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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

High School Notebook

September 13, 2000|JOHN ORTEGA

One wouldn't have known from L.A. Baptist's 48-41 victory over Flintridge Prep on Saturday night, but the Knights emphasized defense over offense in the opening weeks of practice.

Gregg Frazer, L.A. Baptist's first-year head coach, had seen the Knights lose too many high-scoring games during his previous 11 seasons as offensive coordinator, so shoring up the defense became a goal of the coaching staff's.

"We'd better get better," Frazer said about a defense that gave up 593 yards, including 525 rushing, to Flintridge Prep. "It's a source of concern, but we did have to make a bunch of personnel changes four days before the game because things just weren't working out [at certain positions.]

"And then we had some guys go down during different points of the game. We weren't playing great defense at that point, but having to mix and match players exacerbated the problem."

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Steve Graham of L.A. Baptist made big plays on both sides of the ball against Flintridge Prep.

Graham completed 13 of 20 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns in his first game at quarterback after playing tight end last season. He also stopped running back Devin Brown a half-yard short of the end zone on the last play of the game.

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Running back Lord Cole of L.A. Baptist suffered a sprained right ankle in the second half against Flintridge Prep, but it didn't seem to slow him as he finished with 142 yards and four touchdowns in 10 carries.

"He was limping badly between plays," Frazer said. "But he would be running over guys or jumping over guys when the play started."

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No one likes to lose, but Coach Glen Beattie of Flintridge Prep told his team he was the "happiest losing coach" this weekend because the Rebels' second-year Wing-T offense performed so well against L.A. Baptist.

Flintridge Prep sputtered to a 1-5 start last season, scoring a total of 14 points in games in the last four of those games.

The Rebels' 525 rushing yards are a school record and Omar Dittu had 301 yards and two touchdowns.

"We couldn't get our offense going in the first half of last season," Beattie said. "So it was very encouraging to play as well as we did."

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