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The Colleges : COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOWL GAMES : PONY Bowl : These Games Will Be Played for Pride Instead of Titles

For the past 3 seasons the PONY Bowl has had national title implications, but today’s doubleheader won’t serve that purpose.

Instead, it will be a chance for the players to get one more opportunity to impress the college scouts.

Rancho Santiago (6-3-1) plays Moorpark (9-1) in the 1 p.m. game and Saddleback (8-2) meets El Camino (8-1-1) at 7 p.m. Both games are at Orange Coast College.

The El Camino-Saddleback game will resemble a family reunion. Saddleback Coach Ken Swearingen played at El Camino College in 1950-51, then went to the University of the Pacific. He became El Camino coach in 1962 and was there until 1975. He took over at Saddleback in 1976.

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At El Camino, he coached current El Camino Coach John Featherstone, along with El Camino defensive coordinators Walt Justice and Steve Schmitz.

El Camino looked strong enough to possibly repeat as national champions at the start of the season, but lost to Fullerton, 38-36, in the third week, then needed a last-second 56-yard field goal by Dominic Cefalone to tie Golden West, 31-31, the following week.

Saddleback was upset by Mt. San Antonio, 24-19, in the fourth week, then lost to Fullerton, 47-37, in the final regular-season game.

Rancho Santiago has reverted to a familiar role--the underdog.

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The Dons were picked last in the Mission Conference but won 6 of their first 7 games and finished third in the Central Division.

Moorpark comes into the game with the best defense in the state, allowing 173.8 yards a game.

The Dons lost to Fullerton, 24-17, but were on Fullerton’s 3-yard line in the final minute and didn’t score. Rancho Santiago lost to Saddleback, 9-7, but had a field goal blocked and missed another in the final minute of the game.

Rancho Santiago offers a double quarterback threat in sophomore Eric Turner and freshman Scott Wood. Turner completed 90 of 143 passes for 1,060 yards and 6 touchdowns, and Wood was 92 of 144 for 1,024 yards and 6 touchdowns.

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Mike Miscione, a sophomore running back, gained 1,139 yards in 185 carries, the fourth-best total in the state.

PONY Bowl Notes

Mike Piel, former Saddleback standout who is on injured reserve for the Rams, is the honorary game chairman today. Piel was a defensive lineman for Saddleback in 1983 and 1984. . . . The Saddleback-El Camino game will be live on radio station KSBR (88.5 FM). . . . In the PONY Bowl last season, El Camino defeated Taft to win the J.C. Grid-Wire national championship.


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