Two games into the race for the Sunset League football championship, defending-champ Edison and Huntington Beach have emerged as the early leaders for the 2012 crown. In the Golden West League, Ocean View is still in the running for the top spot and possible CIF Southern Section playoff berth. For Brethren Christian, a new season gets under way with the start of Academy League play.
Below is a preview of this week's games.
Sage Hill (0-7) vs. Brethren Christian (4-3), 7 p.m., Ocean View High: Brethren Christian heads into Academy League play having lost three of its last four games. Last week, the Warriors lost, 35-7, at Monte Vista in San Diego County.
Sage Hill is winless heading into league. The Lightning have struggled offensively and twice have been shut out. The defense has given up an average of 35 points a game.
Marina (3-4, 0-2) vs. Edison (6-1, 2-0), 7 p.m., Huntington Beach High: Edison, the top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division, will attempt to build on the momentum it gained from last week's win at Los Alamitos when it hosts Marina in the Chargers' homecoming game.
Edison held on to a share of first place in the Sunset League by defeating third-ranked Los Alamitos, 24-14, last Friday. The Chargers fell behind, 7-0, after the Griffins scored on a 22-yard pass play in the third quarter. The score was set up by a 33-yard interception return that put the Griffins at the Edison 22. The short drive marked the first time in 13 quarters that the Edison defense had given up a touchdown.
From there, though, it was Edison, which roared back and wore down the Griffins down the stretch to win its third straight game. Donald Rice rushed for Edison's first two touchdowns and finished with 54 yards. Marquis Ross led all rushers with 165, yards which included a 22-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Hunter Kelley iced the game by kicking a 23 yard field goal with 17 seconds left.
Elijah Herrera played a key role in the comeback. After Los Al had taken its 7-0 lead, Herrera returned the ensuing kickoff 44 yards to the Los Al 45 to set up Edison's first scoring drive. Two plays after Rice's TD run put Edison up, 14-7, Herrera intercepted Los Al quarterback Cody Marshall to set up the Chargers at the Los Al 29. That led to Ross' 22-yard scoring run.
"It feels good," Edison Coach Dave White said of the win. "This was a big one, and it feels good to be 2-0 in league. Our offensive line, our fullbacks, our tight ends, played great. We won this one in the trenches."
Marina last week played its homecoming game was handed a 31-3 defeat by rival Huntington Beach. The lone Vikings score came on a 19-yard field goal by Landon Marshall that gave Marina a 3-0 lead early.
"I thought we played great defense but lacked any consistency with our offense," Marina Coach George Pascoe said. "That has been our MO all year. Landon Marshall punted the ball great and kept the score closer than it could have been.
"Everything needs to fall into place Friday night for us to compete against Edison. Coach White has them playing really well and when they need it, like last week, (they'll) ride that great O-line."
Huntington Beach (4-3, 2-0) vs. Newport Harbor (3-4; 1-1), 7 p.m., Newport Harbor High: Huntington won its second straight game and stayed atop the Sunset League standings by pulling away to a 31-3 win last week at Marina. Wyatt Marlow opened the scoring for the Oilers by connecting on a 30-yard field goal in the opening quarter. The senior capped the scoring by taking in 91- and 21-yard scoring passes in the fourth quarter from quarterback Kai Ross.
Ross threw for 231 yards and also rushed for a touchdown, and Bo Breunig rushed for a score.
In two league games, the Oilers defense has surrendered just 13 points.
Marina scored its only points on a field goal after an Oilers turnover set the Vikings up deep in Huntington territory.
Huntington is tied with Valencia of Valencia at No. 8 in this week's Southwest Division poll.
"Our defense played really well last week and has been playing well for the past month," Huntington Coach Eric Lo said. "We really pulled together in the second half and came up with some big plays to pull away.
Newport Harbor squared its league mark at 1-1 by holding off Fountain Valley last week, 21-14. Running back Tala Teaupa rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown, and quarterback Cole Norris threw for 138 yards and a score.
"Seems like they have the same look every year, even though they have new players. They are big up front, physical, have a good running back (Teaupa), a big offensive line, and play really good on defense," Lo said of the Sailors. "This is huge game for both teams. A win cliches a playoff spot for us."
Los Alamitos (5-2, 1-1), vs. Fountain Valley (3-4, 0-2), 7 p.m., Westminster High: Fountain Valley is looking to bounce back from a 21-14 defeat to Newport Harbor, a game in which the Barons trailed, 14-0, but came back to pull even at 14 late in the third quarter.
Wyatt Christensen rushed for 116 yards and scored the only offensive TD for the Barons on a five-yard pass from Chris d'Entremont (127 yards). Nick Tipple pulled the Barons even in the third quarter when he returned a blocked punt for a score.
The Barons have dropped three straight games, each decided in the late stages. The three losses — to Trabuco Hills, Huntington Beach and Newport Harbor — are by a combined 17 points.
Westminster (3-4, 2-0), vs. Ocean View (3-4, 1-1), 7 p.m., Ocean View High: Ocean View has a chance to get back into the thick of things in the Golden West League when it hosts the rival Lions in its homecoming game.
The Seahawks were handed their first league loss, 44-7, by Segerstrom, the top-ranked team in the Southern Division. The lone Seahawks score came on a three-yard run by Nate Kwon.
"It's tough to beat a good football team when you give up 14 points on offensive turnovers, and seven on special teams," Ocean View Coach Luis Nunez said. "We are not good enough to spot anyone points."
Westminster is tied with Segerstrom for the lead in the Golden West League. The Lions picked up league win No. 2 last week by shutting down Santa Ana, 35-0. Nathan Juarez and David Fludd both rushed for two scores and quarterback Steven Anderson threw for 211 yards, with a touchdown.