SBART Luncheon: Santa Barbara Junior, La Colina to clash on gridiron

Longtime Bishop Diego assistant football coach Ralph Molina (right) was joined by his sons Gabe (left) and, Daniel at Monday's Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

Longtime Bishop Diego assistant football coach Ralph Molina (right) was joined by his sons Gabe (left) and, Daniel at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

A new football rivalry was announced at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

La Colina and Santa Barbara Junior High will play each other in a tackle football game on Thursday night at 6:30 at Santa Barbara High’s Peabody Stadium. The school teams are part of the Santa Barbara Downtown Boys and Girls Club program, which resurrected tackle football this fall. The teams play in the Pacific Youth Football League.

Principals Lito Garcia, of Santa Barbara Junior, and David Ortiz, of La Colina, were on hand to promote the game and express their support for the Boys and Girls Club football program.

“Last year, we were asked as a junior high group if we would get behind and support the Boys and Girls Club reinvigorating their football program,” Garcia told the luncheon audience. “I said, ‘Definitely, I can get behind that program.’”

Garcia explained that he and his father, Lito Garcia Sr., the former Santa Barbara High varsity football and soccer coach and athletic director, are products of the Boys and Girls Club program.

“That’s where I started my athletic career and got my first opportunity to coach,” the younger Garcia said.

He noted the program gives kids the chance to learn the game in a safe environment and have fun. “And those kids are having fun every single day they’re out on the practice field and playing their games.”

It’s his hope those kids will some day give back to the club.

“I saw this as an opportunity to expand the influence of the club,” said Garcia.

Ortiz explained that football is teaching the kids perseverance and always giving your best.

“That’s what our goal is, and it’s been a fantastic experience,” he said

Ortiz added: “They have team dinners every Friday night and you’d think it’s the best thing in the whole world. They are having a wonderful, wonderful experience and it’s going to pay off at our high schools in the future.”

Carpinteria High football coach Ben Hallock said he started playing tackle football at the Boys Club in 1967 and the elder Lito Garcia was his first coach.

“It’s neat to see that stuff being revived,” said Hallock.


Santa Barbara: Last Friday night’s game against Dos Pueblos was so tense that Dons coach JT Stone said he almost got sick in the fourth quarter.

“It was pretty much as I expected,” he said of the game won by the Dons in overtime.

Now it’s on to Buena. “It is pretty much a playoff game for us,” said Stone of Friday’s clash at Buena. “If we lose, we are done.”

Stone brought three players who made big plays in the win over DP: Danny Vallin, Carter Soto and Junior Garcia.

Bishop Diego: Defensive coordinator Ralph Molina said the Cardinals overcame a slow start and beat a good football team in Immanuel of Reedley, 20-17.

“The kids settled down and played well in the second half. We shut them down,” said Molina.

He said after the Cardinals scored to pull within one, 14-13, in the fourth quarter coach Tom Crawford called for a two-point conversion. “I’m running down the sidelines yelling, ‘No, no, no,’ Molina explained. “We got a kicker who’s made 29 of 30 PATs.”

Molina noted the officials didn’t inform them before the game there would be an overtime if the game was tied at the end of regulation. Bishop kicked the PAT and the game went into overtime. It held Immanuel to a field goal and Daniel Molina ran for the touchdown to win the game.

“It was a great game. It showed a lot of character from our team,” said Molina.

Coach Molina introduced his sons, Daniel and Gabe. Gabe is working as an assistant coach. Daniel rushed for 90 of his 98 yards in the second half against Immanuel. Joining the Molinas at the luncheon was guard Nate Solano.

Laguna Blanca: Coach Shane Lopes said the team set goals of improving its defense and running game after its first loss two weeks ago against Orcutt Academy. Those goals were met in last Saturday’s win over Villanova Prep.

Senior Christian Fowler and freshman Anton Homeniuk were impact players in the win.

The Owls (5-1, 1-1 Condor League) play at Cate on Saturday. Lopes and his players are looking for their first win against the Rams.

Carpinteria: Coach Ben Hallock said the Warriors were done in by turnovers in a 28-0 loss at Cantwell Sacred Heart last Friday. All four CSH scores were set up by turnovers in the second half.

“It was a tough loss, but we have to move on,” Hallock said. “We start league, so it’s a new season.”

The Warriors host Nordhoff in the homecoming game on Friday.

Hallock introduced nose guard Sam Ernst and tackle Jose “Pancho” Sanchez. On Ernst, Hallock said is uniform “is a total mess” after games. “Talk about a guy with dirt from head to toe. If there is a patron saint of laundry it has to be his mother to get his stuff clean.”

Hallock said Sanchez is having a tremendous season. “Every week he’s playing at a very high level.”

San Marcos: “Everything that could go wrong did,” Coach Anthony Linebaugh said of the loss at Ventura. “But there’s not much time to feel sorry for yourself, you have to move on. We have a big challenge this week; we host Dos Pueblos. We have to play our best football, which I think is still in front of us.”

Linebaugh said guard/defensive end Chad Coulter is a leader and “always ready to go.” Garrett Paulson is nicknamed “Crazy Legs” because of his fearlessness on kickoff returns.

Dos Pueblos: Coach Nate Mendoza said he was impressed with class of both teams after the tense, emotional game against Santa Barbara last week.

Mendoza introduced cornerback Rosso Royce, who made a terrific interception against a taller Santa Barbara receiver late in the fourth quarter. He also praised Tyler Fletcher, who was moved to the offensive line two weeks ago. “He stepped up and started the last game,” said Mendoza.


SBCC: Coach Craig Moropoulos was concerned a former player who is on L.A. Valley’s team knew all their offensive signs, so he changed things up in Saturday night’s game in Van Nuys.

The offense struggled a bit, but the defense shined in a 21-3 win.

“Our defense played a fantastic game, holding Valley to three points and scoring a pick-6,” said Moropoulos.

The coach introduced defensive lineman Luigi Dorzin and wide receiver Osha Washington.

SBCC (5-1, 3-0) play host to L.A. Pierce on Saturday afternoon.


Santa Barbara: Coach John Gannon said the Dons are hitting their stride and seniors Dane Miller, Jackie Starnes and Lexi Rottman are leading the charge.

The Dons play at San Marcos on Tuesday night. Next week, they host their annual Tournament of Champions, which draws some of the best teams in the state.

San Marcos: Assistant Marilyn Hantgin said setters Gabi Peoples and Taryn Stevens “play positions that are high pressure and they have to deliver. We need to take hold of that and have fun with it.”

It’s rivalry week for the Royals as they host Santa Barbara on Tuesday and play at Dos Pueblos on Thursday.

“These girls will be under some pressure situations this week but I know they’ll rise to the occasion,” said Hantgin.

Carpinteria: The Warriors are solidly in second place in the Frontier League. Athletic director Pat Cooney, speaking for coach Dino Garcia, said Lesny Espinoza and Miranda Marquez are the go-to players on the team.

Providence: Assistant coach Jen Loomer introduced Elleney King, Katie Hodson and Maddy Niessen as key players for the Patriots (10-4, 6-1).

Laguna Blanca: Dillan Bennett, the boys volleyball coach, said Sarah Baxter’s float serve has been an effective weapon for the Owls (12-6, 8-0 Condor League).


SBCC: Coach Ed Gover is five wins shy of 300 at the school. The Vaqueros (13-4, 4-0 WSC) are on a nine-match win streak and ranked eighth in the state.


Santa Barbara High: Coach Greg Tebbe said “it’s definitely crunch time in our season.”

The Channel League-champion Dons (11-2, 8-0), ranked No. 4 in CIF Division 1, play four ranked teams this week and have the Channel League individual tournament next week before entering the playoffs.

Tebbe introduced three senior co-captains Lexi Gulden, Madison Hale and Mattea Kilstofte as “the backbone of the program the last four years.” They were on the CIF championship team as freshmen.

Gulden is a key doubles player who is 24-12 and 15-2 in league; Hale plays singles and doubles and has a record of 33-1, including 15-0 against top-ranked teams; Kilstofte is the team’s top singles player who has season records of 28-5 and 14-0 in league. She is 93-3 in league matches in her four years at SBHS.

Carpinteria: Merissa Souza has a singles record of 40-11 after recovering from a torn ACL suffered last winter. Lesly Zapata is 26-3 and one of the best athletes in her class. She’ll earn nine varsity letters when she ends her prep career.

Laguna Blanca: Owls coach Jen Wood said the team is being led by Libby Hasse (20-5) and Julianna Ozur (23-4).