When these two longtime Ocean League rivals meet, at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Beverly Hills, it is always for bragging rights and often for a playoff spot or a league championship.
This time it's a playoff spot. The Normans and Culver are tied for third place in the league, each at 2-2. The team that wins gets third place and a playoff berth. The loser gets to think about next year.
Last week the Centaurs (4-4-1 overall) scored two second-half touchdowns to edge Inglewood, 14-13. The Normans (5-3 overall) routed Torrance, 41-6, as Eric Mueller threw for more than 300 yards and five touchdown passes. Gregg Silver caught three of the scoring tosses, including a 90-yarder, and finished with five receptions for 208 yards.
Lou Lichtl, who coaches the lines for Culver, said with some conviction, "I think they are going to try and throw on us because they opened up so much against Torrance."
Lichtl said that the "key for us is protecting our quarterback (Frank Dolce); he's been scrambling around a lot." Against Inglewood, Dolce threw for 163 yards and one touchdown, a 34-yarder to John Francois, and sneaked for the other.
Bill Stansbury, Beverly co-coach with Dick Billingsley, said that Dolce and running back Shawn Nunley "do a nice job" in Culver's run-and-shoot offense.
"It comes down to whether we can contain their offense and hold on to the ball ourselves," Stansbury said.
Brentwood at Chadwick
Brentwood got into this Eight-Man Large Conference playoff game on the strength of a 6-2 record (including a forfeit win from El Paso de Robles that reversed an earlier loss) and partly with the strong right arm of senior quarterback David Maslan.
Chadwick, the third-ranked team in the Large Conference, fell to 6-2 last week when it was edged by Rio Hondo Prep, 14-13. The Dolphins are paced by John Slusher, the conference's leading rusher, and junior quarterback Jeff Kaufman, the third of the Kaufman brothers to star for Chadwick.
The Eagles will not have Maslan for this playoff opener at 3 p.m. Friday at Chadwick. He broke a bone in the shoulder of his passing arm. His replacement is 5-9, 120-pound Ian Dalsemer, who quarterbacked the junior varsity to a Delphic League title this season, a season that included a win over Faith Baptist, which had not lost in more than two years.
But Dalsemer won't pass much, said Brentwood Coach Pat Brown, because "I don't want him to get hit." Instead, he'll do a lot of handing off to tailback Matt Lublin, the Eagles' top rusher, and fullback Doug Axel, a close second to Lublin.
Brown said he realizes that Chadwick is a heavy favorite but that his players are looking forward to the game. "This is one of the first times that our kids are going into a playoff game and want to be there; in the past they were often thinking about basketball or soccer. We'll be having some fun this week, and I hope things work out for us."
Westchester vs. University
Two high-scoring offenses will be fighting for second place in the Pac-8 League. Both are coming off one-point games, Westchester a 14-13 victory over Sylmar, University a wild 28-27 loss to league-leader Venice. Westchester (7-1 overall, 5-1 in league) features a speedy ground attack that has scored more than 50 points three times this year. The Comets struggled last week but won as receiver David Brantly scored his 10th touchdown and running back Kevin Bowen his ninth. Quarterback Steve Kristy leads the dangerous offense. Venice, which is 6-0 in league, caught Uni (4-4, 4-2) last week in the last two minutes despite a 45-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jonn Moomaw to receiver Paul Richardson. Moomaw has thrown for about 1,000 yards while Richardson has more than 400 yards in receptions and is averaging more than 20 per catch. Running back William Harris leads the ground game.
2:30 p.m. Friday at University.