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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Area College Notebook

November 14, 2000|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ

During Saturday's football game between Northridge and San Luis Obispo at Northridge, the public address announcer told the crowd that Matador punter Ethan Beck was selected by a national publication among the top prospects for the 2001 NFL draft.

Those who had never seen Beck punt will have to take the guy's word for it.

Beck, 6 feet 4 and 200 pounds, didn't punt once against the Mustangs.

The Matadors scored a touchdown or field goal in seven of 14 possessions. They gave up the ball on downs twice, lost a fumble, had a pass intercepted, missed a field-goal attempt and had the ball when the first half and game ended.

Beck is averaging 39.9 yards per punt. He owns the Northridge record with an 82-yard punt against Weber State last season. His longest punt this year was 67 yards against Montana.

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If the name of San Luis Obispo quarterback Seth Burford sounded painfully familiar to some Matadors, there was good reason.

Burford, then playing for Idaho State, pretty much cost Northridge the Big Sky championship in 1998.

All Northridge had to do to win the title was defeat the last-place Bengals in Pocatello, Idaho, in the regular-season finale. The Matadors led, 29-24, with 1:25 to play.

Burford completed a 55-yard pass to set up his three-yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds to play, pulling off a 32-29 upset.

The loss dropped the Matadors to second place in the Big Sky and knocked them out of the Division I-AA playoffs.

Burford transferred to San Luis Obispo after that season and sat out last year.

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Someone had to win the Futility Bowl.

What once was a terrific football rivalry between Pierce and Valley is now reduced to a meaningless exercise between two floundering programs.

Pierce won the 33rd meeting between the schools, 56-49, on Saturday and regained possession of the victory bell that goes to the winner.

The last time the Brahmas had the bell was in 1991, before Valley reeled off seven consecutive victories. The teams did not play each other in 1994.

Each team is 2-7, 2-4 in Western State Conference Northern Division play this season, but neither will finish in last place because Santa Barbara City (0-9, 0-6) has that dubious distinction locked up.

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