Fryer: New stadiums add to need for more officials


No Saturday varsity football games are on this week’s schedule.

That is a rare occurrence.

With so many stadiums having been added to Orange County campuses in recent years, there are fewer Thursday and Saturday games.

Not that long ago in Santa Ana, for example, there was one football stadium to share – Santa Ana Stadium. Now, Century and Segerstrom have on-campus stadiums, and there also is the Santa Ana Sports Complex’s stadium adjacent to Valley to lessen demand on Santa Ana Stadium.

All 10 schools in the Coast View Conference, which includes the Sea View and South Coast leagues, have on-campus stadiums.

That’s a great situation for most. It’s not so good for officials.

There is a shortage of officials in county high school athletics, including football.

When there were more Thursday and Saturday games, one official could work a game on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Now, assignors are struggling to sufficiently staff all of the games on the busier Friday nights like Oct. 9, when most leagues start league play and 24 varsity football games will be played in Orange County.

And schools want all of their lower-level football games played on Thursday afternoons. That also stretches the roster of officials.

New, and younger, officials need to be recruited. A CIF-Southern Section league or member school should craft and promote a proposal that would raise the fees of football officials from the $69-$79 fees (that vary according to assignment and level) to a higher compensation so as to attract more and better officials.

Coaches, athletes and sports parents can help, too. Take it easy on these officials, whatever the sport, and don’t chase these people away. You need them.

But if your team has a mistake-free season, if it goes undefeated with every win by shutout and captures league, section and state championships, then go nuts every time an official messes up.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

• Friday night’s San Clemente-Tesoro football game is also a sock drive for U.S. military. Women and men in the armed services go through socks quickly, and there often is a shortage. The schools are in competition for which one can collect the most new black or brown socks to donate, so if you’re going to the game at Tesoro, bring as many pairs of black or brown socks as you can manage.

• The CIF-Southern Section Council, the section’s rules-making and rules-changing legislative body, meets Tuesday. The Council will vote to support or not support a CIF State proposal that would change divisional placement of teams in Southern California Regionals in basketball, soccer and volleyball.

• The Council also will get a first look at a statewide proposal that would place cheerleading competition under the auspices of CIF.

• And it will get a first look at a CIF-SS proposal that would change the structure of the playoffs in several sports. The proposal would have playoffs in football and other sports set up as they are in basketball: Schools are placed into divisions by enrollment, then move up or down divisions as years pass according to their previous years’ playoff performances.

• The silliest proposal seen in these 25 years of covering CIF-SS athletics is on the agenda. It has to do with the helmets worn by baseball and softball base coaches. Currently, such helmets are required; the proposal would change the CIF-SS by-law from “required” to “recommended.”

• A proponent of changing the wording from “required” to “recommended” stated at a previous Council session that women are deciding not to become softball coaches because the helmets mess up their hair. If that’s keeping anyone from coaching, then their hearts are not sufficiently into it.

• County football teams that are No. 1 in the CIF-SS playoff divisions: St. Margaret’s, in the East Valley Division; El Modena, Southern Division; La Habra, Southwest Division; and Mission Viejo, West Valley Division.

• Four South Coast League football teams are in the West Valley Division top 10: No. 1 Mission Viejo; No. 2 Tesoro; No. 6 San Juan Hills; and No. 10 El Toro.

• San Juan Hills quarterback Patrick O’Brien was Southern California offensive player of the week. He threw three touchdown passes and ran for another in the Stallions’ 54-26 win over Los Alamitos.

• Five of the six Trinity League teams are in the California football top 25. They are: No. 3 St. John Bosco; No. 4 Mater Dei; No. 20 Santa Margarita; No. 21. Orange Lutheran; and No. 23 JSerra. Servite is on the “on the bubble” list.

• Orange Lutheran lost to the state’s Nos. 1 and 2 football teams, De La Salle and Centennial of Corona, respectively.

• Centennial will play De La Salle – their basketball teams, that is. They meet in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei on Feb. 6.

• Also at the Nike Extravaganza on Feb. 6: Mater Dei, which will have one of its deeper teams in recent years, plays CIF-San Diego Section Division 2 defending champion Foothills Christian of El Cajon, led by San Diego Section 2014-15 player of the year T.J. Leaf. Leaf, who committed to Arizona, is a 6-foot-10 senior who averaged 27 points and 14 rebounds last season.

• Other Nike Extravaganza matchups include: Chino Hills vs. Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas; Santa Margarita vs. Etiwanda; Los Alamitos vs. Fairfax of L.A.; Orange Lutheran vs. Westchester; Servite vs. Ayala of Chino Hills; Sonora vs. Colony of Ontario; and Mater Dei’s girls vs. Centennial of Las Vegas which was 31-2 and won a Nevada state championship last season. Tickets go on sale Nov. 1 at Mater Dei.

• It’s a difficult football season at Dana Hills. The team is 0-5. The school is doing just fine in the other fall sports. The Dolphins are ranked in the county top 10 in boys water polo (No. 4), girls golf (No. 9), girls tennis (No. 3) and girls cross country (No. 5).

• Four county teams are No. 1 in their CIF-SS girls volleyball divisions: Aliso Niguel, in 1A; St. Margaret’s, 3AA; Saddleback Valley Christian, 3A; and Tarbut V’Torah, 5A.

• Three county teams are No. 1 in their CIF-SS boys water polo divisions: Foothill, Division 2; Capistrano Valley, Division 3; and Segerstrom, Division 6.

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