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WISHING FOR CLEAN STORYLINES.

Byline: Gary Washburn

Ahh, opening week. The only time Poly and Sylmar, Burbank and Hart, Bell-Jeff and Westlake all have the same record.

Talking to coaches, it's difficult not to become excited because many are just so optimistic about the season. Sometimes it's warranted; other times it's not.

But my hopes reach further than wins or losses or team successes.

Let's admit that last season was tumultuous, with a coach under fire at Burbank, one terrible slip of the tongue at Sylmar and a player exodus at Granada Hills.

News off the field became just as worthy as on-the-field results. In today's sports world, where some newspapers have actually contemplated a daily rap sheet for the numerous athletes in trouble, these problems have spilled over to high school sports.

My hope is that high school sports can rid themselves of these calamities. I wish all of my columns could be positive, or at least about football-related issues. Since it's week one, and we have yet to have any major controversies in football, we'll keep this wish list to the games. How long will this last?

Maybe not even a week.

THIS YEAR OR ELSE:

As a high school football fan, you can probably mention some schools that desperately need to win this year and coaches who are putting their futures into the hands of 15- and 16-year olds. Here's my list.

Poly: Coach Tim Feeley has had two disappointing seasons in Sun Valley. This year is crucial because there is an undercurrent of doubt about whether Feeley can do the job. The problems at Poly are never numbers or size of players - it's just been discontent.

Alemany: You just hope Miguel Fletcher can run for a winning team. But an administration attitude that the Indians' program just can't compete in the Del Rey League isn't much of a confidence booster for the football team. If Crespi is able to maintain a relatively high level, then why can't Alemany?

Highland: The entertaining Lin Parker doesn't get much attention in Palmdale and there is a less than minuscule chance his job is at stake, but it's about time the Bulldogs made the playoffs. Tailback Brandon McElvaine could be the best in the Antelope Valley. It would be nice for Parker, one of the best quotes in the area, to finally get exposure.

Chatsworth: Will the angry parents wear ol' Myron Gibford down? Let's hope not, but their discontent is growing. There's no reason Chatsworth, nestled in between affluent private schools with some of the area's best athletic programs, can't be successful. (See Taft.)

SOME WISHES

Actually, some real improvements were made in the offseason and it only took a serious recruiting scandal at Burbank to show that John Hazelton wasn't right for the job.

Burbank: The Bulldogs won't win the Foothill League. They might not even beat Valencia, but any progress will be better than the past two years of complete chaos. So many accusations came out of Hazelton's program that even Cal's deposed Todd Bozeman would have been a better replacement. If Gary Willison follows the rules - and he appears to be an upstanding coach - the Bulldogs will win. Maybe soon.

Montclair Prep: For Pete's sake, let's get this team into a league. I'll start the campaign slogan, ``Let's dance away from the Freelance.'' Seriously, I'm sure Montclair Prep is sick of playing schools of performing arts, of the juvenile offenders, parochial, private, public and continuation schools. The bad boys who gave Montclair Prep the reputation of cheaters are gone. Have a little forgiveness.

A little word of advice. If you're a coach or a player and you know you're doing wrong - recruiting a player, forging your paperwork or anything that might put your personal and the school's reputation in jeopardy, will you think about your actions? Do you want to be the first one to make this purified concept called athletics into a diluted wasteland of impropriety?

Do cheaters win? Sometimes. Do they last? No.

It might sound corny, but let's keep the coverage to football and the news to wins and losses. Can we break the trend and return this extracurricular activity back to its true beneficiaries - the kids.

That's my biggest wish.

MEMO: Staff Writer Gary Washburn's prep column appears Fridays.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: Burbank has struggled on and off the field recently, but new coach Gary Willison hopes to turn matters around immediately.

Joe Binoya/Special to the Daily News
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 13, 1996
Words:744
Previous Article:DRAWING THE LINE : FOR NOW, SAUGUS' GIBERSON, HART'S HOURIGAN GO OWN WAYS.
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