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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
November 20, 2009     The Catalina Islander
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November 20, 2009

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.. ld tm,~. .... i./~lLlllt~,.r.II ....... .ial.,.~._ Page 6 The CATALINA ISLANDER Friday, November 20, 2009 I Y BY JON COUNCIL I got out of bed very early this past Saturday morning, Nov. 14. It wasn't much of a challenge, as I hadn't slept throughout most of the night. Grabbing a leash I whispered to my two-year old Labrador, "Ramah, let' s go.~' He'd slept well but didn't have any problem coming out of his slumber to go for a walk, he never has any trouble like that. Where we were headed was only a half-block away, a simple plot of ground set aside years ago for the Chicago Cubs of old, and now transformed into what is locally known as the Field of Dreams. the twiliglrt ,: hours the place still, quiet and serene. The d w-dampened grass made barely a sound under our feet while we made our way to one of the bleacher stands set up near the painted sideline., I needed to take a seat and think about how to write this article. Sitting in the silence, it occurred to me that the peaceful Jon Council Assistant coach serenity was in surreal contrast to the events that occurred in that very place less than 24 hours prior. The day before, the Express League title~ holders Avalon Lancer football team had hosted Public Safety Academy, the Majestic League Champs in the first round of C.I.F. playoffs. The atmosphere surrounding the field then Was one of antici- pation and excitement so thick that you needed to push through it almost as if you were wading through waist deep snow. Hundreds of people had gathered in support of "Their" team as the Lancers took the field, and what transpired was something so inspiring that I struggle with my vocabulary to describe it ,with justice. November. 20 Throu November.26 1 IN CINLMAS NOVI~It'ff?R ~ Shows Nightly at 7:00 Fri & Sat 9:00 pm Rated PG For More Information Call 310-510-0179 One highlight to this season is that the 5'-8", 240 lb. Sophomore, Rafael Olvera, seen here busting through the defensive line in Friday's loss to Public Safety Academy, will 10e returning for two more years. I thought about citing the sta- tistics, the yards, tackles, and other game-worthy snippets of informa- tion. Yet, if I focused on things like that, then I would be ignoring the real wonderment of what I and the'crowd had been treated to witnessing. You didn't have to be a foo ball fan to appreciate what the Lancers had done on Friday, you only needed to be a fan of the human spirit to enjoy the game. I let my mind wander back to a time several months before when a group of young high school stu- dents gathered on the same ground as they embarked upon a dream to create a football team that would be something more than a joke in the Express league. After all. nearly every bit of athletic talent associated with their program had graduated last June,oleaving voids in the line,- up to be filled by sophomores, j uniors, and even the unthinkable ... by freshmen! Some of the younger players had never even worn a football uniform, leaving them to ask the m0zt cmbarrassin8 rookie ques- tions oall, like "which pads go in what sleeve or pocket?!' When it comes down to lack of knowledge of such basic funda- mentals, .then concepts like defen- sive alignments, responsibilities of zone coverage areas or imple- menting offensive strategies are as foreign as distant galaxies! With, less than a handful of returning seniors to help lead the way, the Lancers also had to cope with the reality of a shift in the head coaching position when Kenny Harrell took over the job from Earl Schrader. New ways of doing things, new types of practice drills, new types of plays etc.. etc.--the ingredients were all there to poten- tially produce a dismal seasonal showing on a monumental scale. Instead the Lancers found a way to succeed, to win and somehow they found a way to not just get by, but to dominate opponents throughout their unlikely '09 season. How they went about find- mg their success was also just as basic, they worked for it and they never quit trying. So when Friday's playoff ame kicked off the Lancers approached it with the same atti- tude that got them there to begin with. Despite the nearly devastat- ing absence of Running-Back Brian Ramirez, out with a thigh injury, and the additional loss of Running-Back Carlos Cisneros, who pulled a hamstring muscle on the ;very first play from scrim- mage, the Lancers made adjust- ments and were able to manage a back and forth scoring battle with Public Safety the entire game. The cultural heritage of the game of football is steeped in traditions. Probably most note- worthy of those traditions is the fact that the character of the teams which find success each season all share one common denominator, and that is the sheer will to fight through adversity, to stand strong and composed when the odds are stacked against them. Success is sometimes mea- sured in ways never seen on a scoreboard---it can be measured in the eyes or-those who refuse to give in or give up. When Carlos Cisneros lay on the sideline stretching his injured Football, Page 8