Advertisement

GAME DAY / A Look at Today’s Key Matchups

HIGH SCHOOLS

SOUTHERN SECTION

* LONG BEACH WILSON (6-4) vs. NOTRE DAME (9-1)

At Notre Dame High, 7:30 p.m.

Advertisement

The Knights continue their quest to prove they can flourish in Division I. The Knights went 2-1 in Del Rey League play, but suffered some injuries. Defensive end Alec Moss (sprained shoulder) and receiver Chris Naassour (sprained ankle) are not expected to play. Defensive tackle Travis Johnson (elbow) and running back Chris Leon (sprained ankle) played with injuries last week in a victory over St. John Bosco. Todd Fenton has 48 catches for 735 yards and 11 touchdowns for Notre Dame. Wilson finished second in the Moore League behind top-seeded Long Beach Poly, which defeated the Bruins last week, 54-6. Randy Gaither has rushed for 1,472 yards and 20 touchdowns in the Bruins’ wing-T offense. Tight end Chris Lahera has 29 catches and five touchdowns.

*

* HIGHLAND (3-7) vs. HART (8-2)

At College of the Canyons, 7:30 p.m.

Advertisement

Hart, top-seeded in Division III, is trying to advance to the quarterfinals for the 10th consecutive season. Jerry Owens, the Indians’ All-American receiver, is out for the season because of a broken leg, but Hart has plenty of weapons. Start with Kyle Boller, who has passed for 3,711 yards and is six touchdown passes short of the state record of 52 in a season. Without Owens, he will look to Jared Bazar, who has 40 receptions for 738 yards and 10 touchdowns, and Shane Lavoie, who has 34 for 648 yards and six touchdowns. Billy Brecht has rushed for 607 yards and caught 35 passes for 473 yards. Highland relies on the run as heavily as Hart does the pass. Brandon McElvaine has rushed for 1,144 yards and 10 touchdowns. Kevin Morris has added 512 yards rushing and four touchdowns for Highland, which passes only 20% of the time. The Bulldogs are allowing almost 30 points per game. Hart is averaging 45.6.

*

* CANYON (6-4) vs. LANCASTER (8-2)

At Alemany High, 7:30 p.m.

Advertisement

Last week, Canyon faced the region’s No. 1 offense in a Foothill League finale against Hart. Now, the Cowboys meet the region’s No. 2 defense. Linebacker Donald Forshee and defensive backs Dominic Flax and Jason Jacobs have been stalwarts in a Lancaster defense that is allowing only 172.9 yards and 9.3 points per game. Canyon will counter with a balanced running game featuring four backs with at least 285 yards. Jimmy Perry leads the team with 599 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Jason McKeon has rushed for 406 yards and nine touchdowns, and passed for 838 yards and five touchdowns. Danny Pagnella of Lancaster, who has 617 yards rushing, is expected back in the lineup after missing the last 2 1/2 games because of an Achilles injury. Percy Abrams filled in, gaining 168 yards last week against Antelope Valley. The Eagles have not gained a yard through the air in two weeks.

*

* CRESCENTA VALLEY (6-4) vs. VALENCIA (7-3)

At Canyon High, 7:30 p.m.

Advertisement

Crescenta Valley hasn’t won a playoff game since 1992. Valencia has never won a playoff game. If common opponents are any indication, give the edge to Valencia. Crescenta Valley lost nonleague games to Canyon, 21-10, and Burroughs, 32-27. Valencia defeated Burroughs, 27-22, and Canyon, 12-9, in league games. Both teams are as healthy as they have been this season and both play solid defense. It might come down to a battle between running backs Manuel White of Valencia, who has 1,434 yards rushing, and Derrel Furutani of Crescenta Valley, who has 1,267. Crescenta Valley, with Seth Santoro at quarterback, passes better than Valencia, but quarterback Brian Hamilton, who has 460 yards rushing, and fullback Ray Cassaday, with 392, help take the heat off White.

*

* CRESPI (5-5) vs. LITTLEROCK (10-0)

At Littlerock High, 7:30 p.m.

Advertisement

Two teams with run-oriented attacks meet for the first time. Littlerock, in its sixth season, is in search of its first postseason victory after two failed attempts. The Golden League-champion Lobos are led by Rodney Woods, who has rushed for 1,091 yards and 13 touchdowns, and Keith Williams, who has rushed for 862 and seven touchdowns. Quarterback Richard Newton has thrown only 61 passes, one for a touchdown, but has rushed for 151 yards and seven touchdowns. He often serves as lead blocker after making the pitch. Crespi has lost five in a row, including its three Mission League games. Fullback Blake Tibbetts of Crespi has rushed for 416 yards and four touchdowns. Ken Turner, Jimmy Guardino and Joel Garcia have contributed a combined 755 yards. Robert Muller has passed for 943 yards and eight touchdowns.

*

* WESTLAKE (8-1-1) vs. SAN MARCOS (3-7)

At San Marcos High, 7:30 p.m.

Advertisement

If Coach Jim Benkert of Westlake was hoping for an easy Division IV opener, he came up empty. San Marcos is 8-2 on the field but forfeited five victories because of an ineligible player. There might not be a better run-pass threat at quarterback than 6-foot-3 Bradlee Van Pelt of San Marcos. The son of the former New York Giants’ linebacker has passed for 1,091 yards and 13 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,051 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also returned an interception for a touchdown. The good news for Westlake is versatile Travis Campbell finally is healthy after struggling because of a separated shoulder. He has caught 41 passes for 531 yards and eight touchdowns. It will be up to Westlake’s defense, led by linebacker Jordan Lampos, to make sure San Marcos doesn’t control the clock with Van Pelt’s running and passing.

*

* VENTURA (4-5-1) vs. NEWBURY PARK (7-2)

At Newbury Park High, 7:30 p.m.

Advertisement

Newbury Park, seeded No. 1 in Division IV, hosts the Cougars in a rematch of “the Mud Bowl”, a 7-0 Newbury Park victory in a quagmire during a 1996 first-round playoff game at Ventura High. Can a Ventura defense that allows an average of 260 yards and 24 points slow down the high-flying Newbury Park offense, which averages 448 yards and 24 points? Central to that effort will be linebacker Mark Martinez, safeties Rashe Hall and Jon Lang and cornerback Scott Ellis. Nick Czernek of Newbury Park has passed for 2,695 yards and 25 touchdowns and has had 20 passes intercepted, tops in the region. Cause Hanna has 60 receptions and 14 touchdowns and Ryan Shipton has rushed for 1,078 yards and 14 touchdowns. Tyler Ebell of Ventura has rushed for 1,115 yards and 13 touchdowns.

*

* Other first-round games tonight at 7:30:

Division III: St. Francis at Muir, Pacific at Alemany, Saugus at Arcadia, Palmdale at St. Paul.

Advertisement

Division IV: Rio Mesa at San Luis Obispo, Righetti at Hueneme, Lompoc at Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara at Camarillo, Moorpark vs. Buena at Ventura High, Channel Islands at Arroyo Grande.

Division VII: Harvard-Westlake at Arroyo, Santa Fe at Chaminade.

Division X: La Canada at Santa Ynez.

Division XI: San Jacinto at Nordhoff, Oak Park at Cerritos Valley Christian, Verbum Dei at Calabasas.

Advertisement

Division XII: Desert vs. Paraclete at Antelope Valley College, Montclair Prep at Rosamond, L.A. Baptist at Mojave, Bishop vs. Kilpatrick at Oak Park High.

Division XIII: Flintridge Prep vs. St. Margaret’s at Mission Viejo High.


Advertisement