Muir High figures to have a distinct size disadvantage when it visits Rio Mesa of Oxnard in a CIF Coastal Conference football quarterfinal game at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The big, physical Spartans (8-2-1) upset Thousand Oaks, 25-23, in the first round of the playoffs and Muir, ranked No. 1 in conference with a 10-1 record, rolled to a 34-21 win over Burbank.
Making matters worse for the Mustangs, at least five players will not compete in Friday's game because of injuries or poor grades. Since three of the players are running backs, much of the rushing burden will fall on senior Cary Grant. "If he goes down, I'll have to play," Coach Jim Brownfield joked. Grant, filling in for injured running back Ricky Ervins, had a big game in Muir's opening playoff game with 132 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Two other key players for Muir are quarterback James Dunn and wide receiver John Hardy, who also is regarded as one of the top defensive backs in the CIF. Rio Mesa's offense is led by quarterback Steve Carolan and running backs Darren Romano and Mike Runge.
Pasadena vs. Schurr
Pasadena did the unexpected when it upset heavily favored Santa Monica, 28-23, in the first round of the CIF Coastal Conference playoffs last week. Can the Bulldogs pull off a surprise two weeks in a row? Pasadena will answer that question when it hosts high-scoring Schurr of Montebello at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pasadena City College. Schurr, 10-1 overall, rolled to a 35-6 victory over Ventura in its first round game.
The Spartans are led by the explosive passing combination of quarterback Eric Rubalcava and wide receiver Hubert Turner. Rubalcava passed for 2,465 yards and 24 touchdowns in the regular season. The Spartans will see a different type of offensive team in Pasadena, which keeps the ball on the ground with its option attack. Pasadena, which did not throw a pass in its win over Santa Monica, is led by running backs W. C. Morrison and Anthony Wallace and quarterback Ray Murphy. The trio combined for 207 yards rushing against Santa Monica. Pasadena also has a strong defense led by linebacker Kenny James.
Damien vs. South Hills
It will be a match-up of two outstanding rushing teams when Damien and South Hills meet in an all-San Gabriel Valley confrontation in the CIF Eastern Conference quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Citrus College in Glendora. Both teams posted impressive victories in the first round of the playoffs. South Hills (8-1-1) rolled over Bell Gardens, 34-3, and Damien (7-4) blanked Temple City, 33-0.
After losing its first three games this season, Damien has won seven of its last eight games and one big reason has been the play of running back Eric Henley. The junior, whose older brothers, Tom and Darryl, play for Stanford and UCLA, respectively, rushed for 177 yards and 4 touchdowns last week. Henley also has the luxury of a big Damien offensive line that includes 6-4, 250-pound A. J. Chuha and Dan Ruiz (6-2, 235). The Spartans also are led by flanker Ken Korn and linebacker Rene Racio.
South Hills, which has won six games in a row, has been more noted for its powerful rushing attack in recent years. But it was the passing of junior quarterback Matt Kranz that led to an easy South Hills win in the first round. Kranz passed for a season high of 240 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Claremont vs. Arlington
Top-ranked Claremont had an easy time in demolishing Workman, 59-12, in the first round of the CIF Eastern Conference playoffs last week. But the defending conference champion figures to receive a much more difficult test when it faces Arlington at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Riverside. Arlington is 8-3 overall and the Lions may have as much speed as the Wolfpack has faced this season.
The leader is running back Thor Muntz, who has rushed for 1,538 yards and 22 touchdowns in 184 carries. The run-oriented Lions also have two other speed-burners at running back in Geoff Guiton and Layne Lambert. Arlington also has a strong defense, which will be pressed to the limit by Claremont's passing-oriented offense. The leader for Claremont (10-1), which has won 24 of its last 25 games, is 6-8 senior quarterback Dan McGwire with 10 touchdown passes in his last two games. McGwire has passed for 2,441 yards and 27 touchdowns and wide receiver Travis Watkins has 75 receptions for 1,349 yards and 16 touchdowns. Claremont has outscored its last two opponents (Alta Loma and Workman) by a 115-18 margin.