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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

High School Notebook

Olson Achieves Passing Grade

November 21, 2000|STEVE HENSON

Cal Lutheran Coach Scott Squires stood on the Thousand Oaks High sideline and couldn't believe what he was seeing.

"That kid could step in and run our offense right now," he said.

Ben Olson appreciates the compliment, but he appears destined to perform in a large stadium in front of thousands. What colors they will be wearing and to what top Division I program they swear allegiance are all that need to be determined.

Olson is a 6-foot-5 junior quarterback whose physical gifts approach those of the best passers from the region. He has Joe Borchard, Kyle Boller, Casey Clausen potential.

Tom Goossen will tell you so. Goossen, whose family has long been associated with Valley boxing, pulled no punches when discussing Olson.

And Goossen had a good look: He is the defensive coordinator at Arroyo Grande, which survived 480 yards passing by Olson in a 38-36 Southern Section Division IV playoff victory Friday.

Goossen watched the left-handed passer fire lasers on 25-yard out patterns, loft bombs across his body while running and find secondary receivers.

"He's a phenomenal player," Goossen said. "He did things you never see out of a high school quarterback. And he stays in the pocket and doesn't get rattled. I was impressed."

Olson could have reached 600 yards had he not overshot open receivers in the adrenaline-filled first quarter. He settled down and led Thousand Oaks to what was nearly an amazing comeback, throwing four touchdown passes and finishing with the second-most passing yards in a game by a Ventura County player.

Olson also made a diving catch of a 23-yard pass thrown by receiver Dave Anderson on a double-pass play in the frantic final minute, when Thousand Oaks scored two touchdowns and a two-point conversion.

Anderson, Olson's top receiver, had 10 catches to increase his school-record total to 83 for 1,150 yards.

Like Olson, Anderson is a junior. Squires might want to start with him.

*

Thousand Oaks, which lost five games before winning five to reach the playoffs, is hardly recognizable under first-year Coach Mike Sanders.

A tradition under previous coaches Joe Howell, Bob Richards and Mike Kelly was to award a green helmet to defensive standouts. Now all the Lancers wear green helmets.

But a more substantial change is the offense. The Lancers were known for an efficient ground game and physical nature for four decades. Against Arroyo Grande, Sanders called 54 pass plays and six running plays.

"We're utilizing our personnel," he said.

And moving Thousand Oaks in the direction of pass-oriented rivals Newbury Park and Westlake. The Lancers have had much more success in the grind-it-out years, but they've seldom been as entertaining.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

City Section

QUARTERFINALS

Wednesday, 7 p.m.

City Championship

* Taft vs. Crenshaw at South Gate High

* Birmingham vs. Carson at Long Beach

Veterans Stadium

* Granada Hills at L.A. Banning

* San Pedro at Sylmar

City Invitational

* San Fernando at Gardena

* Narbonne at Chatsworth

* Canoga Park at Fremont

Southern Section

QUARTERFINALS

Friday, 7:30 p.m., unless noted

Division III

* Notre Dame vs. Peninsula at

North Torrance High

* Valencia vs. Mira Costa at Canyon High

* St. Francis at Antelope Valley

* Crescenta Valley vs. Hart at Glendale High

Division IV

* Lompoc at Westlake

* Ventura at Royal

* Agoura vs. Dos Pueblos at San Marcos High

* Buena at Arroyo Grande

Division X

* La Canada at Santa Maria St. Joseph

Division XI

* Santa Ana Calvary Chapel vs.

St. Bonaventure at Westminster High

* Nordhoff at Carpinteria

* Orange Lutheran vs. Santa Paula

at CS Fullerton

* Cathedral at Oak Park

Division XII

* Montclair Prep vs. Banning

at Nicolet Middle School

Don Bosco at Frazier Mountain

* Paraclete vs. Big Bear at Big Bear

Middle School, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Division XIII

* Flintridge Prep at Arrowhead Christian

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