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Seeking a very public revenge

Posted: December 2, 2008 10:19 p.m.
Updated: December 3, 2008 4:55 a.m.
 
They seethed more privately than publicly.

And privately, they have another motivation this weekend or next.

Three teams can strike a blow for public schools during the remainder of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division football playoffs.

Two of those teams are local - Saugus and Valencia. The third is Moorpark.

Saugus head coach Jason Bornn was one of the more vocal people prior to this season regarding private high schools and suspicions of their alleged recruitment.

He, along with Canyon High head coach Chris Varner, voiced displeasure over the increasing number of public high school football players leaving for private high schools.

There's a young man in Colorado who helped spark all of this.

He probably didn't know it would have happened.

After all, Darrell Scott was probably just looking out for his best interests.

But in the summer of 2007, he and people close to him shopped the current University of Colorado running back around.

He was even shopped to Hart High, the very school he would drive a stake through months later in the 2007 CIF-Southern Section Northern Division football championship as a star for St. Bonaventure of Ventura.

Afterward, he was punished -sort of.

Though he was arguably the best player in the CIF-Southern Section, the Ventura County Football Association left him off last year's all-county first team as a late protest of his transfer from Moorpark to St. Bonaventure.

Coaches began to look at St. Bonaventure and schools like it - private schools - in a different light.

Complaints were lodged to the media and even to the CIF-Southern Section about the fairness of transfers and how private schools were seen as raiding public schools of their talent.

In 2006, Scott, with universities already drooling over his potential and prepared to make offers, played for public school Moorpark in the division championship against Canyon.

Talk had already swirled about a Scott departure because Moorpark was losing integral parts of its offensive line.
When the transfer happened, it certainly drew the ire of many Northern Division coaches, but it truly didn't get under the craw of Santa Clarita's coaches until after the Northern Division title game, when St. Bonaventure disposed of Hart.

Adding more fuel to the fire was Alemany football's hunger to grow.

A handful of kids from the Santa Clarita Valley have already been playing football for the Warriors, but things stirred up when a Castaic area coach brought a group of youth football players to Alemany for an informational meeting early this year.

That and other actions prompted the Foothill League coaches to make a stand.

Varner removed all private schools from his team's schedule.

Bornn said he would follow suit.

The issue has died down a bit as the focus has returned to the football field.

Yet private schools are displaying their power.

Alemany is in the Western Division semifinals.

Another private school, Oaks Christian (which one coach jokingly dubbed at the CIF-Southern Section luncheon two years ago as "Oaks College"), is in the Northwest Division semifinals.

Saugus plays St. Bonaventure on Saturday - the same team that knocked the Centurions out of the playoffs last season.

The Centurions were nearly affected before the 2006 season when star running back Ryan Zirbel planned to transfer to Alemany. It never happened.

Revenge isn't first and foremost on the Centurions' minds, but in some way, a victory would make a statement - win with what you get, not with what you go out and get.

Should Saugus fail to make the statement, Valencia or Moorpark could.

Of course, there would be irony with a Moorpark victory.
Nonetheless, a victory would be the same statement - a very public statement.

Cary Osborne is The Signal's sports editor. He can be reached at cosborne@the-signal.com. His column reflects his views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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