Saddleback Faces New Challenge : Football: Conference's leading defense will have to shut down Riverside's run-oriented offense.


A week ago, Saddleback matched its defense, the best in the Mission Conference, against the El Camino's top-ranked offense and came away with a 21-16 victory in a non-divisional game.

The Gauchos face the worst offense in the conference tonight, but there is much more on the line as Saddleback (3-3, 1-1) travels to Riverside (1-5, 1-2) for a Central Division game at 7 o'clock.

Saddleback got outstanding performances from several players, including lineman David Cruickshank (five sacks), linebacker Jeff Fackrell (12 tackles) and defensive back Scott Patton (10 tackles) in the upset of El Camino, which was ranked second in the nation.

Riverside's offense presents a much different challenge. The Tigers are run-oriented, averaging 161 yards on the ground. Riverside is averaging 70 yards passing for a total of 231 yards per game. Saddleback is giving up 248 yards per game, only 88 rushing.

Saddleback is going for consecutive victories for the first time this season. The Gauchos have won every other game thus far.

In other Mission Conference games:

Fullerton (2-3-1, 2-0) vs. Golden West (3-4, 1-2), Orange Coast, 7 p.m.--With a victory, Fullerton would move into a first-place tie with Rancho Santiago. The Hornets must stop Charles Chatman, Golden West's talented freshman running back. Chatman went for a season-high 222 yards in a 47-30 victory over Southwestern last Saturday. He has an Orange-County best 601 yards this season. Mike Jacot has rushed for 535 yards and six touchdowns for Fullerton, which has won two in a row.

Rancho Santiago (4-2) at Pasadena (3-3), 1:30 p.m.--Defensive backs James Stewart has five interceptions and teammate Brandon Hoalton has four for Rancho Santiago, which has 14. The Dons are tied for fewest touchdowns given up in the conference with 11.

Southwestern (2-4, 0-3) at Orange Coast (2-4, 1-1), 1 p.m.--William League has rushed for 509 yards and quarterback Matt Sauk has thrown for an Orange-County best 1,076 yards. Southwestern has lost three in a row.

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