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Pairings Vindicate La Habra

November 14, 2000|MARTIN HENDERSON

As it turned out, La Habra's concern that the Southern Section rankings would have a major impact on the seeding process was unfounded. The Highlanders had beaten Troy and Fullerton, but were behind those schools in the section rankings. Coach Frank Mazzotta worried that nobody was paying attention. Not only was the selection committee paying attention, but it paid back the Highlanders with interest. When the pairings were released Sunday, La Habra not only skipped over Troy and Fullerton, as it should have, but also got moved past University (8-2), which had been ranked fifth and won its final game. La Habra received the No. 4 seeding. . . .

Mark Cunningham, University's coach, didn't seem bothered by the apparent slight. In fact, he was pretty gracious. "Probably the four best teams are the teams that are seeded," Cunningham said. "What's surprising to me is that they dropped Troy from No. 4 in the rankings all the way out of the playoffs." Troy (6-4), the fourth-place team from the Freeway League after losing to Buena Park (6-4) in Week 10, did not receive an at-large berth.

One reason Cunningham could be upbeat was the fallout from La Habra's ascension. University will play Los Amigos (5-4-1), the third-place team from the Garden Grove League, while La Habra likely gets a little tougher draw, playing La Verne Bonita (5-5), the third-place team from the Valle Vista League. . . .

The best matchup of the first round is probably Estancia at Fullerton, a battle of two second-place teams. "That's brutal," Cunningham said of the impending collision. "That will be a [heck] of a game." Fullerton and Estancia have common opponents. Both teams soundly defeated Magnolia, while Fullerton beat Santa Ana Valley, 38-0, and Estancia lost, 35-28, on a controversial ruling by an official in the final seconds. . . .

What's the likelihood of a field goal winning a playoff game? Well, University won't hesitate to kick. Zack Sherwood leads the county with eight field goals. . . .

Behind the play of running back David Gober, Western (9-1) led the county in scoring. The top-seeded Pioneers tallied 437 points and allowed only 174. They scored 48 points or more on six occasions. They were held to 14 points twice--in a 14-7 victory over Loara in the opener and a 41-14 loss to Hacienda Heights Los Altos, the top-seeded team in Division VII.


Key Player

Name: David Gober

School: Western

Key stat: 879 yds. rushing

Notable: County's second-

leading scorer, behind Sonuyi, with 26 TDs and 160 points.

At a Glance

1999 winner: La Verne Bonita

Seeded teams: 1. Western (9-1), 2. West Covina South Hills (9-1), 3. Brea (7-3), 4. La Habra (9-1)

County teams: Brea (7-3), Buena Park (6-4), Corona del Mar (5-5), Estancia (7-3), Fullerton (8-2), Garden Grove (6-3-1), La Habra (9-1), Los Amigos (5-4-1), Pacifica (6-4), University (8-2), Valencia (6-4), Western (9-1)

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