Local gridders face formidable
by Jesse Phelps
Nordhoff to tackle Santa Paula tonight
Coming off a tough 20-8 defeat at Oak Park last Friday and the
loss of two standout players for the rest of the season, coach
Cliff Farrar's varsity Ranger football squad travels again this
week, over the mountain to take on winless Santa Paula.
Though both squads are rebuilding this year, the rivalry between
the two squads runs deep. The last two meetings have gone to
the road team and underdog.
In last year's meeting, the Cardinals were victorious at Ojai
Valley Community Stadium, beating the previously undefeated Rangers
28-20. The game provided a good example of the intensity the
two teams feel about each other, taking nearly three hours, thanks
to 24 combined penalties for the two teams.
In 2000, the Cardinals were in position to take the Frontier
League title before Nordhoff pulled off the upset on the road.
While this year's matchup features two struggling squads, Nordhoff
(3-4) is in position to make a playoff run if the cards fall
correctly. "They're 0-7," said Nordhoff coach Cliff
Farrar this week. "If we can get one there, and we should,
we can finish in good position for the playoffs."
Nordhoff will be playing without star kicker and running back
Jaymes Quirino, who twisted his knee in last week's loss, and
starting noseguard Andy Garcia, who broke his leg in practice
last week. Santa Paula, meanwhile, may be returning to full strength.
"I talked to their coach over the weekend," Farrar
said. "They have couple of key guys who might be able to
play after being out the whole year."
Villanova hosts reigning champs
The winless Villanova Wildcats host reigning CIF eight-man football
champion Faith Baptist on Saturday. This year's team is again
ranked in the top five in the Heritage League.
"They're a very good team," says Villanova head coach
John Muller. "We're still trying to get a win. They're a
big team physically and they like to run the ball right at you.
They don't throw the ball much."
Villanova, which had a wonderfully successful inaugural season
just a year ago, has fallen on hard times this year. The team
graduated the bulk of its starters from last year and has recently
suffered several setbacks.
At the start of the season, the roster boasted 36 players, but
a rash of injuries and the loss of eligibility for a group of
students has seen the roster size dwindle to 25 for this weekend's
Perhaps the most crucial blow came when workhorse running back
Chris Gerhart went down due to a knee injury, which will keep
him out at least one week. Still, Muller is optimistic about
his team's outlook heading into the weekend. "The kids are
working hard, so that's good," he said.
The game, originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. start, has been rescheduled
to 2 p.m.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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