After Starting Season 4-0, It's Clear Sailing Ahead for Mira Costa

With a 4-0 record, the Mira Costa football team has already surpassed the number of victories it had last season, when it was 3-6-1.

But if that sounds good, consider that Mira Costa could easily be 10-0 by the start of the Southern Section Division VII playoffs.

The Mustangs' six remaining regular-season games are against teams with losing records. After playing host to North Torrance (1-3) Friday night, Mira Costa will meet, in order, Inglewood (1-3), Morningside (0-3), Beverly Hills (1-3), Culver City (1-3) and Redondo (1-3).

Not exactly murderer's row, is it?

Coach Don Morrow, in his first year at Mira Costa, seemed to acknowledge his team's less-than-demanding schedule after a recent victory.

"We've looked at our schedule closely, and we feel we can play with most of the teams," Morrow said. "If we take care of them one at a time, we feel we're going to have a pretty nice season."

No one doubts that Mira Costa is improved. But not everyone is convinced the Mustangs are as good as their record might indicate. None of the teams Mira Costa has beaten--El Segundo (2-2), Bishop Montgomery (0-4), Santa Monica (2-2) and Torrance (2-2)--has a winning record.

"They're a good team," a coach said, "but they're not a 4-0 team."

If not, the Mustangs are doing a pretty good impression. They've outscored the opposition, 124-11, and are ranked fourth in Division VII.

*

Torrance had its chances last week in a 26-9 loss to Mira Costa. But the Tartars never recovered after blowing two first-half opportunities to extend a 6-0 lead.

Late in the first quarter, defensive back Andre Hilliard intercepted a pass by Mira Costa quarterback Ryan Barnes and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown that was called back because of clipping.

In the second quarter, Torrance drove to the Mira Costa one-yard line. On fourth-and-goal, the Tartars were penalized for procedure, moving the ball back to the six. Quarterback Tony Brown's pass fell incomplete in the end zone.

Mira Costa took possession and drove 94 yards in six plays for a touchdown, setting off a dramatic turnaround.

"We made too many damn mistakes," Torrance Coach Bill Bynum said.

*

Look for Serra guard Rick Price to announce his decision any day on whether he will play college basketball at Duke or Kansas.

The player's father, also named Rick, said it is still too close to call.

"Rick has an Oct. 15 deadline in his mind, but that could easily slip," the elder Price said.

The 6-foot-6 Price took recruiting trips to Kansas and Duke on consecutive weekends last month, and he had two home visits each from Kansas Coach Roy Williams and Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

When he does decide, Price is expected to call a press conference at Serra to make the announcement.

*

Carson wingback J.R. Redmond gave first-year Coach David Williams a vote of confidence, sort of, last week after a 34-8 victory over Washington evened the Colts' record at 2-2 following an 0-2 start.

"We had a shaky start," Redmond said. "It happened last year under a different coach (Marty Blankenship). Now we have a new coach--a better coach in some areas, in some areas not--and we're ready to roll."

Redmond, a junior who scored three touchdowns against Washington, was more enthusiastic in his evaluation of junior Ramon Rogers, who has passed for 588 yards in three games as Carson's starting quarterback.

"He's a good quarterback," Redmond said. "Give him time and he'll be another John Walsh."

Rogers has a long way to go. Walsh, now the quarterback at Brigham Young University, passed for a state-record 4,223 yards and 48 TDs for Carson in 1990.

*

Ocean League water polo rivals Mira Costa and Peninsula each won tournament titles last weekend.

Mira Costa (13-6) moved up two places to No. 6 in the Division III coaches' poll after winning the South Bay tournament Saturday with a 13-11 victory over Beverly Hills in the final. The Mustangs led, 9-3, in the third quarter.

Peninsula (13-5), meanwhile, won the Anaheim Canyon tournament for the second year in a row with an 8-7 victory over Canyon. Senior Doug Keese led the Panthers with four goals in the final to finish the tournament with 19 goals in four games.

Keese and Mira Costa's Sean Nollan are generally regarded as the best players in the Ocean League. Nollan, a senior and the son of Mustang Coach Mike Nollan, was named most valuable player of the South Bay tournament after scoring seven goals against Beverly Hills.

In a head-to-head matchup last week, Keese scored six goals and Nollan had three as Mira Costa took over sole possession of first place in league play with a 12-10 victory over Peninsula.

Mira Costa improved its league record to 5-0 Tuesday with a 12-5 victory over El Segundo, getting four goals from Nollan, three each from Dan Stephenson and Paul Barr, and two from Hayk Khdryan. Peninsula (3-1) beat last-place Morningside, 22-2, Tuesday.

Mira Costa and Peninsula figure to decide the Ocean title when they meet again Oct. 21 at Miraleste Intermediate, the site of Peninsula's home pool.

*

Peninsula tailback James Durroh leads area rushers with 555 yards, more than the rushing totals of six area teams--Torrance, Serra, Carson, Narbonne, Mary Star and Bishop Montgomery.

Durroh has rushed for more than 200 yards in each of the last two games against Culver City and North Torrance after missing a game because of a sprained ankle.

*

We've found a team that passes even less than Peninsula, which did not complete a pass in five attempts last week in a 38-21 victory over North Torrance.

Banning quarterback London McBride has completed only five of 19 passes in three games since moving from tight end.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
65°