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NOTES AND QUOTES for a Saturday in the Napa Valley:

* There will be a local flavor to the Clo Bowl on Dec. 7 at Santa Rosa Junior College's Bailey Field at 1 p.m. The Bear Cubs (7-3), who have several former Napa Valley players, will take on a Feather River College-Quincy team (6-4) that is coached by Rob Cushman, the former head football coach at St. Helena High in the mid-'80s.

Cushman has an extensive coaching background. He was an assistant at Chico State, the defensive coordinator at Butte College-Oroville, the head coach at Marysville High, the defensive coordinator for 10 years at Eastern Oregon University, and the head coach there for five years.

He was named head coach at Feather River — one of the state's smallest community colleges — in early March. The first-year program is averaging 400 yards and 32 points per game out of a triple-option base.

Cushman played four years of football at the University of Puget Sound and got his master's in communications from Chico State.

* KVON-1440 AM starts its coverage of local high school basketball with St. Helena playing at Justin-Siena in a girls game on Dec. 10. Air time is 6:45 p.m. Calling the play-by-play is Ira C. Smith, the station's sports director.

* Wrestling for Missouri Valley College, the nation's No. 1 women's team by TheMat.com U.S. Women's College Rankings, are Vintage High graduates Emilee Murphree (147 pounds) and Christie Rafanan (112). They were members of a Crushers team that won the state title last year, and both are freshman.

"Both girls are hard at work, both academically and athletically," said Carl Murphree, Vintage's wrestling coach. "They were both invited to spend a week at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs in mid October, to learn and to act as workout partners for the national team before the World Championships in Greece."

Missouri Valley's first competition will be the Minnesota Morris Open on Dec. 7.

* The S. Anderson Wine Country Basketball Classic wraps up today with a matinee doubleheader at Napa Valley College. The noon game has Chabot College-Hayward playing College of Marin-Kentfield, followed at 2 p.m. with the host Napa Valley College Storm taking on Hartnell-Salinas.

* The school-of-the-year race for the 2002-2003 athletic year will be hotly contested, said Paul Hoover, the Monticello Empire League's commissioner who makes his home in Napa. Davis, a first-year MEL school, has already taken an early lead.

"This year we will give only one school-of-the-year pennant," even though there are now Divisions I and II, said Hoover. "You get points for where you finish in Division I or Division II. That is why you will see two schools with 10 points, or in the case of ties, 8.5 points. Thus, some schools that rarely received points under the one division situation now are able to show points in their column. I think this is a very positive situation and should make for an interesting year."

The MEL has long been one of the top large-school leagues in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.

* NorCalPreps ranks Nevada Union-Grass Valley (11-0) No. 4 and Woodland (9-2) No. 20 in its latest football poll. Others receiving votes were Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills (10-1) and Novato (11-0). Each of the four played Napa Valley schools either during the regular season or playoffs.

* Gatorade, in partnership with Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director magazine, has awarded the California High School Football Player of the Year award to Kyle Wright of Monte Vista High-Alamo. Through the 10-game regular season, Wright was 127-of-209 passing for 2,214 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 71 times for 294 yards and scored five TDs.

Wright, who played his freshman year on the Vintage High JVs before transferring, is a "once in a lifetime type of player," Monte Vista coach Craig Bergman said.

"He rarely makes the same mistakes twice, which is a true mark of a great football player," said Bergman. "Kyle's a great leader and our team gravitates to him because of the type of person he is."

Wright graduates in December and will report to the University of Miami in January.

* Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon completed 27 of 45 passes (60.0 percent) for 340 yards with three touchdowns and one interception last week against Arizona to register his eighth 300-yard passing game this season.

With one more 300-yard game in 2002, Gannon will tie the NFL record for the most such games in a single season.

On Monday night, Gannon leads the 7-4 Raiders into a key showdown at home against the 6-5 New York Jets.

"Each game is a playoff-type game for us," said Raiders coach Bill Callahan. "Each game is do or die for us to stay alive in the AFC West. The nature of the beast is very tough right now, and it will get tougher as we move along in the next few weeks."

Oakland is tied with Denver and San Diego for first place. The Jets are on a four-game winning streak.

Napa Valley Register Sports Editor Marty James can be reached at 256-2223 or mjames@napanews.com

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