Carson High (3-1), defending City 4-A champion, will play archrival Banning (2-2) Saturday at 1:30 p. m. at East Los Angeles College as the top-ranked City football team, but Carson Coach Gene Vollnogle is still seeking the right combination for his offense.
Last week, in a 20-9 victory over San Fernando, he tried Kevin Tate at quarterback and moved Marc Walters from quarterback to wide receiver. Carson's Alvin-and-Calvin backfield--juniors Alvin Goree and Calvin Holmes--may be the City's best. Goree has six touchdowns.
Banning might have found the right combination by shifting linebacker Earl Saunders to running back. He gained nearly 200 yards as Banning scored 49 points last week against Granada Hills Kennedy. Carson's defense suggests, however, that the Pilots will spend less time in the end zone this week.
Santa Ana Mater Dei (3-2) at Santa Fe Springs St. Paul (5-0), Friday night--St. Paul has failed to reach the playoffs for three straight years, but appears to be in championship form again after sweeping through a nonleague schedule that included Loyola, Carson and Bellflower St. John Bosco. The Swordsmen are led by quarterback John Scott and wide receiver Frank Mazzotta Jr., son of the Cerritos College football coach. Mater Dei counters with sophomore quarterback Todd Marinovich, who has completed 87 of 165 passes for 915 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Downey (4-1) at Mission Viejo (5-0), tonight--After an opening loss to Bellflower St. John Bosco, Downey won four straight and will take that four-game streak into this nonleague game against the second-ranked team in Orange County. Downey likes to grind out the yardage. Running back Derrick Sesson has 409 yards and 7 touchdowns in 62 carries. Mission Viejo quarterback Brendan Murphy works well with wide receiver Bobby Doran, who has 24 catches for 439 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tailback Todd Yert is averaging about five yards a carry and has eight touchdowns.
Encino Crespi (4-1) at Alemany (5-0), Friday night--This Del Rey League opener between San Fernando Valley rivals could be an early season title game. Alemany has one of the league's hottest passing combinations in quarterback Sean Casey and receiver Travis Bargeman. Casey has thrown for 658 yards and seven touchdowns. Bargeman has caught only 9 passes, but they have been good for 258 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Indian defense has yielded only 110 yards a game. Crespi began this season by winning four straight before losing last week to Canyon, 35-0. That loss also ended a string of 12 consecutive scoreless quarters by the defense.
Villa Park (4-1) at Orange El Modena (4-1), Friday night--Villa Park has lost starting fullback Dave Rose for at least four weeks. He had surgery Tuesday to remove bone fragments from his knee. Pat Glenn will replace Rose, but the Spartans will rely on tailback Jaime Nelson, and quarterback Mike Cederoth. Nelson has gained 446 yards and scored 4 touchdowns, and Cederoth has completed 29 of 63 passes for 517 yards and 4 touchdowns, with no interceptions. El Modena, the two-time defending Southern Conference champion, lost its first game last week, 14-0, to Foothill. With two-way linemen Don Gibson at 6-3, 255 pounds, Allen Ennis at 6-1 and 220, and Grant Grable at 6-1 and 215, El Modena will have a considerable size advantage over Villa Park. Villa Park's offense is built around tailback Ross Bauer, who has gained 685 yards and scored 8 touchdowns.
Monroe (3-0-1) at Canoga Park (3-1), Friday night--Look for these teams to battle for the Sunset League championship. Monroe disposed of Hollywood last week, 35-8, as Barry Thomas played quarterback for the first time. He replaced the injured Robert Harding and threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores. Playing safety on defense, he also intercepted two passes. Monroe's tough pass rush, led by senior lineman Don Johnson, forced five interceptions last week. Canoga Park quarterback Tony Cantrell has passed for more than 400 yards in four games. When Cantrell isn't going to the air, he's handing off to running backs Junior Delgado and Robert Franklin.
Huntington Park (3-1) at Bell (4-0), Friday night--The 50th meeting of these schools, in a rivalry that dates back to 1936, serves as the Eastern League opener. Defending league champion Huntington Park leads the series, 25-22-2. Both teams sport stiff defenses. Huntington Park has allowed only five touchdowns this season, but Bell has done even better, holding opponents to 18 points. Bell quarterback Eliud Pacheco of Bell has completed 70% of his passes and has five touchdowns. His counterpart, Pedro Avila, has a 58.5% completion rate and 10 touchdowns.
Jefferson (4-0) at South Gate (4-0), Friday night--The Eastern League, which boasts a combined record of 20-3, is led by undefeated South Gate. Running back Oscar Pineda is averaging 7.6 yards a carry and Jesse Myun 5.4 for the Rams. Defensive back Brian Lowe has three interceptions, two of which have been returned for touchdowns.
Canyon Country Canyon (5-0) at Palmdale (4-1), Friday night--Coach Harry Welch has a 40-5 record in his three-plus seasons at Canyon and has never lost a Golden League game. According to Welch, however, the Cowboys, winners of 29 straight, must win this league opener for both teams or forget about a fourth straight league title. "The loser of this game cannot win the league," he said. Palmdale is off to the best start in its 29-year history. The Falcons are ranked eighth in the Northwestern Conference, the first time they have ever been ranked. They are led by running back Toney Edwards, who has gained 931 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. No. 1 Canyon is the two-time defending Northwestern Conference champion.
Beverly Hills (3-1) at Hawthorne (4-0-1), Friday night--This Ocean League opener matches two contenders for the title and Beverly Hills' passing game against Hawthorne's speed. Beverly Hills moves on the arm of three-year starting quarterback Eric Mueller and the hands of receivers Gregg Silver and David Barad. The Normans operate behind a big line. Hawthorne, coming off a 14-14 tie with neighborhood rival Leuzinger, shows the speed of its state champion track team with Alonzo Young at quarterback and Andre Jackson at running back. Jackson has scored six touchdowns, Young three. Linebackers Brian Church and Robert Morris lead a rugged Cougar defense.