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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL | ON THE SIDELINES

Diablos Take 'Em One at a Time

September 30, 2000

Two down and one to go.

The Mission Viejo defense has taken on two of the county's top three rushing leaders in its last two games, and now No. 1 is waiting in the wings.

Last week, the Diablos faced Laguna Hills and the county's third-leading rusher, Matt Chandler, who had been averaging 184 yards and also leads the county in scoring. He was held to 71 yards and one rushing touchdown in the Diablos' 35-27 victory.

On Thursday, Mission Viejo faced Huntington Beach's Russell Oschman, the county's No. 2 rusher who carried the ball 50 times for 268 yards in his previous game. Until Oschman broke a 72-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, the Diablos had held him to 89 yards in 23 carries, with no touchdowns, in a 23-6 victory.

Next comes Esperanza's Temitope Sonuyi, the county's No. 1 rusher. In the first three games, he has carried the ball 94 times for 692 yards.

Coach Bob Johnson knows for his Diablos to have any chance at victory, not only does the defense have to control Sonuyi, the offense also has to be in sync.

Coming into Thursday's game, Mission Viejo quarterback Billy Hart had completed 37 of 62 passes for 487 yards and six touchdowns. Against the Oilers, however, he completed only three of 18 for 72 yards and one touchdown.

"We had big defensive concerns coming into the game [against Huntington Beach]," Johnson said. "Now, all of a sudden, we've got big concerns on offense. We need to regroup. If we play like that next week, we're in big trouble.

"Esperanza is the real deal, and I know they were here watching. Hopefully they didn't laugh too much."

*

There was a welcome visitor at Kennedy's home game Friday at Western High--the school's band.

It was the first time this season the Shamrock Regiment, which performed during the opening ceremonies at the Olympic Games in Sydney, played at a home game.

"I had 10 guys tell me they can't wait until the band is there," Kennedy Coach Mitch Olson said. "It makes such a difference. The kids are actually pumped up about it."

Olson said there are about 10 football players, mostly lower level, who are in the band and made the trip to Australia--missing football games in the process. Their absence had Olson's blessing: "You can't miss that trip."

*

Marina is 4-0 for the first time since 1994, when the Vikings won their first five games, and no one could be happier than Mark Rehling.

Yes, we're talking about the guy who was fired by the Marina administration after leading the Vikings to the playoffs last season.

Rehling now coaches the offensive line for Los Alamitos, but part of his heart still belongs to his former players at Marina.

"Those are great kids," Rehling said. "I love them to death. I've known [new Marina Coach] Mike Dodd since we played together for Golden West College in 1971. I'm happy for him."

In what John Barnes calls "the best move I've made," the Los Alamitos coach called Rehling about joining his staff the day after Rehling was let go. So far, Rehling has enjoyed his time with the No. 2 Griffins, who improved to 4-0 with Thursday's 42-25 victory over Bellflower St. John Bosco.

"I love it here," said Rehling, whose son Garret, 11, is a Los Alamitos ballboy. "These guys at Los Alamitos have become real friends to me. They've taken me on like a brother.

"I do miss being a head coach, but this is real good. This has been a lot of fun."

*

Running back Darin Covey rejoined San Clemente's football team as quietly as he disappeared a month ago.

Two weeks before San Clemente's opener, Covey walked into Coach Eric Patton's office and said he was burned out on football. Last week, Covey reappeared. Patton and the team welcomed him back.

"He left on good terms," Patton said. "I wondered how a 16-year-old kid can get burned out. But kids go through different moods. Maybe he got away for awhile and decided it could be fun, it would be fun."

In the Tritons' 52-21 victory Thursday night over Long Beach Millikan, Covey started at fullback and appeared to have fun. He rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown in 14 carries.

Covey, a 5-11, 175-pound junior who played linebacker last year, could have played last week against Aliso Niguel, but Patton kept him out of action mainly for safety concerns.

*

St. Margaret's may play football at the small-school level, but it has a kicker with a big-league foot.

Erik Hallenbeck, the Tartans' senior kicker, has a 53-yard field goal to his credit this season, and his leg strength was on display again Friday afternoon against Saddleback Valley Christian.

He didn't have a field goal, but four of his PATs landed on the 30-foot high roof of a building about 20 yards beyond the goal posts at one end. Not only did they make the roof, but three of them made it with about five yards to spare.

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