Valencia-Hart game already draws crowd

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – Long lines formed at Hart and Valencia high schools Tuesday for tickets to Friday’s football game between the archrivals, expected to be the first sellout in the Santa Clarita Valley. At Hart in Newhall, sales were spurred by Principal Gary Fuller’s recorded phone message to all students Monday afternoon imploring them to secure advance tickets – or risk being shut out. It was the first time Fuller had made such a call related to a football game. “We’re expecting a large crowd, and we don’t expect any tickets to be available at the gate,” Fuller said on the recording. “You must have a ticket. … The gate opens at 3:45 p.m. (Friday), and you will not able to save seats or put blankets down. … Go Hart, beat Valencia.” At Valencia, students lined up at break time and lunch to buy tickets, and parents and others bought tickets in the school office. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “We’re getting a lot of calls – we just tell them to come on in,” said Diane Cotter, a school spokeswoman. “Hart-Valencia, this is a big game.” Valencia, which began selling tickets Friday, has advance tickets available on campus throughout the school day “as long as the supply lasts,” Cotter said. Both schools have an allotment of 2,500 tickets, including 1,000 free tickets distributed Tuesday to students with Associated Student Body cards. The lines Tuesday at Hart for student tickets were so long that many were turned away when the bell rang and asked to return later, said ASB secretary Jill Passafiume. Fuller said 900 free tickets were gone by the end of the second of Hart’s two nutrition breaks, leaving just 100 to be distributed at lunch. “This is like the Super Bowl of the valley,” he said. At Valencia, ASB account secretary Terry Burkert said she expected to sell out today. “If sales go as briskly as they did today, we’ll sell out (today),” she said. “People are really excited about this.” Passafiume said Hart’s switchboard was bombarded with calls Monday and Tuesday from people hoping to buy tickets – “There were too many calls to count,” she said – but Hart’s 1,500 tickets for the general public ($6 adults and students, $4 children) aren’t available until today, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free tickets are available for senior citizens, but they must pick them up at Hart while they last. It isn’t clear if tickets will be available Thursday and Friday, and it’s doubtful tickets will be available at the stadium prior to the game. Valencia’s year-old stadium holds 4,900 – plus about 500 standing-room-only spaces, Principal Paul Priesz said. The past few Hart-Valencia games have drawn from 7,000 to 9,000 at College of the Canyons. Until last year, the Vikings played home games at Canyon High but always switched its home games against Hart to the larger facility at College of the Canyons, Hart’s home field. Now the school wants to stage the game at its new facility, proud of its stadium and eager to keep home-field advantage. But one Valencia parent called the event “a disaster waiting to happen.” “I can’t believe they’re not moving the game to the college,” said the parent, who requested anonymity. “There are going to be people climbing fences and jumping onto that hill behind the bleachers.” “Maybe they should have moved the game, because Valencia’s stadium is so small,” Hart kicker Paul Weinstein said. “Both of us bring so many fans that a lot of people aren’t going to get in, and a lot of people are talking about that. It’s probably going to sell out by Wednesday, and the game is going to be really loud and really packed.” Priesz said extra security would be on hand because of the large crowd. Hart coach Mike Herrington and other veterans of the local football scene said a Foothill League game in Santa Clarita has never sold out. “I’m trying to stay as far away from the ticket situation as possible,” Herrington said. “I’m leaving all that stuff up to the ASB office.” Herrington has enough to worry about. Valencia defeated Hart 29-10 last year to break the Indians’ 65-game league winning streak. Both teams are 6-1 this season. Hart, which has won five in a row, is No. 2 and Valencia No. 3 in the Southern Section Div. II rankings. A few hours before last Friday’s Canyon-Saugus football game, Cowboys’ standout running back J.J. DiLuigi was deluged with calls to his cell phone, allegedly from Saugus players taunting him and promising to shut him down later that night. “They were saying things like, ‘Oh, you’re only going to get one yard tonight,’ ” DiLuigi said. He said all of the calls came from the same phone number, one belonging to a female classmate who is friends with a group of Saugus players. “I could see her phone number (on caller ID) right on my phone. It was her phone,” DiLuigi said. “It got me a little upset.” How upset? DiLuigi amassed 353 all-purpose yards (184 rushing, 94 receiving, plus a 75-yard kickoff return) and scored a school-record six touchdowns – four 34 yards or longer – to carry Canyon to a 55-7 victory, spoiling Saugus’ homecoming at College of the Canyons. In all, not a very good move, if, indeed, Saugus’ players were involved. “No, I don’t think so,” DiLuigi agreed. Former Canyon football standout Dejon Negron, a freshman receiver at San Jose City College, is expected to return for Saturday afternoon’s game at DeAnza College after missing four weeks with a hamstring injury. Negron has two receptions in three games. Gerry Gittelson’s column appears in the Daily News three times a week. 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