Football: The dilemma of a possible 16-game season
I've never supported the CIF regional bowl games that begin next week. I've said it's too long a season, forcing teenagers to possibly play 16 football games.
And now that it's here, teams are getting run down, which means the best team during the first 14 games might not be the best in Week 15 or Week 16.
Take Narbonne, which is 14-0 and won the City Section Division I championship with a 25-0 victory over Crenshaw. The Gauchos have beaten Southern Section division champions Long Beach Poly (Pac-5), Gardena Serra (Western) Palos Verdes (Northern). To me, they have proven themselves to be the best team in Southern California.
But next week, they're going to have to take on a team like Corona Centennial. Quarterback Troy Williams is hurting. He played Saturday with a slight separated shoulder, which explains why the Gauchos were so conservative on offense. He said afterward he has been receiving treatment and it has been painful, but he will continue to play no matter what. The coaches have consulted with medical personnel to take precautions to protect his health.
These extra games will continue to test players physically. They're going to try to play with injuries and in pain. Williams is graduating on Dec. 14 so he can enroll early at the University of Washington. But what happens if he shows up injured? All that hard work for four years of taking summer classes to graduate early to prepare for college would be for naught.
He's going to do his best to help his teammates keep playing for two more weeks. But I hope he doesn't sacrifice his future for a couple of high school bowl games, one of which was added despite strong opposition by lots of schools in Southern California.
-- Eric Sondheimer