Carpinteria’s Rick Candaele Still Going Strong After 49 Years of Coaching

The San Marcos girls volleyball team was represented at the press luncheon by, from left, Kelsey Warren, coach Tina Brown, Jenna MacFarlane and Sierra Palladino.


Rick Candaele is alive and kicking.

The Carpinteria football coach made that perfectly clear at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table’s first press luncheon of the 2017-18 school year and the start of the non-profit organization’s 50th anniversary.

“After taking this job, I got an email from one of the first guys I coached,” the exuberant Candaele shared with the luncheon audience at Harry’s Plaza Cafe. He said the former player congratulated him and went on to say. “ ‘I didn’t know you were still alive, I thought you were dead.’ He sent me a little smiling emoji and a couple of those action ones.”

Candaele is entering his 49th year of coaching football. He’s coached at the high school and college level, including UCSB as a club program and then a Division 3 team in the 1990s. He was Carpinteria’s defensive coordinator the last two years and accepted the head coaching position after Ben Hallock retired at the end of the  2016-17 school year.

He scouted Santa Ynez — Carpinteria’s first opponent —last Friday in its game against San Marcos and recognized that his team is in for a tough challenge on Friday night at home. The Pirates won 65-22.

“When I walked in the door, my wife said: ‘You look a little grayer.’” His response, as he rubbed his hand through his hair: “Is that possible?”

Candaele introduced his two quarterbacks, junior and “first starter” Vance Keiser and  sophomore and “second starter” Will Collins. Keiser stepped in and started after the first game last season and got the team to the playoffs.

“He started for us last year in about the third play of the first game, which is a surprise to all of us, and did just great,” Candaele said of Keiser.

Candaele converted the 6-5 Collins into a quarterback the moment Collins arrived at Carpinteria as a freshman last year.

With an undefeated record after Week Zero, Candaele cracked: “We haven’t played yet, so right now I’m at the peak of my popularity. Then it goes from there.”

On facing the 1-0 Pirates, he said: “We talk about competitive toughness and we’re certainly going to use that against Santa Ynez. When you play a good team, you have to compete harder and have to be a little tougher. We have that going for us.”

Here is a recap of the presentations from the coaches at the luncheon:

Bishop Diego: Assistant football coach Steve Robles said head coach Tom Crawford was happy with the overall play of the team, especially the offensive and defensive lines, after the 9-0 win over Desert Pines of Las Vegas, the Nevada Class 3A State Champions.

Seniors Isaiah Veal and John Harris were instrumental in the victory. Veal prevented a touchdown as he stripped the ball from a Desert Pines receiver at the 1-yard line and the Cardinals recovered. Later, he made a spectacular leaping, one-handed interception.

“Isaiah is coming back from a season-ending knee injury last season,” Robles explained. “He rehabbed very hard to get back where he is and on Friday it showed.”

Harris, the male athlete of the week, rushed for 232 yards and made key plays as a defensive end and safety.

“He made a critical fourth-and-1 stop in the fourth quarter, had an interception and had a great game running the ball,” Robles said. “What’s most important about John is he’s a complete team player.”

The Cardinals face another tough opponent this Friday as they travel to Arroyo Grande.

San Marcos: Coach Jason Fowle liked how his team “kept battling regardless of the score” in the loss at Santa Ynez. “We feel, despite the score, there are a lot of positives to build on moving forward,” he said. “We had good passing efficiency, our pass protection was good — we gave up zero sacks. We had better execution of the vertical passing game, we had a kick returned for touchdown, our punting was 35 yards net average. We’re excited to continue preparation for our first home game against Morro Bay.”

Fowle cited the play of receiver Luis Mesino and quarterback Jacob Villarreal. Mesino caught eight passes for 154 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown, and returned a kickoff 97 yards for a score.

“Luis is a dynamic player and we’re excited to continue to manufacture ways to get him the ball moving forward,” said Fowle.

On Villarreal: “He did a very good job managing the game like we asked him, stepping up and making some good throws,” said Fowle. The coach added that Villarreal’s footwork and quick release on his passes were keys to not getting sacked.

“The zero sack thing, Jacob was a big part of that, using his feet to get out of the pocket and make things happen,” said Fowle.

Santa Barbara: Coach JT Stone was concerned about the health of his junior quarterback Frankie Gamberdella after he took some big hits during Saturday’s exciting 25-21 loss against CIF-Southern Section Division 6 top-ranked Saugus.

“I called him Sunday morning and he said he was fine,” Stone said. “The kid played extremely well and his heart is humungous. He hung in there and almost brought us back to win.”

Dr. Frank Gamberdella visits with coaches Rick Candaele and Mike Warren at the first press luncheon of the 2017-18 school year.

Stone also praised the defense of junior Jacob Forney. “He made some key plays that turned the game around for us defensively.”

After trailing 18-7 at halftime, Stone said the team’s adjustments in the second made a huge difference in the game.

“We walked away with our heads held high. We competed against a very good football team,” he said.

The Dons (0-1) face a 1-0 Santa Maria team on Friday night at La Playa Stadium. The Dons lost to the Saints last year.

“That’s a feisty Santa Maria team,” Stone said. “They’re getting better every single year.”

Dos Pueblos: Coach Nate Mendoza said the interception returned for a touchdown by lineman Justin Padilla in the 29-26 loss to Division 4 No. 2-ranked San Juan Hills was “the best play I’ve seen by a defensive lineman make at DP in the 10 years I’ve been there.

“He picked up a fumble, ran it back 70 yards, outran skilled players on the other team and stiff-armed their quarterback at the 10-yard line and got in. He was not going to be denied that end zone. Justin was all over the place all night long.”

Daniel Arzate also shined on defense for the Chargers, with two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.

Five turnovers doomed DP in the game.

“We’re definitely going to clean that up this week,” said Mendoza.

He praised Mason Boelter for filling in at punter for Rob Alfaro, who suffered a leg injury in a non-contact drill in practice.

“He had never punted before,” said Mendoza.

Alfaro, also a starting running back, is out for Friday’s game against Cabrillo, the coach reported.

SBCC: Jerry Hickson was named the Vaqueros’ starting quarterback for the season opener against state fifth-ranked Ventura on Saturday at La Playa Stadium, sports information specialist Dave Loveton reported. Hickson is the all-time career passing leader for western New York high schools with 7,610 yards.

Among the players competing for the starting quarterback job were locals Kellen Roberts (Dos Pueblos) and Jeremiah Nicholson (Santa Barbara) and Josh Evans, the brother of former SBCC quarterback Jerad Evans.

The Vaqueros return 30 players from a team that went 7-4 and play in a bowl game last season. Demetrius Vincent and Manny Nwosu (Dos Pueblos) return at running back. They helped SBCC set school records for rushing yards and touchdowns.


Laguna Blanca: Coach Jason Donnelly returns most of his team that reached the CIF-SS semifinals last season and won the CIF-SS title two years ago. Among them is Laurel Kujan, a USC commit for beach volleyball.

“She creates match-up problems for our opponents,” Donnelly said. “She is extremely athletic, one of the best athletes I’ve coached. We have her playing pretty much every position on the court except setter to try and move her around to make life miserable for out opponents.”

Donnelly gave props to his assistant Kat Niksto, who also is director of the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club.

“She’s affecting the lives of kids across the board,” Donnelly said. “I was her coach and it’s so fun to see her now as a coach, a mom, a leader.”

San Marcos: “We have a really exciting team this year,” said Tina Brown, who is co-coaching the Royals with Dwayne Hauschild for the second year. “We have 15 players on our roster, with 10 returners. It’s a great environment in our gym, so we’re hoping to carry it through all our games.”

Brown introduced her three senior captains: Kelsey Warren, Sierra Palladino and Jenna MacFarlane. She said Warren can do a lot of different things on the court is a good role model for the younger players coming into the program.

Palladino, a standout soccer player, and MacFarlane are the leading attackers for the Royals.

San Marcos is at Oxnard on Tuesday and plays its home opener on Thursday against Moorpark.

Santa Barbara: Chad Arneson made his luncheon debut as the girls coach. He brought his three captains: Linnea Skinner, Erika Foreman and Izzy Mallet. He said the three embody the three C’s that make for a good captain: caring, courageous and consistency.

The versatile Skinner plays setter, middle and opposite. She’s committed to play beach volleyball for coach and Olympic gold medalist Todd Rogers at Cal Poly. Foreman, a “AAA” player on the beach, is a versatile, hard working player and Mallet is “lightning and a firecracker at libero,” said Arneson.

The Dons play their home opener Tuesday against Thousand Oaks.

Dos Pueblos: Middle Ally Mintzer and outside hitter Katelyn Mires have led first-year coach Megan O’Carroll’s Chargers in their first two matches, sweeps over Santa Ynez and Royal, reported athletic director Dan Feldhaus.

“The offense is running through these two girls,” he said.

Mires is the granddaughter of Dick Mires, who coached DP to its first league football title in 1972 and served as the school’s athletic director.

Bishop Diego: Seniors Anna Coronado and Tiana Molony are key returnees for the Cardinals, who open their season at the Providence Tournament on Saturday.

Coronado’s “calming presence and game-time focus” is a big plus,” said assistant athletic director Mike Cano, reporting for coach John Sener. She will be sharing time at outside hitter and opposite.

Molony “has the talent to be a real force out of the middle for us,” said Cano,

Providence: Athletic director Steve Stokes said returning player Maggie Coffin is one of the big hitters on the team and Kylie Brown is back at libero after taking a year away from the sport.

The Patriots host a tournament at Westmont on Saturday.


Westmont: The Warriors took a hit when returning NAIA All-American Taylor Beckman suffered a bruised bone in her knee when two off-leash bulldogs ran into her leg while at East Beach. She’s out 3-5 weeks, coach Patti Cook reported.

“Needless to say, I’m now a big advocate of keeping your dogs on their leash at the beach,” said Cook.

In Beckman’s absence, freshmen Hali Galloway and Brooklynn Cheney have picked up their games and are getting the job done.

Junior captain Samantha Neely has been a difference maker for the No. 7 Warriors, who are off to a 7-1 start. “Sam has been a beast on the right side,” Cook said. “Teams have not found an answer for her offense and block, largely due in part to her high vertical and 6-2 wing span.”

Neely, a kinesiology major, is also helping the team by doing a lot of ankle taping, Cook added.

The Warriors play Antelope Valley University on Tuesday at home at 7 p.m.


Westmont men: The Warriors lost center midfielder Augie Andrade to a knee injury during their 3-0 season-opening loss to strong Cal State San Bernardino team, reported assistant coach Tovi Eliasen.

“He’s our engine,” Eliasen said. “We lost him in the game against San Bernardino, which factors in how that game ended. We’re hoping his knee ligament injury is going to be minimal. He’s a fantastic player.”

Westmont women: Coach Chantel Cappuccelli felt like mom on the first day of school.

“We’ve been in preseason training camp for the last few weeks and Westmont started school today, so I feel like I’ve sent my kids off to school and have had a little moment to breathe,” she cracked.

The Warriors (3-0) face a tough test Tuesday, hosting top-ranked and defending NAIA national champion University of Northwest Ohio at Thorrington Field at 4 p.m.

“They beat us in the national tournament and went on to win the whole thing,” said Cappuccelli.

Note: The press luncheon takes next Monday off for Labor Day.

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