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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOLS

Matt Viles and Cody Fajardo are typified by character

Huntington Beach Edison and Anaheim Servite quarterbacks, who'll face off Friday, stand out not just because of their skills but also their quality as people.

September 21, 2009|ERIC SONDHEIMER

Football is about tackling, blocking and executing fundamentals, but success also comes from the character of a team's quarterback, which makes Friday's showdown between No. 2 Anaheim Servite (3-0) and No. 6 Huntington Beach Edison (3-0) at Huntington Beach High so intriguing.

Forget that Edison's Matt Viles passed for a school-record 485 yards last week against Dana Hills. Forget that Servite's Cody Fajardo has engineered consecutive victories over longtime powers Long Beach Poly, Fresno Clovis West and Encino Crespi.

It's the personal relationships and the respect each senior has earned from teammates and coaches that reveals their true importance.

"He's a coach's dream," Edison Coach Dave White said of the 6-foot-3 Viles, who has a 4.0 grade-point average.

His toughness was tested last season by enduring lots of sacks. But he knows what to do.

"You just have to hang in there," Viles said. "Stuff happens. It's football. You're going to get hit."

The 6-foot-2 Fajardo has given Servite's once-inconsistent offense a leader who never panics and knows how to improvise when the going gets tough.

"He just loves competition," Coach Troy Thomas said. "He thrives when it's on his shoulders. He makes something good out of a bad situation. You're seeing his poise under pressure."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, September 24, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
High school football: In Monday's Sports section, a high school football column said that Canyon Country Canyon receiver Dave Wolitarsky caught five passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns against Palmdale Highland. Wolitarsky's first name is Drew.

Said Fajardo: "I like to prove to my teammates that they can count on me when it counts and they can lean on me when times are tough."

Each opposing coach admires the other's quarterback.

White on Fajardo: "He's very, very good. He's one of the better ones around. He's an athlete."

Thomas on Viles: "The one thing about Edison quarterbacks is they're tough. I don't know what Dave White does. But they are some of the toughest dudes we play against. Last year, we banged him, and he kept playing."

Neither is vocal on the field, preferring to let their actions do their speaking. But all you need to know about each is how they treat their backups.

On Friday night, Fajardo stayed overnight at the house of one of his backups to watch Servite's victory over Encino Crespi on late-night television. In fact, all three backups hung out with Fajardo, who says, "Servite does a great job building character. Without Servite, I don't know where I'd be."

One of Viles' best friends is his backup, Steve Andrew, a senior whom Viles beat out for the starting position.

"[Viles] loves it when he comes in," White said.

When backups are cheering for starters and vice versa, it says everything about character, team work and loyalty.

A resurgent Buena

It has been seven years since Ventura Buena last had a winning football season, but the Bulldogs are 2-0 after victories over Marmonte League foes Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks. Next up is Oxnard (2-0) on Friday.

Coach Cliff Farrar spent 21 years at Ojai Nordhoff until arriving at Buena last season. He has the school excited, but if you call him at home, the answering machine has a message, "Go Rangers," referring to Nordhoff.

"Our answering machine is so old we couldn't get it erased," Farrar said. "My wife and I keep forgetting to buy a new answering machine."

Young Canyon guns

Canyon Country Canyon is 0-2, but the Cowboys are building toward the future by letting two promising young players show what they can do.

Freshman receiver Dave Wolitarsky caught five passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns against Palmdale Highland. In the same game, sophomore quarterback Jonathan Jerozal passed for 259 yards and three touchdowns.

Lobbying alert

Westlake Village Oaks Christian (3-0) and Ventura St. Bonaventure (3-0) are headed for unbeaten seasons unless Gardena Serra and Moorpark can knock them off in section finals. Then the arguing begins over who deserves a state CIF Division III bowl berth.

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eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

twitter.com/latsondheimer

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