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September 26, 1986

Western vs. La Quinta

The records--Western (1-1), La Quinta (1-1).

The site--Bolsa Grande High School.

Western update--The Pioneers defeated Kennedy, 19-6, last week without their top running back, Carl Manliguis, who was benched for missing a practice. Manliguis' return tonight will bolster Western's depleted backfield. Running backs Danny Liavaa (broken arm) and Craig Moralez (tonsillitis) will not play. Art Giovannini, a starting linebacker and reserve running back, will start on offense as well tonight. The Pioneers' offensive line, led by Vince Galaz, Dan Price and David Shrake, played well against Kennedy, as did the Western defense, which allowed just 70 total yards.

La Quinta update--After opening the season with a 35-14 victory over El Dorado, the Aztecs stumbled last week in a 7-6 loss to Woodbridge. Quarterback Derek Debbs, who passed for 378 yards in the opener, had only 136 yards against the Warriors, and La Quinta committed 11 penalties for 105 yards. Three first downs on Woodbridge's touchdown drive came on La Quinta penalties. "It was definitely a lack of poise and composure," Aztec Coach Roger Takahashi said.

Key to the game--Debbs must be able to pass against a tough Western secondary that includes Jim Howell, Mike Huy and Joey Huy. The Pioneers must be able to control the line of scrimmage and run against the Aztecs.

Consensus--Field conditions might be a factor. If the field is still wet from Wednesday's rain, Western would have a slight edge because of its line and running game. Otherwise, La Quinta's explosive passing game gives the Aztecs the edge.

Santa Ana vs. Mater Dei

The records--Santa Ana (1-1), Mater Dei (2-0).

The site--Santa Ana Stadium

Santa Ana update--The Saints were thumped in their bid for half of the "City of Santa Ana" championship last week by Saddleback, 25-6. Now they will be challenged for the other half by a strong Mater Dei team. For Santa Ana to win, it must establish its running game, namely tailback Robert Lee, who scored the Saints' only touchdown last game on a 13-yard run. That would take some pressure off quarterback Richard Fanti, who wasn't given as much time to throw as he would have liked against Saddleback.

Mater Dei update--The Monarchs are on a roll. Last week against Santa Ana Valley, Mater Dei once again got a balanced attack on offense, with quarterback Mike Curtius passing for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns and tailback Matt Spence rushing for another score. The Mater Dei defense has also played well, coming up with key turnovers in the Monarchs' season-opening victory against Fountain Valley and then holding Santa Ana Valley to a single touchdown.

Key to the game--Santa Ana's offense. If the Saints can get Lee around the corner, where he can use his superior speed, the Saints should stay in the game. However, if Lee spins his wheels in the backfield, as he mostly did against Saddleback last week, it could be a long night for Santa Ana.

Consensus--Mater Dei is enjoying a resurgence in spite of the celebrated transfer of quarterback Todd Marinovich to Capistrano Valley. If anything, that move seems to have pulled the team together. With the Monarch offense showing greater balance than in previous years and the defense hard-hitting and stingy, Mater Dei fans should enjoy a victory over city rival Santa Ana.

Woodbridge vs. University

The records--Woodbridge (2-0), University (1-1).

The site--Irvine High School

Woodbridge update--The Warrior defense, led by lineman Patrick Jones, was showcased in the 7-6 revenge victory last week against La Quinta, which had trounced the Warriors in the 1985 Central Conference playoffs. Jones, a junior, had six tackles, three sacks and two pass deflections. Coach Gene Noji's no-huddle offense, which had sparkled in a 34-14 victory over San Clemente to open the season, was less successful against La Quinta. But things should improve when two-year starting quarterback John Yurkovich, who had seen very limited offensive action because of a bruised hand, returns tonight.

University update--After getting off to a promising start with a 34-20 victory against Irvine, the Trojans were shut out last week by Paramount, 14-0. Coach Mark Cunningham is pleased with his team's running game, which has compiled more than 550 yards in two games, much of it by returning all-league running back Craig Belle and fullback David Liebke. But Cunningham was less than pleased with the offense's untimely tendency to turn the ball over. The Trojan defense, led by all-league linebacker Scott Tompkins, is better than the scores indicate, Cunningham said, because offensive mistakes have indirectly accounted for 21 of opponents' 34 points.

Key to the game--The offenses of both teams. Woodbridge's all-league running back, David Townsend, carried the ball only six times in the La Quinta game, but if the Warrior offensive line blocks well, he should emerge as a more prominent force--in rushing and receiving--against the Trojans.

Consensus--Woodbridge's defensive consistency and offensive versatility make the Warriors the favorite in a low-scoring game.

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