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October 20, 1994|ROB FERNAS

Notre Dame has Boston College.

Florida has Auburn.

Mira Costa High has Culver City.

Football's proverbial thorn in the side prevailed again Friday as visiting Culver City ended Mira Costa's 10-game winning streak with a 33-21 Ocean League victory. The Mustangs are 18-2 in two seasons under Coach Don Morrow, with both defeats coming at the hands of Culver City.

Although Mira Costa's 21-20 loss to the Centaurs in 1993 was viewed by some as a fluke or the result of bad luck, no such argument can be made about Friday's game. Culver City won because it had superior athletes.

Speed was the difference. When Mike Fikes, Mira Costa's standout tailback, broke past the Culver City defense, he was easily caught. When a Culver City player got behind the Mustang defense, it was a touchdown.

It was apparent early that Mira Costa had no answer for Centaur receiver Jasiri Rodell, who caught nine passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns. And the Mustangs failed to put enough pressure on quarterback Damon Williams, who passed for 268 yards.

Culver City's lightning-quick running backs--Aki Wilson and Jahmal Wright--fueled a successful ground game. Wright's 74-yard scoring run in the third quarter put the Centaurs ahead to stay, 26-21.

Of course, things might have been different had Phil Fonua and Dino Rossi been able to play for Mira Costa. Fonua, an All-American nose tackle, would have provided a stronger pass rush and disrupted the running game. Rossi, a defensive back, is perhaps the only Mustang capable of slowing down Rodell. Morrow had praised Rossi's coverage of Rodell in last season's game.

Unfortunately for Mira Costa, both seniors are out for the season--Rossi is recovering from knee surgery and Fonua from a brain aneurysm. Without them, the Mustangs will fight an uphill battle to win their first league title since 1976 and repeat as Southern Section Division VII champions.


After filling up on cupcakes, Redondo will begin a diet of more substantial Ocean League opponents this week.

The Sea Hawks (4-2) are tied for first with Culver City at 3-0, but their league victories have come against Centennial, El Segundo and Morningside, teams with a combined record of 5-12, 1-8 in league play.

The more demanding part of Redondo's schedule begins Friday night when it visits South Torrance (3-3, 1-2), a team in desperate need of a victory in order to keep its playoff hopes alive. The outcome will provide a better indication if Redondo is a contender or a pretender.

The Sea Hawks looked like the real thing Friday, racking up nearly 300 yards in a 34-12 victory over Morningside. Sophomore Ed Sanchez relieved starting quarterback Doug Francis late in the third quarter and completed an eight-yard touchdown pass on his first attempt.

Francis, who left the game because of a shoulder injury, is expected to play Friday.


Here we go again.

Every year Hawthorne plays Peninsula with first place in the Bay League on the line. And every year Hawthorne wins. The Cougars are 3-0 against Peninsula, coached by Hawthorne grad Gary Kimbrell.

So why should Friday night's game at Hawthorne be any different?

For one thing, Peninsula (5-1, 3-0) is playing great ball. After losing to Mira Costa, 9-6, the Panthers have won four consecutive games by a combined score of 159-28. Included in the streak was a stunning 35-7 victory over Leuzinger, considered a contender for the league title. Last week, Peninsula routed North Torrance, 51-0.

Hawthorne's recent outings have not been nearly as impressive. The Cougars (5-1, 3-0) were forced to come from behind the past two weeks in victories over Inglewood, 29-19, and Torrance, 34-33. Mistakes and turnovers have hindered the team's progress.

Unless the Cougars clean up their act, this could be Peninsula's year.


Sometimes it's the little things that count. El Camino College found this out Saturday in its Mission Conference showdown against Cerritos.

The Warriors played what Coach John Featherstone called their "worst game of the year," yet were able to pull out a 38-35 victory over the host Falcons largely because of what happened on two field goal attempts.

With the score tied, 35-35, defensive back Omarr Morgan blocked a 25-yard field goal attempt to give El Camino the ball at its 19-yard-line with 5 minutes 11 seconds left. Quarterback Steve Sarkisian directed the Warriors 71 yards in 10 plays to set up a 27-yard field goal by David Scanlon with 43 seconds left.

It was the first time this season that Scanlon was called upon in a pressure situation, but it was no surprise that the former El Segundo High standout came through. Scanlon has made all 28 of his point-after attempts and is four of five on field goals, giving him 40 points, tops in conference kick scoring.

El Camino needed Scanlon's last-minute kick on a night it was plagued by penalties, turnovers and mistakes against a strong Cerritos team.

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