Terry Henigan, Irvine High School coach, said he wasn't surprised that tonight's opponent, Dana Hills, stunned defending South Coast League champion El Toro, 7-3, last week in the biggest upset of the 1985 Orange County prep season.
"I thought El Toro would have trouble scoring," Henigan said. "Dana Hills is a very physical team. People forget they were ahead, 10-7, at halftime against Mission Viejo. They're a good team."
Pregame hype? Perhaps. But the Dolphins, 1-2 in league play and 3-4 overall, could have a shot at a playoff spot if they can beat host Irvine at 7:30. The Vaqueros enter the game with a 2-2 league record and are 5-2 overall.
Dana Hills' defense was the reason for its victory over El Toro. The Dolphins put up a brilliant goal-line stand and had six quarterback sacks. Dana Hills scored the game's only touchdown on a 65-yard run by Mike Singleton.
The defensive task against Irvine should be formidable. The Vaqueros feature a misdirection-style running game out of the Delaware Wing-T formation. Running backs Jim Miele (95 carries, 472 yards) and Gary Renteria (41 carries, 295 yards) and quarterback Jimmy Raye (53 carries, 325 yards) supply the offense.
"We match up well with Irvine, but the misdirection style that they're offense presents could spell some trouble," said Don Douglass, Dana Hills coach. "They run the football as well as anybody in the league."
But Irvine has averaged only 15 points in its last five games since rolling to a 36-26 win over Newport Harbor, the leader of the Sea View League.
"We've moved the ball well in the past six weeks, but turnovers and penalties have killed us," Henigan said. "We've stopped ourselves."
Two of the county's best linemen will be showcased in this game. Darran Baird, a 6-foot 5-inch, 250-pound tackle, has been a three-year starter for Dana Hills. Baird, who has a 4.0 grade-point average, is being recruited by USC and UCLA.
Bobby Hamelin, a 6-1, 225-pound guard, was a standout for Irvine in its 36-7 loss to Capistrano Valley last week. Hamelin continually pressured Capistrano Valley quarterback Scott Stark, had three sacks and intercepted a pass. He's been a starter for three seasons.
In other games tonight at 7:30:
Tustin (1-3, 3-4) vs. Canyon (2-2, 4-3) in Fred Kelly Stadium--Canyon quarterback Todd French became the school's all-time, single-season passing leader last week and has thrown for 1,678 yards and 14 touchdowns. Wide receiver Chuck Zacour has caught 36 passes for 662 yards and 7 touchdowns. Tustin Coach Marijon Ancich is seeking his 198th career victory.
Cypress (0-4, 3-4) vs. El Dorado (2-2, 4-3) in Bradford Stadium--Cypress has scored only 15 points and one touchdown in its four league games. El Dorado, coming off a loss to rival Esperanza, and Westminster are the only teams to score a touchdown against Orange League leader Valencia.
SEA VIEW LEAGUE
University (0-4, 1-6) vs. Newport Harbor (4-0, 6-1) on Davidson Field--Newport Harbor is coming off a 68-point performance against Laguna Beach, the most points scored in the school's history. University relies on junior tailback Craig Belle, who has rushed for 526 yards and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.