Rancho Santiago to Face Fullerton Without Fausto
With a couple of games left, it’s still too early for football coaches to talk openly about postseason possibilities.
Although Coach Dave Ogas’ Rancho Santiago team is in first place by a game over Orange Coast and Saddleback, he has more immediate concerns than bowl-game possibilities.
The Dons won the division last season despite being picked to finish near the bottom.
“We’re not the Cinderella team this season,” Ogas said. “We’ve been the marked team from the get go.”
Ogas, like all coaches at this time of year, is worried about his players’ health but doesn’t want to talk about it.
His main concern for public consumption is facing Fullerton at 1 p.m. Saturday at Santa Ana Stadium without starting quarterback Mark Fausto.
Fausto must sit out under conference rules because he was ejected in the first quarter of the Dons’ victory over Southwestern.
According to Ogas, a Southwestern defensive lineman was intentionally trying to injure Fausto by putting his helmet to Fausto’s leg and jerking his knee.
Fausto, who has thrown for 1,062 yards and 12 touchdowns, shoved the player and was ejected.
“We didn’t think it warranted an ejection,” Ogas said. “But the official made the call.”
With Fausto out, the job falls to sophomore Rob Petko, who was the starter in the first game of the season. Petko is 16 of 47 for 130 yards and two touchdowns for the season.
“We’ll get him ready,” Ogas said of Petko. “He’s been a starter and can handle the job.”
Football poll: Los Angeles Valley (9-0) remained the top team in the Southland poll. Long Beach (9-0) is second, San Bernardino Valley (8-0) third, Bakersfield (7-1) fourth, Citrus (8-0) fifth, Mt. San Antonio (7-1) sixth, Rancho Santiago (6-2) seventh, Moorpark (7-2) eighth, Santa Monica (6-1-1) ninth and Hancock (6-2) 10th.
The other big game besides Rancho Santiago-Fullerton this Saturday is Saddleback (5-3, 3-1) at Orange Coast (4-4, 3-1) at 1. The teams are tied for second.
Also this Saturday: Golden West (4-5, 2-3) ends its regular season by playing host to Riverside (1-7, 1-3) at 7 p.m. at OCC.
Water polo: Golden West is top-seeded in the Southern California water polo playoffs, which were announced Monday. The Rustlers (25-3-1), who won the South Coast League tournament Saturday, are 25-3-1 and have a first-round bye.
In Wednesday’s first-round 3:30 p.m. games: No. 9 Fullerton (18-10-2) is at No. 8 Saddleback (15-10-3); No. 12 Chaffey (13-18-2) is at No. 5 Long Beach (16-6-3); No. 10 Orange Coast (11-16-1) is at No. 7 Palomar (18-12) and No. 11 Mt. San Antonio (9-17-1) is at No. 6 Cuesta (20-10-1).
No. 2 Ventura (22-7-1), No. 3 Grossmont (26-2-1) and No. 4 Citrus (29-3-1) also received first-round byes.
The second round and semifinals are Friday and the championship game is 7:30 p.m. Saturday all at Long Beach Belmont Plaza.
The top four teams advance to State tournament Nov. 17-18 at Merced.
Men’s soccer: Rancho Santiago (13-1-1, 8-0-1) holds a commanding lead in the Orange Empire Conference race. The Dons have 25 points and second-place Orange Coast (5-6-5, 4-2-3) has 15.
Cypress (6-6-2, 4-3-1) has won three of its last four and moved into a third-place tie with Riverside (8-7-2, 4-4-1). Each team has 13 points. The top two teams go to the playoffs.
Cypress’ surge has been led by sophomore forward Israel Cedillo, who has five goals in the last four games, including the goal in a 1-0 victory over Orange Coast Friday.