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Thousand Oaks

Home Field Advantage: Playoff Time

Here we go … Now it’s league play. Good luck, teams!

Fair question: Why play a season now that just about ev­ery team goes to the playoffs? You have to wonder …

The good thing about play­offs is that coaches must actu­ally play teams in their leagues. It’s not about digging up an easy win with a noncompetitive opponent anymore. Here’s an idea: Wouldn’t it be great to see all these leagues merge, since there is parity among the teams and not really a powerhouse? …. The Marmonte League is ru­mored to be adding two teams next year, Simi Valley and Bish­op Diego, pulling the better teams out of other leagues. In theory, Marmonte is the top league. Still, it would be nice to see these teams play each oth­er, rather than coaches looking for beatable teams to stack their win columns. Now, the stand­ings …

Southern Section
(* League play)
Marmonte: St. Bonaventure (1-0), 7-0; Oaks Christian (1-0), 3-5; Westlake (0-1), 4-4; Calabasas (0-1), 3-5.
Canyon: Simi Valley (3-0), 9-0; Agoura (2-0), 7-1; Royal (1-2), 4-4; Oak Park (0-2), 4-4; Thousand Oaks (0-2), 4-4. Camino: Camarillo (1-0), 5-3; Bishop Diego (1-0), 5-1; Newbury Park (0-1), 2-4; Moorpark (*0-1), 1-7.

My picks for the 2021 League Champions
St. Bonaventure should easily win Marmonte. For the past four years prior to the COVID lockdowns, they were not a competitive team. Good Coach Joe Goyeneche, a gradu­ate of St. Bonaventure (‘03) and a member of the coaching staff since 2008, has done a great job in turning the program around.

Simi Valley should easily win Canyon. Simi Valley had an awful football team until they hired Head Coach Jim Benkert in 2018. He has transformed them into a top team, and they are getting back into the Mar­monte League next year.

Bishop Diego should easily win Camino. Head Coach Tom Crawford – in his twenty-first season overall, with a record of 146-94-1 — has done well in the Camino League. It is rumored that Bishop Diego will move into the Marmonte League … Only time will tell if they are a good team in a more competi­tive league. Good job, Coach, seeking out competition!

Congrats to all those who compete — including Westlake High School, who played Valen­cia High School for homecom­ing when all other coaches were picking the worst teams they could find to get an easy home­coming win. I’m impressed. Westlake scheduled a good team and almost beat them. It came down to a last-minute blocked field goal by Valencia to win 15-13. Exciting out­come! Good job, Westlake, for scheduling a competitive game. It is not about winning or losing; it’s about competing.

Did you know? The upper age lim­it to play high school sports in the CIF rule book is under 19 years of age by June 15. It reads:

CALIFORNIA INTERSCHOLAS­TIC FEDERATION CIF Southern Section Academics/Integrity/Athletics CONDENSED ELI­GIBILITY RULES

Must be under nine­teen years of age prior to June 15. Participation on the varsity football team is prohibited un­til you have reached your 15th birthday (14 with a letter from your physician and parent).

Serious question: Why does CIF allow 19-year-olds to play football with 14-year-olds, 15-year-olds, etc.? Nine­teen is the age of some college sophomores. Why aren’t these older “high school” players gray-shirting at a junior college or something? As it is, we’ve got men playing against children in high school. Not safe! I spoke to CIF about this, and they don’t see the problem … So, if it is not a problem, why are they hiding the ages of all the players from the parents? How many par­ents out there would let their boys play against 19-year-old men? The term “true freshmen” gets used, but a true freshman is 14 or 15 years old. This is wrong. CIF needs to be trans­parent and let the parents know how old these players are. If it makes sense for CIF to lim­it contact for safety, it makes sense to distinguish between boys and men. The difference between my own 19-year-old and 16-year-old was light years! It would not have been safe for them to go against each other.

Even worse … If you go out of state, your son can attend a “continuation” high school, like IMG Academy. In other states, they can graduate high school and go to another high school and play their fifth year! When is all this nonsense going to stop? … Having ground that ax and made my point, keep rooting for the boys and their teams. It’s a fun time of year for football. I’ll see you in the stands.

Breaking Tackles: Johnny Thompson (#3) of Oaks Christian breaks tackles in the open field on one of the better defenses in the league; Westlake allowed just one offensive touchdown. In a crazy game, a field goal, touchdown, a pick-6 and a safety were the only scores.

“CIF needs to be transparent and let the parents know how old these players are. If it makes sense for CIF to limit contact for safety, it makes sense to distinguish between boys and men…”

Denied a score on 4th down: Oaks Christian’s goal-line stand stopped Westlake from scoring a touchdown in the game. OC beat Westalke in the Marmonte League opener, 17-2.

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