With a 7-0 record, a No. 1 ranking in the Northwest Division and the possibility of playing in a CIF state championship Division III regional bowl game, Ojai Nordhoff has its fans excited.
Coach Tony Henney has put together a team of neighborhood kids led by a fantastic junior class that includes quarterback Tanner Workman (1,320 yards passing, 17 touchdowns) and running back Tayler Livingston (688 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns).
"We're still a home-grown football team," Henney said. "Being able to be successful with players that have grown up together or try to get a high-five from varsity guys when they were kids is a great community feeling."
Last week, Nordhoff passed a big test from Oak Park, winning, 20-12. Senior linebacker Kevin Crane had five tackles for losses, including two sacks.
Nordhoff still has challenges ahead in the Tri-Valley League. Santa Barbara Bishop Diego is 7-0. And in the Northwest Division, Pasadena La Salle has a 7-0 record.
But the Rangers have lots of confidence, and former head coach Cliff Farrar is serving as the defensive coordinator, so his experience should come in handy. Farrar was head coach for 21 years.
"I kind of grew up in their house, and Cliff has done a great job understanding what I want to do defensively and adding his own creativity to it," Henney said.
Report cards come out
This is a big week in the City Section, because 10-week report cards come out, and teams could be losing players for the rest of the season if they are not academically eligible.
Lots of coaches have been holding study halls in an attempt to help players, but the word out last week made it clear that several teams were concerned about losing players in the eighth week of the season.
Because school started in August, the grades come out right in the middle of the football season.
An online survey commissioned by i9 Sports found that 90% of men who played tackle football at the high school level or higher and suffered a concussion or suspected they suffered a concussion want their sons to play tackle football. There were 300 respondents.