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Santa Fe Sets Up Del Rio Showdown

October 18, 2003|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

Del Rio League titles are not the goal anymore at Santa Fe Springs Santa Fe.

"League is a steppingstone," said senior running back Dontrell Mitchell. "I want to play in a championship."

Mitchell and the Chiefs showed they were ready to lay claim to more than their third consecutive league title Friday night during a 35-10 victory over Whittier at Pioneer High.

Mitchell ran for 97 yards and a touchdown in 12 carries as Santa Fe (5-1, 1-0), a Southern Section Division VII semifinalist last season, proved it was ready to take a step up in class.

"We'd like to get beyond the semifinals and win the ring," said Santa Fe Coach Jack Mahlstede. "That's our goal."

Santa Fe dominated the line of scrimmage and held vastly improved Whittier (4-2, 0-1) to 89 yards rushing in setting up a league-title showdown Nov. 14 with Whittier La Serna (6-0, 1-0). La Serna was a 38-17 winner over Pioneer (4-2, 0-1) Thursday behind 132 yards rushing from quarterback Ernie Cooper.

"We're going to blow La Serna out," Mitchell predicted.

That's unlikely if the Chiefs turn the ball over three times as they did against Whittier. The Cardinals converted two of the turnovers into 10 points.

Santa Fe quarterback Danny Banzet completed 10 of 16 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown as the Chief offense moved the ball seemingly at will. Chris Verrier capped two Santa Fe drives with short touchdown runs.

But Mahlstede said there's no chance his team will be caught looking ahead to La Serna. "That's four weeks away," Mahlstede said. "That's not even on our radar screen."

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