Football: Blair at St. Margaret’s in Week 0?! Yup

No, that wasn’t a typo. Blair will be traveling to the deep south of Orange County where they’ll take on the defending back-to-back-to back CIF-Southern Section and CIF State champion St. Margaret’s. it’s hard to say why either school would agree to play this game. Sure, Maggies is in the small schools division but talent-wise one can argue the Tartans are the superior team. For answers we went straight to the source and asked Gary Parks, entering his second full season as the Vikings’ coach. He gives us a brief outlook of the season and what went into scheduling such a heavy weight to start the 2009 season.

From The Sidelines: I see St. Margaret’s is on your schedule. What is up with that?!?!?

Gary Parks: (Laughs) … We need to find out where our program is early. We’re returning eight lineman, our front is going to be averaging 6-foot-2, 275 pounds so we want to see what we’re doing early.

FTS: I can see the advantage Blair would have in playing a perennial powerhouse in St. Margaret’s, but what’s the advantage for St. Margaret’s playing Blair? Why would they agree?

Parks: Really, we chatted a bit and, yeah, there would be no advantage for them. It’s be a disadvantage for them because if we win the game it looks bad for them, but they want to see their team competing public schools.”

FTS: How did all this come about?

Parks: Pretty much I knew him through my ex coach and mentor, Lalo Mendoza. I was consulting with him and I told him we wanted to play a quality opponent and I was just asking him what he thought of St. Margaret’s. He said that would be a great game for us. They’re well-disciplined and well-coached. There’s no better coach. it would be good to go back and learn from our mistakes. I just got the number from Lalo and gave him a call and we talked about it. He mentioned to me he had some concerns because they’re a small school. I told him, ‘Coach, you’re back-to-back champions .. ‘ He called back a few days later and said we would play. This is going to be a one-year contract. We want to be able to establish ourselves as a top notch program. We want to be able to compete with whatever CIF offers; league, division championships and state championships. Our goal is to be competitive to claim those titles in the future.

FTS: Why so many road games to start the season?

Parks: We’re doing this because next year we’re getting our artificial surface. The plan is since we don’t make gate money at Pasadena City College, we’ll play on the road and have them play at our new field the following year so we get the gate money.

Here are some of the schedules we’ve received thus far. If you have any more give me a ring coaches. You know my digits:

BLAIR — Sept. 4 at St. Margaret’s; Sept. 12 at Don Bosco Tech; Sept. 25 at La Salle; Oct. 2 at Wilson; Oct. 9 at Brawley; Rio Hondo League action.

LA SALLE — Sept. 4 vs. Village Christian; Sept. 11 vs. Maranatha; Sept. 18 at San Marino; Sept. 25 vs. Blair; Oct. 2 at Monrovia; Oct. 9 at Temple City; Oct. 16 at Verbum Dei; Oct. 30 vs. Mary Star; Nov. 6 vs. Cantwell; Nov. 13. at Don Bosco Tech, 2 p.m. (All games 7 p.m. unless noted)

MARANATHA — Sept. 4 vs. Linfield Christian; Sept. 11 at La Salle; Sept. 18 Bye; Sept. 25 vs. Bakersfield Christian; Oct. 2 at Calvary Chapel Downey; Oct. 9 vs. Kilpatrick; Oct. 16 vs. Brentwood; Oct. 23 at Montclair Prep; Oct. 30 vs. Sierra Canyon; Nov. 6 at Marshall; Nov. 13 vs. Campbell Hall (All games 7 p.m.)

Maranatha football coach Joel Murphy wanted to schedule some local high schools for the upcoming season. He was unsuccessful, however.

“Because of their pre-existing contracts, our new league expansion, and inability to be flexible with some dates, it just didn’t seem to work out,” Murphy said. “That’s what you get when you’re the new kid on the block huh?

“Maybe next year we can get a game with a Rio Hondo or Pacific League school. Now, I’m not saying we’d win by any means, but it’d be good for us to start playing these guys.”

No, it wouldn’t be good. It would be AWESOME. But, again, what team would want to schedule a team like Maranatha. This is no knock on the Minutemen who advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section playoffs before losing to, um, yes, St. Margaret’s. I guess there would be no advantage for a team like, say, Monrovia, or Temple City, but starting with baby steps wouldn’t be bad. Try South Pasadena and La Canada.

For now, Murphy was able to schedule Bakersfield Christian. Not exactly a name that pops out, but look at their resume. Bakersfield Christian comes to town on Week 3. They are the back-to-back CIF Central Section champions. They went 12-1 last year with its only loss coming to Oaks Christian in Week 0.

“Needless to say,” Murphy said, “we’ve got our hands full with some big desert boys.”

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