PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFF CAPSULES : DIVISION VII
Defending champion: Arroyo Grande, a 16-0 winner over Manhattan Beach Mira Costa.
Seeded teams: 1. Covina (10-0); 2. Lompoc (9-1); 3. Beverly Hills (9-1); 4. Fullerton (9-1). Dark horse: Rancho Alamitos (4-5-1). The Vaqueros are one of two teams in the draw with a losing record. But the running game of junior Leo Kosi and sophomores Alex Blanco and David Vickers and the senior leadership of quarterback John Frank make them a dangerous playoff team, even though they open at second-seeded Lompoc.
Notes: Top-seeded Covina looks to be the class of the division. The Colts’ closest game was last week’s 34-22 victory over Pomona Ganesha for the Valle Vista League title. Covina’s second closest game was 26 points. Quarterback Michael Ulrich has thrown for 18 touchdowns and run for six more. Senior running back Shaun Malcom has rushed for more than 1,000 yards and is averaging 10 yards a carry . . . Troy, Covina’s opponent, won its last three to reach the playoffs but will be without senior running back Larry Montgomery, who’s been out with a knee injury since Week 2. Junior Kyion Graves (484 yards in seven games) has filled in nicely for Montgomery . . . Fourth-seeded Fullerton, which won its first outright league title since 1983, gave up only 70 points this season. Fullerton’s opponent, Covina Northview, won a coin flip to finish third over South Hills and San Dimas, which was given the division’s lone wild-card berth. Northview is led by 1,000-yard rusher Delano Rhyne . . . Sunny Hills won only one of its first five games, but won four of its five league games--losing to league champion Fullerton, 28-7 . . . Ganesha, Sunny Hills’ opponent, is led by running back Jermaine Hunsaker, a breakaway threat who was held to 15 yards by Covina. Quarterback Joel Porres threw for 240 yards against Covina but fumbled twice late in the game . . . Lompoc, the Northern League champion, gave up only 61 points all season and beat Arroyo Grande, the Northern League runner-up, 32-0. Lompoc’s only loss was to Atascadero in Week 4. The Braves, who run a wing-T offense, have score more than 60 points twice. Their line is anchored by all-league tackles T.J. Jackson (6-3, 240) and Abe Alcivar (6-3, 235). Starting fullback Peter Sousa, the Northern League MVP last year, injured his knee in Week 8 and is probably out for this week. The only other meeting between Lompoc and Rancho Alamitos was 1992 in the Division VII semifinals, which Rancho Alamitos won, 21-7, behind running back Jeff Byrd’s 333 yards rushing, which broke the Orange County single-season record . . . Pacifica, the Garden Grove League champion, opens with Redondo, the Ocean League’s third-place team. Mariner quarterback J.D. Stern (1,434 yards, 13 touchdowns) threw for a school-record 291 yards against Bolsa Grande in the season finale . . . Los Amigos, which plays host to Santa Maria Righetti, has been led by Greg Fausto, who came on strong to finish with 1,130 yards. Fausto had 173 rushing yards and 299 total yards last week against Bolsa Grande.