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JUST PREPS | THE PREPS / ERIC SHEPARD

A Record-Setter Goes Unnoticed

December 05, 1996|ERIC SHEPARD

He hasn't been offered any football scholarships, but Oscar Arzu is doing plenty to get himself recognized.

The senior running back from Sierra Vista High in Baldwin Park is coming off his fourth 300-yard game of the season, having run for 338 yards and seven touchdowns in a 56-28 victory over South Torrance in a Southern Section Division IX quarterfinal.

Arzu, who is 5 feet 9 and 170 pounds, scored on touchdown runs of one, 46, 21, two, 72, 50 and 66 yards. That gave him 47 touchdowns this season, breaking the state record of 46 set by David Dotson of Valley View in Moreno Valley in 1991.

In 12 games, Arzu has rushed for 3,183 yards in 325 carries (9.8-yard average) to become only the second back in state history to gain more than 3,000 yards in a season. Dotson set the record of 3,523 yards in '91.

Sierra Vista (11-1) is host to Atascadero (9-3) in a semifinal Friday night at Baldwin Park High, so Arzu could have two more games to break the single-season rushing record. His highest total is 364 yards against El Monte.

Arzu had never played football before high school. He started at outside linebacker last season and carried the ball only 20 times because the Dons already had an established running back.

"By the fifth game this season, we knew Oscar was going to do great things," Sierra Vista Coach Don LeGro said. "He had picked up all the intricacies of our offense, and he had the speed and skill to go far."

LeGro said records provide inspiration but aren't goals.

"Certainly, when we near certain milestones, that motivates our team, but we've never sat down and talked about records," LeGro said. "They are bonuses."

Bonuses LeGro hopes will help Arzu get noticed by college coaches in search of a running back.

*

When the Los Angeles Rams left for St. Louis, Santa Ana Mater Dei lost one of its top players in sophomore receiver Rod Perry Jr.

Perry's father, Rod Perry Sr., played for the Rams and was an assistant coach when the team left town. He was then offered an assistant's job with the Houston Oilers.

Perry Jr. enrolled at Sugar Land (Texas) in August 1995 but was so unhappy that he returned to Orange County to live with friends and play for Mater Dei.

As a sophomore, Perry was a key in helping the Monarchs to the Southern Section Division I championship. Although he battled an ankle injury last year, Perry has been at the top of his game this season as a senior.

In 12 games, he has 65 receptions for 1,235 yards and 16 touchdowns, including five in two playoff games.

In last week's 34-14 victory over Redlands in a Southern Section Division I quarterfinal, Perry broke open a close game with a 27-yard touchdown run on a reverse in the fourth quarter.

"Perry broke our backs," Redlands Coach Jim Walker said after the game.

Perry recently said he will attend USC next fall and will sign a letter of intent in February.

Top-seeded Mater Dei (12-0) is host to Long Beach Poly (9-3) in a semifinal game Friday at Santa Ana Stadium.

*

Southern Section officials avoided a trip to court last week when they decided to allow Trona the opportunity to play host to a Division XII quarterfinal game against Temecula Linfield.

Trona, a school with 158 students in the high desert, defeated Lucerne Valley in a first-round playoff game on Nov. 22, earning it the right to be host to Linfield in the quarterfinal round.

Linfield officials, however, didn't want to play at Trona and filed an appeal.

Trona has one of the few sand-surfaced fields in the country and hasn't been host for a playoff game since 1988. The surface, watered daily with about 8,000 gallons of salt water to create the consistency of a damp beach, hasn't caused a serious injury in at least 12 years, according to Athletic Director Kent Schmidt.

But because the field doesn't have grass, Southern Section officials deemed it "nontraditional" and requested the game be moved to another site.

Upset over the decision, community members from Trona organized and planned to take the Southern Section to court.

Dean Crowley, Southern Section commissioner, relented late last Wednesday.

A capacity crowd of 2,000 watched Linfield rally for a 24-20 victory.

*

Cathedral is having its best football season in the school's 71-year history. The Phantoms (11-1) will play host to Bishop Union (10-2) in a Southern Section Division XI semifinal at Downey Pius X High Saturday night.

Cathedral has scored a school-record 606 points, twice scoring 70 or more points in a game. Senior Sebastian Castellon and junior Chris Hanks have each rushed for over 1,800 yards.

*

Who will meet in next weekend's championship games? Here's one opinion:

City Division 4-A--San Pedro vs. Westchester

City Div. 3-A--Wilson vs. Van Nuys

Southern Section Div. I--Mater Dei vs. Fontana

Southern Section Div. II--Dominguez vs. Ayala

Southern Section Div. III--Muir vs. Camarillo

Southern Section Div. IV--Corona Centennial vs. Alta Loma

Southern Section Div. V--Servite vs. Santa Margarita

Southern Section Div. VI--Arroyo vs. Hacienda Heights Wilson

Southern Section Div. VII--Bloomington vs. Victor Valley

Southern Section Div. VIII--South Hills vs. Rancho Alamitos

Southern Section Div. IX--Atascadero vs. Cabrillo

Southern Section Div. X--Nordhoff vs. Orange Lutheran

Southern Section Div. XI--Yucca Valley vs. Bishop

Southern Section Div. XII--Arrowhead Christian vs. Linfield

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