Timing trumps transfer language in this case

Fryer column: Checking in on transfers, gutsy calls, a big crowd and more.


Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

•A Register story about Mater Dei senior quarterback Max Wittek included this line from his father, Curt, that might have raised some eyebrows: "The level of football back there isn't bad, but we were looking for better competition and the total environment, and Mater Dei was it."

As the move from Connecticut to Southern California was made before Wittek's freshman year, the "athletically motivated" stamp that has denied many transfers in the CIF-Southern Section and the CIF's other nine sections doesn't apply. If Wittek's move to Mater Dei happened after he had attended one day of high school anywhere else, then the father's comment could have placed the quarterback's eligibility in jeopardy according to CIF by-law 207 A (3) d., because even that "free" transfer before the start of a student-athlete's sophomore year is subject to conditions.

•Former Irvine running back DaVonte Young, who transferred to St. John Bosco of Bellflower before this school year but was ruled ineligible, had his state appeals hearing last week. St. John Bosco coach Jason Negro is not optimistic that Young, who had some academic struggles at Irvine, will be declared eligible when the state office makes a ruling, but said that is not being emphasized with Young at the moment.

"We're more concerned about the student part of the student-athlete right now," Negro said," and DaVonte's doing everything he needs to do with that part of it."

•St. John Bosco went for two points and the victory after scoring a touchdown in overtime of the Braves' 42-41 loss to Santa Margarita last week, a decision that didn't pay off.

"I didn't sleep well that night,' Negro said, "but the kids wanted to go for it, everybody wanted to go for it and I don't regret it." It was the gutsy call, and it was the right call.

Santa Margarita senior football player Emmett O'Brien blocked a field goal and an extra point attempt by Bosco, important plays in that one-point victory. O'Brien is a son of Mke Kenlon, one of six Kenlon brothers who played football at Servite in the 1970s. The Kenlon name is huge in Servite football lore.

•I was told the attendance at the Mater Dei-Servite football game Friday at Angel Stadium was 15,402. A look around the ballpark, the parking lot and the postgame traffic indicated that might have been an incorrect figure. Servite athletic director Alan Clinton said Monday that the turnstile count reported to him was 16,400, which did not include spectators in the suites or a few other parts of the stadium, so he figures the attendance likely was closer to 19,000.

That was the 50th game of the Mater Dei-Servite series that has been played every year since 1961. It's not the longest-running intact series in county football. That is Garden Grove and Rancho Alamitos, which have played each other every year since 1958; Garden Grove has a 26-25-2 lead in the series, including Grove's 32-16 victory two weeks ago.

•The Edison-Fountain Valley "Battle For The Bell" game Friday is at Cerritos College. Fountain Valley athletic secretary Kristie Musso, one of those "go to" people for information in county athletics, said the reason the game is there instead of Orange Coast College was fan-friendly logistical. OCC's LeBard Stadium holds 7,600 spectators, and Falcon Field at Cerritos College holds 12,000, and many times OCC fills up early and many frustrated fans can't get in.

•A proposal to have CIF Regional Championships in football was introduced at the CIF State Federated Council meeting Monday. The proposal, still in the discussion stages and not up for a vote until next spring, would create a format by which teams that advance all the way to state championship bowl games could play 16 games. That is a lot of games for high school football players.

•Edison baseball pitcher Henry Owens, a 6-foot-7 lefthander who was All-County and All-CIF last year when he had a county-high 115 strikeouts, committed to Miami of Florida after a weekend recruiting visit there. He might not ever pitch an inning for the Hurricanes. Owens is touted as an early-round pick in next June's Major League Baseball draft, perhaps an early first-round selection.

•Former Fountain Valley baseball coach Joe MacDonald has been added to the coaching staff at Edison, where Steve Lambright is head coach. Also on the staff is former Servite head coach Todd Cook. There is plenty of coaching experience on that Chargers staff.

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