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ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREP EXTRA | SUNSET

Shot at Wild Card Within Oilers' Reach

October 31, 1998|DAN ARRITT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The celebration by Huntington Beach was reminiscent of 1993, when the Oilers rolled through the Sunset League without a loss. Only this time the cause was something quite different.

The Oilers defeated Marina, 34-13, in a Sunset League game at Westminster High Friday, leaving the door open for their first trip to the playoffs since that magical season.

The Oilers (6-2, 1-2) have Los Alamitos and Edison left on their schedule and figure to get a wild-card berth if they win one of the two. Defeating top-ranked Los Alamitos might be a stretch, but not Edison, which suffered a 12-point loss to Marina two weeks ago.

"We want a chance to get to CIF and we figure if we win this one, who knows what happens after this," Huntington Beach Coach Tony Ciarelli said. "Going into this game, we figured if we can get two out of the next three, then we have a shot at the wild card. If we win all three of them, then we're in third place."

When the Oilers went 7-0 in league play five years ago, Esperanza and Los Alamitos weren't among the teams they defeated. With their addition to the Sunset League in 1994, getting into the playoffs became a whole new challenge.

"That's a big thing for us," Ciarelli said. "That's what our goal was when we started the season was to make the playoffs. We know winning this league is tough with Esperanza and Los Alamitos."

Huntington Beach clung to a 14-13 halftime lead against the Vikings (4-4, 1-2), but pulled away behind the strong running of Damon Van Hoorebeke, who finished with 169 yards rushing in 21 carries and three touchdowns, and Shaun Shuck, who picked up 107 yards and two touchdowns.

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