If you get a kick out of watching running backs who resemble linemen, Mira Costa was the place to be Friday night.
The nonleague game between the host Mustangs and Santa Monica featured perhaps the two biggest ball carriers in Southern California--Mira Costa junior fullback Phil Fonua and Santa Monica senior tailback Michael Jackson.
Fonua, whose calves resemble tree trunks, is listed as 6-foot-2 and 265 pounds. Don't believe it. Mira Costa Coach Don Morrow said Fonua weighed in at 287 pounds last week.
Jackson, a sought-after recruit who also plays tight end, is listed at 6-2 and 250, but he looks heavier judging by the way he spills out of his uniform.
Despite their sizes, both players have good quickness and agility. Fonua rushed for 51 yards and three touchdowns in eight carries and caught two passes for 36 yards to help Mira Costa to a 31-0 victory. Jackson was bottled up by the Mustang defense, finishing with only 12 yards in 11 carries. He had three catches for 25 yards.
In addition to his football skills, Fonua is a returning starter on the basketball team and had the South Bay's best shot-put mark last spring. He reportedly runs the 40-yard dash in under five seconds.
"I sometimes wonder if he's afraid to run a kid over, because I know what's going to happen," Morrow said.
With Friday's shutout, the Mira Costa defense remained unscored upon through three games in 1993. The Mustangs have outscored the opposition, 98-2.
Playing an aggressive eight-man front, Mira Costa held Santa Monica to 22 yards rushing and had three sacks and two interceptions.
"They just beat our butts, no way around it," said Santa Monica Coach Daniel Escalera, whose team had beaten Beverly Hills and Pasadena in its first two games.
Morrow said the play of the defensive line, led by Fonua, Tate McCallister (6-4, 265) and Miguel Prieto (5-11, 230), allows the linebackers to stunt.
"Our linebackers are pretty good stunters," Morrow said. "Ricky Saunders, Casey Glynn and Jade Byrd do a good job. They get freed up by the guys up front."
TAKING OUT THE TRASH
Peninsula tailback James Durroh was determined to silence his trash-talking critics Friday against visiting Culver City. And silence them he did, rushing for 232 yards and three touchdowns in the Panthers' 45-14 victory.
Durroh, who didn't play last week against Centennial because of a sprained ankle, said players from other teams had been getting on him, challenging him to match his statistics of last season, when he rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 22 TDs.
"Hopefully (other teams) will take this game into consideration," Durroh said. "My first game (against Lakewood) wasn't very good, but I just like to let my playing do the talking. My leg feels 100% now."
Durroh had scoring runs of 70, 42 and one yards. His 70-yarder in the first quarter erased a 7-0 deficit, and his 42-yarder on the first play from scrimmage in the second half gave the Panthers a 24-7 lead.
Friday's game also marked the best passing performance by a Peninsula quarterback in quite some time. Junior Pete Krogh completed six of 11 attempts for 131 yards and two touchdowns, both to tight end Keith Harter.
Peninsula Coach Gary Kimbrell said his run-oriented team had to pass to keep the Culver City defense honest.
"They put 10 guys on the line of scrimmage, and we had to put a stop that somehow," Kimbrell said. "Enough is enough. We had to stop beating our heads against the wall."
Kimbrell was forced to play Krogh for most of the game because backup quarterback Chris Duffy, who plays defensive back, suffered from leg cramps. Some Peninsula fans voiced concern that leaving Krogh in the game could expose him to injury. The Panthers lost No. 1 quarterback Brian Reed for the season when he suffered a broken ankle in the opener against Lakewood.
"I know what (the fans) mean," said Kimbrell, laughing. "They think they know everything anyway. Tell them I'll give them T-shirts that say 'Coaching staff' on them, and they can come down here two hours a day and make all the calls they want."
After replacing senior Tony Harvey last week, junior Ramon Rogers showed Friday that he is ready to take command at quarterback for Carson.
Rogers completed 15 of 21 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Colts over Anaheim Servite, 19-6, at Cal State Fullerton. It was a good thing Rogers had a big night because Servite limited Carson to 19 yards rushing.
But Coach David Williams, who picked up his first victory, emphasized that it was a team effort.
"(Rogers) threw the ball well, but he's just one of 11 guys out there," Williams said. "You need to have good blocking and have the receivers run the patterns right."
According to Rogers, he got both. His leading receiver was Harvey, who has gone from throwing passes to catching them. He had six catches for 127 yards, including a 72-yard TD in the third quarter to make the score 12-0.
"After the first half, I was more confident," Rogers said. "I was more confident mainly because of the offensive line."
The Carson defense also did its job, holding Servite to 113 total yards. Safety Pa'a Pepe led the Colts with a team-high 13 tackles and an interception.
ONE IS ENOUGH
Banning quarterback London McBride completed only one of six passes Friday, but it was enough to give the Pilots their first victory in three games.
McBride's 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Richardson on fourth-and-eight with 1:09 remaining gave Banning a stunning 19-16 victory over host Tustin (2-1), the No. 5-ranked team in Southern Section Division IV.
Earlier in the fourth quarter, McBride missed a chance to give Banning the lead when he was stopped on fourth-and-three at the Tustin three. However, Tustin failed to make a first down and Zack Matthews' 14-yard punt gave Banning possession at the Tustin 24 with 2:32 left. Four plays later, McBride found Richardson in the end zone.
Tustin drove to the Banning 37 with seven seconds left, but Eric Whitfield's interception ended the threat. McBride and Whitfield are transfers from Gateway Christian in Harbor City.
Gateway Christian junior Ben Holt filled in for starting tailback Eugene Francis, who was held out of Friday's eight-man game against visiting Liberty Christian of Huntington Beach for disciplinary reasons.
Francis may have a tough time getting his job back.
Holt, who normally plays receiver, rushed for 193 yards and four touchdowns in 14 carries, and caught three passes for 100 yards and three TDs to lead the Hawks (2-1) to a 62-22 victory. Holt had scoring runs of 10, 70, 50 and 6 yards, and caught TD passes covering 36 and 55 yards.
Narbonne was hoping to start a winning streak Friday. Instead, the Gauchos reverted to their old ways, committing five turnovers in a 34-14 loss to previously winless Verbum Dei.
First-year Coach Leroy Wilson said the home opener was a step back for the Gauchos, who last week defeated Palisades, 20-13, for only their third victory in five seasons.
"We went back to the old Narbonne in front of our home crowd," Wilson said. "We ran like it. We passed like it. We played defense like it. We did everything like it.
"If we would have played like we did against Palisades, we would have been OK."
El Segundo extended Mary Star's losing streak to 19 games Friday night by rallying for a 27-13 victory at Daniels Field. As in many of Stars' losses during the streak, they fell apart in the fourth quarter, after entering the period with a 13-7 lead.
The quarter began and ended with a Mary Star pass being intercepted. In between, El Segundo running back Joey Bolder rushed for three touchdowns, Mary Star had a punt blocked and a fumble recovery by the Stars was nullified for having too many men on the field.
"We had an injury (to linebacker Danny Pulu) and we were alternating people," Mary Star Coach Mike Marinkovich said. "Everybody realized we had 12 men--the coaches, the fans, everybody. We were trying to call time out, but they didn't hear us."
Leuzinger Coach Fred Boehm tried to put as much pressure on Torrance quarterback Tony Brown as possible in the Olympians' 23-0 victory.
Brown, who had passed for 469 yards and eight touchdowns in his first two games, passed for only 126 yards with two interceptions and was sacked twice against Leuzinger.
"We sacked him only twice, but we had him running for his life," Boehm said. "When you're a quarterback and you see everybody coming after you, you think about the last time you got hit. I'm sure it enters your mind."
West Torrance Coach Kerry Crabb, whose team scored touchdowns on its first four series and defeated Inglewood, 27-6, for its first victory in three games: "We set the tempo early. For once, we were the guys working on the short field."
Mary Star running back Brian Adrid, who scored both of his team's touchdowns in a 27-13 loss to El Segundo that extended the Stars' losing streak to 19 games: "We always play hard. Next week we start league; we still have hope."
Bishop Montgomery Coach Matt Giacalone after his team lost to Alemany, 24-0, for its third consecutive shutout, despite getting to the Alemany five-yard line three times: "This game proved we can move the ball, but the kids aren't convinced yet they can score."
Mira Costa Coach Don Morrow on his team's 3-0 record, the school's best start in several years: "If somebody said before the season we'd be 3-0, I think everybody would have been happy with that."
--Redondo tailback Nigel Greer, who entered the week ranked third among area rushers with 264 yards, sat out a 21-13 loss to St. Bernard because of knee and ankle injuries sustained last week against Torrance. He is expected to play Friday against Inglewood.
--Narbonne tight end David Kator suffered an apparent neck injury late in the second quarter against Verbum Dei and was taken to the hospital by ambulance for what a Narbonne trainer said were precautionary X-rays.