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El Camino Faces Explosive Pasadena Saturday : Warriors, Cheered by Southwestern Win, Hope Injured Quarterback Can Play

Times Staff Writer

Last week’s victory over Southwestern gave the El Camino football team a much needed dose of confidence for Saturday’s 7 p.m. Mission Conference northern division opener at Pasadena City College.

The Warriors (3-1-1, 2-1-1 in the conference) fell out of the state’s top 20 after a loss to Fullerton and a tie with Golden West but are back on the winning track and in the top 20 (No. 15).

“It was nice to be functioning on all four cylinders again,” said El Camino Coach John Featherstone. “It’s good to be ranked again, but we’ll never be pleased with 15th. Our goal every week now is to just win.”

Featherstone is looking forward to having sophomore quarterback Frank Dolce in full force against Pasadena. Dolce sprained an ankle during El Camino’s 38-36 loss to Fullerton and was inactive for most of last week’s game.

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Sophomore Scott Yessner took over in the first quarter against Southwestern and completed 7 of 11 passes for 90 yards. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound sophomore will start against the Lancers if Dolce isn’t 100% healthy by Saturday.

If that’s the case, El Camino will probably do a lot of running. Running back Neil Tuihalamaka is one of the Warriors’ biggest assets. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound sophomore rushed for 86 yards and two touchdowns last week.

El Camino continues to suffer the absence of several top defensive players. At least two of the Warriors’ best defensive men are questionable for Saturday. That’s one of Featherstone’s biggest concerns since Pasadena (3-2, 3-1 in the Mission Conference) has an explosive offense that averages 365 yards a game.

It’s centered around freshman quarterback Joe Mauldin, who has rushed for six touchdowns and passed for two.

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Mauldin however, sprained an ankle during last week’s loss to Saddleback and is questionable for Saturday. Sophomore Dana Frelow, the Lancers’ starting quarterback last year, will start if Mauldin can’t play.

He’ll mostly keep the ball on the ground since the Lancers have a crop of talented running backs led by sophomore Anthony Wallace.

Pasadena can also present problems defensively. The Lancers, who have five top returning players in that area, held Saddleback to 207 total yards last week.

If L.A. Harbor (1-5, 1-3 in the Western State Conference) couldn’t manage to beat Compton last week, a victory over undefeated Moorpark in Saturday’s WSC northern division opener is highly unlikely.

Harbor’s performance against Compton (1-4) had Coach Chris Ferragamo questioning his coaching ability and his team’s spiritless play.

“We played very, very poorly,” Ferragamo said. “We were lethargic. Offensively we couldn’t get on track at all.”

That’s partly because quarterback Ed Lopez has been plagued by injuries. First he sprained a tendon in the thumb of his right hand, and last week he pulled a ligament in his knee, which will keep him out of Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. game at Harbor.

An inexperienced freshman, Grant Beachley, has been forced to quickly take over the Harbor offense. He completed only 10 of 23 passes for 95 yards and 3 interceptions against Compton.

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“We’re just going to run the ball,” Ferragamo said. “We’re going to establish a running game and get back to some basic football. We’re going to knock ‘em around a little bit and get back to Seahawk football.”


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