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Mountain Echo Sports

Ron Mosher, Sports Editor

Unless otherwise stated, all photos are by Ron Mosher



A high school coach automatically puts himself in a tough position when it comes to playing his/her offspring in a starring role. You’re bound to get flack at some point in time.

This is especially true if the coaches kid isn’t really a top notch player. A coach who continues to play his child over other talented players who are on the sidelines, will eventually cause nothing but problems. Bad enough if you dare play some other player that’s not your kid ahead of what fans perceive to be a better player on the bench... but your own kid - that can get you into scalding hot water with parents and fans alike.

This type of problem is averted, however, when the coaches youngster turns out to be really, really good.

Let’s look at some local examples.

Over a decade ago when Matt Hunsaker headed the Big Valley football program, he started his son, J.C. Hunsaker at quarterback as a freshman.

At the time, I thought, “What the hey?”

But J.C. turned out to be an excellent quarterback who led the Cardinals to four straight section championships. He went on to play in college and is currently an assistant football coach at Shasta High School in Redding.

Then in 2007, Fall River head coach Todd Sloat inserted his son Taylor into the QB slot his sophomore year.

Again, I thought, “What the hey?”

But Taylor also turned out to be a great choice to do the signal calling for Fall River, with three section titles during his days behind center. Taylor also went on to play four years at U.C. Davis and signed a NFL pro practice squad contract recently.

When Rick Neugebauer named his son Jace to start at quarterback for Fall River his freshman year, it was somewhat shocking.

Yet, once again I thought, “What the hey!”

My original thought was that eventually one of these parent/coaches was going to screw up big time.

But as you can see by the story at the top of this page - it too has worked out really well... and Jace Neugebauer has a lot of games ahead of him to continue to show the section that he is for real.

There are other local father/kid situations that have taken place in the past... these are just three that this ol’ guy remembers with fondness.

However, coaching your own child can be a nightmare - even when they’re very good athletes - and being the child of a coach can also present problems not associated with other players.

An athlete playing under his father puts a ton of pressure on the kid. First, you want to make your dad proud. You want to have your teammates look at you with pride, rather than looking down their nose at the ‘coaches kid.’ You have to prove your worth more than the other players, and that’s a tough position to put a child.

But, the problems aren’t just faced by the offspring... dad, the coach, faces hurdles too.

A father/coach worries about whether he’s made the right decision. Worries about when to pull his kid... or when to keep playing him. The father/coach has to remember to treat his youngster like the other players - a fine line to walk, no doubt. The father/coach must remember to live what he preaches - leave it on the field. It would be very easy to harp all week at home about what his kid did or didn’t do on the field of play - but that isn’t fair to the student/athlete living under his roof.

None of the coaches mentioned above have said it was easy coaching their own son. All admit that if J.C., Taylor or Jace weren’t mature for their age it probably wouldn’t have worked out so well. Did all three coaches receive some flack for starting their youngsters at QB at a young age - you bet. Do they have any regrets - not so far.

Coaching high school sports is always a tricky situation, but coaching your own offspring brings with it a whole new set of problems. Problems that can make you a ‘goat’ or a ‘hero.’

Either way, it’s been a privilege to write about these parents/kids - and all the other parent/kid situations we’ve seen over the years. Thanks.

Fall River Stuns Cougars, 52-12
FR’s Justin Vigil heading for the house in SCL play. Fall River had more problems with gusty winds than they did with host Weed Friday  night, breezing to a 52-12 SCl win. Fall River is now 2-1 in league and 7-1 overall.
D-IV Football Playoff Points
The CIF announced the first round of football playoff points over the weekend. In D-4, Fall River (8-0) is in the number one slot with 24.30 points, followed by Modoc (7-1) second with 23.05. The two will meet in Fall River November 7. Third shows Maxwell at 5-2 and 22.48 points, fourth is Biggs at 4- 4 and 16.30 points. Sixth is Etna (3-5) with 12.82, and Portola seventh (3-5) and 11.95. Seeding for the gridiron playoffs is set for Saturday, November 8 at Corning High School.

Cougars Sweep Raiders
WEED - The Lady Cougars swept visiting Burney here last week, 25-18, 25-11 and 25-16. Lauren Schneider had seven assists and five service aces to go with six digs.

Jessica Thompson had 10 digs and Tymber Wells three kills to go with the same number of digs on defense.

Fall River Starts Playoffs in Quincy
WEAVERVILLE - The Fall River Bulldogs wrapped up the regular soccer season here last Thursday with a 3-3 tie with the host Trinity Wolves. This followed a 9-2 win over Modoc two days earlier in their final home game of the year.

Against Modoc, Elias Tourtouras kicked four goals with three assists, while senior Gilberto Aceves notched four goals and one assist. Robert Betz added the other goal for the winners, and Chris Pires had an assist to go with nine saves as goalie.

Fall River and Trinity played to a 3-3 tie in the finale.
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Bulldogs Blow Away Cougars to Move to 8-0
WEED - The Fall River Bulldogs blew past the hosting Weed Cougars here Friday night in a windy SCL match-up, 49-12, to keep their 2014 record perfect at 8-0.

Jace Neugebauer continued his quest for the record books with seven completions for 261 yards in passing and four touchdowns (See story on page B-3). That total gives him 2,028 yards in the air on the season with two regular season games to go.

Tanner Gallion was on the receiving end of three passes for 120 yards and one TD, while Thomas Markham hauled in one for 81 yards at a touchdown, Johnny Westlund caught one 30 yard TD pass with Juan-Carlos Venegas catching a 21 yard scoring pass. Jonathan Iniguez (pictured left) caught one for nine yards.

In rushing, Neugebauer led the winners with 98 yards on eight carries, while Westlund carried eight times for 78, Iniguez four times for 40, Rudy Garcia five times for eight and Markham twice for four.
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Cards Rebound to Electrify Honkers, 40-0

BIEBER - The game here Friday night may have been delayed 45 minutes due to lightening in the area, but the delay didn’t stop the host Cardinals from electrifying visiting Tulelake, 40-0. It marked a rebound for the Cards from their lone loss of the season the week before to Redding Christian, and was their first shutout of the year.

Big Valley came out firing on all cylinders, scoring four touchdowns on four touches of the ball on offense - with one nullified by a penalty.

You can see where this is going. On their first play from scrimmage, Michael Bertelsen exploded for 80 yards and six points and also ran in the conversion to give the Cards a quick 8- zip lead. After getting the ball back, Kellen Gerig ran it in from 80-yards out, and BV moved up 14-0.
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Modoc Overpowers BHS Raiders
ALTURAS - After spotting the powerful Modoc Braves to a 21-point lead, the Burney Raiders made a valiant effort to get back into the game, scoring two unanswered touchdowns before being overpowered by the Braves, 61-12. Modoc led 7-0 with just over two minutes left in the opening stanza, but a fumble inside the Burney five set up a quick touchdown, followed by yet another Modoc TD before the quarter ended and Burney found themselves trailing 21-zip. The start of quarter two saw things looking up for the Raiders, with Ray Guerrero taking an option pitch from quarterback Jason Searl to score Burney’s first TD of the night. Then Jordan Estes caused Modoc to fumble, with Jared Hovis recovering the loose ball. Shortly after that, Searl scored in an option keeper and Burney had cut the deficit to 12-21. “Here’s where we fell apart,” lamented Raider coach Clint McClurg. Modoc answered with 20 straight points in the period to go into the locker room at halftime up, 41-12. The hosts blanked Burney 20-0 in the third to ice the SCL win. Alejandro Jimenez topped Burney’s rushing game with 106 yards on 20 carries, while Guerrero finished with six rushes for 22 yards and a TD, and Searl carried seven times for 20 yards and a TD. Gustavo Villarruel picked up two on two rushes.
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Lady Bulldogs Split in SCL Play
WEAVERVILLE - The Fall River Lady Bulldogs downed Modoc to start the week, but the long and winding road trip here proved to be a disappointment two nights later as Fall River finished with a split for the week.

The good news first.

Fall River out gunned visiting Modoc in four, 29-27, 21-25, 25-20 and 25- 14.

“Modoc came out ready to play,” said FR coach Maggie Torres, “I am proud of the girls for minimizing our unforced errors, especially our serving.”

Sarah Westlund dominated the net with 12 kills and picked up a double-double in garnering 15 digs on defense. Katie Policastro (shown left) and Taylor Corder each slammed six kills on offense.

Megan Gallion had 22 digs from the back row and dished up 26 assists. Kellie Sims had four assists.
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Lady Cardinals Maintain One Game Lead in Evergreen League
BIEBER - Hayfork turned the tables on the Lady Cardinals of Big Valley last Tuesday, winning in four sets after losing the the Cardinals earlier in the season. Hayfork came out on top this tie, 29-27, 25-20, 23-25 and 29-27, in a nail biting match.

After rebounding two nights later with a sweep of Dunsmuir on the road, the Cardinals maintained their lead in the Evergreen League by one game over Hayfork with two weeks to go in the regular season.

Erica Stevenson and Kayla McCrary led the Cardinal attack at the net against Hayfork, each with eight kills. Stevenson also had five blocks on defense.

In serving, McCrary had seven aces, while Stevenson, Amanda Bricker and Alexia Miller each added four aces.

Paige James added six assists with Bricker dishing up five assists.

Big Valley got back on the winning track on Thursday, sweeping host Dunsmuir, 25-11, 25-15 and 26-24.

Stevenson again had eight kills, while Bricker served up eight aces and added seven assists in the setter position. James had five assists.
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Fall River goes 2-0 for the week

Fall River’s Laci Denny in action against Modoc. Fall River won in two.
WEAVERVILLE - The Fall River JV volleyball squad had a good week, sweeping a pair of SCL foes.

They began at home on Tuesday with wins of 25-12 and 25-21 over Modoc, then finished it with wins of 25-22 and 25-17 on the road here against Trinity on Thursday.

“We came out super strong in the first game against Modoc,” noted coach Megan Albaugh, “the second game was closer but we played really well.”

In talking about the Trinity sweep, “we started out kind of slow and stayed neck and neck with them the whole game, pushing at the end to get the win.”

Fall River continues SCL play in Burney today (Tuesday) before returning home on Thursday to host Mt. Shasta.

The Chase is On for Jace Neugebauer
By Ron Mosher
Sports Editor
Fall River junior quarterback Jace Neugebauer (pictured above) has already surpassed the schools career passing yardage mark, and is fast approaching the single season passing mark set in 2005 by then senior Alex Vigil.

Neugebauer, in his third year at the signal calling slot for the Bulldogs, has already amassed a stunning total of 5,063 yards passing in his two-plus seasons for Fall RIver. That total surpasses the stats set up by 3-year quarterback Taylor Sloat of 3,823 yards set in 2007-09.

Vigil’s single season record of 2,066 yards is barely ahead of Neugebauer’s mark of 2,028 he currently has with two regular season games (Burney and Modoc) plus the playoffs still ahead.

Neugebauer’s current yardage is tops in the CIF’s Northern Section, more than 700 yards in aerial’s ahead of the second place passer.

Neugebauer has completed 75 of 116 passes attempted averaging 251.5 yards per game. His number one target, senior Tanner Gallion, is approaching the 1,000 yard reception mark - sitting at 928 yards for the year.