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Prep football: West Ranch, staying on the upward swing

Posted: September 23, 2010 10:53 p.m.
Updated: September 24, 2010 4:55 a.m.

As the season wears on, West Ranch keeps looking better and better.

It's a trend the Wildcats look to continue as they hit the road to face Silverado of Victorville at 7 p.m. today.

After West Ranch's 39-13 loss to Nordhoff of Ojai in week one, the Wildcats made visible improvements on both sides of the ball.

The offense, led by senior quarterback Connor Eichten, has had little trouble putting points on the board since the first game, including a 52-point performance against Lancaster in week two.

The defense has gone from allowing 39 points to zero last week, where Eastside of Lancaster's only score came on a punt return.

This week, they'll have to defense the likes of quarterback Anderson Otuafi for Silverado, who leads the team with 136 rushing yards, but just 185 yards through the air.

Behing Otuafi will be tailback Fabian Griffeth, who has carried the ball 16 times for 107 yards thus far.

Defensive end Joe Barbosa and linebacker Tanner Lyon are the two senior standouts so far on West Ranch's defense, he added, but the unit's success has come from the entire team's effort in swarming to the ball.

The Wildcats (2-1) aren't big on blitzing, but would rather rely on a four-man rush and focus on coverage against Silverado (0-2-1). O'Brien said the biggest key to the improvement has been the defensive backfield getting used to the speed of the game.

In other phases of the game, West Ranch presents plenty of weapons. Eichten, who has already thrown for 493 yards and five touchdowns along with one interception, has Josh Guzman as his favorite deep target. The senior wide receiver leads the team with 278 yards and two touchdowns.

With a running quarterback like Anderson Otuafi, the Hawks have the ability to pass it deep, throw a bubble screen or run the ball. Otuafi leads the team with 136 rush yards, but has also lost two fumbles and thrown two interceptions on the season.

"This is a good test for us because its a long road trip," O'Brien said. "We've got to go to a pretty unfamiliar place."



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