To listen to Tri-Valley League coaches, Moorpark High has the best offensive backs in the league.
If only Coach Bob Noel could get them all healthy. Certainly they are not for tonight’s season opener against Fillmore.
Oscar Love, the best Musketeer running back returning from last season, has not totally recovered from a hyper-extended toe suffered last year.
The 5-10, 205-pound fullback will start tonight, but with the assistance of a toe brace. Last season, Love averaged more than six yards per carry and scored a school record six touchdowns in a game against Bellarmine-Jefferson.
Willie Gutierrez, who would have been the starting tailback, recently had surgery for a hernia and will miss the the first game. Noel said his first start will be against Nordhoff next Friday.
Tim Rothanzl, who had been penciled in to return as starting quarterback, will move to tailback, replacing Gutierrez.
Eddie Santoro will replace Rothanzl at quarterback.
Noel said that the changes shouldn’t diminish the effectiveness of the backfield.
“Tim runs inside a little bit harder,” Noel said. “He doesn’t have the same speed as Willie, but he can cut quicker.”
It will be interesting to see if they can keep things straight in the huddle.
Given the choice, most high school football players would probably choose to play at one of the skill positions: quarterback, running back or wide receiver.
Royal’s Tim Jones had his wish granted last season, before he, uh, outgrew the position over the summer.
Jones was a 6-0, 160-pound sophomore running back in 1984. This season, he’s a 6-2, 200-pound tackle.
“He grew so much that we just couldn’t afford to keep him at running back,” Royal Coach Tom West said. “He’s one of the biggest guys on the team. We need him more on the line.”
Quote of the Week:
Canyon Coach Harry Welch, when asked if he was worried about starting an inexperienced offensive line, said: “Does the devil worry about an exorcist?”
Oddest Injury of the Month:
Canyon lineman Kevin Kelleher dislocated his knee while jogging to practice.
A victory over Hart tonight would give Canyon 25 wins in a row. That would continue the longest win streak in the state, but it’s not close to the Southern Section record of 46 consecutive wins set by Temple City from 1970 to 1974.
Canyon’s last loss was to Notre Dame, 7-0, in September, 1983. The game was played in a rainstorm.
Canyon and Notre Dame renew their series Oct. 4.
Agoura’s 14 consecutive wins is the third-longest streak in the Southern Section.
Whittier Christian, last year’s Inland Conference champion, has won 20 straight.
In a preseason poll of Marmonte League coaches, Camarillo was picked to finish next to last.
The reason: Only five starters return from the team that won all 14 games and a Coastal Conference championship last season.
Carl Thompson, Camarillo coach, is not convinced that his team is out of playoff contention, however.
“I’m always optimistic that we have a playoff team, and this year is no different,” Thompson said. “We’re inexperienced and right now it looks like we have a couple of weaknesses, but we were in the same situation last season.
“We don’t have the size we had last year, but in many ways the teams are similar.”
The noise you just heard was a collective groan from the five other Marmonte League coaches.
One reason for Thompson’s optimism is the play in practice of transfer Lawrence Droughn.
Thompson says that Droughn, a 5-11, 180-pound senior, has been timed in 10.1 seconds for 100 yards.
“He gives us outside speed--something we haven’t had much of in the past,” Thompson said.
Droughn went to Ventura last season, but did not start. Harvey Kochel, Ventura coach, said that Droughn has “the speed, size and intelligence to be an outstanding player.
“He probably would have gone into two-a-day workouts as one of our starting backs this season,” Kochel said. “He was eligible to still play for us and we wanted him to stay, but his parents apparently wanted him to go to Camarillo.”
Camarillo defeated Ventura, 16-14, to win the Coastal Conference championship last season.