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Showdown Near for Mater Dei and Loyola

Times Staff Writer

Several high-profile games are on the schedule this week, including ones that will help determine league titles and shape the way playoff brackets will look in four weeks.

The Southland’s toughest league gets down to its most serious business Saturday night. That’s when Santa Ana Mater Dei (6-1 overall, 2-0 in league), ranked No. 2 in the Southland by The Times, faces No.10 Los Angeles Loyola (6-1, 2-0), the defending Southern Section Division I champion, at 7:30 at Glendale High.

On Friday night, No. 9 Newhall Hart (5-2, 2-0), the defending Division II champion, puts its 65-game Foothill League winning streak on the line against No. 13 Valencia (6-1, 2-0) at 7:30 at College of the Canyons. Both teams must still play undefeated Canyon Country Canyon in league.

In the City Section, No. 12 Los Angeles Dorsey (6-1, 2-0) plays host to No. 16 L.A. Crenshaw (6-1, 2-0) in a Coliseum League showdown on Friday. School administrators met Monday to consider moving the game from Rancho Cienega Park adjacent to Dorsey or move the game’s start time from 7 p.m. to 3 p.m. because of safety concerns raised by the LAUSD police. Dorsey officials have been asked to provide LAUSD administrators with three alternative sites today.

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The West Valley League race should be decided Friday at 7:30 p.m., when No. 17 Woodland Hills Taft (6-1, 2-0), which has won six in a row, plays at No. 21 Lake Balboa Birmingham (4-3, 2-0), whose losses are to No. 3 Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, Valencia and Dorsey.

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Huntington Park (6-1, 2-0) and South Gate (4-3, 2-0), the only Eastern League teams undefeated in league play, meet at 7 p.m. Friday at South Gate. However ...

“The team that’s going to win the league is Jordan,” said South Gate Coach Gary Cordray, whose team has a four-game winning streak. “Huntington Park has the upper hand because they beat Jordan, but I still think Jordan has the best team in the league. They’ve got the best players.”

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Although records hardly matter this week because it’s a rivalry game, there’s a little more at stake in one particular household. Peter Ruiz, the son of Huntington Park defensive coordinator Joe Ruiz, is a starting guard for South Gate.

“It’s pretty competitive at home,” Peter said. “Thursday night at dinner, there’s going to be a lot of tension in the house. You can count on that.”

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Paul Zuniga, stabbed in the back of the leg at a party on Oct. 2, made his return to the San Gabriel Gabrielino lineup Thursday against El Monte Arroyo.

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Zuniga entered the game having completed 85% of his passes, with 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He threw for another touchdown, a screen pass that went for 77 yards, on his first play.

Zuniga completed 17 of 37 passes for 296 yards with four interceptions, and seven of his passes were dropped.

“I don’t care if he throws for 600 yards if he throws four picks and scores six points,” said Arroyo Coach Jim Isinger after his team scored a 28-6 victory to remain undefeated.

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Anyone who might have doubted the value of Xavier Hicks to Fullerton need only examine the Indians’ 14-13 Freeway League loss Friday to La Habra Sunny Hills.

Fullerton had a 13-0 lead when Hicks, the versatile quarterback and defensive back, twisted his ankle with five minutes left in the first half after accounting for 102 yards -- 30 rushing, 72 passing.

Hicks didn’t come back, but Sunny Hills did for a 14-13 victory. Hicks should be back in the lineup Friday for Fullerton (6-1, 1-1), which plays at La Habra (4-3, 2-0).

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Pomona Diamond Ranch’s 21-7 Mt. Baldy League victory over Ontario Chaffey was notable for both teams’ kicking games. Each had a female kicker. Senior Suzanne Ruckel kicked Chaffey’s extra point, and Elizabeth Ota kicked two of the three extra points for Diamond Ranch. The other extra point was converted by Ota’s boyfriend, Aaron Hunter.

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Three dots and a cloud of dust: Ben Viramontes of South Gate has 19 sacks, and Marco Pulido kicked a school-record four field goals, the last from 40 yards, in a 36-16 victory over Los Angeles Roosevelt.... Aaron Brown rushed for 243 yards and three touchdowns as Long Beach Cabrillo beat Long Beach Jordan, 41-40, when Jordan’s two-point conversion failed with 37 seconds left.... Richard Murrell of San Bernardino rushed 19 times for 409 yards and six touchdowns on runs of 78, two, seven, 69, 68 and 69 yards in a 48-36 victory over Rialto Carter.... Although he could have played, running back Toby Gerhart sat out Norco’s 21-3 victory over Moreno Valley to rest his injured ankle. His replacement, Jordan Campbell, rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns.... Although it wasn’t enough to overcome a 49-14 deficit to Corona Centennial with 4:58 left in the third quarter, Moreno Valley Valley View scored four consecutive touchdowns, including two after recovering on-side kicks. Centennial held on to win, 63-42, as Brandon Minor rushed for 351 yards and seven touchdowns.... Sherman Oaks Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney will be looking for victory No. 200 when the Knights play at Mission Hills Alemany on Friday in a Mission League game.


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