Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - January 1, 2010

Sports Shorts

SHRINE GAME . . . Stanford seniors Chris Marinelli and Ekom Udofia have accepted invitations to play in the 85th East-West Shrine Game to be held in Orlando, Fla. on January 23rd. Kickoff is set for 12 noon (PT). Marinelli and Udofia join an elite list of football greats, such as John Elway of Stanford, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and 62 NFL Hall of Famers, who have played in the East-West Shrine Game, America's longest-running college all-star football game. Marinelli earned first team All-Pac-10 Conference honors and was selected as a second team AP All-American after starting 12 games on Stanford's offensive line that paved the way for a Cardinal ground game that totaled a school-record 2,692 yards this season. The line allowed an average of 0.50 sacks per game, which is the second lowest average in the nation next to Boise State. Udofia, a nose tackle, started all 12 games and finished the regular season with 35 tackles, tops among Stanford's interior linemen. He has made 43 career appearances, including 38 starts, over the last four seasons.

FOOTBALL HONOR . . . Palo Alto native Scott Preston won't be remembered as an offensive genius during his playing and coaching days at Palo Alto High. Playing quarterback from 1977-79, Preston led the Vikings to a 6-24 record. His two-year record as head coach from 1989-90 resulted in a 10-10 mark. If there is a link to any fame in his prep days, it's the quarterback who replaced him in 1980 — Jim Harbaugh, who went on to star at Michigan, the NFL and now as the head coach at Stanford. Preston, 48, just finished his third season as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas Tech University, an NCAA Division II program that set all kinds of offensive records this past season that earned Preston the 2009 FootballScoop D2 Coordinator of the Year award. Arkansas Tech won nine games this season, including a first-round playoff triumph, behind the most highly powered offensive attacks in Division II football. Under the watchful eye of Preston, Tech quarterback Nick Graziano became a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, awarded to the nation's top Division II player — the equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. Graziano threw for 38 touchdowns while the Tech offense averaged 527 yards per game to rank second in the nation.

OF LOCAL NOTE . . . Gunn High grad Mehdi Ballouchy of Santa Clara University and Stanford grad Todd Dunivant have been named by College Soccer News to the publication's Team of the Decade (2000-2009). Ballouchy, who graduated from Gunn in 2002, was the 2005 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and a finalist for the '05 MAC Herman Trophy for the national player of the year. He was the second overall pick of the 2005 Major League Soccer draft. He played two seasons at SCU before giving up his final year. He was named to the All-Decade Second Team while Dunivant, a defender, was named to the All-Decade Third Team.

HELP WANTED . . . Menlo-Atherton is looking for a new head football coach as well as coaches for next spring's track and field season and for swimming. Those interested should contact Mary Podesta at 322-5311 ext 5708 or e-mail mpodesta@seq.org . . . Castilleja is looking for an assistant softball coach for this spring. Those interested should contact Athletic Director Jez McIntosh at jez_mcintosh@castilleja.org . . . Pinewood is looking for a head coach for boys' and girls'swimming. Contact Athletic Director Matt Stimson at 941-6044 or at mstimson@pinewood.edu . . . Sacred Heart Prep is seeking an assistant boys' golf coach for the upcoming spring season as well as assistant football coaches for 2010. Interested applicants please contact AD Frank Rodriguez at frodriguez@shschools.org or at (650) 473-4031.

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