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Eye on Preps: Stubbs doesn't need mementos

No game ball.

No game plan.

No program.

Dennis Stubbs didn't keep anything from his first win as Los Banos coach.

The memories are enough.

"I've never kept anything, ever," Stubbs said. "My wife might have kept a few newspaper articles.

"That stuff never crosses my mind. I can remember my first wins at both (Le Grand and Golden Valley).

"I'll never forget this one, either."

Stubbs had a great sideline view of Rubal Sangha's 11-yard touchdown catch on the final play of the game Friday night.

Sangha's score lifted Los Banos to a 28-26 win over Johansen.

Los Banos fans were frozen for a moment until officials ruled Sangha caught the ball in the end zone.

"He definitely caught it, but I wasn't looking at the pylon," Stubbs said.

"I've been coaching so long, I knew when the official stepped inside the pylon and straddled the end zone, I knew he was going to signal a touchdown."

Los Banos' first win set off a wild celebration.

"It was pretty exciting," Stubbs said. "You would have thought we won the Super Bowl. They flagged us for a celebration penalty.

"I talked to the head referee and asked him, 'What the heck?' I said,

'Do what you've got to do. There's no time left on the clock.' "

Stubbs might have been the most excited person on the field. Somewhat out of character, he leapt up in the air after the touchdown.

He's well aware what the win means to his players, who haven't had a lot of success in recent years.

Los Banos is just 1-15 in league games since joining the Central California Conference in 2004.

"It was just amazing," Stubbs said. "You could see it in the stands, on the faces of the kids -- a half-hour to 45 minutes after the game.

"It was like a load had been lifted off our shoulders. It gives us a little confidence.

"I hope we can build on it after being down for so long."

. . .

GOLDEN VALLEY senior Fabian Miramontes is staying busy this fall.

Miramontes is playing both soccer and football.

Last Thursday, he scored GV's only goal in a 6-1 loss on the pitch to Pitman.

The next evening, he gave Golden Valley a 3-0 lead in the first quarter against Sonora by tying the school record with a 47-yard field goal.

"It's tough sometimes," Miramontes said. "On Fridays, I'm a little sore when I come to the games. After I get a good stretch, I'm OK."

. . .

JON DIBBLEE says he's quitting.

Every year.

But then the Merced girls water polo coach never does walk away.

"You get a group like this and you want to see them all the way through from freshmen to seniors," said Dibblee, who's in his 22nd year of coaching.

"I've got a great group.

I can't quit."

Dibblee felt this year's team came together after going 4-1 in last weekend's Sierra Shootout in Rocklin.

Merced veteran players knew enough to avoid Dibblee's van for the two-hour drive to the tournament.

"The older girls all jumped in the other car," Dibblee said.

"I got all the young kids.

"That's good for me because I can do what I want. I got to play whatever music I wanted."

The younger players were treated to Dibblee's jazz collection.

Bet that got everyone fired up.

. . .

SONNY MASANIAI was so upset after last week's 3-0 loss to Los Banos, the Atwater volleyball coach couldn't talk to his team.

"I walked over after the match and asked for someone to tell me what happened," Masaniai said.

"When they said something I didn't like, I told them we're not going to talk about it here."

The next day at practice, Masaniai had a good, long talk with his girls.

"They knew I was upset," Masaniai said. "My captains came up to me and said they had suggestions.

"I told them no suggestions. They sat down and listened. We had a pretty good talk."

The talk must have worked.

Atwater (8-1) rebounded with a 3-1 victory over Turlock on Monday.

. . .

THE MERCED football team remained at No. 19 in the CalHiSports state ranking after its bye week last week.

And No. 3 in Northern California.

The two teams ranked ahead of Merced in Northern California -- No. 1 Concord De La Salle and No. 2 Vacaville -- recorded impressive wins while Merced was resting.

De La Salle defeated Salinas Palma 55-0 and has now outscored its three opponents 117-0 in the first half this season.

Vacaville defeated Granite Bay, 40-21.

There's a long way to go, but if Vacaville and Merced avoid upsets the rest of the way, they'll wind up in a rematch of last year's Sac-Joaquin Section title game.

No doubt that very subject has come up this week at Pitman, which has a chance to knock things totally upside down on Friday night with its visit to Merced.

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at sjansen@mercedsun-star.com.

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