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Fremont Reaches Difficult Stretch

November 01, 2001|Gary Klein

Fremont High's football team is exactly where it planned to be with two games left in the regular season. The Pathfinders are 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the Coliseum League heading into Friday's game against defending champion Crenshaw (6-0, 3-0). Up next is Dorsey, which makes Fremont's final two weeks among the toughest in the City Section.

"The playoffs, for us, begin with the game against Crenshaw," Fremont Coach Pete Duffy said. "We can't get too excited if we win and we can't get too low if we lose because there are nothing but tough games left."

Fremont defeated Hamilton in its opener, then announced its arrival as a contender for the City title with a 6-3, last-second victory over traditional power San Pedro. The Pathfinders went on to beat South Gate and Hollywood, then won Coliseum League games against Jefferson, Manual Arts and Locke.

Duffy said he purposely scheduled a less-than-ominous nonleague schedule to avoid injuries that would have decimated a thin but talented roster. The strategy worked, leaving quarterback Abe Escobar, running backs Milvon James and Eric Jones, and receivers Mark Bradford and Shelvion Williams ready to go against Crenshaw. Escobar has passed for 1,191 yards and 15 touchdowns, James and Jones usually combine for 200 yards or more rushing each game and Bradford and Williams are game-breakers.

"We have some great players, but we know we're up against it because Crenshaw is so fast at every position," Duffy said.

Crenshaw can virtually wrap up the league championship with a victory. The Cougars play their finale against Locke (3-4, 0-3).

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Cost of winning: The Sunset Six League champion is guaranteed a spot in the City Championship playoffs, which is not necessarily a welcome reward because it usually means a first-round matchup against a Marine or Coliseum league power. Nevertheless, the Sunset Six championship will probably be decided when North Hollywood hosts Van Nuys Grant on Friday.

North Hollywood (4-3, 3-0) is led by Chris Barroud, who rushed for 244 yards and four touchdowns in last week's 26-22 victory over Canoga Park. That does not bode well for Grant (4-3, 3-0), which surrendered 293 yards to Sun Valley Poly's Andrew Sotello in a 27-26 victory Friday.

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Tight race: Bell, led by quarterback Mark Moreno, helped create a four-way tie for first place in the section's Eastern League with its victory last week over previously unbeaten Roosevelt.

Bell, Roosevelt, Jordan and South Gate are 2-1 in league play, but the pack will be thinned after Friday when South Gate visits Bell.

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City top 10: 1. Crenshaw (6-0); 2. Carson (6-1); 3. Van Nuys Birmingham (7-0); 4. Fremont (7-0); 5. Westchester (6-1); 6. Woodland Hills Taft (5-2); 7. Dorsey (4-3); 8. Chatsworth (6-1); 9. San Pedro (3-4); 10. Sylmar (5-2).

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