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WR not taking Los Osos lightly

Posted: October 8, 2009 10:53 p.m.
Updated: October 9, 2009 4:55 a.m.

When West Ranch and Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga meet on the football field at 7 p.m. tonight at Valencia High, on paper it will be a matchup of two teams heading in very different directions.

But that’s only on paper.

In fact, Wildcats head coach Sean O’Brien said he has had this game circled for a long time.

“Since the beginning of the season, this was going to be our preseason Super Bowl,” O’Brien said. “No change there. Los Osos is a very disciplined program.

“This is in no way to spite our earlier opponents, but this is probably our best preseason opponent,” he added. “It’s all been building to this game.”

Since losing their season opener 10-8 to Hueneme of Oxnard, which is currently 4-1 and ranked No. 9 in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division polls, the Wildcats (3-1) have won three straight.

In contrast, after beating Colony of Ontario 31-12 in its first game, Los Osos (1-3) has dropped three straight with losses to North of Riverside, Redlands and Vista Murrieta.

But O’Brien is careful to warn against premature judgment.

“It is incredibly deceptive,” he said. “(Los Osos’) losses are against three very good opponents. Against Vista Murrieta, they lost by three in overtime. Vista Murrieta is a phenomenal program.”

So far this season, Los Osos senior quarterback Blake Loncar is 57-of-94 with 738 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions, while junior running back Victor Smith leads the team in rushing with 132 yards and two touchdowns off 30 carries.

Senior wide receiver Sean Alston leads the team in receiving with 25 catches for 374 yards and five touchdowns.

O’Brien said he used West Ranch’s bye week to focus on preparing for Los Osos’ playmakers as well as internal improvement.

“We are still looking inward,” O’Brien said. “Even though we study our opponent, we try to improve what we are doing because that is really all we can control.”

Wildcats senior tight end James McGough has continued to impress the coaching staff and will serve as a primary target of junior quarterback Connor Eichten.

“(Eichten) continues to improve,” O’Brien said. “We continue to give him an ever-increasing role. We’ve expanded the passing game, and we’ve expanded what he is doing in it.”

O’Brien expects defensive backs Matt Bruns, Nick Brooks and Branden Pistone to play large roles against the Grizzlies, but added it will take a total effort to contain Los Osos.

“All facets of our defense are going to be tested,” O’Brien said, adding this week will serve as an ideal measure of where the team is at heading into Foothill League play.




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