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This Week's Top Football Games

November 07, 2002|Dan Arritt; Peter Yoon; Eric Sondheimer; Mike Bresnahan; Martin Henderson; Eric Stephens

SOUTHERN SECTION

Fountain Valley (3-5, 2-1) vs. Anaheim Esperanza (7-1, 2-1) at Placentia Valencia HS, 7, tonight

The winner will probably be runner-up for the Sunset League title to Los Alamitos, which has defeated both teams. Esperanza, No. 8 in The Times' rankings and No. 4 in the Southern Section's Division I poll, is coming off a solid defensive effort against Huntington Beach, holding the region's leading rusher, Pat Harrigan, who came in averaging 252 yards a game, to only 61 yards in 15 carries. Fountain Valley has bounced back from a dreadful opening month, when it lost its first four games, including the first two by shutout.

-- Dan Arritt

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Anaheim Servite (8-1, 2-1) at Bellflower St. John Bosco (6-2, 3-0), 7:30 p.m., Friday

St. John Bosco, ranked No. 15 by The Times and No. 6 in the section's Division I poll, has been the surprise of the Serra League with victories over Loyola, Santa Margarita and Bishop Amat. A victory over Servite would set up a final-week showdown with Santa Ana Mater Dei for the league title. Mater Dei, also unbeaten in league, plays Santa Margarita on Saturday. Servite, ranked No. 9 by The Times and No. 4 in Division I, looked like a shoo-in for the league title two weeks ago, but needs to rebound from a shaky performance against Mater Dei last week.

-- Peter Yoon

*

Culver City (8-0, 3-0) at El Segundo (8-0, 3-0), 7 p.m., Friday

This should be an enjoyable Pioneer League title decider for those who like lots of scoring. El Segundo, No. 10 in Division X, is led by quarterback Matt Engle and is averaging 42.1 points. Culver City, No. 3 in Division X, is led by quarterback Alex Cueva and is averaging 41.3 points. Engle has been intercepted only twice; Cueva only once. Culver City may have better speed and athleticism, but El Segundo's receivers are tough to stop because they don't drop passes.

-- Eric Sondheimer

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Compton Dominguez (5-3, 2-0) at Downey (4-3, 2-0), 7 p.m., Friday

Dominguez, ranked No. 8 in the Division III poll, tries for its third consecutive victory after emerging from a rough nonleague schedule that cost the Dons three losses and Anthony Wheat, their quarterback and free safety who is out for the season with a knee injury sustained during a 37-0 loss to Long Beach Jordan on Oct. 11. The winner clinches a tie for the San Gabriel Valley League title and, potentially, a better seeding for the Division III playoffs. Both teams have had strong defensive efforts in recent weeks, including Downey's 28-0 league victory over Paramount last week.

-- Mike Bresnahan

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Santa Ana (7-1, 4-0) vs. Costa Mesa (6-2, 4-0) at Orange Coast College, 7 p.m., Friday

The revamped Golden West League has brought a resurgence to Santa Ana. The Saints have won seven in a row and already have more victories this season than they have had since a 9-3 season in 1989. Since then, Santa Ana has endured three 0-10 seasons and three 1-9 seasons. This is a school that won a Southern Section title in 1985 and played in the section final in 1986. If the Saints are to win their first league title since 1988, they will have to do so without quarterback Omar Carrasco, who broke his foot last week and is out for the season. Costa Mesa, No. 8 in Division VII, finished third in the Pacific Coast League last season before losing in the first round of the Division IX playoffs. The Mustangs are led by Keola Asuega, who has rushed for 1,326 yards and 14 touchdowns.

-- Peter Yoon

*

Covina Northview (7-1, 3-0) vs. Pomona (7-1, 3-0) at Ganesha HS, 7 p.m., Friday

Pomona will try to tackle Northview's high-powered option offense in the battle for the Valle Vista League title. Northview, No. 2 in Division IX, is led by James Overstreet, who has rushed for 685 yards and five touchdowns, Remington Hawkins, who has rushed for 470 yards and 10 touchdowns, and quarterback Danny Bonilla, who has rushed for 314 yards and passed for 556. Northview is more seasoned, having played a tougher schedule, but Pomona's Paul Thomas is averaging more than seven yards per carry, and Mike Worrell more than eight.

Pomona is No. 9 in Division IX. .

-- Martin Henderson

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CITY SECTION

Carson (6-2, 3-0) at Gardena (6-2, 3-0), 7 p.m., Friday

If Gardena pulls off the home victory, it will clinch its first title in the Marine League since 1974 and be the league's No. 1 representative in the City playoffs. Carson needs victories over the Panthers and Wilmington Banning next week to win the title outright. Each team features a run-oriented attack that occasionally mixes in a pass. Brandon Myles (620 yards, 11.9 average) and Jonathan Johnson (494 yards) are the Colts' main rushers. Jason Franklin (530 yards) and DeAndre Hughes (494 yards) give the Panthers balance in the backfield. Carson quarterback Beau Davis has thrown for 914 yards and eight touchdowns but is only completing 44% of his passes. Gardena's LaFerrell Payne is one of the better running quarterbacks in the section with a team-leading 596 yards. Gardena was in a position to contend for the league title last year but Carson romped to a 48-0 victory.

-- Eric Stephens

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