Bryan Paul won't be uttering any I-told-you-so's Saturday night at Valley College. That's simply not his style.
Then again, Paul, starting quarterback for West L.A., didn't make any parting proclamations when he transferred this season from Valley.
"I just want to focus on winning," Paul said. "There are no hard feelings because I learned a lot at Valley and I have a lot of friends on the team.
"But I guess it does mean a lot to me because I want to show that I can play."
Paul, who was Ventura County small schools player of the year at Moorpark High, will lead West L.A. (4-1) against Valley (4-1) in a Western State Conference Southern Division opener.
At Moorpark, Paul grew accustomed to being in the thick of things. But he played sparingly last season at Valley, throwing 26 passes in a third-string role.
"He's a very gifted athlete," Valley Coach Gary Barlow said. "His rushing yardage shows that. He came in and talked to me before he left. He felt he couldn't take the chance of being beat out [for the starting job] and I couldn't guarantee him the starting spot. We try to create an environment where everyone will have the opportunity to compete."
Paul immediately adapted to West L.A.'s run-and-shoot attack that mirrors Valley's--except that Paul has provided more run.
Paul, who is 6 feet 3 and 195 pounds, has passed for 872 yards, ranking him fifth in the WSC. He passed for four touchdowns and ran for one against Pierce and Glendale, and was selected WSC player of the week both times.
Last week, Paul ran 65 yards for a touchdown in a 21-20 victory over Hancock.
Paul's 280 rushing yards are the most among the Oilers and rank him 12th among conference rushers.
"It's basically the same offense as Valley, almost," Paul said. "They throw the ball and it's a great system and I wanted to go to a school that throws the ball."
Ryan Geisler is doing his part to make sure the special teams at Cal Lutheran are something special indeed.
Geisler, a freshman from Camarillo High, kicked four field goals against Whittier last week and is eight for eight since his only miss of the season, from 43 yards in the opener.
"We've got a field-goal kicker and a punter and they don't," Cal Lutheran Coach Scott Squires said after a 28-16 victory over Whittier. "That was the biggest difference in the game."
Geisler and punter Jeff Shea have been effective weapons all season for the Kingsmen (3-3, 2-1 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play).
Geisler is three for three from inside 40 yards and made a school-record 57-yard try against Pacific Lutheran.
Shea, a senior whose 44.3-yard average was second among NCAA Division III punters going into the Whittier game, has drawn the interest of NFL scouts.
Squires envisions similar possibilities for Geisler some day.
"You can see he's real raw, but he's got good talent and pretty good mechanics," Squires said. "He's got a chance, like Jeff, to probably turn some heads.
"For kicking and punting, the field always stays the same, whether you're playing in Division I or Division III."
Football coaches do a slow burn when their teams drive inside an opponent's 20-yard line, known as the red zone, but can't score a touchdown.
Jim Fenwick, Cal State Northridge's coach, is no different. He says the run-and-shoot Matadors need to improve in that department.
No doubt about that.
In 32 drives into the red zone this season, Northridge has scored 17 touchdowns and seven field goals for a 53% touchdown rate, considerably lower than the 80% coaches generally feel is acceptable.
Three of the drives failed because of an interception, two by loss of possession on downs, two on missed field-goal attempts and one on a fumble.
Fenwick believes there's one reason for the ineffectiveness.
"When you shrink the field and you're a throwing team, the other teams change their styles defensively," Fenwick said.
Fenwick is hoping the Matadors (3-4, 1-2 in Big Sky Conference play) can improve their red zone play when they meet Cal State Sacramento (1-5, 1-3) in a conference game Saturday night at North Campus Stadium.
The Matadors are expected to have senior quarterback Aaron Flowers, the school's career passing leader, back from a broken leg.
Sophomore Josh Fiske replaced Flowers in the past 3 1/2 games.
"Aaron is more adept in recognizing the subtleties of what the [opposing defenses] are doing," Fenwick said.
Quarterback Dan McMullen of Pierce, who limped to the sideline Saturday in the final minute of a 44-21 loss to Valley, suffered a bruised hip but is expected to play this week in a WSC Northern Division game at Ventura.
"He's hobbling pretty good, but he'll play," Pierce Coach Bill Norton said. "The kid has great heart."
That much is evident by McMullen's performance despite the Brahmas' futility.
McMullen, the conference's leading passer with 1,478 yards, was selected WSC player of the week after completing 26 of 48 passes for 380 yards and two touchdowns. Pierce (0-5) suffered its 23rd consecutive defeat and fifth in a row against Valley.
McMullen was injured scrambling for yardage.
"I thanked him for his courage but I told him he should have protected himself," Norton said. "At that point, the game was already over."
Staff writers Fernando Dominguez and Vince Kowalick and correspondent Lauren Peterson contributed to this notes column.