Fryer on football: Kickers can't be overlooked
Orange County football has plenty of excellent kickers this year.
This is not an attempt to name them all, but here are some of the better ones: Griff Amies, Corona del Mar, has made 14 of 16 field-goal attempts, including one of 52 yards, this season; JSerra's Gregory Bucilla has nine field goals; Bret Miller of San Clemente has extended his county and CIF-Southern Section record for consecutive extra-point kicks made to 104, and has a 50-yard field goal to his credit; Robbie McInerney of Laguna Beach has made 50 of 54 extra-point kicks; El Toro's Roger Howard is 49 for 53 on PATs; and Beckman sophomore Sebastian Valerio has kicked seven field goals on eight attempts.
COACH OF THE YEAR IS ...
Undetermined, with two weeks of regular season games left and the playoffs still to come.
Here are a few coaches who just might be in the discussion when the Register/OCVarsity crew meets in early December: Fred Di Palma of Katella, who has the Knights on track for the Orange League championship; Mike Marrujo of Valencia, who in his 32nd season has brought a team that finished 1-9 last year to 6-3 and is on its way to the playoffs this year; Bruce Rollinson of Mater Dei, who last season was said by some longtime Mater Dei supporters to have lost his touch, but this season has the Monarchs looking like a Pac-5 championship contender; and Randy Thompson of Orange, who has rallied the Panthers to their best season in many years.
EIGHT MEN OUT
"I've never had so many starters missing in 40 years of coaching," Santa Margarita coach Harry Welch said.
Eight projected starters, some of them All-County caliber, were not on the field as Santa Margarita finished its 17-14 victory over Orange Lutheran on Friday.
Some of the players defected to other schools in late summer, and some others were lost to injury. The latest loss is All-County running back Ryan Wolpin, who did not play in the Orange Lutheran game because of a lingering foot injury that has him questionable against JSerra this week.
Still, the Eagles are 7-1 overall and 2-1 in the Trinity League with victories over Servite and Orange Lutheran.
Welch was the county coach of the year in 2010, too recent for him to be a candidate for the award we like to spread around. Perhaps we named him coach of the year two years too early.
THIS WEEK'S TOP GAMES
This is Week 9, the second-to-the-last week of the regular season. It is a week that will have major impact on which teams go to the playoffs and which will not.
The better matchups, all Friday: Century League, Brea Olinda (4-4 overall, 2-2 league) vs. Foothill (6-2, 3-1) at Tustin High; Pacific Coast League, Woodbridge (4-4, 2-1) vs. Corona del Mar (6-2, 3-0) at Newport Harbor High; Sea View League, San Juan Hills (7-1, 1-1) at Capistrano Valley (6-2, 1-1) and Dana Hills (3-5, 2-0) at Laguna Hills (5-3, 2-1); Trinity League, St. John Bosco of Bellflower (4-4, 3-0) vs. Servite (3-5, 1-2) at Cerritos College and Orange Lutheran (6-2, 1-2) vs. Mater Dei (6-2, 2-1) at Santa Ana Stadium.