The final chapter of the well-chronicled careers of quarterbacks Todd Marinovich of Capistrano Valley and Bret Johnson of El Toro High School began over the weekend, and both seniors were as impressive as ever in their opening games.
Marinovich, on his way to becoming the career national passing leader, completed 14 of 27 passes for 166 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Cougars' 31-0 win over Foothill Friday.
Johnson was equally sharp, completing 15 of 26 for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Chargers' 34-14 win over Tustin Saturday. Neither quarterback threw an interception.
Both players were ranked as two of the top five quarterbacks in the nation by USA Today, and both will surely leave their marks on the record books before they are finished.
Bill Crow, Mission Viejo football coach, marvels at their ability, but he isn't looking forward to playing against both later this season in the South Coast League.
"What are the odds that two of the best quarterbacks in the nation would be in the same league?" Crow asked. "When you stop to think of the thousands of high schools in this country and these two guys are in the same league, it's mind-boggling."
Although Johnson and Marinovich are likely to get most of the headlines this season, there are several other county quarterbacks who merit attention.
Mark Ramstack of Mater Dei was 14 of 17 for 193 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Monarchs' 34-6 win over Fountain Valley.
David Chisum of Sunny Hills opened with 152 yards passing and 2 touchdowns in the Lancers' 24-0 win over Rowland.
And George Menges of Tustin showed that he's one of the most improved players in the county by completing 17 of 26 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in the loss to top-ranked El Toro.
More Ramstack: A play that resulted in no gain Friday night may have best exhibited the senior's talents.
With Mater Dei in possession of the ball at midfield, Ramstack rolled to his right but found two Fountain Valley defenders. He reversed to his left and ran several yards before two more Barons cut off his progress.
So Ramstack retreated 20 yards to the Mater Dei 30. He then stepped up and past the linemen who were coming full throttle at him and completed a pass to Robert Clifford at the Mater Dei 45. Clifford ran 5 yards to the 50.
The play gained nothing, but it did earn Ramstack a lot of "oohs" and "aahs."
"I think Mark is going to show people a lot of things this season they don't expect or haven't seen," said Chuck Gallo, Mater Dei coach. "He can do so much because he's such a great athlete."
Sunset League Demise: Edison, Fountain Valley and Marina, three teams that have dominated play in the Sunset League over the past 10 years, were losers on opening night.
Fountain Valley was clobbered by Mater Dei after Baron Coach Mike Milner had compared his running backs and linemen with previous Fountain Valley star players.
Marina, which failed to win five nonleague games last year and then won the league title, opened with a 14-7 loss to Esperanza.
Edison was embarrassed in a 21-10 loss to El Modena and may have lost its star player, Kaleaph Carter, for this week's game against Capistrano Valley.
Said El Toro Coach Bob Johnson after watching Fountain Valley lose: "It looks like the days of the Sunset League supremacy in Orange County are over."
Add Edison: The Chargers didn't look so hot in their loss to El Modena. They were dominated at the line of scrimmage, they missed numerous tackles and they were shut out the last three quarters.
Things weren't much better in the stands, where one fan yelled to Edison Coach Dave White: "You better crack their behinds in practice, White. They haven't done anything physical here."
Another commented that this was the worst he'd seen an Edison football team play since the Chargers were defeated by El Modena, 14-0, in the opening game of the 1985 season.
Actually, that might be a good omen. The Chargers went on to win a Big Five co-championship in 1985 with Long Beach Poly.
A Tradition Continues: Ocean View, another Sunset League member, opened the season with a 21-0 win over Cypress. The Seahawks have won their season opener in five of the past six years.
Say What? Stan Clark, who joined Jack Bowman as a co-coach at Westminster this season, had a quote he'd probably like to take back in a local newspaper earlier this week.
Before his team's game with perennial power Valencia, Clark said: "They don't have the superstar at running back this season."
The Tigers' junior fullback, Keef Leasure, looked pretty super, gaining 251 yards in 24 carries and scoring on runs of 61, 6 and 85 yards in a 24-14 win.
Leasure averaged 10.5 yards per carry.
Blo the Toe: Pat Blottiaux, Servite kicker, is the best in Orange County. He is also 0-4 in field goal attempts after one game.