Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Los Angeles Preps [Print without images]

Monday, November 8, 2010
Orange County: Five things from the weekend

By Martin Henderson

1. Orange Lutheran (5-4) showed that it has some life after all. Who could have expected that the Lancers would have beaten St. John Bosco (5-5) in easier fashion than Servite (9-0) or Mater Dei (6-3)? The victory by Lutheran, which got a fumble return by Jabari Wilson for one touchdown and another fumble that set up a 36-yard drive, makes next week's game against Servite far more intriguing, although history doesn't favor the Lancers: Servite has won four in a row, even though the teams have shared three of the last four league titles. Bosco was ranked by one media entity as the No. 26 team in the state, making them easily the best fourth-place team in California: Now the Braves, winless in the Trinity League, will easily be the best fifth-place team (unless they finish sixth by losing to JSerra).

2. Even though Trinity teams such as Orange Lutheran and Bosco would make the Pac-5 playoffs a lot more interesting if they were included – unfortunately there is no at-large berth in the division – one has to believe that Dana Hills (4-6) would sure be an interesting first-round opponent if they could be included as well. The Dolphins gave Mission Viejo and San Clemente all they could handle for a half – which is as much as any team has done with Mission – and they are ridiculously entertaining even in defeat. However, they were winners over the weekend, 39-38, after trailing by 10 points early and falling behind with less than three minutes remaining on a 57-yard TD pass from Jonathan Newsom to Adam Gann. Too much time remained for Trent Mason and Chris Kearney, who scored with 28 seconds left on a five-yard run. Mason finished with 237 yards passing with two touchdowns, and 179 yards rushing and two touchdowns. They may be up and down, but they're a lot more interesting than the third- and fourth-place teams from the Moore League, Long Beach Jordan (5-4) and Long Beach Wilson (5-4). And yes, I'm aware that Jordan beat El Toro and Dana Hills did not.

3. Talk about a workhorse, could anyone be more impressed with Saddleback rusher Luis Soto, who carried 52 times for 330 yards in a 27-19 loss to Godinez. The Roadrunners are 1-8 and winless in the Orange Coast League – they play Laguna Beach (2-7, 1-3) this week – but props to them for having a game plan (give the ball to Soto) and sticking with it. He scored three touchdowns, and broke the school record of 315 yards set by Joe Rison in 1972. According to the 2009 Southern Section Record Book, the record for carries in a game is 57; Soto's 52 carries tied the county record set twice by Dana Riddle of Rancho Alamitos in 1989. “He has the heart of a lion,” winning coach Aron Kaye told the Orange County Register.

4. If it wasn't obvious before – and maybe it wasn't – it is now abundantly clear that Tustin is the team to beat in the Southwest Division. The Tillers (9-1, 6-0), in their first season in the Empire League, ended a two-year run of league championships by Cypress (7-1, 4-1) with a 44-17 victory behind Tyler Siudzinski's 181 yards. The primary challenge for the division title seems to come from La Habra, but Tustin beat Orange Lutheran which beat La Habra, which lost to St. John Bosco which also lost to Orange Lutheran. If the goal is to play for a championship, having Tustin on the schedule is a good thing. Every year since 2003, Tustin has played a section finalist beginning with runners-up Mission Viejo and Western, and champion Los Altos; 2004 (runners-up Western and Norco); 2005 (champions Newport Harbor and Norco); 2006 (champion El Dorado); 2007 (champion El Dorado); 2008 (champion La Habra); 2009 (runner-up Trabuco Hills).

5. With its 48-7 victory over Fountain Valley La Quinta, Garden Grove ensured itself a share of a third consecutive league title with three different head coaches. The Argonauts were coached by Ron Vander Sluis in 2008 (9-2), Joe Hay in 2009 (13-1) and Willie Puga in 2010 (8-1). Josh Webb, who played an important role in last season's run to the championship game, had two touchdowns rushing, one receiving and one with a 68-yard interception return. Even though the team endured last year's tragedy with the death of Kevin Telles, it's a testament to the players in the program who continued to excel despite the changes at the top.