I was out of the Valley two Saturdays ago when our AV Panthers Varsity football team defeated the visiting Laytonville Warriors, 62-16. The varsity Panthers had a 5 win/3 loss record this season to finish third in League standings. The three players who missed all of the Point Arena loss, or most of it, all returned for the Laytonville game and played well.
Erin Perez played quarterback for the first time this year and threw three touchdown passes and ran back a kickoff 60 yards for another touchdown.
Jesus Hernandez played a fierce middle linebacker on defense and a pile moving fullback on offense. He moved the whole pile enough to score a touchdown.
And, Andrew Espinoza, a strong, hardworking two-way lineman who has had a terrific Senior season has been very tough in the trenches.
The Panthers will lose both Jesus and Andrew to graduation. We wish both of these fine young men good luck. You were excellent Panthers. We hope, Ernie and I, that you will come by the announcing booth next year and tell us what’s going on.
Coach Dan Kuny told me this week that he will miss these two seniors. “I know there’s lots of time between now and the beginning of the 2014 season, but, right now, I think we’ll be the team the others in the league will have to beat in 2014 and heck, in 2015, too.” AV has lots of returning veterans, and a host of talented jv's who will be moving up to the varsity. See you next season.
College Quarterbacks — Heisman Trophy winner Johnny “Football” Manziel's Texas A&M is now 8 wins and 2 losses for the season. The best quarterback in the country this season is Florida State’s Jameis Winston. He's listed at 6’4”, 230 pounds but he has feathery light footwork which enables him to always be on balance and a Joe Montana-like accuracy with his passing. His receivers are always hit in stride. He is the best college quarterback I have seen. I think he is the difference-maker who will cause Florida State to beat Alabama in the Bowl Championship Series National Championship game. But, Famous Jameis is not the most beautiful. That would be Joe Roth at Cal Berkeley in the bygone era when the trees were still growing at Cal Berkeley and they were so beautiful near the sports facilities at the University. Roth was in the Heisman Trophy race. One time in the mid-1970s, I remember seeing Joe Roth, tall and slender with broad shoulders in a photograph which had been taken through the leaf-blown trees. This wonderful frame for the photograph caught Joe Roth’s essence in a moment of reflection after a football game. It was so moving I have never forgotten this picture that so touched my heart. Roth’s excellent play dropped slightly during the last part of that season. Everybody loved that guy. Only at the end did we know he was playing with a lethal melanoma. After the all-star Japan Bowl, he was tired. According to a teammate, the fans wanted his autograph. And he signed autographs way past his medically allotted time until he was so fatigued that he had to break from the autograph line to go to some bushes to throw up. Soon after, he died. Joe Roth was the most beautiful quarterback of them all.
The Miami Dolphins — The Miami Carps are a more appropriate name for this leaderless group of scum-sucking bottom feeders of a football team. Their head coach looks like a squirrel hunter and Richie Incognito is in my opinion the villain in the Incognito-Jonathan Martin fiasco. But, Incognito was given power by Miami General Manager Ireland and head coach Joe Philbin. Incognito was kicked off the University of Nebraska football team for conduct unbecoming. Herm Edwards, an ex-NFL Coach said on TV that Tony Dungy had told him that when Incognito came out of college for the NFL draft that he had assigned him the designation DNDC, do not draft, character. Dungy was then the head coach of the Colts. Edwards said, “I think that half the NFL had the same designated label for Incognito. But, Miami thought they needed Incognito, the offensive guard, as a player and the toughness in his character. He became a member of the leadership council of the Miami Dolphins. So, the stage was set for a locker room catastrophe between Incognito and the academic Jonathan Martin from Stanford, an intelligent, quiet man. But this is an ongoing story. We haven’t heard a word form Incognito or Martin. But, I am so proud we do have Coach Harbaugh when I hear him say, “I know Jon Martin’s parents and I know him. So, I am on Martin’s side” when he was asked about the Miami locker room debacle.
The 49ers — I just watched the SF 49ers lose to the Carolina Panthers by a score of 10 to 9. This brings the 49ers season record to 6 wins and 3 losses. That isn’t a bad record considering that the 49ers have the worst passing offense in the entire NFL. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick seems to be sullen in the post game interviews. He has a strong arm and we all know he can run. But, he stares down his primary receiver without looking at other possibilities, and he doesn’t seem to have touch in his passes. I want this guy to be good because he works so hard, but, I do think when he obsesses about being the most physically fit player, he should probably be watching film. He should learn the tendencies of the opposition when they go to different defensive alignments. Exactly. And more receivers are coming for Colin Kaepernick. And, remember, when the Seattle Seahawks were playing close games without both of their starting offensive tackles. How would the 49ers do without tackles Staley and Davis?