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Prep football: Parallels end tonight

West Ranch, Golden Valley have traveled the same path up to now

Posted: October 21, 2010 10:20 p.m.
Updated: October 21, 2010 10:20 p.m.

The teams have parallel stories this year.

They’ve had up-and-down seasons.

Last week, they lost their respective Foothill League openers to one-loss teams.

Both teams gave up big numbers on the ground as well.

Now Golden Valley and West Ranch will butt heads at Valencia High School today at 7 p.m.

The Wildcats (3-3 0-1) gave up a league-record 420 rushing yards to tailback Steven Manfro in a 55-28 loss to Valencia last week.

West Ranch head coach Sean O’Brien said his team isn’t dejected, despite the fact that they have to face to troublesome running backs tonight — Jeff Coprich and Earl Johnson.

The two Golden Valley backs combined for 221 yards last week against Hart with Coprich’s 134 on 12 carries leading the way.

“In some perverse, bizarre way, it was almost good for us to get beaten down by Valencia the way we did,” O’Brien said.
The Wildcats coach said the loss served as a wake-up call for his team, which should mentally prepare them for the next challenge.

Despite the strong offensive numbers, the Grizzlies (3-3 0-1) lost to Hart 36-23.

“We weren’t happy about it at all,” said Grizzlies head coach Andy Campbell of the loss. “I think a lot of people outside of our locker room would call that a victory and we understand it’s going to take baby steps and we are proud of the way the boys played and competed. But to us, we (don’t) train to lose. We never do.”

In the game, Golden Valley also struggled to defend the run against Hart’s Dylan Edwards, who ran 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 18 rushes.

On the other hand, the Grizzlies kept Hart’s aerial game in check by intercepting quarterback Cory Mayes three times and sacking him five times.

All three interceptions were snagged by defensive back Corey Chaisson.

It could be a different story this week against the Wildcats prolific passing game featuring quarterback Connor Eichten and his two favorite targets Josh Guzman and Rawston Redick.

“Connor is a talent at QB. His offensive line does a decent job on pass protection,” Campbell said. “We were able to get to the QB last week and we feel that trend will continue. With a kid like Chaisson back there, we can do some things with our front seven to put some pressure on him and make him make some quick decisions.”

The solution for West Ranch is to continue doing what its good at. So far, the strength of the team has been Eichten’s passing ability and the offensive line’s ability to protect.

On defense, the Wildcats will also have to watch out for Golden Valley’s wide-open playbook, which included a reverse play, a halfback pass and a few snaps out of the wildcat formation.

“It’s not about trying to stop a particular gadget play, it’s more about being ready in general,” O’Brien said.

It isn’t just gadget plays, though. O’Brien admitted the team has a certain amount of anxiety playing a team like Golden Valley, which has never won a league game in the school’s history.

“On the one, we kind of admire him,” O’Brien said of Campbell and his improved program. “But on the other hand, we’re saying ‘couldn’t they have stayed bad?’”

Golden Valley hopes the answer is no.


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