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Tonight’s Prep Football : Fountain Valley Hopes Its Defense Won’t Be Sore Point

Times Staff Writer

Care for numbers? Try a few of these. Fountain Valley High School, the No. 1-rated football team in Orange County, plays Mission Viejo, the No. 3 team, at 7:30 tonight at Mission Viejo High.

Fountain Valley scored 57 points in its first 2 games--victories over Mater Dei and El Toro. Mission Viejo scored 55 points in its first 2 games--victories over San Diego Morse and University.

Mission Viejo has Troy Kopp, the No. 2-rated quarterback in the county. Fountain Valley has David Henigan, rated No. 3.

Fountain Valley’s top receiver, Mike Cook, has caught 13 passes and is averaging 19.2 yards a catch. Mission Viejo’s top receiver, Erik Ekdahl, has caught 8 and is averaging 20.2 a catch. Ekdahl also kicks. Last week, he kicked a school-record 49-yard field goal.

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What does this tell us? Perhaps that the defensive backfields will wear a path backpedaling in the sod.

“We’ve already told our players that this game will probably be decided by the team that has the ball last,” Mission Viejo Coach Mike Rush said. “I think it’ll be a tremendous offensive show.”

That’s a concern for Fountain Valley Coach Mike Milner, who thinks his secondary is susceptible to big plays. Last Saturday, El Toro gained 249 passing yards against Fountain Valley.

“Defensive secondary was an alleged strong point for us this season,” Milner said. “But so far, we have not played well back there.”

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That’s good news for Kopp, a 2-year starter who has completing 62.9% of his pass attempts (22 of 35) for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns this season.

“He’s not a 1-dimensional player,” Milner said. “He can play the option, he rolls out, he scrambles. He runs the team from multiple formations.”

Fountain Valley needed a last-minute drive to beat El Toro, 35-31. Players didn’t view game films until Monday at 6 a.m., and Milner says practices have had very little contact.

“It’s been an extremely short week for us,” he said.

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Which makes having an extremely good quarterback named David Henigan in your backfield all the more comforting. Having just an OK game against El Toro, Henigan engineered the last-minute, game-winning, 70-yard drive. He threw for 290 yards and 2 touchdowns in that game, and has completed 66% of his pass attempts for 444 yards.

“The big defensive key for us is to pressure Henigan,” Rush said. “We want to disrupt his timing; we can’t afford a breakdown. There’s so much talent on both offenses that any defensive breakdown is going to produce a big-gainer or a touchdown.”

In other featured games (all 7:30 p.m.):

Santiago (2-0) vs. Corona del Mar (2-0) at Newport Harbor--Santiago’s Dana Ripley is the county’s No. 1-rated quarterback. That’s interesting because Ripley is the first to admit that he’s not really a quarterback. He’s a linebacker playing quarterback. Ripley is 1 of the county’s best at linebacker, but he’s also completing 66.7% of his passes (20 for 30). Corona del Mar is ranked second in the county, in large part because of its defense. Corona del Mar has started the season by shutting out Huntington Beach (7-0) and San Clemente (23-0). Quarterback Ty Price has completed 24 of 47 pass attempts (51.1%) for 234 yards.

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Canyon (0-2) vs. Loara (2-0) at Glover Stadium--A significant game for Canyon. If, as first-year Coach Bob Rau says, there’s talent at Canyon comparable to his championship teams at La Habra, the Comanches have yet to show it. They’ve been outscored, 46-16, in their first 2 games. Loara is definitely a ground team. Junior running back Coy Collins rebounded from an unimpressive season-opening performance (54 yards) against Western to gain 127 against Anaheim.

Jordan (0-1) vs. Edison (2-0) at Huntington Beach High School--The best running back you’ve never heard of is Jordan’s Johnny Robinson, a 5-8, 190-pound flash who gained 199 yards in Jordan’s season opener against El Toro. Robinson is a game breaker whom Jordan Coach Mike Ono likens to Joe Morris. The Edison defense has been solid against the run. Quarterback Greg Angelovic is completing nearly 66% of his passes, and Gus Miranda has rushed for 155 yards and 3 touchdowns.

In other games:

Costa Mesa at Garden Grove; Culver City vs. Los Alamitos at Gahr; Fullerton at Montebello; Marina vs. Foothill at Tustin; Norte Vista vs. Rancho Alamitos at Bolsa Grande; Sunny Hills vs. Cypress at Western; Warren at El Modena.

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