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This Week's Top Football Games

September 18, 2003|Dan Arritt; Eric Sondheimer; John Ortega; Paul McLeod; Peter Yoon; Eric Stephens

Mater Dei (0-1) at Mission Viejo (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Neither team looked impressive in the opening week. Mission Viejo, No. 3 in The Times' Southland rankings and No. 1 in the Southern Section Division II poll, narrowly escaped with a 14-13 victory over Fountain Valley by stopping a two-point conversion with one second left. Mater Dei, ranked No. 13 by The Times and No. 6 in Division I, lost to Orange Lutheran, a Division VI team, 35-14. Orange Lutheran had success throwing deep against the Monarchs, something Mission Viejo quarterback Mark Sanchez and receiver Marty Tadman could exploit. Mater Dei needs mistake-free play from junior quarterback Jason Forcier, who lost two fumbles to the Lancers.

-- Dan Arritt

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Westlake (1-0) at S.O. Notre Dame (1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

A year ago, Notre Dame didn't attempt a single pass in the second half during a 35-21 victory at Westlake. Running backs Brandon Clayton and Cary Harris return to test a Warrior defense that hopes to make amends. Notre Dame used two quarterbacks, senior Jim Welker and sophomore Garrett Green, in a 30-6 opening win over Lake Balboa Birmingham. This will be a severe test for new Westlake quarterback Rudy Carpenter, who must take on a defense that rushes the passer well and doesn't give up long gains. Notre Dame is No. 7 in The Times' rankings and No. 1 in the Southern Section Division III rankings. Westlake is ranked No. 12 by The Times and No. 2 in Division IV.

-- Eric Sondheimer

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Hart (0-1) vs. St. Bonaventure (1-0) at Moorpark College, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Hart ended St. Bonaventure's 43-game winning streak with a 31-6 victory over the Seraphs last year, but the Indians could be without all-Division II quarterback Sean Norton this time. Norton, a senior who passed for 356 yards and three touchdowns against St. Bonaventure last year, sustained a cartilage injury to his ribs during a 20-17 loss to No. 1 Los Alamitos last week. Coach Mike Herrington gives him a "50-50" chance of playing. If he can't, junior Robbie Moore, the brother of injured UCLA quarterback Matt Moore, will start for No. 3 Hart. No. 16 St. Bonaventure defeated Las Vegas Centennial, 34-6, in its season opener as junior Matt Lee rushed for 104 yards and three touchdowns in 17 carries. Senior quarterback Brian Stevens had 36 touchdown passes last season, but he suffered through a 10-for-26, three-interception performance against Hart.

-- John Ortega

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Riverside North (1-0) vs. Kaiser (1-0) at Fontana, Friday, 7 p.m.

Kaiser, ranked No. 2 in Division VIII, looked impressive in its opener, a 34-0 defeat of Rancho Cucamonga. Running back Rayvonne Gooden ran for 200 yards and two touchdowns and Tino Amancio made field goals of 26 and 42 yards. He sent all but one of his five kickoffs into the end zone, which helped keep Rancho Cucamonga deep in its territory. That might be a good strategy against North, No. 8 in The Times' rankings. The Huskies, ranked No. 2 in Division II, would like nothing better than to turn loose the Morton twins. Quarterback Dion Morton passed for 168 yards and three touchdowns and receiver Damon Morton caught four passes for 159 yards and two scores in a 39-3 victory over Moreno Valley Rancho Verde last week.

-- Paul McLeod

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Venice (1-0) vs. Loyola (1-0) at Santa Monica College, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Quarterback Beau Davis and the wide-open Venice offense meets disciplined Loyola in this clash of styles. Davis passed for 278 yards and four touchdowns in his Venice debut last week, a 34-14 victory over Carson. Anchored by two-way lineman Scott Gray (6-3, 290 pounds), Loyola is solid in the trenches and shut down Hawthorne, 27-0. If the Cubs have a weakness, it is inexperience in the secondary. Davis' athletic receivers -- Gerold Rodriguez, James Lewis and Ryan Graves -- must take advantage for Venice, ranked No. 19 by The Times, to have success. Sixth-ranked Loyola, which is No. 4 in Division I, will counter with a punishing running game led by Trason Bragg, who had 121 yards and four touchdowns last week. Though Loyola relies mostly on its running game, quarterback Scott Deke can take charge with his strong arm.

-- Peter Yoon

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Fremont (1-0) at San Pedro (1-0), Friday 7 p.m.

San Pedro looks to avenge consecutive losses to the Pathfinders. The Pirates expect to return to title contention this season with nine returning starters on both sides of the ball. Senior lineman C.J. Torres (6-4, 295) leads a defense that is traditionally solid. Running backs Ronnie Barber and Grant Thorne combined for 182 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Dustin Garneau had three touchdown passes in a 35-7 victory over L.A. Jordan last week. Fremont opened strongly with a 25-0 victory over Compton. The Pathfinders figure to pound opponents up front with standout tight end/lineman Thomas Herring and offensive tackle DeJuan Clark.

-- Eric Stephens

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