Chris Ramsey's initiation to high school football in Orange County may have left him longing for a little Southern hospitality. The first-year Marina High School coach left Georgia last summer to become the Vikings' coach, then saw his new team open the season with five straight losses.
But the rather rude introduction was all but forgotten Friday night when Marina clinched at least a share of the Sunset League championship with a 14-11, homecoming victory in front of 5,000 spectators at Westminster High School. When it was over, Ramsey was lifted upon the shoulders of some of his players. He looked very much at home.
Senior fullback Sean Magula, who sat out four of the Vikings' defeats with an ankle injury, rushed for 169 yards--including a 40-yard touchdown--in 24 carries to lead the Vikings to their fourth straight victory.
It wasn't particularly artistic. The Vikings were penalized eight times for 75 yards and were helped considerably by the fact that Westminster fumbled the ball away three times and failed to complete a pass until there was 3:56 to play.
"We weren't purdy," Ramsey said with a trace of Georgian accent. "We just played hard."
Marina basically beat Westminster at its own game, out-bruising a bruising bunch of Lions that were the preseason favorites to win the league championship. Magula's yards were gained in the trenches, where Westminster was supposed to have a decided edge.
Westminster's huddle-optional offense moved methodically down the field on the game's opening possession, resulting in a 33-yard field goal by Troy Rossean and a 3-0 Westminster lead. But the Lions would then be held scoreless until late in the fourth quarter, and Marina was able to get just enough points to hold them off.
The Vikings' first score came on a 25-yard pass from quarterback Rick Vanderriet to Bruce Schmidt with 14 seconds left in the first quarter. Vanderriet stood over center and surveyed the Westminster defense before the play, and decided to take a timeout and seek advice from his coaches. After a sideline meeting, Vanderriet took the snap and scrambled out of the pocket before finding Schmidt open over the middle for the touchdown.
Magula's 40-yard scoring run came with 2:07 left in the first half and gave the Vikings a 14-3 lead. That lead held up, but only thanks to some crucial Westminster mistakes in the late going.
Lion running back Corey Dickson had gains of 20 and 12 yards to move the ball to the Marina 15 at the outset of the fourth quarter. On the next play, however, Mike Cover fumbled and Scott Frangente recovered for the Vikings.
A 13-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion catch by Jim Rubalcava cut Marina's lead to 14-11 with 3:36 to play, and the Lions were threatening to tie when Tom Leach recovered the ensuing onside kick. Four plays later, however, Cover threw an interception on a halfback option pass and the Vikings needed only to run out the clock. Brian Bosse picked off Cover's pass.
Huntington Beach 22, Ocean View 0--Junior tailback Skip Murray rushed for 119 yards and senior fullback Jason McGehee ran for 112 to lead the Oilers (2-3, 4-6) on Sheue Field at Huntington Beach.
McGehee scored on a 10-yard run in the second period, and Murray added an 11-yard touchdown run in the third.