The Ocean View High football team has been on nothing short of a roll since the first weekend in September.
Since dropping their opener at Western on Sept. 3, the Seahawks (5-1) have won five straight — all five by no less than 16 points. They'll attempt to run that streak to six Friday when they take on Loara in a key league game. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Glover Stadium in Anaheim.
Ocean View is ranked eighth in this week's CIF Southern Division poll. Two spots ahead of the Seahawks are the Saxons at No. 6.
Last Friday, Ocean View earned victory No. 5 by defeating host Orange, 30-14, in the Golden West League opener for both teams. The win was "special" in that it was the Seahawks' special teams that paved the way to victory.
"Our special teams stepped up against Orange," Ocean View Coach Harold Eggers said. "Mike Congelliere blocked a field goal, which was picked up by Colton Johnson and returned for a touchdown. Blake Walker punted the ball well, giving us great field position. Willy Jarus did great on the kickoff team and Brian Hernandez hit three field goals."
It was Johnson's scoop and run back of Congelliere's blocked field goal in the first quarter that led to a 7-0 Ocean View lead. Running back Timmy Robinson scored on two short runs and Hernandez connected on field goals covering 20, 30 and 44 yards.
Since losing, 34-19, to Western, the Ocean View offense has scored no fewer than 28 points in a game. The Seahawks head into Friday's showdown averaging 32 points per game. Their defense also has been stout. In the last four games, it has given up a total of 43 points.
"Defensively, we have been playing well," Eggers said, noting the play of Congelliere at linebacker and defensive tackle Tyren Hudson. "The improvement of our offensive line, Timmy Robinson always running hard and (quarterback) Noland Tippy managing the football game, has been some keys to our early successes."
Robinson has rushed for 750 yards and has scored 13 touchdowns in six games. Tippy had thrown for 820 yards and five scores.
Loara, competing in its first year in the Golden West League, went 5-0 in nonleague play and entered league play ranked second in the Southern Division. But the Saxons' didn't receive a warm welcome to the league last week by Westminster, which posted a wild, 42-35 victory. Like Ocean View, the Loara offense has been potent: the Saxons are averaging 33 points a game.
Running backs Howard Gauta and Kezue Nwachie have combined to rush for more than 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns.
"Loara is a good football team and we will need to have a total team effort to compete with them Friday night," Eggers said. "They have some great players, and our defensive will need to play its best and try to contain them."
Edison (4-2, 1-0) vs. Huntington Beach (4-2, 0-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Huntington Beach High: Edison and Huntington Beach renew their Sunset League rivalry with a key game for both teams. For the Chargers, a win puts them at 2-0 and sets them up for a three-game swing down the stretch against Newport Harbor, rival Fountain Valley and Los Alamitos. For the Oilers, a win Friday puts them back in the title chase.
The teams last played in 2005 and Huntington hasn't defeated Edison since 1998.
The match-up is Edison's homecoming game.
Edison Coach Dave White wasn't happy with his team's performance last Friday, though the scoreboard showed Edison on the right side of a 24-12 game against Marina.
"Marina played harder than we did," he said. "They played hard and my hat's off to them. We're just not a very good football team right now. We're going to have to play a lot better than this if we want to compete for a league championship."
The Chargers scored on three big touchdown passes yet an aggressive Marina defense stifled their running game throughout the night, holding it to 40 total yards.
"We didn't run the ball, period," White said. "We had absolutely no run game. Plus, we had a lot of stupid penalties although that's not the first time we've run up a lot of penalties in a game this year. We had a couple of big plays on offense and a few on defense, and that's how we won."
A fumble recovery by sophomore defensive end Trenton Aschoff on a muffed punt set up Edison's first touchdown. Three plays following Ascoff's recovery, quarterback Chase Favreau hit a wide open Dejean King for a 45-yard touchdown pass. Favreau had two more big touchdown passes in the game, both to receiver Troy Baljeu. The first came on a 25-yard play that pushed Edison's lead to 14-6 late in the first half, the second on a 35-yard scoring play on a fourth-and-10 call early in the third quarter. Favreau did a nice pump fake downfield before pulling back and hitting a wide-open Baljeu at the Marina 10. The junior strolled into the end zone to make it 24-6 with 6:58 left in the third quarter. Edison had taken a 17-6 at the half when Gavin Perdomo connected on a 30-yard field goal with 11 seconds left before intermission.
Huntington's return to the Sunset League for the first time in five years wasn't pleasant, as the Oilers fell, 28-6, at Newport Harbor. The Oilers avoided a shutout when Jake Umphreyville scored on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The loss ended the Oilers' four-game win streak.
Fountain Valley (2-3-1, 0-1) vs. Marina (3-3, 0-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Westminster High: Two teams that saw close games get away from them in the second half last week seek their first Sunset League victory when they meet in Marina's homecoming game.
The host Vikings are coming off a 24-12 loss to Edison in which running back Alex Waked rushed for two touchdowns.
As had Edison, Marina took advantage of a muffed punt return to score its first touchdown against the Chargers. It happened late in the first quarter when Eli Cabaccang pounced on a fumbled punt at the Edison 45. Three plays later, Waked rambled 29 yards to the end zone. The point after failed and the Vikings trailed, 7-6, with 11:43 left in the first half. In the second half, Brayde Hill electrified the crowd with an 81-yard kickoff return down to the Edison 19. Three plays later, and following a personal foul call against Edison, Waked scored from seven yards out to pull the Vikings to within 24-12.
Revitalized, Marina had two more chances to pull even close. The Vikings, however, failed to convert both times deep in Edison territory.
"I thought we played really well and we had our chances but made some mistakes that cost us," Marina Coach George Pascoe said. "Penalties in crucial moments just killed us, and it's tough to lose that way."
Fountain Valley fell in their league opener Friday, 24-7, to Los Alamitos. The Barons, who received a pre-game pep talk from former Fountain Valley star running back Kyle Middlebrooks, who now is playing for Arizona State, led 7-3 at the half.
The Los Al-Fountain Valley game was a tale of two completely different halves. Host Fountain Valley held the edge in the first half, much to the delight of its homecoming crowd. Los Alamitos, stagnant the first 24 minutes of the game, exploded in the second half.
"We played so well in the first half but it was a completely different game in the second half," Fountain Valley Coach John Shipp said. "We held them down but they, obviously, made some adjustments at halftime and turned it around."
Los Alamitos, which snapped a two-game losing streak to improve to 4-2 overall, changed the course of the game in a quick span of the third quarter to wipe out their 7-3 halftime deficit. The Griffins, who have struggled offensively without injured junior running back Nick Richardson, managed a paltry 53 yards of offense in the opening half. If it weren't for a 71-yard punt return by Cody Paul midway through the first quarter that led to a 22-yard field goal by Dan Boyer, Los Al might not have scored in the half. But in the second half, the Griffins stunned the Barons.
On the second play of the third quarter, senior receiver Richard Turner took a reverse 33 yards out to the Fountain Valley 47-yard line. On the next play, Paul, a junior running back, went straight up the middle for a 47-yard touchdown run just 36 seconds into the half. On the Griffins' next possession, Turner took a second-down handoff on a sweep left and outran the Fountain Valley pursuit to score on an 87-yard run. On the Griffins' third series of the quarter, they went 55 yards in eight plays to score again. Turner got his second touchdown of the night on an 11-yard run.
Los Al had a 24-7 lead with 1:42 left in the third quarter, a 12-minute span where they racked up 223 yards and three touchdowns.
Fountain Valley senior running back Montana Merhoff scored on a seven-yard run with 1:47 left in the first half to give the Barons a 7-3 lead. The scoring drive was set up when senior outside linebacker Courtland Drummond leveled a Los Al defender as he was bearing down on Barons' punt returner Sean Myers. The big hit sprung Myers for an 18-yard return to the Los Alamitos 32. Fountain Valley converted a key fourth-and-one during the drive when quarterback Kai Fernandez gained two yards on a keeper. Merhoff burst into the end zone on the next play.
"It's tough to lose anytime, but we're right there," Shipp said. "We now know that we can play with anybody in the Sunset League. We gave up a few big plays and we'll have to work on that. We need to work on consistency and being more physical. We have a great group of guys and I think they'll work hard to meet those challenges."
Brethren Christian (3-3) vs. Xavier Prep (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday at Xavier College Preparatory: Brethren Christian makes the long trek to Palm Desert to take on the host Saints in nonleague play.
Brethren Christian is coming off a bye week. Since a 40-0 loss Oct. 9 at Chadwick, then the second-ranked team in the Northern Division, Warriors Coach Bruce Eien said his team went "back to the basics and worked on fundamentals" in the past two weeks. Eien also said that all-league senior free safety Alex Debardelaben is sidelined with a broken thumb and will miss Friday's game.
Last week, Coach Darrell Lewis' Xavier Prep Saints routed host Crean Lutheran, 50-0. Senior running back Domonic De La Riva rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries, starting quarterback Liam Fleet threw two touchdown passes and back-up freshman quarterback Rex Rover threw for one touchdown to lead the way.
De La Riva is 144 yards away from reaching 1,000-yards rushing for the season.
In their four victories, the Saints have scored 50-plus points and outscored those four opponents by a combined 208-13. They have two 50-0 shutout wins in their last two outings.
"Xavier Prep runs the wing-T offense and does a good job of keeping the ball away from you," Eien said. "We must do a good job of stopping them and scoring to put the pressure on them."