When it comes time for Northridge football players to vote for the team's most-valuable player, senior linebacker Mark Dozier, the team leader in tackles, should garner a lot of support along with center Brian Clark, defensive tackle Steve Dominic and defensive back Kip Dukes, the three team captains.
Another player who should receive strong consideration is running back Richard Brown.
Last season, Brown was understudy to tailback Mike Kane, who would go on to win All-American honors. This was to be Brown's season for stardom.
But there were two major problems: Albert Fann and Lance Harper, the other talented runners on the Matador roster.
Brown split time at tailback early in the season but was switched to fullback at midseason. Only 5-11, 180 pounds, he was the second-smallest starter at the position in the Western Football Conference and the adjustment was no small task.
Although disappointed he had to change positions, Brown didn't complain. Instead, he teamed with Fann and Harper to form the most explosive backfield combination in the conference.
Brown finished the season with 667 yards rushing and 18 pass receptions for 115 yards, while doing a decent job of blocking. He also returned 19 kickoffs for an 18.4-yard average.
Kane once called Brown the most talented runner he had ever been around.
And certainly one of the most unselfish.
Flag day: There is reason to believe that the football teams from Northridge and Cal State Sacramento do not like each other much. They combined for 224 yards in penalties in Saturday night's Western Football Conference finale.
Northridge was penalized 13 times for 136 yards in the Matadors' 21-16 win. Sacramento was flagged nine times for 92 yards.
The sloppy and sometimes ugly play was particularly apparent on CSUN's first touchdown drive. The Matadors took advantage of five Hornet penalties for 55 yards. Twice Sacramento stopped CSUN on third down only to be hit with a penalty that gave the Matadors a first down.
The result: Perhaps the most unimpressive 83-yard scoring march since the invention of the face mask.
Hitting back: The game didn't decide the championship of the WFC this time, but Northridge players in particular seemed to take Saturday's season finale seriously.
Maybe that was because it was the last college football game for 18 seniors on the team who wanted to go out winners.
More likely, it was because many of the players still are smarting from the Hornets' 21-17 come-from-behind victory last season.
"It felt good to hit them back," Dozier admitted after Saturday's game.
Sacramento had a chance to pull out this season's game in the last minute, too, but the CSUN defense held.
"The last two minutes, I kept thinking about last year," CSUN defensive tackle Dester Stowers said. "They got a cheap win last year, but we weren't going to give it up this season."
The difference, of course, is that there was no title or playoff berth on the line.
Add Dozier: The senior inside linebacker led the Matadors in tackles for the eighth time in 11 games this season. He had 12 tackles and a sack.
Holding court: Cal Lutheran defensive end Earl Bentancourt broke the school single-season record for sacks with 23. The senior had seven sacks in CLU's season-ending 13-3 win over St. Mary's on Saturday.
Bentancourt led all WFC tacklers with a total of 135. He averaged 12.3 tackles a game.
Cal Lutheran ended the season with a record of 5-6, but won three of its last four games. In those final four games, the Kingsmen defense gave up a total of 35 points.
CLU offense: This was the first season in Cal Lutheran football history in which the team failed to score 30 points in a game. The highest total by the offense was 27 points against Azusa Pacific. Quarterback Tom Bonds finished third in the WFC in passing. He completed 184 of 323 passes for 1,990 yards and 17 touchdowns. Bonds also ranked third in total offense.
Joe Monarrez led conference receivers with 54 catches for 511 yards and 4 touchdowns. John Bankhead caught 37 passes for 787 yards. Bankhead finished second in punt returns with a 9.3-yard average.
Raiders rewarded: Six Moorpark College football players were selected for the All-Western State Conference first team and six more made the second team.
Mo Loller, a sophomore offensive lineman, and sophomore placekicker Dan Eastman were first-team offense selections. Freshman lineman John Goslin, sophomore linebacker Miller Aupiu, sophomore cornerback Jeff White and freshman punter Todd Rawsthorne made the first-team defense.
Paul Mesa, a sophomore center, Greg Mattes a freshman lineman and sophomore wide receiver Frank Madrid were second-team offense. Lineman Mike Kildee, linebacker Steve Paredes and cornerback Willie Gutierrez--all sophomores--were second-team defense selections.