Marquez helps fuel Foothill to team title
By: ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year was a long time ago, as far as Foothill senior Nick Marquez is concerned, and he's wrestling like it.
Marquez, a qualifier for the CIF State Wrestling Championships as a sophomore but a tough-luck loser at the Yosemite Divisional last year, got back on the road to state with a dominant performance at 120 pounds in the Southeast Yosemite League championships.
"I have to give everything I've got; it's my last year now," Marquez said after pinning East's Issak Jacinto in the 120-pound final. "I have to leave everything on the mat and have no regrets."
Marquez said he's over last year, when he led a consolation match against Madera's Miguel Ruiz at the Yosemite Divisional when Ruiz caught him in a cradle and pinned him, ending his season two weeks before the state tournament.
"It doesn't bother me as much as before," Marquez said.
"My goal this year is to place at state, so I've got to keep going."
Marquez gets another shot at the Yosemite Divisional next weekend at Madera South, as do 11 other Trojans who finished in the top three of their weight class.
Foothill won its third straight SEYL team championship, scoring 233.5 points to second-place East's 178.
"It's good for the program, especially because we won with JV and varsity," Trojans coach Brad Hull said.
"It's become a tradition, and we kind of expect them to perform well. You don't want to be the team to lose it."
Hull figures several of his wrestlers have a chance to make it out of the Yosemite Divisional and into the Central Section Masters the following Saturday at Visalia-Mount Whitney, including Fern Perez (106), Marco Velasquez (113), Brandon Palafox (145) and Oscar Corona (152), all of whom won by either technical fall or pin in their league championship. Pedro Lora pulled off a five-point move in the final seconds to beat North's Rodney Horton in the 170-pound final, and Chris Guillen won at 220 to give the Trojans seven champions in the 14 weight classes.
They'll have to finish in the top eight next week to keep their seasons alive.
"Next week, that's the one that will drive me crazy," Hull said. "We're right there in so many weights, but it's a nerve-racking week. It's always in the back of your mind, that something could happen like it happened to Nick last year."
Marquez was the meet's outstanding lowerweight wrestler; Tehachapi 182-pounder Dillon Harroun won the award for the upperweights.
Three other Warriors won championships in their first year in the league: Klayton Duxbury (132), Jacob Gamble (138) and Zachary Allen (160).
Other individual champions were East's Adam Bracamonte at 126, North's Kevin Mello at 195 and North's Mark Guerrero at heavyweight.
Former Foothill coach honored as Trojans notch victory
BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
The place where he spent the happiest moments of his life is now named after him. Foothill High's home field is now Ned Permenter Stadium.
At halftime of the Trojans' 34-20 Southeast Yosemite League victory over East on Saturday afternoon, the former long-time former Foothill coach was honored during a 30-plus minute ceremony in which the stadium's new name was unveiled.
Former Foothill football coach Ned Permenter hugs Joey Porter after Porter spoke during the halftime ceremony in which Foothill's football stadium was named after Permenter.
Foothill's Destin Penn tries to push away East Bakersfield's Jose Lopez during the game at the newly named Ned Permenter Stadium at Foothill High School on Saturday.
The sign stating the new name of the Foothill football stadium is unveiled during a halftime ceremony on Saturday.
Permenter stood at the 50-yard line with his wife and listened as several of his former players talked about how much of an impact he had on them both on the football field and in life.
Then Foothill principal Brenda Lewis made the formal announcement regarding the stadium being named for Permenter to the delight of a packed home side of the grandstands.
At the conclusion of her remarks, Permenter was given a replica of Foothill's new-look scoreboard, with "Ned Permenter Stadium" painted at the bottom.
"This is like a dream come true," Permenter said when asked about the honor. "It's something that you don't even dream about or think it's going to happen in your life. ... I'm just humbled and appreciative that I'm able to enjoy it today with family and friends and former players.'
Permenter racked up the third-most wins (220) in Central Section history as Foothill's football coach from 1965-2001.
"This is my home," Permenter said. "This is where I wanted to be."
Former Foothill player and long-time team physician Dr. William Baker, along with two of Permenter's other former players, Jim Wooster and Joey Porter, spoke prior to Permenter taking the microphone.
"They don't make coaches like (him) anymore," Porter said afterward. "These coaches today, they're at jobs for two or three years and then they're on to the next school. I had long talks with coach Permenter about why he (stayed here so long). He loved Foothill."
The game between East and Foothill was part of Foothill 's 50th anniversary celebration, which also featured several other events around the school’s campus prior to kickoff.
Foothill’s football team made sure to keep the all-day party going by downing the Blades on the strength of Brandon Fanning’s rushing ability and the all-around talent of Destin Penn.
Fanning had 32 carries for 222 yards and three touchdowns while Penn had three interceptions, one touchdown catch, and a blocked PAT attempt.
“Our kids played tough today,” Foothill coach Mike Gregg said. “It was a real special day for Ned Permenter and I’m glad we could atleast come away with a victory for him on this day that was all for him.”
Montel Littles added two interceptions for Foothill (3-4, 2-0 SEYL), which after watching East storm back from an early 13-0 deficit to tie the game, pulled ahead for good late in the first half on Penn’s 4-yard touchdown grab from Alfonso Orozco.
Fanning, who came into the game with 853 rushing yards, went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season with a spectacular 41-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. He added a 20-yard rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter that put Foothill up 34-13.
“Every down I was trying to get every yard I could,” Fanning said. “Just keep my feet moving. Like coach always tells me, keep them moving and don’t let anybody take (you) down.”
The win was the first at home for Foothill, which didn’t want to disappoint its supporters, including the game’s guest of honor.
“We’ve been talking about it all week,” Gregg said, regarding the importance of winning on the day the stadium was renamed for Permenter. “It was a real important deal for us this week. It really was. It’s a great thing they did for Ned. He’s a great person. I know him personally and I’m sure happy we were able do this for him today.”
East (0-7, 0-2 SEYL) had just 195 yards of total offense and was hurt badly by the five interceptions thrown by its two quarterbacks.
After thwarting the Blades first drive by picking off a pass by Blake Sherman, Penn snared his second interception of the game on East’s next possession, returning it 55 yards for a touchdown.
Penn intercepted Sherman a third time early in the fourth quarter. The senior wide receiver/defensive back also had three catches on offense for 51 yards.
“It was a team effort, but I saw a few ball come my way and I took advantage of it,” Penn said.
East’s most effective offensive weapon was wide receiver Tevin Beasley. He had four receptions for 63 yards, including a pair touchdowns.
“I tell you what, it’s real hard to play on Ned Permenter Day,” East coach Dave Thorp said. “This guy is a legend and these guys are jacked up and you got Joey (Porter) here. It’s tough.”
By Herb Benham
If you want to know the exact moment Foothill High School came of age, call the legendary coach Ned Permenter and ask him to run film of one of the greatest upsets in South Yosemite League history: The 1965 football classic that saw the Trojans beat the seemingly invincible BHS Drillers, 12-9.
Think I'm exaggerating? Consider the facts:
Foothill High School's 50th Anniversary Gala
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 13
Where: Foothill High, 501 Park Drive
Admission: $30, which includes a commemorative gift, entertainment, lunch and the football game. Children 12 and under, $15. Tickets day of are $35 and $17.
Information: 717-7764 or foothill50th.com
BHS had nearly three-quarters of a century of football under its belt, had won 27 in a row, was one of the top-ranked schools in the state and had there been national rankings, it probably would have cracked those, too. The Drillers had a glittering array of stars, topped by the great Pat Skrable, back of the year, and lineman of the year Pat Preston. They could pass, run, tackle and serve the popcorn, too.
They had just built the school three years earlier, in 1962. The cement wasn't even dry yet. This was east of all known civilization. Fine dining was the A&W, and a good time was playing hide and seek in the orange orchards.
"It was like the last frontier," said Teri Jones, class of '66. "Next stop was Breckenridge and Lake Isabella."
Sure, Foothill had a plucky new head coach in Ned Permenter and players like Jimmy Thompson,
John Ackerley, Charlie Harris, Frank Provensal, Joe Padilla and Tim Hartnett. But we're talking about the mighty Drillers here, not Jawbone Canyon High School.
BHS was Griffith Field and Paul Briggs. Foothill was Harvel Pollard, the first football coach, who delivered rusty old weight sets to Foothill neighborhoods so players could work out in the summer.
"Ned would pick up a load of used shoes from SC so that every player had something to wear," Pollard said.
"He had a shoe store in the back of his truck."
Foothill outplayed, outfought and outlasted the Drillers. The game ended when the Trojans' Steve Johnson intercepted a pass in the end zone after the Drillers had marched to the Trojans' 6-yard line.
Foothill, according to many, was born that evening.
That game -- and countless other examples of Foothill's excellence -- will be remembered among generations of Trojan alumni at a gala celebrating Foothill's 50th anniversary Oct. 13 at the school.
Almost every high school feels as if it's underestimated and underappreciated. With Foothill, that might actually be the case.
Part of its mystery is the location. Foothill is a destination resort without the resort. Unless you are planning to go there, it's unlikely you will drive by the school, bounded by Park Drive to the west, Morning Drive to the east, Mills Drive to the south and Pioneer Drive to the north.
Foothill, however, has never been a joke, nor a throwaway school. Then-teacher (and future principal) Joe Thompson remembers starting school in 1962. Foothill had air conditioning, tinted glass, hybrid grass and a futuristic feel. The wood shop and lecture center had yet to be built.
The student body (around 1,000 students, Thompson estimated) came from the Country Club area, the neighborhoods south of Panorama, east of Mount Vernon, south of Niles and east of Oswell, and consisted mostly of upper middle- class kids. The student population was reflective of Bakersfield then: a mix of rich and poor white kids and Hispanics from south of Edison.
By the time Kern County Supervisor Mike Maggard attended -- 1970-1974 -- the country had changed and so had Foothill. The world was rougher, louder and seemed to make less sense. Still, Maggard regards the Foothill experience fondly.
"The staff was extraordinary with teachers like Harry Love and Marilyn-Wertz Sullivan," Maggard said. "Integration threw people together and created a great atmosphere. It changed my perspective on how I saw the world."
Before the school opened, soon-to-be superintendent John Eckhardt scoured the Midwest and East Coast armed with brochures featuring palm trees, blue skies and snow-capped mountains. He recruited an impressive crop of young teachers fresh out of college. They came from Cornell, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Marquette, Iowa, Indiana University, Tufts, Drake, Purdue, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA.
"The teachers were unbelievable," Jones said. "I'd put my high school teachers against the teachers I had in college."
Dr. Gerald Hedden, the first principal, insisted the staff wear coats and ties. Football coach Permenter, who taught PE, remembers having to change out of his PE uniform into a coat and tie four or five times a day in order to walk across campus.
Students counted themselves lucky -- or should have. Along with tip-top academics, Foothill had Peg Pauley, one of Bakersfield's finest directors and drama teachers. Earning a letter in fine arts rivaled one in sports.
Although many students were sure they were going to die during the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962 and mourned the death of John F. Kennedy in 1963, the early days at Foothill were peaceful.
"This was pre-Vietnam, pre-civil rights and pre-free love," Thompson said. "Everybody got along pretty well."
Sonny & Cher performed for the 1965 senior party at the Bakersfield Country Club. "I Got You Babe" had just been released. In 1966, the graduating seniors went to Disneyland.
Over the years, Foothill has graduated an impressive bunch of students, including Maggard, coach Tim Hartnett, future principals -- David Reese, Connie Sack, Lee Vasquez and Joe Thompson -- educator Jim Wooster, architect Chris Addington, former police chief Steve Brummer, Dr. Bill Baker, Dr. John Alexander, Drs. Stephen and Mark Newbrough, Judge Sharon Mettler, accountant Ted Pierce, attorney Pat Osborne, educator Cathie Thompson and radio personality Scott Cox.
Be true to your school
Foothill has engendered loyalty. Ned Permenter coached for 40 years, and his assistant, Bobby Ezell, hung in for 38 years.
Standout administrator Don St. Clair was there for close to 30 years. English teacher Elaine Conley spent her entire career at Foothill. Ted Oliver and Bill Moore were mainstays.
Rita Monclova, Lynda Pennington, Kathy Smith, Greg Smith, Jan Graves and Teresa Hutson have been part of the staff for more than 30 years.
Foothill has changed without sacrificing its family feeling, said Principal Brenda Lewis.
The school has around 2,000 students; 82 percent are Hispanic, 11.6 white and 4 percent black.
"New teachers and substitutes have expressed to me how polite our students are," Lewis said.
In honor of Foothill's 50th, Permenter has made a DVD of the big game in 1965 between BHS and Foothill.
It was no more just a football game than Foothill is just a high school. Inside
Scott Cox (class of 1982) recalls his Foothill High School daze. D6
Thursday, Mar 01 2012 09:16 PM
BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer
Wrestling coaches are fond of saying that it's an accomplishment just to get to the CIF State Championships: Only 40 make it at each weight out of some 800 school with wrestling programs in California.
For some, though, hearing their name called at Rabobank Arena this weekend means even more. Take Oscar Corona, a Foothill junior who had a goal of reaching the state meet this year.
That is, he had that goal before the school year, before his vision went blurry and he had trouble looking into light. Corona was diagnosed with a detatched retina and required surgery that kept him all but bed-ridden for six weeks and into the start of wrestling season.
"We thought his whole season was down the drain," Oscar Corona, Sr. said of his son. "He had to lay on his stomach for 45 minutes out of every hour for three weeks. But he busted his way back."
And when Corona placed seventh at last week's Central Section Masters -- nursing yet another eye injury that required stitches in the eyelid -- he had officially arrived.
"He's a star in my eyes," Corona, Sr., said. "People don't know what he's gone through. It's neat for my son to overcome that."
Corona's story is sort of a theme for Foothill's five state qualifiers -- the largest number the school has had in coach Brad Hull's 12-year tenure. Heavyweight Rudy Amaya, ranked No. 4 in the state, tore a minor knee ligament during football season. 220-pounder Jordan Olgin dislocated his shoulder. Both missed significant time but worked their way back into shape and find themselves at state this weekend.
"We're really ecstatic," Hull said. "All year, it was, 'Don't worry, don't worry.' We had to keep our morale up, and that's what I'm most proud of."
Another budding Kern County power, Frontier, has four state qualifiers, tying 2010 for the most in the program's six-year history. Leading the charge will be 195-pound senior Jack Murphy, who's ranked seventh, and No. 16 heavyweight John Popek.
"Jack's got a shot, and heavyweights can be wide-open," Titans coach Kirk Moore said. "You just never know with those big boys."
BHS, Clovis, chasing each other
Many eyes across Rabobank Arena will focus on Clovis, which has a state-high 13 qualifiers and is a heavy favorite for its second straight -- and record 10th overall -- team championship.
Bakersfield is thought to be the Cougars' top challenger, but the Drillers, who have nine qualifiers, couldn't stay within shouting distance at last week's section Masters.
"Clovis is strong," BHS coach Andy Varner said. "They're one of the best teams in the history of California. They're definitely the front-runner, but our goal is to have each kid do their best individually and be there in case they mess up."
While this year's Drillers chase Clovis, the Cougars have their sights set on the 2002 BHS team, which had seven finalists and scored a state-record 226.5 points.
"It's been a while," said Varner, who also coached that team. "But that's the great thing about records: They're there and they're meant to be broken. I'm sure eventually, if not this week, eventually it will be. Hopefully it'll be broken by another Bakersfield High team, though."
Cisneros eyes history
Another time-honored Bakersfield record is in jeopardy this weekend: BHS' Darrell Vasquez, who won state titles each year from 1999-2002, is the only four-time winner in the event's 40-year history. But he could soon have company.
Selma senior Alex Cisneros has three championships and is the favorite at 132 pounds this weekend. But to equal Vasquez, he'll have to win a weight that includes five returning state medalists and 19 returning qualifiers.
Three more at Rabobank?
This tournament, the ninth consecutive at Rabobank, is the last in a three-year hosting deal the CIF signed with the arena in 2009. The winner of the next three-year contract will be decided March 23 in a meeting of the CIF Executive Committee in Sacramento, CIF spokeswoman Rebecca Brutlag said in an email.
Brutlag said Bakersfield, Stockton and San Diego submitted bids to host from 2013-2015. Stockton hosted the event from 1988-2003 at the Spanos Center. Bakersfield took over in 2004.
Baby, what a weekend
No matter what happens to West High qualifiers James Toro (145) and Miguel Trejo (152) today, this weekend can't possibly be as stressful for third-year Vikings coach James Herrera as last weekend's Masters were.
During weigh-ins at East High, he received a text message from his pregnant wife: The baby was on the way.
"I said, 'I better get over there,'" Herrera said. "I left my assistant coaches in charge. I had a good little talk with them before I left."
The baby wasn't born until 10:30 p.m., giving Herrera plenty of time to get updates from his assistants. Both Toro and Trejo made it through Masters to qualify for state, making the unheralded program one of just five Kern County schools with multiple qualifiers.
"People talk about West like, 'Oh, it's only West,'" Herrera said. "We want to try to turn the program around."
Foothill wrestlers dominate SEYL tournament
BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
Foothill wrestling coach Brad Hull waited all season to see what his team could do once it was free from injuries and finally at full strength. It turned out to be a sight to behold. At least for him. It was anything but for the Trojans' competition on Saturday.Foothill won seven of 14 weight classes en route to a dominating first place finish at the Southeast Yosemite League Wrestling Championships at East High. The Trojans, who sent 12 wrestlers to the finals, finished with 234.5 points. Second-place North scored 164, East was third with 143, followed by Highland at 103.
"The team really came together," Hull said. "We've been kind of beat up all year. This tournament is really the first time we've had everybody at the right weight and everybody kind of healthy. So it was nice. It was a nice showing by our team."North had eight wrestlers reach the finals and 11 who finished third or better.
The top three from each weight class qualified for the Central Section Yosemite Divisional next Friday and Saturday at Lemoore. Marco Velasquez (106), Nick Marquez (113), Cesar Aguirre (120), Willyam Saavedra (126), Oscar Corona (145), Jordan Olgin (220), and Rudy Amaya (285) all won titles for the Trojans.Most won their championship bouts easily. They weren't the only ones, though.Overall, there were eight pins in the finals.
Marquez, ranked No. 6 in the section at 113 pounds, wasn't one of them. But the returning state qualifier did earn a technical fall in his first action since suffering an injury to his ribs a month ago at the Doc Buchanan Wrestling Invitational."It felt pretty good to be back on the mat," Marquez said. "Going into the match I felt OK. I just wanted to go hard and get a league championship this year since last year I wasn't able to."
Olgin, who also came up just short of winning a league title last season, made sure that wouldn't be the case this time around.He pinned North's A.J. Heath at the 1:14 mark of their 220-pound championship bout. Olgin was selected as the tournament's Outstanding Upperweight Wrestler."Last year I went down, losing 5-3," Olgin said. "This year I just felt like I had to redeem myself."
The Outstanding Lowerweight was 132-pound champion Candido Pena of East.Pena was one of two Blades to win league titles.The other was 170-pounder Michael Avila. Like Pena, he pinned his finals opponent.
Highland also had two wrestlers take first place. And both did it by pinning their championship-round opponent.At 160, Ali Ahmed finished off East's Lucas Amiama with 10 seconds left in the second period. It took Ahmed's Highland teammate Joseph Juarez 5:08 earn a fall over Andrew Helston of Foothill. North did both East and Highland one better with three individual winners: Keno Gomez (138), John Mello (152), Cody McWilliams (182). "I think second place is pretty good with the kids we have," North coach Billy Pitcher said.
"We put seven in the finals. Everybody wrestled hard. Nobody got hurt. And we qualified who we expected to qualify for valley."
Trojans move step closer to another league crown
BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer
email@example.com | Wednesday, Jan 25 2012 10:49 PM
Last Updated Thursday, Jan 26 2012 01:18 PM
Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian
Foothill vs. Ridgeview Wrestling The winner of 138lb. class Abe Hinojosa of Foothill tries to get Christian Gonzalez of Ridgeview onto his back. The wrestling match was held at Foothill High School.
Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian
Foothill vs. Ridgeview Wrestling In the 145lb. weight class Foothill's Alex Travis pins his Ridgeview opponent Anthony Ricks in the first period. The meet was held at Foothill High School.
Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian
Foothill vs. Ridgeview Wrestling In the heavey weight match Foothill's Jose Sanchez tries to escape from the winner's Gabriel Riosas of Ridgeview's grasp.
The match was held at Foothill High School. Twelve years after he took over Foothill's wrestling program fresh out of college, Brad Hull can look back at the early days and laugh. Doesn't mean they were easy at the time.
"When I got into it, I didn't know what I was doing," Hull said. "I was 23 years old or whatever. I didn't know what was going on. I just thought if I came here and went hard, hopefully we'd win."
As Foothill pounded Ridgeview 56-21 -- even without its three best wrestlers -- at home Wednesday night, it was as clear as ever that Hull has the Trojans' program in as good a place as ever.
Foothill is 6-0 in dual meets this year and will wrestle North High next week for its second straight Southeast Yosemite League title. The Trojans have six state medalists in Hull's tenure, including Miguel Gutierrez's state championship in 2001 and Angel Posada's runner-up finish in 2009.
"I learned as the years went by how to coach and what it takes to be successful," Hull said. "You do a lot of watching other programs, like BHS, Clovis, Poway, and you try to emulate some of the things they do."
This year, the injury bug has bit the Trojans. All three of their returning state qualifiers -- Nick Marquez (ribs), Rudy Amaya (knee) and Jordan Olgin (elbow) -- sat out Wednesday with various injuries.
"They're all banged up," Hull said. "But this was a good chance for us to get some of our younger guys in."
That left the stage for younger wrestlers like sophomore Marco Velasquez, who built a 14-0 lead before pinning Michael Griego at 113 pounds.
"I've had more success because I'm putting in the work," said Velasquez, who came up one victory short of the section masters meet last year. "We don't brag about it, but it pays off when you work."
Foothill also received pins from Fernando Perez (106), Alex Travis (145), Brandon Palafox (152) and Diego Lopez (182) en route to a 56-6 lead. Ridgeview won the last three matches, two against junior varsity replacements for Amaya and Olgin.
Hull paints the timing of the injuries in a positive light.
"That's been the biggest problem is that we've got a great team, but we haven't been banging on all cylinders at one time," Hull said. "Not one dual match, one tournament. We're just hoping to put all our pieces together for the league tournament. We're pacing ourselves, flying under the radar."
That could be enough to keep the Porterville-Monache graduate turned Foothill coaching veteran coming back for more.
"I keep saying this year is going to be my last, but I don't know," Hull said. "We always have a great group of hard-working kids, and they'll do anything for me, which I really respect. I try to put everything I have into coaching, because I know they'll give it right back. It's very rewarding."