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Fall's most Memorable Sports Moments
December, 2007 - Issue #38
It happens every season. Somewhere, on some field, an athlete does something spectacular. It could occur on a single play - the diving grab at the back on the end zone as time expires or the walk-off home run with two outs.

It could also occur gradually - the swimmer who breaks four records in a meet, the point guard who scores 50 points in a playoff game or the center fielder who blasts six goals.

The fall season of 2007 was no different. There were moments people will brag they were on hand to see - moments they insist they will never forget.

The rest of us will hear those stories and wish we'd been there, too. We'll read them in articles like this.
Not quite as good as being there in person, but don't let that stop you from cheering.
Johnny MacArthur, Hart kicker/safety
Johnny MacArthur, Hart kicker/safety

October 12 and November 9
Johnny MacArthur's first spectacular moment took place on the proverbial dark and rainy night. It came in two parts.

The first occurred with 13 seconds left in Hart's game against defending state champion Canyon.

The score was tied, 28-28 when MacArthur thwarted Canyon with an interception on Hart's 16-yard line. Twelve-and-a-half seconds later, MacArthur would have a shot to steal the victory with his foot.

Hart running back Delano Howell made it possible with a 58-yard run that ended out-of-bounds at the Canyon 26. That's a 43-yard field goal - a questionable distance for even the best high school kickers in ideal conditions.

MacArthur would have to attempt his game-winner on a wet field, kicking into a driving rain.

And this was just the sixth game for the senior golf standout. This would be his first field goal attempt.

"I didn't even know how far it was," MacArthur said. "I had to ask coach." The distance didn't daunt him. "Coach, I got this," he told him.

MacArthur's field goal sent the Indian faithful into a wild celebration. The senior's first attempt made him the one thing every young man dreams of becoming on the field of play: A hero. It wouldn't be the last time.

Four weeks later, MacArthur would again attempt a defining field goal - this one with 16 seconds left to beat Saugus with the Foothill League title on the line.

On one level, the attempt was easier this time - a 29-yarder on a dry field at College of the Canyons. On another level it was tougher. MacArthur had already seen two of his kicks - one an extra point try - blocked by Saugus. "The Saugus kick was more difficult because it was real," he said. "Against Canyon it was surreal. I was just the idiot who kicked the field goal."

But MacArthur, who is headed to Pepperdine University on a golf scholarship next year, is no stranger to pressure. His attempt was true. "I've been through pressure situations in golf," MacArthur said. "I'm used to it." He may even thrive under it.

"If I was in the stands watching those games - watching someone else kick those field goals - I would have given anything to be out there," he said. "I'm really happy I got both of those chances this year."

Ryan Zirbel, Saugus running back
Ryan Zirbel, Saugus running back
October 26
Under normal circumstances, one might be tempted to dismiss Ryan Zirbel's Foothill League single game rushing record of 387 yards on the basis of the team he set it against. After all, it was against the same Golden Valley team that Valencia's Shane Vereen set the record (354 yards) in 2006.

But 387 yards is 387 yards. Five touchdowns is five touchdowns. And Zirbel didn't see action for most of the second half of Saugus' 70-27 win.
Besides, Zirbel ran over defenses all season.

Heading into the Centurions' semifinal playoff game against St. Bonaventure, Zirbel had run for 2,159 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Ask Zirbel about it and he'll defer to his offensive line.

"They open huge holes for me," he said.

But against Golden Valley, Zirbel opened more than a few himself. He zigged and zagged with that water bug style that made him so hard to catch all year. But he also lowered his shoulder on more than a few Golden Valley would-be tacklers. He ran people over.

"Ryan is just a great running back," said Saugus head coach Jason Bornn. "If you keep feeding him the ball, you know that eventually he's going to pop it."

On October 26, he popped it a lot.

Collin Keoshian, SCCS running back/linebacker
Collin Keoshian, SCCS running back/linebacker
November 10
Collin Keoshian's night to remember is perhaps best illustrated by a moment of improbable flight.

Trailing by a touchdown in the third quarter in an opening-round playoff game against favored Rolling Hills Prep, Keoshian broke through the line of scrimmage about 25 yards away from the end zone.

Behind the lead blocking of fullback Garrett Borden, Keoshian cut to the outside and raced down the Cardinal sideline. Only one man to beat - a six-foot Rolling Hills defensive back poised to stop him at the four-yard-line.
The defender leans and Keoshian leaps. Up and over his helmet he soars, landing implausibly on his feet as he steps into the end zone.

"That kid was standing straight up and Collin just hurdled him," said SCCS head coach Garrick Moss. "I just thought, 'Man, this kid is special. The defender thought he had a tackle and Collin just went up and over him.' Even one of the refs came over to look at the replay on (a sideline) camera because he couldn't believe it."

The run simultaneously tied the game and dispirited Rolling Hills. An inspired SCCS defense held the Huskies for the first time all game, allowing Keoshian to go back to work on the next drive.

By the time his night was through, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound sophomore had recorded a school-record 325 yards rushing and six touchdowns. He also threw for a score in the Cardinals' 49-42 upset, throwing in a game-high 23 tackles for good measure.

The win avenged a 37-6 loss to Rolling Hills just weeks before.

"He was running with a mission," Moss said. "He broke a 65-yard touchdown on our first play and he never stopped running. Every team knows Collin is getting the ball 90 percent of the time, but they couldn't stop him that night. Nobody could."

Not to Be Left Out
Not every spectacular accomplishment was individual. The Saugus girls cross country team captured its second consecutive section and state championships. Valencia's girls tennis team advanced to the CIF championship for the third straight year. The Saugus football team equaled its best record ever on its way to its first CIF semifinal appearance since 1999.

And of course there was Hart running back Howell, who set school records for rushing yards in a career and a season.
We'll be hearing about those accomplishments, too. Here's hoping that 2008 is just as full, if not more so, of memorable moments; the ones that beg to be told and retold, the stories that deserve reliving, in our hearts and minds, for many years to come.
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