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Saturday, Oct 13 2012 11:01 PM

Former Foothill coach honored as Trojans notch victory

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    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    Former Foothill football coach Ned Permenter hugs Joey Porter after Porter spoke during the halftime ceremony in which Foothill's football stadium was named after Permenter.

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    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    Foothill's Destin Penn tries to push away East Bakersfield's Jose Lopez during the game at the newly named Ned Permenter Stadium at Foothill High School on Saturday.

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    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    The sign stating the new name of the Foothill football stadium is unveiled during a halftime ceremony on Saturday.

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BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian

The place where he spent the happiest moments of his life is now named after him. Foothill High's home field is now Ned Permenter Stadium.

At halftime of the Trojans' 34-20 Southeast Yosemite League victory over East on Saturday afternoon, the former long-time former Foothill coach was honored during a 30-plus minute ceremony in which the stadium's new name was unveiled.

Permenter stood at the 50-yard line with his wife and listened as several of his former players talked about how much of an impact he had on them both on the football field and in life.

Then Foothill principal Brenda Lewis made the formal announcement regarding the stadium being named for Permenter to the delight of a packed home side of the grandstands.

At the conclusion of her remarks, Permenter was given a replica of Foothill's new-look scoreboard, with "Ned Permenter Stadium" painted at the bottom.

"This is like a dream come true," Permenter said when asked about the honor. "It's something that you don't even dream about or think it's going to happen in your life. ... I'm just humbled and appreciative that I'm able to enjoy it today with family and friends and former players.'

Permenter racked up the third-most wins (220) in Central Section history as Foothill's football coach from 1965-2001.

"This is my home," Permenter said. "This is where I wanted to be."

Former Foothill player and long-time team physician Dr. William Baker, along with two of Permenter's other former players, Jim Wooster and Joey Porter, spoke prior to Permenter taking the microphone.

"They don't make coaches like (him) anymore," Porter said afterward. "These coaches today, they're at jobs for two or three years and then they're on to the next school. I had long talks with coach Permenter about why he (stayed here so long). He loved Foothill."

The game between East and Foothill was part of Foothill 's 50th anniversary celebration, which also featured several other events around the school’s campus prior to kickoff.

Foothill’s football team made sure to keep the all-day party going by downing the Blades on the strength of Brandon Fanning’s rushing ability and the all-around talent of Destin Penn.

Fanning had 32 carries for 222 yards and three touchdowns while Penn had three interceptions, one touchdown catch, and a blocked PAT attempt.

“Our kids played tough today,” Foothill coach Mike Gregg said. “It was a real special day for Ned Permenter and I’m glad we could atleast come away with a victory for him on this day that was all for him.”

Montel Littles added two interceptions for Foothill (3-4, 2-0 SEYL), which after watching East storm back from an early 13-0 deficit to tie the game, pulled ahead for good late in the first half on Penn’s 4-yard touchdown grab from Alfonso Orozco.

Fanning, who came into the game with 853 rushing yards, went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season with a spectacular 41-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. He added a 20-yard rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter that put Foothill up 34-13.

“Every down I was trying to get every yard I could,” Fanning said. “Just keep my feet moving. Like coach always tells me, keep them moving and don’t let anybody take (you) down.”

The win was the first at home for Foothill, which didn’t want to disappoint its supporters, including the game’s guest of honor.

“We’ve been talking about it all week,” Gregg said, regarding the importance of winning on the day the stadium was renamed for Permenter. “It was a real important deal for us this week. It really was. It’s a great thing they did for Ned. He’s a great person. I know him personally and I’m sure happy we were able do this for him today.”

East (0-7, 0-2 SEYL) had just 195 yards of total offense and was hurt badly by the five interceptions thrown by its two quarterbacks.

After thwarting the Blades first drive by picking off a pass by Blake Sherman, Penn snared his second interception of the game on East’s next possession, returning it 55 yards for a touchdown.

Penn intercepted Sherman a third time early in the fourth quarter. The senior wide receiver/defensive back also had three catches on offense for 51 yards.

“It was a team effort, but I saw a few ball come my way and I took advantage of it,” Penn said.
East’s most effective offensive weapon was wide receiver Tevin Beasley. He had four receptions for 63 yards, including a pair touchdowns.

“I tell you what, it’s real hard to play on Ned Permenter Day,” East coach Dave Thorp said. “This guy is a legend and these guys are jacked up and you got Joey (Porter) here. It’s tough.”

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