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ERIC SONDHEIMER

Moorpark coach maintains balancing act with two No. 1 quarterbacks

Everyone is watching at Moorpark High, where Coach Tim Lins is walking a tight rope with two quarterbacks and somehow making it work.

September 14, 2009|ERIC SONDHEIMER | ON HIGH SCHOOLS

Close your eyes and think about trying to walk through a dark tunnel that smells of gas while holding a match and knowing that if you light it, there might be a big boom.

Everyone seems to be holding their breath in a similar way at Moorpark High, where Coach Tim Lins is walking a tight rope with co-No. 1 quarterbacks and somehow making it work.

"I'm proud of the way they're handling it," Lins said of 6-foot-5 senior quarterback Brody Rohach and 6-3 senior quarterback Brian Blechen.

Blechen transferred from Simi Valley Royal last season and was the starter until breaking his hand in Week 6.

Rohach took over and led the Musketeers to seven consecutive wins and a spot in the Northern Division championship game.

This season, Rohach is starting with Blechen also playing several series. Blechen has a scholarship to Utah, he punts, plays defense and is a receiver. So he wasn't about to abandon ship. Rohach's father, Jerry, coaches defensive backs for Moorpark, so he wasn't going to leave either if he lost out on playing time.

But Lins knows that everyone is watching to see how he can make this delicate arrangement work for an entire season.

"They're both talented guys in their own right," he said. "Hopefully, we can keep finding things they can do."

So far, Lins is the coach of the year for the month of September after Moorpark knocked off Chula Vista Eastlake and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

On Saturday in a 27-14 win against Notre Dame, Rohach passed for 143 yards and a touchdown. Blechen ran for 35 yards in four carries, had a sack and booted punts of 65 and 59 yards.

"It's helped me get better and forced me to reach a different level," Rohach said.

"It was a challenge presented to me, and I've learned not to run away from it."

Added Blechen: "We're able to make it work because we feed off each other, and competition makes us better."

Winning and finding playing time for each is the key for Lins pulling off this balancing act.

"I like the direction our team is headed," Blechen said.

Lins has so many issues to consider. He also has his son, Vernon, a receiver, on the team and whose mother knows Lins well, along with James Dearborn, the son of Moorpark Athletic Director Rob Dearborn. Talk about powerful people watching your every move.

Asked if he's sleeping well at night, Lins said, "Not lately."

Lins is the same coach put through the ringer a couple years ago when running back Darrell Scott spent three years at Moorpark, then left for his senior year at Ventura St. Bonaventure.

"What we learned is that there's nobody bigger than the team," Lins said. "I know these two guys understand that."

Only 13 weeks left to pull off the feat.

No Barr for Loyola

There's no sugar coating what it means to Los Angeles Loyola to lose running back-defensive back Anthony Barr to a broken ankle.

He might have been the best two-way player in the state. He was injured against Mission Viejo on Friday night.

"I would say it's doubtful he'll be back this season," said Coach Jeff Kearin.

Kearin said the long-term prognosis is good for Barr, who may need surgery. Without him, Loyola will turn to junior running back Jared Baker.

Big games this week

There are some terrific games this week. My favorite is Gardena Serra (2-0) and its high-powered offense traveling to face Carson (2-0) and its talented young guns on Friday night. It's another Southern Section vs. City Section matchup, and the City has been holding its own.

Another intriguing game has Orange Lutheran (0-1), which hasn't played since Aug. 30 in Ohio, taking on Tustin (2-0) and running back Anthony Wilkerson at Orange Coast College. Wilkerson has scored 11 touchdowns and rushed for 671 yards in two games.

Westlake Village Oaks Christian (2-0) faces its toughest test, traveling to take on Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline (2-0).

Then there's Anaheim Servite (2-0) playing Encino Crespi (2-0) at Cerritos College. Crespi is the alma mater for Servite Coach Troy Thomas. It has been five years since Thomas left Crespi in the hands of Jeremiah Ross. Both programs are thriving, but this might be Thomas' best team at Servite.

They can pass

Woodland Hills El Camino Real is 2-0 using a run-oriented double-wing attack, but Coach Kevin Williams is proud that quarterback Ryan Meier completed eight of nine passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns against Los Angeles Contreras last week, calling it "Air ELCO."

--

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

twitter.com/latsondheimer

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