Some things I know and don’t know about St. Margaret’s of San Juan Capistrano, Bishop Union of Bishop and CIF-Southern Section Toyota Football Championships:
* Despite repeated pleas from the CIF-SS office about contractual obligations, I appear to be the only media person in Southern California who uses “Toyota” in the playoff phrasing.
* This despite the fact that the only Toyota vehicle I’ve owned caught fire in the middle of the night (fire and sheriff investigators concluded it was not arson).
* I loved that Toyota, best small truck I ever drove or had to hose down.
* When Sierra Wave covered the Mammoth High at St. Margaret’s season-opening game in 2008, everyone I dealt with at St. Margaret’s was extremely helpful and nice, from head coach Harry Welch to the fans to the people at the concession stand.
* If you’ve got a few minutes, a Google search of Harry Welch is very interesting. He’s obviously a great coach – five section titles while at Canyon High (Canyon Country), a 46-game win streak, a victory over NorCal powerhouse De La Salle (Concord) in the inaugural CIF State Division 1 Bowl Game in 2006, two section titles in his first two years at St. Margaret’s – but, like all great people (Tiger, I’m looking at you), not everyone agrees with all of his “antics.”
* Harry Welch has been nothing but a class act and a complete gentleman when dealing with me, a nobody from little ol’ Bishop and Mammoth. He returned both phone calls promptly and talked to me as long as I needed. I can’t say that about every coach, even some local ones.
* St. Margaret’s beat Mammoth 69-0 last season. Yes, it was as painful as that score looks. It could have been 100-0 (sorry, Huskies).
* Tuition for the high school at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School is $21,050 a school year, according to the school website. I believe tuition at Bishop Union is close to, uh, free.
* A St. Margaret’s booster flew two cameramen to the Eastern Sierra Regional Airport in a jet so they could get game video of the Fillmore-Bishop game last Friday.
* When I talked to Bishop coach Bill Egan about 45 minutes after the Broncos’ 29-0 victory over the Flashes, he had just finished … sweeping the Bishop locker room floor.
* Egan, while enjoying the difference between Bishop and St. Margaret’s: “They have more coaches than we have players.”
* I do remember being very impressed with the many – and nattily outfitted – Tartan staff.
* One of the St. Margaret’s camera operators bemoaned the lack of a taxi (!) at the airport, so he paid $50 for a two-mile ride into town. (Note to self: I’ve got to hang out at the airport more often.)
* This was the same camera guy I had to chastise three times for talking too loudly to a fetching young woman (who I never once saw look at the field) while they were standing right next to our Sierra Wave TV set-up atop the WORKING press box at John Schwab Field.
* I believe my most cutting line was, “Hey, this ain’t a bar!”
* My press box creed: If you’re not talking about the game, just shut the heck up for two hours.
* Media outlets – especially in Southern California – refer to Bishop as Bishop Union because there’s also Bishop Diego, Bishop Montgomery, Bishop Conaty-Loretto and Bishop Amat in the CIF-Southern Section alone.
* Reading blogs over the last couple of years from the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register, some of their sportswriters appear to be big babies when it comes to traveling more than a half-hour for a game.
* I’ll pause here while Bishop, Mammoth, Lee Vining, Big Pine, Owens Valley and Lone Pine high school players, coaches, parents and fans stop laughing/crying out loud.
* The OC Register does a great job covering high school sports. Here’s some of their notes on Bishop (from ocvarsity.com):
“Where is Bishop Union High? I know where Bishop Montgomery is, and I know where Redondo Union is. But Bishop Union?
“In case you’re wondering, Bishop Union is located at 301 N. Fowler St. in Bishop. (According to Mapquest, it takes 4 hours and 45 minutes to travel from our offices in Santa Ana to Bishop Union High. And, yes, that is one way.)
“I bring this up because somebody on our staff has to make that journey for St. Margaret’s playoff game against Bishop Union a week from today in the East Valley Division semifinals.
“I think we should send Carlos Arias.”
Carlos Arias didn’t write that.
And this from noted, longtime prep writer Steve Fryer:
“It’s not exactly San Juan Capistrano
“St. Margaret’s plays its East Valley Division semifinal Saturday, at 7 p.m., at Bishop. That’s 304 miles from St. Margaret’s campus in San Juan Capistrano. Bishop’s elevation is 4,147 feet, and it’s in the Owens Valley, on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. It’s a nice town, a familiar pit stop for anybody heading up to the high country of Yosemite or nearby trout-fishing environs. The overnight low Saturday is forecast to be 24 degrees. Oh, and it’s also known as The Mule Capital of the World.”
* Myself, as a Bishop resident, I just love a back-handed compliment or two.
* San Juan Capistrano has a beautiful, historic mission.
* Bishop also has a beautiful, historic mission: Beating St. Margaret’s.