SBART Luncheon: Daughter’s belief rubs off on Vaqueros

San Marcos football coach Anthony Linebaugh talks about his team's stunning comeback win over Rio Mesa at the first Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Luncheon of the 2013-14 school year.

San Marcos football coach Anthony Linebaugh talks about his team’s stunning comeback win over Rio Mesa at the first Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Luncheon of the 2013-14 school year.

Craig Moropoulos was sitting in his house last Friday night, pondering how his SBCC football team would fare in Saturday?s season opener at Hancock.

?It?s been 21 years since we beat them and eight years since we won a season opener,? Moropoulos told the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table audience at Harry?s Plaza Caf? during Monday?s first press luncheon of the 2013-14 season. ?There were a lot of things against us.

?It was about?10:30 p.m.?and I?m thinking about how Hancock is always so big and physical. My 11-year-old daughter, Elyse, is sitting next to me, writing something. I told her, ?Hey you need to go to bed, let?s go.? She keeps drawing and I?m getting a little testy.

?Then she hands me this paper and said, ?Dad, I made this for you.? It had a big Vaquero on it and it said, ?Dad I know you can do this. I believe in you.? Oh my God, that puts it in perspective.

Moropoulos said his heart sunk and he decided ?to give her another 10 minutes? before bedtime.

The next day, the Vaqueros rallied from a 14-3 third-quarter deficit to upset No. 24 Hancock 15-14.

?Their D-line probably averaged 320 pounds,? he noted. ?I usually don?t bring stats up here when I speak but that game was kind of a blur. I?ll never forget that night. I was part of a great win over Canyons four years ago and this game tops that.

?Everything was stacked against us, but no one told our players that. Our defense was outstanding, led by Morgan Nevin, who had 15 tackles and two fumble recoveries.?

The Vaqueros host East L.A. in their home opener?on Saturday at 1 p.m.

PREP FOOTBALL

San Marcos ?is 2-0 after a stunning 31-30 comeback victory at Rio Mesa. The Royals ?trailed 30-3 in the second quarter. ?I?m thankful that I shave my head because if I didn?t, I would have been yanking my hair out,? said second-year coach Anthony Linebaugh. ?At halftime (down 30-10), we talked about having very little margin for error. There was a very positive vibe in the locker room. It?s an interesting game and sometimes we make mistakes but we had the opportunity to make amends, which we did.? The Royals make their home debut?on Thursday?night when they host Beverly Hills.

Santa Barbara evened its record at 1-1 with a 42-13 rout of Beverly Hills?on Saturday. ?We exerted our will on them,? said coach Doug Caines. ?But we still have a lot of room to grow.? The Dons travel to Atascadero?on Friday?night, where they?ll be seeking revenge for last year?s tough 35-31 loss in the closing minutes.

Bishop Diego has ?won its ?first two games by a combined 97-0. ?We?re playing really well but we have a lot of room for improvement,? said assistant coach Ralph Molina. ?Eight teams on our schedule are ranked in the top 10 in their divisions.? Molina introduced lineman Joe Salcedo, who?s already received scholarship offers from San Jose State, UNLV and Cal Poly, along with middle linebacker Christian Pearson, who had two interceptions in a 49-0 win at Santa Ynez. The Cardinals host La Salle (10-1 last year)?on Friday?in a?7:30 p.m.?game at La Playa Stadium.

Dos Pueblos will be seeking its first win when Cabrillo comes to town?on Thursday night. ?When the going gets tough, we just gotta get a little tougher,? said coach Nate Mendoza.

Carpinteria is off to a 2-0 start, including a 42-20 win at South Torrance last Friday when they racked up more than 500 yards. Coach Ben Hallock, who?s been coming to the SBART luncheons for over 40 years, introduced a trio of three-year starters in quarterback Ian Craddock, tight end Duncan Gordon and linebacker Kevin Stein. The Warriors host Nipomo in their home opener?on Friday.

Laguna Blanca rebounded from an opening loss to Orcutt Academy by walloping ?Hillcrest Christian 51-6. They play eight-man football and have one of the smallest rosters (14 players) in the CIF.

COLLEGE SOCCER
Westmont got its first win of ?the season, a 4-2 home verdict over Whittier. Assistant coach Tovi ?Eliasen said a couple of local players — Muhammad Mehai of Carpinteria High and Marcos Lopez of SBHS — have been outstanding on defense.

The UCSB women are ?3-2-1, thanks to the strong play of sophomore goalkeeper Beth Ritter. She?s only allowed one goal in three games.

WATER POLO

The USB men are ranked No. 6 in the preseason and associate head coach John Abdou says, ?We?ll be in the mix for a conference championship and a national championship.?

San Marcos is ?ranked No. 10 in Div. 2. The Royals edged ?Arroyo Grande 12-11 and No. 8 Damien 9-7 last week. Shane Hauschild had eight goals in the AG win and five against Damien.

After reaching the CIF Div. 2 final last year, Santa Barbara coach Mark Walsh says this is going to be a rebuilding year. ?We graduated 12 of 15 players and most of them are at Division 1 programs,? he noted. ?We got our butts kicked in a spring league and our new motto is ?Don?t worry about the score, let?s just keep getting better.? ? The Dons make their season debut?on Tuesday, hosting Oaks Christian at?3:15 p.m.

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