YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Hot Rancho Santiago to Face OCC


Last week Rancho Santiago Coach Dave Ogas gathered his team together after a 35-14 victory over Golden West and told the players they were on a roll and they deserved it because of their hard work.

Well, over at Orange Coast, Bill Workman's Pirates are probably working just as hard, but the Pirates are moving in the wrong direction.

While Rancho Santiago has won four in a row and is ranked second in Southern California, Orange Coast has lost five in a row.

The teams meet at 7 tonight in a Mission Conference Central Division game at OCC. The Dons (4-1, 2-0 in the division) have outscored opponents, 191-134.

Orange Coast has been outscored, 143-107, but lost to Pasadena, 27-25, on a last-second field goal in the season-opener. The Pirates also lost to Cerritos, 35-31, to Golden West, 7-6, and to San Diego Mesa, 28-21.

"We just can't seem to put things together," Workman said.

Rancho Santiago, the second-ranked team in Southern California, opened with a 55-28 loss to El Camino but then defeated Palomar, Long Beach, Riverside and Golden West. Rancho Santiago has moved from 25th to 18th to 13th in the last three J.C. Grid-Wire rankings.

Quarterback Simon Fuentes, perhaps the biggest surprise of the season, is leading the Dons' offense. After graduating from Garden Grove High, he sat out a year before being a reserve last season. He is 58 of 86 for 960 yards and 12 touchdowns with one interception.

Rancho Santiago also has a strong running game (221 yards per game) led by Ernie Wilson. Wilson, who missed a game because of a knee injury, has 374 yards and four touchdowns. The Dons are averaging 426 yards in total offense per game.

Orange Coast's offense is last in the conference (280 yards per game) but running back Jeff Clayton is one of the best in Southern California. He has rushed for 541 yards and six touchdowns and is OCC's all-time rushing leader.

In other Mission Conference 7 p.m. games:

Fullerton (2-2-1, 1-0) at Riverside (2-3, 1-1)--Riverside's running game is averaging a conference best 270 yards per game. But the Tigers are last in passing at 91 yards per game. Jason Nevadomsky, a sophomore linebacker, leads Fullerton with 27 unassisted tackles, six for losses.

Marc O'Brien has had a strong season passing but showed he can run as well Saturday in Fullerton's 35-19 victory over Saddleback. O'Brien had a 41-yard quarterback draw for a touchdown and also scored on a one-yard run around end. He caught a pass for six yards as well. O'Brien is 82 of 127 for 1,052 yards and five touchdowns.

Saddleback (0-4-1) at El Camino (5-0)--El Camino is the top team in Southern California and third in the J.C. Grid-Wire national rankings. The Warriors are averaging 43 points and Saddleback 18. The Gauchos' defense has been solid most of the season, giving up a conference-low 15 touchdowns. Pat Wood made his first start at quarterback last week for the Gauchos and will start tonight.

Saddleback is facing Steve Sarkisian, the conference's top quarterback. Sarkisian has thrown for 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns. But the Gauchos can't place too much emphasis on the pass, because El Camino's Robert Jenkins is second in the conference in rushing with 608 yards.

Coach Ken Swearingen, in his 19th season at Saddleback, started his career at El Camino.

Los Angeles Times Articles