After defeating CIF powers Servite of Anaheim and St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs back-to-back, undefeated and top-ranked Bishop Amat of La Puente (10-0) would appear to have a bit of a breather against Lakewood in its CIF Big 5 Conference playoff opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday at La Puente. Not that Lakewood, which has a 5-4 record, is anything to smirk at. The Lancers finished third in the tough Moore League, including a 28-21 win over league champion Long Beach Millikan two weeks ago, and have had close games with Bishop Amat in recent years. In their last meeting in the 1983 Big 5 playoffs, Bishop Amat won, 14-7.
For Lakewood to have any chance of beating Bishop Amat, it must contain running back Eric Bieniemy. The junior has rushed for 1,520 yards and 25 touchdowns to lead the Lancers' run-oriented offense. Bishop Amat has another solid runner in Lee Barrett, with 642 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns, and a good passer in quarterback Rick Carter. Add to that standout linebacker Ramon Diaz and back Johnny Brown and it is easy to understand why Bishop Amat has outscored opponents by a 342-119 margin.
Muir vs. Burbank
On the surface, Muir's game against Burbank in the first round of the CIF Coastal Conference playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pasadena City College looks like a mismatch. After all, Muir is 9-1 overall and seeded No. 1 in the conference, and Burbank is 4-6 and had to defeat Burroughs in its regular-season finale to earn a playoff berth.
But there is one factor that could make this close: Muir will play without star junior tailback Ricky Ervins, who has an ankle sprain. Ervins has rushed for 1,220 yards in 168 carries to pace Muir's powerful offense. Without him, the Mustangs may have to rely on the passing of senior quarterback James Dunn, who has completed 69 of 112 passes for 1,101 yards and 9 touchdowns. Muir also has speedy receivers John Hardy, who has 27 catches for 540 yards, and Cary Grant, who may be pressed into duty at running back. The Mustangs also have a strong defense that has allowed only 64 points.
Burbank is led by running back Frank Valdivia and quarterback Salvador Velasco.
Temple City vs. Damien
At the end of the non-league season, neither of these teams resembled a playoff contender. Temple City was struggling with a 2-2 record and Damien was 0-3. Since the start of the league season, the fortunes of both have changed dramatically. Damien (6-4) has won six of its last seven games and Temple City (6-3) four of its final five to build momentum for their San Gabriel Valley match-up in the first round of the CIF Eastern Conference playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Temple City.
The game spotlights outstanding running backs Dave Rodaricio of Temple City and Eric Henley of Damien. Rodaricio has rushed for 873 yards and 9 touchdowns in 149 carries, and Henley has run for 968 yards and 9 touchdowns in 137 rushes and is an outstanding pass receiver. Damien has a solid passer in quarterback Bob Fresques and a speedy pass catcher in flanker Kenny Korn. In addition to Rodaricio, Temple City's option offense features quarterback Tim Vance and fullback Mike Mooney.
Los Altos vs. Capistrano Valley
It will be a match-up of two of the best quarterbacks in the Southern Section when these teams clash in the first round of the CIF Southern Conference playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mission Viejo. Capistrano Valley has Scott Stark, who broke the all-time regular-season Orange County passing yardage mark when he added 264 yards, and 3 touchdowns, in last week's 38-0 victory over El Camino Real. Stark has passed for 2,706 yards and 27 touchdowns to lead the Cougars to an 8-1-1 record.
Los Altos, 7-2-1, has been led by senior quarterback Mark Smith, who had one of his best outings in a 15-14 victory over West Covina last week. Smith completed 23 of 42 passes for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns and has thrown for 1,349 yards and 8 touchdowns for the season. The Los Altos offense also has solid performers in running back Garo Sirinian and wide receiver Steve Peters. The Conquerors are led on defense by linebacker Ken Lopez, an excellent pass rusher who could cause problems for Stark.
Claremont vs. Workman
On the subject of passing quarterbacks, the top two passing yardage leaders in the San Gabriel Valley will square off when these teams meet in the opening round of the CIF Eastern Conference playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Citrus College. Claremont has All-American signal-caller Dan McGwire, who has passed for 2,112 yards and 22 touchdowns, and Workman has Eric Ripke, who has thrown for 1,600 yards and 10 touchdowns. However, McGwire probably has a better team surrounding him. Claremont, defending conference champion, enters the game with a 9-1 record and the No. 1 seed in the conference. Workman is 6-4, having earned its first playoff berth in recent years.
Workman also has to contend with outstanding wide receivers Travis Watkins and Mike Dotson, who caught four touchdown passes in Claremont's 56-6 rout of Alta Loma last week. Watkins has caught 65 passes for 1,087 yards and 13 touchdowns. Claremont's strong defense features linebacker Sean Telish and lineman Bobby Warren. San Gabriel Valley's Top Ten Prep Teams
Rank, School, League Record Opponent
1 Bishop Amat (Angelus.) 10-0- Lakewood 2 Diamond Bar (Hacienda) 10-0- Indio 3 Muir (Pacific) 9-1-0 Burbank 4 Claremont (Baseline) 9-1-0 Workman 5 Charter Oak (Montview) 9-0-0 Cajon 6 Nogales (Sierra) 8-2-0 Mission Viejo 7 S. Hills (Valle Vista) 7-1-1 Bell Gardens 8 Los Altos (Sierra) 7-2-1 Capo Valley 9 Rowland (Sierra) 7-2-1 Pacifica 10 West Covina (Sierra) 7-2-0 El Toro
OTHERS: Arroyo (9-1-0), Damien (6-4-0), Pasadena (6-4-0), San Dimas (8-1-0), San Marino (7-2-0), Temple City (6-3-0).