O.C.: Top games for Thursday


Tesoro (6-3, 2-1) at San Clemente (8-1, 2-1), Thursday, 7 p.m.

Tesoro was more competitive last week against Mission Viejo in a 14-7 loss than San Clemente was the week before in a 29-21 setback, but that doesn't mean that anything. This is anyone's game. Both teams have outstanding rushing attacks with Mike Elespuru (126 yards/game, 12 TDs) leading San Clemente and Nate Tago (114 yards/game, 12 TDs) leading Tesoro. But the difference might be at quarterback, where Travis Wilson (14 TDs, 6 int.) has been more consistent than Tesoro's Matt Adam (6 TDs, 4 int.). San Clemente has had two weeks to prepare for this game, but Tesoro could be filled with confidence knowing it could legitimately have beaten Mission. The winner finishes in second place in the South Coast League and will probably get a home game in the first round of the playoffs; the loser will be in third place and play a first-place team on the road. Winning this game is important for Pac-5 championship hopes.

Edison (7-2, 4-0) at Newport Harbor (5-4, 3-1), Thursday, 7 p.m.

What a turnaround this could be for Newport Harbor if it were to pull the upset against the Chargers. Harbor lost its first two games for the first time in Coach Jeff Brinkley's 25 years, but its victory over Los Alamitos -- for the third time in four seasons -- has put it in a position to create a tie for first place in the Sunset League. Titus Hasson has gained 408 yards in the last two games, including 255 in the 35-21 victory over Los Alamitos; he is complemented by Cole Blower (13 TDs, 3 int.). If Newport can run the ball, the Sailors have a chance to be one of the more improbable league champions in the section. They will have their hands full as Edison has gotten healthier and presents a stronger rushing attack, and Chase Favreau (13 TDs, 5 int.) is as dangerous a quarterback as there is.

Garden Grove Rancho Alamitos (8-1, 4-0) vs. Fountain Valley Los Amigos (8-1, 4-0) at Garden Grove HS, Thursday, 7 p.m.

These teams used to rule the '90s, so the battle for the Garden Grove League title is like a step back in time. Rancho makes do with running back Brett Hurley (1,086 yards, 18 TDs) and quarterback Lincoln Faletoi (11 TDs, 5 int.), while Los Amigos counters with Jerry Saldivar (722 yards, 14 TDs) and Danny Hernandez (6 TDs, 5 int.). Both teams have two shutouts in league play, and both held Garden Grove to 14 points. This could go to the wire.

Huntington Beach Ocean View (5-4, 3-1) at Santa Ana Segerstrom (7-2, 4-0), Thursday, 7 p.m.

This is for first place in the Golden West League, and both feature high-scoring offenses. Ocean View has averaged 42.5 points in league as Jimmy Robinson (135.2 yards, 26 TDs) and Travis Sparks (133 yards, 11 TDs) average more than 100 yards per game rushing. Segerstrom averages 39.2 points behind Sonny Roa, who gets 100 yards per game. Segerstrom's defense has, on average, allowed nine fewer points and that might be the key. Segerstrom has allowed more than 21 points only twice, in the first two games of the season; Ocean View has allowed fewer than 21 points only three times. The game is especially important to Ocean View; a loss by the Sea Hawks could create a three-way tie for second place and a coin flip could determine the playoff team.

Fullerton Troy (7-2, 3-1) at La Habra (6-3, 4-0), Thursday, 7 p.m.

Since losing three in a row to Trinity League opponents -- something no other team in this league would dare attempt -- La Habra has outscored its Freeway League competition, 160-30. Behind QB Sean Sparling (11 TDs, 4 int.), rushing and receiving threat Brett Bartolone and linebacker Aaron Porter, it's hard to imagine that La Habra would fail to win a fifth consecutive league title. The last team to beat La Habra for the title? Troy. The Warriors' hopes for a huge upset rest largely with Nate Connolly (10 TDs, 4 int.) and a rushing attack by committee that averages 180 yards per game.