polo:

Foothill 5, Newport Harbor 7 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed


Santa Ana 14, Rancho Christian 52 - 01:01 4th QT - Completed


Calabasas 35, Capistrano Valley 14 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed


St. John Bosco 21, Mater Dei 14 - 00:33 2nd QT - Completed


Edison 44, La Mirada 24 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed


Burbank 21, Yorba Linda 31 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed


El Modena 2, Orange Lutheran 2 - 45:00 2nd Half - Completed


Eisenhower 28, Mater Dei 93 - 02:00 4th QT - Completed


Santa Fe 65, Foothill 53 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed


Valencia/Valencia 35, San Clemente 41 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed