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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Game Day

A Look at Today's Key Matchups

November 17, 2000

HIGH SCHOOL

* CHAMINADE (6-4) vs. HART (8-2)

At College of the Canyons, 7:30 p.m.

Both teams' defensive backs could be exhausted after tonight's expected passing circus. Chaminade's secondary was torched for 421 yards last week by quarterback John Sciarra of St. Francis. This time it's Stanford-bound Kyle Matter of Hart who must be contained. Matter has passed for 2,606 yards and 25 touchdowns while completing 63% of his passes. Hart's secondary will be tested by sophomore quarterback Erik Vose, who has passed for 1,944 yards and 22 touchdowns. Chaminade, the third-place finisher from the Mission League, is considered a heavy underdog but could help itself if tailback Chris Abichaker can break some productive runs. He has gained 874 yards. Chaminade's line takes on perhaps the region's most fearsome defensive line, led by Evan Allen and Pete Dubsky.

* VALENCIA (8-2) vs. PALMDALE (7-2-1)

At Palmdale, 7:30 p.m.

Both teams have high-powered offenses but enter with questions at quarterback. Kyle Bauer of Valencia, who had passed for 2,201 yards and 20 touchdowns, broke a finger last week and is out for the season, leaving the job to Robert Herrick, a transfer from Alemany who has thrown only 17 varsity passes. Terry Furlow of Palmdale injured his nonthrowing shoulder two weeks ago and sat out last week against Littlerock. He is expected to play. Both teams have a stable of quality playmakers. Will Broadous has caught 37 passes for 826 yards and 12 touchdowns for Valencia, which is averaging 341 yards and 29.1 points. Tyrone Culver of Palmdale was the leading receiver in the Golden League, catching 30 passes for 476 yards and leads the division with nine interceptions. The Falcons are averaging 316 yards and 30 points. Palmdale's only losses were to No. 2-seeded Hart and No. 3-seeded Antelope Valley. Valencia lost to Hart and Peninsula, which was ranked No. 1 in the division at one point.

* SAUGUS (5-5) vs. ST. FRANCIS (8-2)

At St. Francis, 7:30 p.m.

Two weeks ago, St. Francis was ranked second in the division and was two yards short of pulling off a last-minute upset of top-ranked Notre Dame. The 13-7 loss cost the Golden Knights a seeding in the Division III playoffs and put them in an opener against a team that advanced to the division semifinals last season. To get to the final, St. Francis will likely have to march through third-seeded Antelope Valley (9-1) and No. 2 Hart (8-2). UCLA-bound quarterback John Sciarra had his best game last week in a 45-22 victory over Chaminade, completing 14 of 17 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns, and surpassing the 2,000-yard mark. Matt Milton has rushed for 1,070 yards for the Golden Knights, who are averaging 372 yards a game. With linebacker Jared DePaiva and two-way linemen Jeff Gallo and Brian Bramer, Saugus has one of the region's best defenses and allows 231 yards a game. Brandon McCullough has rushed for 619 yards and nine touchdowns despite missing almost four games. Quarterback Chris Ahlheim has completed 61% of his passes for 1,405 yards.

* ROYAL (6-3-1) vs. OXNARD (4-6)

At Oxnard High, 7:30 p.m.

Oxnard has something to prove in a Division IV playoff game after receiving a controversial top seeding in the Pacific View League. Oxnard finished in a three-way tie for first, but was awarded the top seeding by league principals who bypassed two teams with winning records. The Yellowjackets suffered blowout losses to San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Valencia and Buena, but defeated Hueneme, 26-12, in their best effort of the season. Four Oxnard players have rushed for more than 350 yards. Royal has scored 38 or more points in five games and has a two-pronged attack with quarterback James Cox (13 touchdown passes, seven touchdown runs) and running back Greg Morris (1,058 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns). The Highlanders are making their first playoff appearance since 1994.

* RIGHETTI (6-3) vs. VENTURA (9-1)

At Ventura High, 7:30 p.m.

Tyler Ebell could break the state single-season rushing record tonight in a Division IV playoff game. Ebell has 3,341 yards and needs 246 to break the record set last year by Jermaine Marshall of Kilpatrick. Ebell, who has committed to UCLA, has rushed for 47 touchdowns for the third-seeded Cougars. Andrew Lovier threw three touchdown passes last week against Hueneme, giving him five for the season. Righetti finished in a three-way tie for second in the Northern League, but lost a series of coin flips with Lompoc and Arroyo Grande to finish fourth in playoff seeding. Righetti runs the fly offense, a misdirection-based scheme, but has been hindered by injuries and was held to 14 points last week against San Luis Obispo.

* ARROYO GRANDE (5-4) vs. THOUSAND OAKS (5-5)

At Thousand Oaks High, 7:30 p.m.

Thousand Oaks can continue its astonishing resurrection against Arroyo Grande, the third-place team from the Northern League. The Lancers have won five in a row, after opening with five losses, to finish second in the Marmonte League. Ben Olson, a 6-5 junior, has completed 163 of 283 passes for 2,416 yards and 13 touchdowns. All but one of the touchdowns have come during the winning streak. Dave Anderson is the Lancers' best player, making 73 receptions for 957 yards, returning two kicks for touchdowns and intercepting two passes. Corey Mazza, a sophomore with four interceptions, is another top defender. Tony Ferrara, who has 601 yards and 11 touchdowns, has given Thousand Oaks a solid running game of late. Arroyo Grande won the Division IV championship in 1997 and '98. Although the Eagles employ a run-heavy wing-T attack based on misdirection, Sean Shields provides a better passing attack than they've had in recent years.

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