Valencia's Pallares Goes After Rushing Record Tonight

Times Staff Writer

Back by popular demand!

It's the storied, well-chronicled football rivalry between Valencia and Savanna High Schools.

The teams are almost sure to play before a capacity crowd with a good chunk of Orange County's media tonight at Bradford Stadium, eager to see more of what has made this rivalry great:

Ray Pallares.

In the last two games between the schools, the Tigers, have outscored the Rebels, 78-14. In the two games Pallares has rushed 45 times for 385 yards.

In fact, unpredictability is not what gives this game drawing power. Most of tonight's crowd knows what to expect.

First, Valencia (4-1) should beat Savanna (1-4) in the Orange League opener for both teams. The Tigers, after losing their season opener to Westminster, 7-6, recorded shutouts in three of their next four games. They have outscored their opponents in those four games, 128-10.

Savanna is well on the other side of the abacus.

The Rebels have been outscored, 105-54 in their first five games.

Second, the price of ticket will probably entitle the bearer to a piece of history. Pallares is only only 74 yards short of setting the Orange County career rushing record.

Ron Milner, Savanna coach, would be shocked if Pallares didn't get the record.

"You're don't stop Ray Pallares," Milner said. "You just want to slow him down a bit so he doesn't steam roll you.

"I told my kids he's got to get the record against someone. I don't mind it being us. They have an opportunity to play before a big crowd, a lot of reporters and probably a bunch of recruiters."

Mike Marrujo, Valencia coach, has downplayed the entire Pallares affair.

"Someone asked me if I was going to ask to have the game stopped to give Ray the ball when he breaks the record," Marrujo said. "I told them we don't keep stats on the sidelines, so how can I stop the game?"

Pallares would be the last to ask him to stop the game.

"I think people are making too much out of this," he said. "We just want to win."

Which, of course is expected. Even Milner said he'd be surprised if the Rebels won.

"I think it would be the upset of the year," he said. "Valencia is in a class by themselves."

The Rebels' chances lie with the arm and mind of sophomore quarterback Tony Osendorf. Savanna operates out of the run and shoot offense. What Milner calls a ball-control passing game.

"There's no doubt we're the underdogs," Milner said. "Everyone's coming to see Pallares. If our passing game is working and we get a few breaks, though, we could make it close."

CENTURY LEAGUE Canyon (1-1, 3-2) vs. Santa Ana Valley (0-2, 0-5), Santa Ana Stadium--Comanche quarterback Todd French, who has thrown for 1,299 yards and 11 touchdowns, was outplayed by Santa Ana's Eric Turner last week. The Saints won the game, 25-10, with Turner throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for another. French completed only 11 of 36 passes for 150 yards. The Comanches are capable of scoring a lot of points. They beat Orange, 44-7. In that game French threw for a school record 322 yards and four touchdowns.

Santa Ana Valley is in a familiar position--winless. However the Falcons have played a couple of teams close. They lost the season opener to Saddleback (4-1), and they led Villa Park before eventually losing 31-21.

NONLEAGUE Downey (4-1) at Mission Viejo (2-0, 5-0)--The Diablos are coming off a 24-10 win over Dana Hills as Darrin Sweazy rushed for 117 yards. Sweazy, a transfer from El Toro, has made the Mission Viejo running game formidable. He joins Todd Yert (455 yards) in the Diablo backfield.

These teams met in the first round of last season's playoffs. Yert scored three touchdowns in that game to lead Mission Viejo to a 29-20 win. Mission Viejo had six turnovers in that game, but don't figure to make the same mistakes this time. Downey, after dropping its opening game to St. John Bosco, has won four straight.

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