COLLEGE NOTEBOOK : Moorpark's Passing: A Little Means a Lot

Throwing the ball is little more than a passing fancy for the run-oriented Moorpark College football team, but the Raiders have nonetheless done some fancy passing this season.

Moorpark, with five touchdown passes, has more than any of the other five Valley-area junior college teams--this despite the fact that it has passed only 27 times.

The five other schools have combined for nine passing touchdowns in 301 attempts.

"People get excited about stopping our running game, and, jeez, we just get people wide open," Moorpark Coach Jim Bittner said. "It's like they (Moorpark receivers) just run right by them."

Moorpark's Del Marine and Antelope Valley's Marty Washington are tied for the area lead in touchdown passes with three each. However Washington has thrown 71 passes and Marine has thrown four.

Mighty mite: Jason Ferguson, Northridge's senior fullback, played, in Coach Bob Burt's estimation, "the best game he's had since he's been here" in helping the Matadors defeat Central (Okla.) State, 17-6, last Saturday. He gained 35 yards in five carries and caught two passes for 17 yards.

Decent statistics but seemingly not enough to draw such praise.

But it should be noted that much of Ferguson's work showed up in the statistics of his running mate--tailback Albert Fann. Fann scored twice and surpassed 100 yards rushing for the first time this season.

"If our fullback has a good game, our tailback is going to have a good game," Burt said.

Ferguson's work on Keith Traylor, Central State's 6-foot-3, 253-pound All-American inside linebacker, especially impressed Burt. "He flat buckled him--knocked the hell out of him a couple of times," Burt said.

Ferguson is 5-9, 190 pounds.

Break time: The Cal State Northridge men's and women's cross-country teams will be without their No. 1 runners when they compete in the Riverside Invitational on Saturday.

Derik Vett and Darcy Arreola, the Matadors' top runners in the Fresno and Aztec invitationals, will not run at Riverside in order to concentrate on training.

"Because of their experience and condition, they don't need to race as often as some of the others," Coach Don Strametz said. "So we'll just use this week to concentrate on training. Instead of running two hard workouts during the week and racing on Saturday, they'll be able to run three hard workouts."

The best medicine: Despite the tribulations of an 0-3 start, Cal Lutheran football Coach Joe Harper has not lost his sense of humor. If anything, he is becoming more relaxed as he settles into the job.

"I told the players after the last ballgame that sometimes you've just got to stand back and laugh at some of the things that happen in a ballgame," Harper said of a 34-12 loss to St. Mary's. "It's just so unpredictable."

The bare facts: If you're trying to pinpoint the reasons for the Valley football team's dismal start, you don't have to look any further than the statistics.

The Monarchs, who have been outscored, 91-28, rank last in the Western State Conference in team offense (212.5 yards a game) and defense (464 average).

Valley's ground attack has really sputtered, gaining 75 yards in two games.

Last year, Valley averaged 193.5 yards rushing during the regular season.

Looking for a ranking: The Cal State Northridge women's volleyball team is aiming to break into the West Regional top 10 rankings, one of four regional polls compiled weekly by the NCAA.

A regional ranking can improve a team's chances for postseason play. And although Coach Walt Ker has not given up on the NCAA championships, it might be too much to expect his 10-5 Matadors to receive a berth in the 32-team tournament in their first year at the Division I level.

That could leave Northridge in the "NIT" of women's volleyball, the 20-team Women's Intercollegiate Volleyball championships, Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at the University of Tennessee.

Stingy Marauders: Antelope Valley is ranked third in the Foothill Conference in total defense, giving up 228.7 yards a game, yet the Marauders lead the conference in scoring defense with 15 points allowed in three games.

They have posted consecutive shutouts and have not been scored on since the third quarter of a season-opening, 22-15 victory against San Diego City College.

Balance has been the key to Antelope Valley's defense.

In the game against San Diego, defensive lineman Daren Rodgers led the team with eight unassisted tackles. Linebacker Jason Metry had a team-high seven unassisted tackles against Kings River and defensive back Charley Wright led the team with eight against Victor Valley.

Football shorts: Former Simi Valley High and Valley College quarterback Todd Studer completed 18 of 29 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns in Cal State Long Beach's 28-7 win against Pacific last Saturday. Teammate Sean Cheevers, formerly of Moorpark College, kicked all four extra points in the 49ers' first win of the season. . . .

Two other quarterbacks from the area posted big numbers over the weekend.

Granada Hills High product Jeremy Leach threw for 349 yards in New Mexico's 34-32 loss to Texas Tech. Just a junior, Leach ranks 10th in the Western Athletic Conference in career passing yardage with 6,780.

He is on pace to break the WAC career record of 11,4254 yards held by San Diego State's Todd Santos, but so is Brigham Young's Ty Detmer, also a junior, who is seventh with 7,567 yards. . . .

Brad Gossen, a former Westlake High quarterback, ran nine times for 44 yards--including a 17-yard touchdown run--and completed 21 of 27 for 238 yards and two touchdowns in Washington State's 41-31 triumph over Cal. Teammate Rich Swinton, a former standout at Montclair Prep, gained 55 yards in seven carries. . . .

In Washington's 31-0 win over USC, sophomore strong safety Tommie Smith, formerly of Antelope Valley High, intercepted his second pass of the season and returned it 14 yards. . . .

In other games involving former Valley-area players: Sean Burwell (Cleveland High) ran for 77 yards in 19 carries in Oregon's 22-17 loss to Arizona; J. J. Lasley (Crespi High) gained 38 yards in four carries in Stanford's 37-3 win over Oregon St.; and Damond Hogan (Reseda High and Valley College) caught two passes for 14 yards in Cal State Fullerton's 48-17 loss to Akron.

Getting their kicks: The Occidental College women's soccer team set four school records in a 14-0 win over La Verne.

Jos Bergmann scored five goals--the first after 52 seconds--and had three assists to set school records for most goals in a match, quickest goal at the start of the match and most points (13) in a match.

The 14 goals are also an Occidental record.

Statwatch: Cal State Northridge's defense is eighth best in the nation against the run, according to Division II statistics released this week by the NCAA. The Matadors allow an average of 71 rushing yards a game. . . . CSUN linebacker Mario Hull leads Western Football Conference players with three interceptions. . . . Santa Clara's Chris Hite, a former Hart High standout, is tied for second in the WFC with 15 pass receptions.

Staff writers Brendan Healey, Mike Hiserman, Kirby Lee, Theresa Munoz and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.

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