At Thousand Oaks High, it's a crusade. At Canyon High, it's another game.
Canyon, the Times' No. 1-ranked Valley team, plays at Thousand Oaks, No. 4, on Friday night in a Coastal Conference quarterfinal. The Cowboys beat the Lancers, 26-7, in the third week of the season.
Near the end of Thousand Oaks' 35-8 first-round win over Glendale last Friday, Lancer fans chanted, "Bring on Canyon." Several players also said they're excited about getting a second chance to play the Cowboys.
"I was surprised when our scouts came back from the T.O. game and said that during the fourth quarter everyone in the stands was talking about Canyon," Cowboys Coach Harry Welch said. "I don't think there was a person at Canyon who was saying, 'Bring on Thousand Oaks.'
"I don't believe in getting up for one team more than any other. It's hard enough worrying about ourselves. We respect Thousand Oaks; it just isn't our style."
Rush Week: This week's Big Five Conference quarterfinal between Crespi and Colton will match two of Southern California's best running backs. Colton's George Hemingway has done everything, gaining 2,118 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns on 272 carries. Crespi's Russell White has gained almost as many yards, 1,801, in a little more than half the carries, 140. While their statistics are comparable, their styles are different. Hemingway, 6-3, 236 pounds, is a powerful runner who lifted a Long Beach Poly player off his feet on a block last week. White, 6-0, 185, is more of a speed and finesse runner. Despite having a twisted ankle in the fourth quarter last week, he cut outside on one play and outraced the Edison defense 87 yards for a touchdown.
But, Coach. . .: On fourth-and-eight at the Crespi 10 yard-line with 10 Edison players charging to block his punt, Crespi's Steve Puryear completed a 23-yard pass to Chris Rawlings. "That wasn't a called play from the bench," Coach Bill Redell said. "We tell our punters to throw it if the opportunity presents itself. But not from our own 10 yard-line! I think I'm going to kill the kid." Two days later, Redell said, "If this were the pros, I'd fine him $10,000 and then cut him." The play started when Puryear, a two-way starting lineman as well as punter, called an audible. "But Rawlings didn't even hear it," Redell said. "He just looked back and caught the pass. It turned out to be a tremendous play, but also maybe the dumbest play of all time."
Picking up the pieces: Bell-Jeff had one problem in a 14-6 loss to Woodbridge in its first-round playoff game. "We didn't have any offense to speak of," Coach Doug Woodlief said. . . . With the score tied, 28-28, at halftime, Chaminade High Coach Rich Montanio thought the Eagles might be able to upset top-ranked Bloomington. "Every time either team touched the ball they scored," said Montanio, whose team eventually lost, 49-28. For Bloomington, nothing changed in the second half. "We stopped ourselves," Montanio said. "We had too many penalties and they recovered an an onside kick.". . . Newbury Park Coach Ken Cook was duly impressed by Muir running back Ricky Ervins in a 21-6 first-round loss to Muir. "He is in a class of his own," said Cook, whose team finished 5-5-1. "Nobody in Ventura County even comes close." Ervins, the conference's player of the year last season, rushed 20 times for 145 yards and caught six passes for 66 yards. Ervins scored on runs of 36 and 31 yards. . . . Taft Coach Tom Stevenson said his running backs weren't fast enough to elude Manual Arts in a 13-6 loss in the first round of the City Section 3-A playoffs. "We lacked one step against them," Stevenson said. "Our guys are tough and they run hard, but when the defensive line is that big, you can't hold your blocks long enough."
My turn: Hart running back Andy Iacenda said his performance against Arroyo Grande was long overdue. Before rushing for 3 touchdowns and 135 yards on just 5 carries and catching a 10-yard touchdown pass, Iacenda had 496 yards and 10 touchdowns in 10 games. "I've been looking for my chance to break one," said Iacenda, who transferred from Burroughs after last season. "I knew I had it in me. I just had to wait.". . . Calabasas running back Mike Webb (6-0, 170-pounds) has rushed for 247 yards and three touchdowns in two games since moving up from the sophomore team.
Injury report: Canyon center Shea Danels, a two-year starter, injured a knee and ankle last week and is doubtful for this week's game. . . . Burroughs running back Doug Dragomer, who injured his ankle two weeks ago, has a 70% chance of playing Friday in a second round playoff game against Lompoc, Coach Bob Dunivant said.