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PREP EXTRA / Orange County High School Football

Western Defense Rises to Occasion

September 12, 1998|GEOFF BILAU

Western entered its season opener against Loara with one known commodity, but by game's end, the Pioneers appeared to have uncovered another strength.

As expected, running back Trevell Jackson, the county's top returning rusher, turned in a solid performance with 168 yards and three touchdowns in 25 carries. Western's defense, however, drew more attention in the Pioneers' 26-14 victory Friday night at Glover Stadium in Anaheim.

Western Coach Toby Howell said he was surprised by his team's 12 quarterback sacks and the 96 yards of offense it limited Loara to.

"We've got some guys that showed me they really want to play defense," Howell said. "They're more mature, stronger kids and they were more aggressive and made things happen tonight."

Fili Leilua had three sacks and Dawayne Alexander and Ivan Ramirez each had two for the Pioneers, who kept Loara out of the end zone until six seconds remained in the game.

Jackson, who ran for 1,540 yards in 1997, had touchdown runs of five, seven and two yards. But the senior, who also played linebacker on defense, said one thing has definitely changed since last season.

"Now that I'm going both ways, it gets harder," Jackson said. "I'm tired."

The Pioneers held a 13-3 lead at halftime on Jackson's five-yard dive and Jason Baughman's 12 yard play-action, roll-out pass to Jeff LaMendola.

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