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High Schools | FOOTBALL REWIND

Serra League Is Fit to Be Tied

October 27, 2003|Martin Henderson | Times Staff Writer

It didn't take long for the parity in the Southland's toughest league to surface.

After only two weeks of league play, there's a six-way tie among the Serra League's six teams at 1-1.

Over the weekend, the three teams from Los Angeles County -- Bellflower St. John Bosco (6-1 overall), La Puente Bishop Amat (5-2) and L.A. Loyola (4-3) -- defeated the three from Orange County -- Santa Margarita (6-1), Anaheim Servite (6-1) and Santa Ana Mater Dei (3-4).

In the first week of league play, it was the other way around.

"You've got six teams who have proven they can beat each other on any given night," St. John Bosco Coach Kiki Mendoza said. "There is no favorite.

"You have to be able to run the football, you have to be able to stop the run, and it's not always pretty. I think that's the way a Catholic school league should be."

Bishop Amat Coach Mike DiFiori said teams are going to start losing athletes.

"Key players are going to make a big difference coming down the stretch," he said. "If you can stay healthy in this league, it's a definite advantage."

Which makes the case of Santa Margarita's Michael Angelo so interesting. Angelo wasn't injured, but was benched Friday for not attending a mandatory Mass before school earlier in the week.

Angelo, a passing and running threat at quarterback, stood on the Eagles' sideline, in uniform.

"I arrived five minutes late [to Mass], but I didn't want to walk in," said Angelo, who was benched for a quarter earlier this season for not attending a Monday practice. "I should have.

"It was heartbreaking to see your team out there and not be able to support them."

His replacement was senior Ryan Neinhuis, who completed two of eight passes for 11 yards with an interception.

Said Angelo: "It will never happen again."

*

Los Alamitos Coach John Barnes wanted to see an emotional team Friday night, but not on the other side of the field.

Fountain Valley, then-ranked No. 17, beat previously No. 1 Los Alamitos, 21-16, taking advantage of seven turnovers and getting big performances from Ryan Best, Kyle Feiler and Kevin Gerard.

"The last few weeks, we've been pretty flat," Barnes said before Friday's game, no doubt referring to the Griffins' 28-21 come-from-behind victory over Huntington Beach Edison. "Not to take anything from the other teams, but when we play emotional football, we play pretty well."

Eric Johnson, Fountain Valley's coach, noticed too.

"I was hoping they wouldn't come in [fired-up], because I thought we had a good shot at them," Johnson said. "That becomes a habit. When you think you're better than an opponent, it's hard to get up."

*

The streak is finally over in the Foothill League.

No, not that streak. Newhall Hart recorded its 60th consecutive league victory, defeating Canyon Country Canyon, 56-21, Thursday. But Burbank had a losing streak that was nearly as long as Hart's winning streak.

The Bulldogs ended a 51-game league losing streak -- dating to the last game of the 1992 season -- with a 16-14 victory over Saugus on Friday.

*

Several games were postponed until today because of the Southland fires. Game times are 7 p.m. unless noted. The schedule:

Baseline League: Alta Loma vs. Etiwanda at Colony High; Los Osos at Upland; Rancho Cucamonga vs. Claremont at Montclair High.

Mountain View League: Corona vs. Riverside La Sierra at Norte Vista High, 6; Corona Centennial at Jurupa Valley, 5; Norco at Corona Santiago.

Sunkist League: Riverside King at Riverside Rubidoux.

Baseline League games scheduled for this Friday already have been moved to Saturday.

*

The most impressive statistic of the weekend belongs to Riverside Ramona's Chris Camacho. He had eight catches for 338 yards, the third-highest total in state history, in his team's 52-28 Sunkist League loss to Bloomington.

Camacho caught touchdown passes of 64, 38, 65 and 75 yards for the Rams (3-3-1, 0-2), who are averaging only 16.7 points. He had been averaging 58 yards.

The state record is held by Ramon Nevarez of Garden Grove Bolsa Grande, who had eight receptions for 377 yards in 1996.

*

Who needs to pass? Not Compton Dominguez, which is 7-0 despite completing only 12 passes the entire season.

The Dons did not attempt a pass in the second half of their 30-27 San Gabriel Valley League victory Friday over Lynwood. They finished the game one of four, with their only completion coming on an option pass from running back Darryl Crummie to quarterback Terry Mixon.

Mixon is 10 for 26, but when he connects, it's usually for a touchdown. He has seven.

Dominguez ran the ball 58 times for 340 yards against Lynwood, with senior Sam Hopkins rushing for 165 yards and three touchdowns in the best game of his career.

"All you have to do is believe," Hopkins said of his team's one-dimensional style, which led to an 11th consecutive victory over Lynwood.

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