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BETWEEN THE LINES

Their Opponents Are Left Smarting

September 21, 1996

The Village Christian football team might not have the size, strength or speed of some of its opponents, but Coach Mike Plaisance is fairly confident of one thing:

Not many teams will outsmart his.

Four Village Christian starters carry grade-point averages of 3.9 or higher. Among them is tight end Tim Gustafson, who has a 4.0, plus an impressive SAT score of 1,460.

Fullback Young Joo has a 4.075, and receiver Brian Agnor checks in with a 3.992. And whoever said offensive linemen were big and dumb was only half right about offensive lineman Mike Demerjian, who has a 4.065.

"This is by far the most-intelligent team I've ever had," said Plaisance, who is in his 21st year as a coach. "I have to be careful what I say because I can't pull anything over on them." Plaisance said 26 of his 37 players have a GPA over 3.0, and it played a role in the Crusaders' penalty-free, 22-6 victory over Santa Paula a week ago.

"We played a great game but that's the stat that really pleased me," Plaisance said.

Village Christian plays St. Genevieve at Birmingham High tonight, and as Plaisance paces the sidelines he is assured to remain surrounded by good students. Managers Ashley Baxter and Sarah Badalpoor also have 4.0 GPAs.

Football injury report: Highland free safety Marcus Prevost, a 1995 All-Golden League selection, will be sidelined for two weeks with a sprained ankle. . . . Canyon junior Josh Kelley (6-3, 230), a tight end and defensive end, will miss the remainder of the football season and basketball season with a knee injury that requires reconstructive surgery.

High-water mark: The Harvard-Westlake girls' volleyball team is top ranked in the first state Division III poll. The Wolverines are defending champions in their division, but Coach Jess Quiroz isn't sold on the rating.

"It's really too early," Quiroz said. "I don't even think about that.

"If our girls stay focused and keep their head in their practices and preparation, I think we'll be OK."

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