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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

GAME DAY / A Look at Today's Key Matchups

November 14, 1998

NCAA DIVISION I-AA

* CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE (6-3) vs. SOUTHWEST MISSOURI STATE (5-4)

At Plaster Field, Springfield, Mo., 11 a.m.

Radio: KCSN-FM (88.5)

Only a nonconference game, but the Matadors probably would be invited to the Division I-AA playoffs if they defeat Southwest Missouri State and Idaho State next week in a Big Sky Conference game. They would place first in the Big Sky just by beating Idaho State, but Montana and Montana State could tie the Matadors, who hold the tiebreaking advantage over Montana. For now, Northridge is focused on the Bears, from the Gateway Conference, who are riding a three-game winning streak. The Bears average 254.8 yards, 18th-best in I-AA and two slots below Northridge, which averages 256.8. Southwest Missouri favors the pass behind senior Derek Jensen, who has thrown for 3,492 yards. He passed for 324 yards and four touchdowns in Southwest Missouri's 49-42 victory over Illinois State last week. The Bears have seven receivers with 17 or more catches, led by Jeff Hewitt and Robert Rose, each with 30. The Bears have 12 interceptions, including five by freshman free safety Mike Gailey. Northridge pulled off a 32-28 victory over Portland State last week, scoring all its points in the first half. The much-maligned defense bailed out the Matadors with a superb four-down, bend-but-not-break stand inside the Northridge 10 in the fourth quarter. Redshirt freshman Marcus Brady passed for 186 yards and two touchdowns, moving into sixth place on Northridge's single-season passing list with 2,196 yards. The Matadors must shore up their kicking game, seriously hampered last week because of a leg injury to Manny Marquez, who will not play today. Northridge, ranked No. 24 in one poll and No. 25 in the other, has never faced Southwest Missouri.

NCAA DIVISION III

* CAL LUTHERAN (5-3, 2-2) vs. REDLANDS (6-2, 3-1)

At Ted Runner Stadium, Redlands, 7 p.m.

After wrapping up an undefeated home schedule, Cal Lutheran hits the road for the season finale. Currently third in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the Kingsmen can finish in a tie with second-place Redlands with a victory. Redlands, however, probably won't let a victory come easily. The Bulldogs look to redeem themselves after their first conference loss, 31-29, to first-place Whittier in which Redlands squandered a 20-0 advantage. Already assured of a winning season, the Kingsmen are seeking their third consecutive victory. To get it, they will need continued strong performances from their running backs. Behind school single-season and career rushing leader Fredrik Nanhed, a senior, and Dorian Stitt, a sophomore, the Kingsmen are averaging 208 yards on the ground. Nanhed has 702 yards in 133 carries (5.3-yard average) and Stitt has gained 670 yards in 131 carries (5.1 average). Defensively, Cal Lutheran has punter Mark Kevern, who averages an NCAA Division III-best 42.7 yards. The secondary will be tested by Redlands senior quarterback Danny Ragsdale. He leads the conference in passing efficiency (131.0) and is second in total offense (209.9 yards a game) and passing yardage (179.3 average).

JUNIOR COLLEGE

* CANYONS (7-2, 4-1) vs. VENTURA (6-2, 2-2)

At Ventura High, 1 p.m.

It's crowded at the top of the Western State Conference Northern Division. A victory, and Cinderella Canyons caps its first season in 17 years by clinching a bowl berth and a share of the conference title. If Canyons loses, to the victor of next week's Hancock-Bakersfield showdown gets the crown. Ventura is still in the picture for a bowl bid. On paper, it will be Canyons' fast-paced offense, ranked second in the WSC, against the Pirates' second-ranked, swarming defense. Canyons quarterback Kevin Carrasco, nursing a swollen thumb on his throwing hand, has passed for a WSC-leading 2,360 yards and 18 touchdowns. Ventura's Travis Rogers leads the WSC with 1,365 rushing yards, though only five carries have gone for touchdowns. Rogers rushed for 206 yards and a touchdown last week against Santa Barbara. In that game, Pirate defensive end Torrance Heggie had three sacks and caused two fumbles.

*

L.A. SOUTHWEST (5-3, 3-2) vs. MOORPARK (7-1, 5-0)

At Moorpark College, 7 p.m.

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