Steve Fryer - On High Schools

On the road again: And again. And again...

Santa Margarita's football team had a nightmarish road trip when it traveled north to play Santa Maria last Friday at 7:30 pm.

Two buses were supposed to pick up the players and coaches at the school at 8 a.m. They arrived at 10:40 a.m.

Then one of the drivers said his bus would have to stop in Carson, where the passengers would have to get on a different bus. This one probably wouldn't make it through the hills on Highway 101.

But when the new bus was acquired in Carson, the other bus would not start. Coach Jim Hartigan had all of the starting players get on the bus that worked, and he and the starters were again on their way to Santa Maria. By now it was 3:30 p.m. -- the time Santa Margarita had planned on checking into its hotel in Santa Maria. And the other bus never got started.

So another replacement bus was secured.

So then the bus carrying Hartigan and the starters broke down near Solvang at 5:30 p.m.. The other bus broke down too.

By the time everything was fixed and the buses arrived in Santa Maria, it was 6:45 p.m.

45 minutes before game time. Fortunately, a parent of one of the players was able to drive ahead to the football stadium and notify the Santa Maria team and game officials of the problems, so it was agreed that the game would be postponed 15 minutes.

Santa Margarita finally reached the stadium at 7:15 p.m.; the game started at 7:45 p.m. Santa Margarita won, 2012.

"The kids did a really good job of getting themselves ready," Hartigan said. “And they all had dead legs. You could tell by looking at the films that the kids had been sitting in a bus all day. Normally we don't get pounded physically, but we sure did on Friday."

By Steve Fryer
Tuesday, October 23, 1990
The Orange County Register - C2