May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

SUMMER UPDATE: Interesting opener, Owens credits Stuart and football in Mission Viejo

Adam Harper picks up a gain for Northwood in a game against University in March. (FIle photo courtesy Mark Bausman/For OC Sports Zone)

Northwood High’s new football coach J.C. Clarke is preparing his squad for its 2021 opener on Friday, Aug. 27.

The game will be against a familiar coach. Current Crean Lutheran Coach Rick Curtis, Northwood’s first coach, will lead the Saints into the nonleague game at Irvine Stadium.

Clarke and Curtis used to work together on both the Irvine and Northwood staffs.

“Then the third game, we’re playing Loara, and Lance Neal (former Irvine High assistant coach) is up there now,” Clarke said.

The game against Northwood will be Crean Lutheran’s second game. The Saints open the season with a home game on Thursday, Aug. 19 against Ontario Christian.


Ben Owens seems to be a popular choice as the new Tustin High baseball coach. Owens, a long-time assistant at Tustin, was named to replace Charles Chatman earlier this week and Chatman was among those voicing their support for Owens.

Owens noted that many people have helped him in his career, including former Northwood baseball coach Rob Stuart, who retired from coaching at the end of the season. Owens said he “loved every second” playing for Stuart in high school.

He’s appreciative of what Stuart did for him.

“I can’t believe that in addition to Charles (Chatman) leaving, he’s leaving, and that’s just a weird thought to me but I know he put everything he had into Northwood and I truly appreciate the man,” Owens said. “I think he made me a better human being and I can’t thank him enough for teaching me to become the man I became.”


Mission Viejo’s football team will host the 26th annual South County Classic. Santa Margarita will be out to defend its title. The Eagles, coached by Anthony Rouzier, won the seven-on-seven Edison passing tournament last weekend. Among the teams in the Mission Viejo event are Capistrano Valley, Orange, JSerra, La Habra, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Servite and Newport Harbor. The event will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to a release from Mission Viejo football.

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