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This Week's Top Football Games

September 23, 2004|Dan Arritt; Martin Henderson


Bellflower St. John Bosco (2-0) at Fullerton (2-0), 7 tonight

Fullerton has one of the Southland's top athletes in Xavier Hicks, who has three interceptions this season to go along with eight each of the last two years. Hicks is also the Indians' quarterback and threw for two touchdowns in a 28-10 victory over Cerritos Gahr last week. Michael Hicks, Xavier's younger brother, is also a multiple threat who should get time at receiver and running back. The Braves demonstrated their defensive prowess in a 28-0 shutout of Long Beach Jordan in the opening week. They also held Long Beach Cabrillo scoreless in the second half last week, forcing 11 incomplete passes in a row in a 24-13 victory. But St. John Bosco is trying to find its offensive groove earlier in games, as it trailed for much of the first half against Cabrillo.

-- Dan Arritt

Corona del Mar (3-0) at Newport Harbor (2-0), 7 tonight

For the first time in several years, this city rivalry comes complete with teams that appear near the top of another talent cycle. Both look like league favorites that should go far in their respective divisions during the playoffs. Division IX Corona del Mar, led by twins, quarterback Tom Welch and receiver Kevin Welch, and running back Wess Presson (11.7 yards a carry), has scored at least 35 points in each of its games, but has yet to face a team of Newport Harbor's caliber. The Division VI Sailors, meanwhile, have given up only seven total points in victories over Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach Marina, two Division I Sunset League teams.

Lakewood (2-0) vs. Ventura St. Bonaventure (3-0) at Ventura High, 7:30 p.m. Friday

If there's any team on St. Bonaventure's schedule capable of stopping its offense, it figures to be Lakewood, No. 10 in the Southland in The Times' rankings. It's the Seraphs' first -- and maybe only -- opponent whose strength is its defense. Inside linebackers Luthur Brown and Adrian McCovey are regarded among the best in the nation. But Lakewood has scored only 40 points in two games, and No. 6 St. Bonaventure has yet to score fewer than 38 points in any game, including a 38-29 victory over Newhall Hart last week. If St. Bonaventure can't handle Lakewood's strength, the outcome could be interesting.

-- Martin Henderson

La Puente Bishop Amat (1-2) at Covina Charter Oak (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday

Before the season began, this would have been billed as a matchup between two of the top running backs in the San Gabriel Valley. But each team's leading ground-gainer has been stymied of late. Aaron Capers of No. 13 Charter Oak was held to 31 yards in 14 carries in a 13-0 victory over La Mirada last week. Bishop Amat's William Wagner was limited to 37 yards in 17 carries in a 45-7 loss to Valencia two weeks ago. Bishop Amat has not played sharp, even in its 21-13 victory over Glendora last week. The No. 21 Lancers committed eight penalties and botched the second-half kickoff, giving Glendora possession inside their 10-yard line. Glendora missed a short field goal that would have given it a nine-point lead, and Bishop Amat was able to crawl out of the hole.

Los Angeles Crenshaw (1-1) at Colton (2-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday

In previous seasons, Colton tuned up for its league schedule by playing top programs from the Inland Empire, but now that the Yellowjackets have joined the Citrus Belt League and Southern Section Division I, they've plugged their nonleague schedule with out-of-the-area powerhouses. Colton defeated Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, 38-14, last week, getting 181 rushing yards and three touchdowns from the running back combination of Allen Bradford and Shareece Wright. Crenshaw, ranked No. 22, will rely on Ricky Collins to grind it out. He had 143 yards in 31 carries last week in a 25-15 loss to Compton Dominguez.

-- Dan Arritt

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