Tag Archives: Berkeley High football

Berkeley High student faces up to reality of vision loss

Jorden Johnson and his mother Keisha Darden. Photo: courtesy family
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Sometimes bad things happen to good people, changing the trajectory of their lives with no notice. For Jorden Johnson, a 17-year-old senior at Berkeley High School, this moment came while attending football practice in the summer of 2015.

Johnson says it was like any other day. He was prepping for the first preseason game of his senior year. He had spent most of the summer preparing for that moment, and was eager to show his coach how he had developed as a player since the prior season. He went through his normal routine: stretching, team jumping jacks, and a few other exercises to get warmed up. It was when the team transitioned to position drills that Johnson began to notice something was wrong.

While going for a pass, Johnson watched the ball as it left the quarterback’s hand, soaring through the air and eventually eclipsing the sun. As the ball passed in front of the sun, Johnson recalls seeing a glare and not being able to relocate the ball, which caused  him to drop the pass.

“It was nothing new. I had done this drill a million times,” said Johnson recently. “I had lost the ball in the sun and been blinded by the glare, so I thought nothing of it.”

Johnson says he apologized to the coach for the dropped pass and determined he would make up for his mistake. His turn came around once more, and just as he had done so many times before, he took off for a pass. Again he was blinded by a glare and again he dropped the ball. This time he wasn’t sure the glare was a result of the sun.

“After that second drop I realized something was off,” said Johnson. “The glare began to turn into bright spots. I didn’t know what it was from, but I knew it couldn’t be good.” He was worried but not terrified, and he left practice thinking that some rest would do the trick. … Continue reading »

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BHS grad coaches Ecuador’s first American football team

Coach Owen Krebs talks to his team before its inaugural game, in late July, against a team from Lima, Peru. Photo: Daniel Pulgarian
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Owen Krebs embodies everything that is Berkeley: passion, engagement and the desire to make the world a better place. Last winter, the energetic 24-year-old relocated to Ecuador where the former Berkeley High School football player is now helping coach Lobos De Quito, Ecuador’s first American football team.

The Lobos are coming off their first ever exhibition match against a team from Lima, Peru. Berkeleyside caught up with Krebs as he prepares his team for its upcoming international match against Colombia in October. The team has been generating excitement throughout the nation. Earlier this month Ecuador’s La Hora published a feature on the team, dubbed “The other football,” and EcuadorTV had members of the team on its program earlier this year. The team’s Facebook page has more than 1,300 fans.

Krebs grew up in South Berkeley and attended Berkeley public schools. At Berkeley High, he excelled in the classroom as well as on the volleyball court and the football field. He played so well throughout high school that, at the end of his senior season, in 2008, he was offered football scholarships to attend both Idaho State University and Humboldt State University. Krebs went with the latter, choosing to stay closer to friends and family. It wasn’t until his senior year at HSU, majoring in international studies, when he was presented with the chance to study abroad. That was how he found himself in Ecuador. Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Lazarus, football player, to Cal State Fresno

The Berkeley High BHS signing ceremony for Michael Lazarus took place earlier this week. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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Berkeley High School celebrated National Letter of Intent Signing Day 2014 on Wednesday with a signing ceremony for Berkeley High football player Michael Lazarus. Lazarus was awarded an athletic scholarship at a Division I university, California State University, Fresno.

The young man’s mother, Neesa Lazarus, is also part of the Berkeley Unified School District family, working at John Muir Elementary School and Berkeley High as an American Sign Language interpreter, said Mark Coplan, school district spokesman. … Continue reading »

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Despite football loss to O’Dowd, Berkeley High celebrates

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The Berkeley High Yellowjackets lost to Bishop O’Dowd 21-0 on Friday, Nov. 1, but the evening still held some special moments. The parents of senior players escorted them out to the field; the Cheer King and Queen were announced, the Pep Band was bigger than ever, and dozens of alumni attended. Mark Coplan, the spokesman for the Berkeley Unified School District, was there and took these photos. … Continue reading »

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BUSD addresses concerns over BHS campus construction

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Earlier this month, the Berkeley Unified School District abruptly closed Berkeley High School’s Old Gym citing the unsafe condition of the building. The lack of warning meant that several of the school’s sports teams, including its football squad, had no place to store equipment. The rowing team abruptly lost access to its ergometers, the football team lost its weights room, and the wrestling team lost its practice facilities.

Superintendent Bill Huyett apologized for the disruption, but staff, students, and parents have expressed concern over both the handling of that case and a variety of issues related to construction at Berkeley High. BUSD last week responded to these issues in an email to the school community:

A plan for communication regarding construction projects at Berkeley High

• Weekly Wednesday communications sent via e-tree with updates directly from both the Berkeley High site and the District Facilities Department. … Continue reading »

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Closure of BHS gym rattles athletes, angers parents

The Old Gym at Berkeley High School was abruptly shut this week because of seismic safety concerns. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The unexpected and abrupt closure of Berkeley High School’s Old Gym this week has thrown some of the school’s athletic programs into turmoil.

On Monday, members of the football team were told they could not go into the locker room in the Old Gym to suit up for practice or to retrieve their belongings. Since then, the team has not had a place to change, store personal items, use weights, or watch films to prepare for upcoming games.

“It has caused a lot of confusion and it is having an effect on how we practice,” said one member of the varsity football team who did not want his name used. “It has a detrimental affect on the team.”

The abrupt closure on Monday October 3 came about because Superintendent Bill Huyett only recently learned of reports that the structure may not be seismically safe, and decided to take action.

“I am a very prudent and cautious person when it comes to student safety,” said Huyett.

Huyett was referring to an engineering study included in a 2006 environmental impact report that raised – but did not answer — questions about the seismic stability of the Old Gym. The structure was built in 1922 based on a design by architect William Hays. In 1929, an addition housing what is now known as the Warm Pool was added. The complex is slated to be torn down in 2012 and replaced with a $35 million, three-story building that holds 15 classrooms, a new gym, and a fitness center. … Continue reading »

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