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Saddleback Has Plenty on Line Against Fullerton

November 02, 1996|STEVE KRESAL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Finding extra incentive to win hasn't been difficult for the Saddleback College football team.

The Gauchos, ranked second in the nation in the J.C. Grid-Wire, are 7-0 and have a 13-game winning streak.

Saddleback's last loss came against Fullerton, but the Gauchos can avenge that at 1 p.m. today when they host Fullerton in a Mission Conference Central Division game.

Saddleback is 3-0 and in first place in the division. Fullerton (3-3, 2-1) beat Saddleback, 25-14, last season in a game that still gnaws at Saddleback Coach Bill Cunerty.

"I take full responsibility." he said. "I knew what Fullerton was capable of and I didn't have our team properly prepared."

Saddleback is led by sophomore quarterback Justin Vedder, who could set several career passing records for the Gauchos. He has 26 touchdown passes and at least three games left to surpass the 32 set by Tim Snowden (1991-92).

Vedder, from Laguna Hills High, is second in all-time yardage with 3,862. Snowden leads with 4,251. Vedder could set the college's record for completions today. He has 273 and needs eight to pass Mike Douglass (280). He's also near the top for attempts. Vedder has 465 and Jeff Bailey (1989-90) leads at 505.

Saddleback's winning streak is the second longest in the nation. Blinn (Texas) has won 20 in a row and is ranked No. 1 by the J.C. Grid-Wire.

In other Central Division games:

Orange Coast (1-6, 0-4) at Riverside (0-6, 0-2), 7 p.m.--Orange Coast's troubles are mostly on defense; opponents are averaging 459 yards and 41 points a game. Riverside is averaging 213 yards and 12 points.

Rancho Santiago (4-2, 2-0) vs. Palomar (4-3, 2-1), San Marcos High, 1:30 p.m.--Rancho Santiago has won four in a row and can't look ahead to a Nov. 9 meeting with Saddleback. Palomar has won two in a row.

In a Mission Conference game:

Mt. San Antonio (5-1) vs. Golden West (1-5), Orange Coast College, 1:30 p.m.--Mt. San Antonio has the conference's top offense (414 yards a game) and top defense (177 yards a game).

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