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Cadaver’s ligament retools Madison lineman

12/01/2012, 9:54pm PST
By Jim Lindgren, Special to the U-T

Beyond the End Zone

Madison players celebrate their Division IV championship at Wilson Stadium in Escondido.


— Talk about your dead man walking, Jake Vermillion and his twin brother, Sam, helped lead Madison to its 35-21 Division IV championship victory over St. Augustine on Saturday at Escondido High. The junior defensive ends combined for 12 tackles and a sack and were instrumental in limiting the high-powered Saints.

Jake got an assist from an unknown cadaver.

About a month after blowing out his knee prior to his sophomore year, Jake underwent surgery at Rady Children’s Hospital, where Dr. Andrew Pennock replaced Jake’s patellar ligament with one from a cadaver.

“It was weird, but it worked,” said Jake, who, like Sam, started all 13 games this season.

Both twins, who turned 17 on Wednesday, said winning a title together made it all the more special.

“My brother went through so much last year,” Sam said, “but he fought his way back. It’s awesome to be able to celebrate together.”

Twins II: After beating Ramona in Division III, Lincoln twins Tyrell and Tyree Robinson now have a football title to go with the two they’ve earned so far in basketball.

Sunday players: Lincoln coach David Dunn and Ramona coach Damon Baldwin both dabbled in pro ball following local amateur careers. Dunn (Morse class of 1990) played wide receiver for seven NFL seasons with the Bengals, Steelers, Browns and Raiders. Baldwin (SDSU ’89) was a pro lineman for six seasons, winning an NFL-Europe championship with the London Monarchs in 1991 before signing with the Raiders and spending the 1993 season on injured reserve.

Purple haze: Led by the ageless Ned Wilson and punctuated by Ed Kirkpatrick’s newly cropped top, purple-clad St. Augustine fans packed the home seating section at Wilson Stadium. There were about 300 Saints faithful in the stands 1½ hours before the 10:35 a.m. kickoff. Many of the rest were at a tailgate party at nearby Calvin Christian School. Come game time, Wilson led the large contingent in “Fire Up” cheers. A 1958 St. Augustine grad, Wilson, 72, has taught biology at the North Park Catholic school for 47 years. On Friday, Kirkpatrick, whose son, Alex, is a junior lineman, had his hair shaved into a purple Mohawk.

Tickets, please: The five games over two days drew an announced crowd of 18,500.

Sis, boom, bah: Led by Our Lady of Peace senior captain Elsie Lopez, St. Augustine had more cheerleaders in uniform (50) than Madison had players (44).

Proud Falcon: Former Torrey Pines coach Ed Burke (four section titles) became a great-grandfather on Friday. His granddaughter in Denver gave birth while Ed, 76, was serving as a member of the playoff committee.

Turf first: For Divisions I, II and III, this weekend marked the first time their section championship games have been played on artificial turf.

Prilosec pop: Media members, officials and other dignitaries were treated to a delectable lunch of ribs, chicken, beans and coleslaw by corporate sponsor Phil’s BBQ. Thanks, Phil.


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