When Loara gets a big lead late in the game, Coach John deFries wastes little time bringing in The Rock.
Rachel (pronounced rah-KEL) Andrade, nicknamed "The Rock," is the first girl to play varsity football for Loara since the school opened 37 years ago.
Andrade spent the last two seasons on the junior varsity team but made her varsity debut during a 38-0 victory over El Modena in Week 3.
"We brought her in at defensive back against El Modena," deFries said. "They went right after her. Luckily, the ball was overthrown."
She played wide receiver during a 49-32 victory Thursday over defending Empire League champion Cypress.
Andrade has yet to touch the ball in a game, but had a couple of downfield blocks against Cypress in her five-play stint.
DeFries said Andrade has not missed a practice or film session this year, and she participates in all full-contact drills.
"She's always right there," he said. "She doesn't say 'boo' and the guys all treat her the same. It doesn't phase her anymore."
When is a loss a good thing? When it's a nonleague game that pays dividends later.
That's the case for Estancia, Coach Dave Perkins said.
The Eagles were 3-0 and flying high after beating Garden Grove. Then they were grounded by winless Anaheim.
"Looking back, that loss was a blessing--we learned we had to be at a level keel every week," said Perkins, who credited that philosophy with Estancia's 34-14 upset of league-favorite Costa Mesa last week. "There wasn't a lot of screaming and hollering before the game, like there usually is."
There's little chance Estancia's players were overconfident leading up to Friday's game against Laguna Beach. Until their 20-14 victory, the Eagles' seniors hadn't defeated the Artists, losing the last two varsity games (there was no junior varsity game last season) and as freshmen.
Liberty Christian (3-3, 1-2 in league) goes into today's 11 a.m. Express League game at Hare Park against Murrieta Calvary Chapel (5-1, 3-0) a decided underdog but with an opportunity to solidify its run for a second consecutive playoff berth in the eight-man small-school division.
"It's all about power points," Liberty Christian Athletic Director Ray Clifton said. "We've played a tough schedule and two of our losses have come to large-school teams. It's not so important that we win against Murrieta, we just can't afford to be blown out."
Seventeen teams are vying for eight playoff spots, which will be awarded, in part, based on strength of schedule, Clifton said.
Murrieta Calvary Chapel is among 20 teams chasing 12 playoff spots in the large-school division.
Liberty Christian has been led by quarterback Nick Harbert (731 yards, 16 touchdowns), the Southern Section's top-ranked passer in the eight-man game, and Aaron Mendoza, who has caught 26 passes for 589 yards and 14 touchdowns.