The way the San Diego Section 2-A Division high school football playoffs are set up, the Avocado League could have all four teams in next week’s quarterfinals.
It’s unlikely. But if the planets align in the Avocado heavens, the north county league would post a section first.
Five Avocado teams started the playoffs and the only one that isn’t still around--Carlsbad--lost to another, San Pasqual.
Also consider that of the nine combined losses by the four teams, only one was to a team outside the league. Unbeaten Orange Glen, a 3-A team, beat San Pasqual, 28-14.
The most even game this weekend appears to be tonight (7:30) at Mira Mesa High School, between El Camino (8-2-1), the Avocado League’s No. 2 team, and City Western League champion University City (7-2).
The key for University City will be to keep El Camino quarterback Eric Robinson from getting into the open field.
“He’s scary, he’s so quick,” said Steve Vukojevich, University City’s coach. “We hope to contain him. If he drops back to pass, hey, let him throw the football.”
Robinson, who also lines up as a running back, rushed for 930 yards and 15 touchdowns and passed for 872 yards and 5 touchdowns.
“They are very quick,” Vukojevich said. “I don’t see anything we can take advantage of. We’re going to try to run the football at them.”
Leading the UC rushing attack are tailback Darnes Taylor and wingback Jeff Jordan. Taylor was fourth in the county with 1,251 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games. Jordan had just 400 yards but averaged 8 yards a carry.
In tonight’s other 2-A game:
Oceanside (8-3) vs. Valhalla (6-4) at Monte Vista--The key here, Valhalla Coach Carl Iavelli says, is containing Oceanside’s speed.
“They have good size and exceptional quickness,” Iavelli said. “They have outstanding speed at wide receiver. That’s going to make it tough for us. We don’t posses at lot of team speed.”
Running the attack for Oceanside is senior Chad Crites, who will be making his fourth consecutive start at quarterback since Jerry Garrett was declared academically ineligible. He will look to pass to Lee Strain and Fred Dunn.
Valhalla, one of the Grossmont League’s co-champions, will be without running back Scott Lapinski for the fourth consecutive game. Lapinski has not recovered from a thigh bruise. Jason Peltier (86.8 yards per game) will handle the rushing.
Instead of the ground-oriented attack he prefers, Iavelli will have to rely more on the pass and quarterback Mark Iveson.
“We’re more balanced than we would like to be,” Iavelli said. “We like to run 60% to 70% of the time.”
San Pasqual (7-4) vs. Lincoln (9-1) at Mesa College, 7:30-- When these teams met last year in the semifinals, San Pasqual scored a touchdown and made a 2-point conversion with 3 seconds left to upset the highly favored Hornets, 28-27.
The loss still haunts Lincoln Coach Vic Player, who went into the game expecting to meet a ground-oriented team and found a versatile, balanced one instead. Player won’t make that mistake this year. He knows San Pasqual quarterback Andy Loveland can do more than just hand the ball to Jim Clayton and Tony Medina.
“If we give Loveland a chance to scramble around, that can cause us some trouble,” Player said. “We’re going to try to take advantage our our speed.”
Lincoln running back Orlanzo Edwards was the county’s No. 7 rusher with 1,257 yards and also scored 10 touchdowns.
Rancho Buena Vista (10-0) vs. USDHS (8-3) at Vista, 7:30--Rancho Buena Vista, the county’s top-ranked team, the best passing attack it has seen this season.
USDHS quarterback Anthony Massa finished second in the county with 2,084 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. His top receiver is Dan Hall, who caught 39 passes for 668 yards.
RBV will stay with its dominating rushing attack led by the Avocado League’s co-offensive players of the year: running back Scott Garcia and guard Jack Harrington. Garcia, the state’s rushing and scoring leader, needs 141 yards to break the section record of 2,124 set in 1986 by Vista’s Tommy Booker, and 2 rushing touchdowns to break Terry Rodgers’ record of 32 set in 1985 at Sweetwater.
USDHS, which tied for second place in the City Western League, has given up just 128 points in 11 games. RBV has scored 413 in 10.