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San Clemente Falls in an Upset

September 21, 2003|Dan Arritt

Fountain Valley was viewed as a good barometer for the South Coast League race this season.

The Barons opened the season against San Clemente and Mission Viejo, teams that are expected to contend for the South Coast League title this season.

But the Barons proved again Saturday night that they are more than a good gauge for another league's race, as they rushed for 306 yards in a 28-7 upset of San Clemente at Huntington Beach High.

The victory over the Tritons, ranked No. 18 in the Southland by The Times, came on the heels of last week's 14-13 loss to No. 2 Mission Viejo.

Fountain Valley (1-1), which plays in the Sunset League, took a 21-0 lead early in the fourth quarter on a seven-yard scoring pass from Chris Debowski to Mike Musso that capped a 15-play, 99-yard drive.

After the Tritons recovered their own fumble in the end zone to cut their deficit to 21-7, Bryan Riehm answered with a 44-yard touchdown run to extend Fountain Valley's lead.

Riehm finished with 94 yards on 13 carries. Ryan Best led the Barons with 113 yards on 13 carries.

San Clemente (0-2), which had several starters returning from a team that reached the Southern Section Division II semifinals last year, was held to 215 yards. Triton running back Cheyne Verhagen, who had 1,600 yards rushing last season, did not practice all week because of a knee injury and was held to three yards on seven carries.

"We need leadership on offense," Verhagen said. "We're trying to find ourselves. Once we get going, we'll be hard to stop."

-- Dan Arritt

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