Moropoulos, Uyesaka try to keep a positive outlook at 0-7

Santa Barbara High's Megan Grant, left, and Madison Hale were named co-athletes of the week.

SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos and Dos Pueblos coach Jeff Uyesaka have something to commiserate about — both of their football teams have 0-7 records.

Moropoulos and his Vaqueros suffered another blow in Saturday’s loss against L.A. Pierce when they learned that defensive star Manny Hernandez suffered a fractured ankle near the end of the game and would be lost for the rest of the season.

Moropoulos announced the bad news at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.

“It’s tough,” Moropoulos said of the season. “I was thinking back over the weekend, ‘When I took this job, did they tell me it was going to be easy?’ I don’t remember that. I don’t think they did. They told me it was going to be a challenge and it is.”

Moropoulos said size mattered in the Pierce game.

“In this game against Pierce, we have a defensive tackle that is 5-10, 250, which isn’t bad size. But he’s playing against a guy that’s 6-8, 355.”

Uyesaka admitted he’s never been a big fan of statistics, but one of his assistant coaches told him to check out the records of their opponents.

“Of the seven teams we played, three are still undefeated in the sixth and seventh week of the year, and their combined record is 40 wins and 6 losses,” he said. “I really hate this because we’ve lost more games than they’ve lost all together.”

Despite the winless mark, the Chargers have something to shoot for, Uyesaka noted. “We still have a chance to make the playoffs, we still have a shot to be city champs. “So, we’re going to get after it, to make our school and our alumni proud.

“And, if you need any further comments, coach Moropoulos and I will be at the bar.”

Uyesaka’s deadpanned quip brought the house down at Harry’s.

Other luncheon highlights:

—Dave Sampson was honored as the Special Olympics Athlete of the Month. Sampson was recognized for his play on the soccer field. He plays for Santa Barbara United, which he helped earn the bronze medal at the recent North County Special Olympics Games in Santa Maria.

“You should seem him fly,” soccer coach Brian Goodell said of Sampson, who is a multi-sport athlete for Special Olympics. “We’re very lucky to have him.”

Alex Rodriguez

Carpinteria football player Alex Rodriguez was named male Athlete of the Week.

—The Santa Barbara tennis doubles team of Madison Hale and Megan Grant were honored as female Athletes of the Week. They won all three sets in the Dons’ upset victory over previously undefeated Peninsula, the No. 3 team in CIF Division 1 and handed Peninsula’s top doubles team its first loss of the season.

Alex Rodriguez of Carpinteria football was the male Athlete of the Week. He rushed for 190 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Warriors to a 40-14 win at Fillmore in their Tri-Valley League football opener last Friday.

—San Marcos football coach Dale Perizzolo is looking forward to Friday’s Big Game against Santa Barbara on the Royals’ new turf field.

“Santa Barbara likes to run,” he noted. “We’re going to make some adjustments to try and stop that.”

He is well aware of Santa Barbara’s talented sophomore running back Cheroke Cunningham. And, he’s also aware of the unpredictability that comes in a crosstown rivalry game.

“You never know how that game is going to end up when all the kids come pumped up for that one,” he said.

—Talk about unpredictability. UCSB volleyball assistant Leon Blazer compared playing in five-set matches to a soccer shootout and a playoff hole in golf. “They can go either way.”

The Gauchos are coming off back-to-back five-set losses to Cal Poly and UC Riverside, and Blazer said seven of their last 10 matches have gone the distance.

He said the team has two huge home matches this week against Cal State Fullerton on Friday and Long Beach State on Saturday.

The Gauchos are tied with Fullerton for second place in the Big West and Long Beach is first.

—Aaron Solis, speaking for San Marcos golf coach Shawn Ricci, said the Channel League individual tournament is on Tuesday and Wednesday at Soule Park in Ojai. He added that Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos will compete in the CIF Northern Regional at Soule Park on Oct. 26, and the CIF Southern Section finals are at the Alisal River Course in Solvang on Nov. 3.

—UCSB women’s soccer coach Paul Stumpf said he hopes Sunday night’s 2-0 win over UC Riverside will be a turning point for his team. The win came on Breast Cancer Awareness Night at Harder Stadium.

“I want to remind everybody to keep it in your consciousness as you go forward,” said Stumpf, who noted the women’s soccer program has had personal experiences with breast cancer.

—Santa Barbara girls volleyball coach John Gannon said his team will be hosting a Breast Cancer Awareness Night when it plays against San Marcos on Wednesday, Oct. 26. It also will be the Dons’ Senior Night.

Gannon said the Dons got in 17 sets of volleyball in less than 24 hours at last weekend’s California Challenge in San Diego.

Santa Barbara previously had played only four matches in four weeks.

“We got what we wished for,” said Gannon.

—Because of homecoming festivities, Dos Pueblos took a trimmed-down roster to the California Challenge. Coach Todd Garrett said, “It was fun to see other girls step up. We realized some things I’d never seen before. We had a fun time.”

—Bishop Diego volleyball coach Jason Donnelly said he was proud how his players kept their focus on the court during the school’s Spirit Week.

He said the team is aiming to make the playoffs. The Cardinals have two key matches this week against Oak Park on the road and at home against TVL-leading Oaks Christian.

“We’re sitting in third place and that’s where we wanted to be,” Donnelly said. “The girls said they wanted to go to the playoffs and I told them I’d do what I could do to get them there. But they had to play.”

—Westmont sports information director Ron Smith announced the Warrior women’s basketball team was picked to finish second and the men’s team was voted fifth in the GSAC coaches’ polls.

—Tom Crawford, Bishop Diego’s football coach invited anybody who is free Wednesday morning to come out to the team’s football practice at 5:45 a.m.

The Cardinals are practicing that early because the junior class is going on a retreat later that morning and won’t return to school until Thursday afternoon.

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