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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL | PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Northwood Earns Respect, if Not Win, Against Estancia

October 13, 2000|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Northwood High's first taste of the Pacific Coast League wasn't all bad. The first-year varsity Timberwolves won a measure of respect Thursday from Estancia.

Only one problem. . . .

"That's not what we're after," Coach Rick Curtis said. "We're after finishing the job."

And gaining respect proved easier than finishing the job. Estancia was sluggish early, built a 20-point lead in the third quarter and hung on for a 41-36 victory over the Timberwolves. Estancia improved to 4-2, 1-0 in the PCL; Northwood dropped to 2-4, 0-1.

The teams combined for more than 900 yards of offense, Estancia rushing for 306 and passing for 206, and Northwood rushing for 149 and passing for 254.

Northwood finished with a flourish, scoring 21 in the fourth quarter, and pulling within five points with 33 seconds remaining.

"I was thinking, 'These guys are for real--we better turn it on," said Estancia senior Andy Romo, who caught six passes for 89 yards and scored the decisive touchdown on a 32-yard end around with 2:24 remaining in the game. "We were thinking, 'How is Northwood going to beat us?' A lot of people took them lightly."

Northwood, which doesn't have any seniors, almost upset the league's most experienced squad behind the passing of Dan Tomcheck, who completed 17 of 30 passes for 254 yards and four touchdowns, and the running of Andy Meyer, who carried 21 times for 172 yards and a 65-yard touchdown run.

Tomcheck's scoring passes covered 26, 79 and three yards to Bryan Bentrott, and 10 yards to Steve Lucas. Bentrott caught 12 passes for 202 yards.

But Northwood couldn't pull the upset because Estancia's offense, limited to 10 yards in the first 9 1/2 minutes of the game, "finally woke up," Coach Dave Perkins said.

Fahad Jahid rushed 15 times for 126 yards, scoring twice on four-yard runs, and Freddy Rodriguez rushed seven times for 119 yards and scores of 60 and five yards.

Aided by a safety, Northwood took an early 8-0 lead, but Estancia built a 21-8 halftime advantage. That saved the Eagles.

"We're every bit as good as they are," Curtis said. "I don't think they respected us, but they do now."

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