City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Vinny Cerrato and Dave Donovan, the Ames Mafia?

Special Jury Duty version of Cheap Seats Daily! As I'm finishing up this latest load upstairs at the D.C. Superior Court, the house video system is playing the Ken Burns baseball documentary, the one that's run on PBS several days a week at all times of day throughout the last few decades.

Today the courts are featuring the episode about Jackie Robinson's 1947 integration of baseball. As many times as I've seen it, damn, it's still good.

The jury pool, meanwhile, is only slightly more racially integrated than the 1946 Brooklyn Dodgers.

From what I read, that's been a problem for a while.

(AFTER THE JUMP: Did Dave Donovan used to cover Vinny Cerrato as a media man? D.C. Armor might be one and done, but NFL dreams still alive for its players? D.C. Council to recognize 1954 public school all-stars? Does that mean you're going to write about the 1954 public school all-stars again? Mike Locksley really is landing DCIAA talent all the way to New Mexico?)

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He was born in a small town. The Daily Times-Herald of Carroll, Iowa, which Dave "Yeah, That' the Ticket!" Donovan once delivered, writes up another profile of a favorite son: the former newspaper boy turned newspaper basher (and Redskins chief operating officer).

The inspiration for the latest piece is outlined in the lede:

Kuemper Catholic High School alum David Donovan, The Washington Redskins top in-house attorney, recently received high-profile billing in a Wall Street Journal story about the team.

Not many folks from Carroll get ink in the Journal.

There's also this bio information:

As a youth David worked as a paperboy here at the Daily Times Herald and also spent time in this newspaper's circulation department. He worked for the former Sernett's department store as well.

At KCHS, Donovan was student council president and editor of the student newspaper, The Charger.

Donovan earned his bachelor's degree in 1980 from Iowa State University in journalism and political science. During his time at Iowa State, Donovan interned for the Daily Times Herald, covering general news and sports under the tutelage of former sports editor Dennis O'Grady.

Kind of humanizes Donovan, a guy who can use some humanizing after all the whoppers he's told this season — the Redskins banned signs for safety reasons, fans aren't acting any differently this season, etc. — in a miserable attempt to protect boss Dan Snyder.

That part about being an Iowa State sportswriter way back when bears greater scrutiny. Being a 1980 grad, that means there was a great chance Donovan was covering the Cyclones when they had a young quarterback named Vinny Cerrato.

The Redskins are being run by the Ames Mafia!

I ask again: What did D.C. ever do to Iowa State to deserve this?

***

Turns out the DC Armor, in the team's brief existence, indeed kept some dreams alive. The Philadelphia Eagles have just signed fullback Joel Gamble to their practice squad. Gamble's recent football background came indoors, with the DC Armor this past season. Here's a highlight.

The Armor, after one season playing before crowds slightly smaller than those the Bremers used to draw at the Grog & Tankard, have reportedly decided to pack it in. The team's website, however, urges fans to "Stayed tuned for the 2010 Season."

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City Council Chair Vince Gray and Councilman Harry Thomas have introduced a resolution honoring the 1954 D.C. Public School High School All-Star football team.

That's the first integrated team in the DC's schoolboy sports history.

The D.C. All-Stars beat Catholic League powerhouse and all-white St. John's, 12-7, at Griffith Stadium on Dec. 4, 1954. That game has been ignored far too long. So, the more attention the merrier.

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DCSportsFan.com reports that Coolidge football wideouts Martize Barr and Josh Ford will go to New Mexico to play for Mike Locksley.

Locksley has earned a reputation as one of the top recruiters in college ball over the last decade by funneling DC's best players into whatever program is paying him. He landed Vernon Davis when he was an assistant at Maryland and his brother Vontae Davis when he was offensive coordinator at Illinois.

Both Davises, who grew up in Petworth and played for Craig Jefferies powerhouse Dunbar teams, are now in the NFL. Arrelious Benn, another Dunbar star who was recruited nationally, also went to Illinois to play for Locksley, as did H.D. Woodson QB Eddie McGee.

New Mexico gave Locksley his first head coaching job after last season, and very little has gone smoothly since.Last May, an employee of the New Mexico athletic department accused Locksley with age and sex discrimination. That case was dropped.  Then early in this football season, Locksley got in a fight with an assistant coach that turned physical. He was briefly suspended without pay for that incident.

I spoke with the Davis Brothers a few months ago, and asked if they thought Locksley would be able to work his recruiting magic at such an outta-the-way locale. They said: Sure he will.

"Oh, he's going to bring talent that New Mexico has never seen before now," laughs Vontae. "Let me tell you that!"

Looks like he's right. Last offseason, he landed Coolidge's highly pursued quarterback/receiver tandem of Emmanuel Yeager and Derrell Person.

Yeager later left the team, however, after an arrest in Albuquerque for something called "concealing identity."  He had been pulled over for speeding and told the police that his name was "Emmanuel Yeastraiv." Not quite as catchy as the handle used by Michael Vick's herpes-friendly alter-ego, "Ron Mexico" — though "Ron New Mexico" would have worked well, all things considered.

But "Yeastraiv" seems pretty worldly for a D.C. kid to come up with in the clutch.

Yeastraiv, having reverted back to Yeager, played for Bowie State this season.

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  • Comrade Al Gonzales

    So Iowa gave us Donovan, Cerrato, & Obama? Gee thanks. Of the three, Donovan is the best.

    Iowa State is known as "Iowa Straight" since the hippy kids go to Iowa & the straight kids go to Iowa Straight. Still, there are a lot of good looking straight girls at Iowa Straight, some of them looking to capture & reform a dope-smoking communist.

    Back to work - deadline today. Smoking the Maui Wowie as I try to finish this opus.

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