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Pacifica's First Drive Silences the Oilers

Football: Mariners grind 80 yards in eight minutes and go on to beat Huntington Beach, 20-6.


HUNTINGTON BEACH — Pacifica broke Huntington Beach's spirit with an 80-yard, eight-minute opening drive. The rest was easy for the Mariners, who romped to a 20-6 victory Thursday night at Huntington Beach High and raised their record to 2-0.

Early on, Huntington Beach's parent night crowd was loud and the Oiler sideline was buzzing in anticipation of Coach Mike Dodd's home debut. By the start of the second quarter, dissension had hit the Oiler sideline and the crowd had lost its enthusiasm.

Pacifica Coach Bill Craven said his opening drive worked to perfection.

"We only ran for 19 yards last week," Craven said. "We haven't designed anything with a two-tight end, three-back offense before, but we wanted to establish our running game tonight. We wanted to give our running game some confidence. It had nothing to do with our opponent. It was all about what we wanted to establish."

The Mariners established the run with 11 running plays and three passes. Running back Verdell LeVeaux (106 yards in 17 carries) carried four times for 30 yards, Paul Toepel (93 yards in 18 rushes) rushed six times for 24 yards and fullback Jeff Burt carried once for nine yards. Quarterback J.D. Stern finished the drive with his third completion in three attempts, a 15-yard touchdown pass between two defenders to wide receiver Rich Campos.

The second time Pacifica touched the ball it needed only seven plays to drive 55 yards and take a 14-0 lead. Toepel scored on a four-yard run. Pacifica put the game away late in the third quarter with a 70-yard, 11-play drive that was capped by LeVeaux's four-yard run on a sweep.

The Mariners' defense demoralized Huntington Beach even further with a goal-line stand early in the fourth quarter. Huntington Beach had a first and goal on Pacifica's one-yard line but eventually turned the ball over to Pacifica on the six.

"I think that goal-line stand was real good for us morale-wise," Craven said. "We'd rather win 7-0 than 24-12 any time."

Huntington Beach (1-1) finally scored with two minutes left on an eight-yard screen pass from Dave Van Hoorebeke to Jason Locklin. Last week in a 17-0 victory over Downey, Locklin had rushed for 107 yards. Thursday, he had only 64 in 15 carries.

"We were good tonight," Craven said. "We played a lot more physical than we did last week against Woodbridge."

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