Press Luncheon: This ‘Big Game’ had everything

San Marcos football teammates Paul Galarte, left, and Ivan Reyes, right.

San Marcos football teammates Paul Gularte, left, and Ivan Reyes, right.


Ivan Reyes received the Gary Blades Memorial MVP Trophy, SBCC head coach Craig Moropoulos marveled at the sell-out crowd, and San Marcos head coach Anthony Linebaugh said, “it had everything you look for in a great football game.”

Friday’s “Big Game” at Peabody Stadium will go down as one of the classics between the two rivals. The Royals ultimately scored with less than a minute on the clock to win the wild back-and-forth game 27-20.

“I played at that school. I’ve seen that stadium full and I hadn’t seen it like that in awhile,” Moropoulos said, citing the San Marcos-Santa Barbara alumni game as the last time. “That was a great-looking stadium and a lot of electricity and a lot of hard-playing football.”

Reyes was awarded the Gary Blades Memorial Trophy for totaling 110 rushing yards and a second-half touchdown. Even more importantly, on San Marcos’ winning drive, Reyes gained 37 yards on four carries to get the Royals to the 1-yard line.

“The heart that he had in those final drives just came through,” said award presenter Chris Rabe.

It was the 20th year that the Gary Blades Trophy has been awarded. Rabe pointed out that as a junior Reyes will have a shot next year of becoming a two-time winner like San Marcos’ Bradlee Van Pelt and Santa Barbara High’s Cherokee Cunningham.

Reyes, nicknamed “Ivan the Terrible,” was there at the luncheon with teammate Paul Gularte. Linebaugh noted that Gularte, as an offensive lineman, had five tackles including one way downfield on a screen pass that was an example of the Royals strong effort throughout the game.

Athlete of the Week Stephen McCaffery

Athlete of the Week Stephen McCaffery

“He’s a very hard-working man. I just wanted to recognize him because – I know you have a lot of those athletes – and this is a great opportunity to bring young people like that, like Paul, who works so hard and puts the team first.”

Dons head coach JT Stone was last at the podium.

“Friday night to look up into the stands and see that bowl was huge,” Stone said. “The passion we have in this community – I remember that game Santa Barbara High and San Marcos, I think it was like ’94, Torlando Bolden and that whole deal. Just to see the stadium the way it was, the community, just how many people were there to witness this football game, and it was a good football game.”

“So for me that was what it was about.”

There was no mention of the big fight that broke out on the field and caused the referees and coaching staffs to end the game with 14 seconds remaining on the clock.

Carpinteria head coach Ben Hallock took his turn at the podium to give his final report of the year. The Warriors lost big to Fillmore on Friday and didn’t make the playoffs after an injury-plagued season.

After having heard how great the Big Game was, Hallock couldn’t help but joke.

“It sounds like an exciting game. I almost wish I was there instead of where I was.”

Hallock brought dedicated senior linebacker Ruben Gutierrez.

“He’s a team-first guy, a guy who really holds Carpinteria football dear in his heart.”

The Warriors finished their season with a 4-6 record after starting the season 4-2.

“It was disappointing for us not to play better in our last football game, especially for our seniors,” Hallock said.

Moropoulos’ Vaqueros just had their seven-game win streak snapped at Santa Monica. SBCC can rebound this Saturday against Glendale in what will be the Vaqueros’ final home game of the season.

Laguna Blanca’s 8-man team is coming off a CIF victory on Friday at San Jacinto Valley near Hemet. The victory earned the Owls a home playoff game and head coach Shane Lopes thanked San Marcos and the school district for opening up Warkentin Stadium for the small school from Hope Ranch to play at on Friday night.

The Owls feature Athlete of the Week Stephen McCaffery, who scored nine touchdowns himself in their first-round win. McCaffery rushed for six TDs, threw for another, and returned two interceptions for scores.

“He had a wonderful game,” Lopes said. “I do want to say though, even though he had the stats on paper, it was a team win. You can’t win a playoff game in football without the team.”

Bishop Diego Athletic Director and assistant football coach Dan Peeters reported for the Cardinals, who host Antelope Valley on Saturday in their CIF opener.

Bishop Diego is the only local 11-man team to make the postseason but will be playing in a super-tough playoff division with football powerhouses like Lompoc (10-0), Newbury Park (8-2) and Atascadero (8-2).  The Cardinals (9-1) were undefeated before dropping their final game of the regular season to Nordhoff.


Athlete of the Week: Adilene Aldapa of San Marcos Cross Country

Athlete of the Week: Adilene Aldapa of San Marcos Cross Country

Santa Barbara High and five other local schools qualified for CIF. The Dons, with 11 seniors on the team, have a tough draw ahead of them starting with a first-round match on Tuesday at Canyon in Anaheim Hills. Head coach John Gannon brought players Cassandra Amador and Michaela Werner.

The Dons did, however, earn a share of the Channel League championship with Ventura and San Marcos. Gannon said it was the first time in his 16 years he’s witnessed a three-way tie for first.

“We are tri-league champs and I couldn’t be happier with all the adversity we’ve faced this year,” Gannon said.


John Moore was quick to point out that his team was undefeated with a record of 1-0. He was even quicker to tease Stone for choosing to sit the closer to the Gary Blades Memorial plaque than anyone else in the room, asking if he was a glutton for punishment.

Moore then campaigned for freshman Gerry Karczewski to start getting called Player K, a play on Duke’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Karczewski hit five 3-pointers in Westmont’s season-opening victory.

“He’s just a fun player to watch,” Moore said.

Moore was also the second coach – following Craig Moropoulos’ example – to acknowledge Gary Cunningham in the room. The interim UCSB Athletic Director played basketball at UCLA under John Wooden and was the head coach of the Bruins for two seasons. He still holds the best winning percentage of any UCLA basketball coach in history with a 50-8 record.

“If I were a young coach – and I’m not a young coach – I would do everything I can to spend time with Gary Cunningham,” Moore said.


Carpinteria boys soccer coach Leo Quintero is back for his third season leading the program. He shared news that Carpinteria High School was fielding a frosh-soph team for the first time in school history after 70-plus players tried out.

The varsity will have 13 returners including team captain Francisco Arroyo, who was at the luncheon.

“He’s a vital part of our midfield and defense,” Quintero said.

The Warriors will be competing in a new-look Tri-Valley League that added Bishop Diego, Cate and Nordhoff to the mix.


Lucy Carleton brought two seniors that are beginning their fourth year on varsity. Monica Garcia has been an all-league forward who is taking over a central defense role, and Alexa Benitez will be a cog when the Warriors move forward. Carleton believes the Warriors have a great shot at a league title this season.


Athletic Round Table president Laurie Leighty announced a new PCA Workshop for coaches coming up on December 4th. Before that is the annual Fall Classic. This year it is being held on Monday, November 24 at the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion. Special guests include Mick Luckhurst, Nikki Luckhurst and Ben Callon.