La Jolla High School’s football and water polo teams ‘Tangle in the Tank’: Charity match yields $1,200 for breast cancer fight

La Jolla High School’s boys water polo team squared off against the Vikings football team for the third annual “Tangle in the Tank,” Sept. 28th at Coggan Family Aquatic Center. As in the past two years, the event raises funds and awareness for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, San Diego for breast cancer research, services and supports.

Hundreds of students and parents attended the game, including a few who just wanted to see the halftime belly flop contest. Water polo Coach Tom Atwell reminded everyone what an important cause it is to find a cure for cancer. As a two-time cancer survivor, he spoke from the heart about the disease and how everyone has been affected in some way by cancer.

More than $1,200 was raised and will be presented to the SGK Foundation at an upcoming home football game.

With 40 ninth-graders forming the Viking freshman football team this year, Coach John McColl wanted to include more than the varsity athletes in this contest. As a result, the first quarter paired the football freshman and the JV water polo crew for eight furious minutes that ended with a 10-0 lead for water polo. Rules of the contest allow for 11 football players in the pool against seven for water polo, and a football score is worth seven points (touchdown), so a lead can change quickly.

When the varsity teams entered the pool for the second quarter, things tightened up quickly. It turns out football quarterbacks and former baseball players take quality shots on goal as evidenced by Trevor Scully, Karsten Fehlan, Kenny Hayden and Gabe Solis. The score at halftime was 14-7 in favor of water polo.

The halftime show was as entertaining as the game. Sign-ups were taken by ASB to “Flop for a Cure,” which gave a dozen or more people an opportunity to belly flop in front of their friends. When Football Coach Bilal Watkins stepped on the diving board, he was an immediate crowd favorite and didn’t disappoint with significant water displacement on a perfect belly flop. He was joined in the final round by Jordan Schultz, a highly decorated LJHS varsity dive team captain, who pulled off a 2-1/2 somersault ending perfectly in a belly flop.

The cheering crowd demanded a flop-off and they got one. Schultz came in first, closely followed by Coach B. Then a bidding war started for Coach McColl and Coach Atwell to take a flop. A few hundred dollars later, they ended up in the tank to great fanfare — all for a great cause.

The second half was tightly contested and when football scored another 7-pointer, the game was suddenly tied at 21-21 in the fourth quarter. Since they split the last two Tangle contests, this was a rubber match that came down to the wire before water polo pulled out a 23-21 victory.

Scoring leaders for water polo were Johnny Dickerson, Dominic Scurio and Johnny Dowd, but everyone contributed. Goalie Cole Raulston blocked a number of tricky shots from the football team. Serving as referee was Coggan Pool director Randy Franke. On the deck and announcing a great game for a third year was Milan Dimich.

Judi Steadman and her crew from Susan G. Koman Foundation were on hand throughout the afternoon. There was solid support from the LJHS administration, faculty, staff, ASB, PTSA and Foundation members who turned out in force to support the cause.