NHS football shot down by Musketeers
By Jesse Phelps
Friday night marked the opening
night of the local high school football season. A Nordhoff team
featuring faces old and new traveled to Moorpark to take on the
bigger, faster Musketeers in a non-league game that showed the
Rangers have some work to do if they want to avoid a second consecutive
Moorpark, behind the strong legs
of senior tailback Anthony Lopez, tallied 270 yards rushing on
a night when the Ranger offense looked stagnant. The Ranger defense,
which got some penetration in the first half, eventually tired,
and by the end of the night, the Nordhoff staff and players were
left to mull over a brutal 32-6 thumping.
The Ranger offense looked somewhat stagnant all night, gaining
small chunks of yardage with the running game and virtually nothing
through the air. Quarterback Paul Chesser completed three of
nine passes for 27 yards and also threw an interception.
Still, Chesser wasn't at fault for the team's woes. A swarming
Moorpark defense, keyed on the run, made life difficult for the
Rangers. That difficulty was compounded by a number of penalties,
mostly for illegal motion and holding, which killed any offensive
momentum the Rangers were able to attain.
Then there was the Moorpark offense.
If the shifty running of Lopez wasn't enough, Musketeer quarterback
Cody Holland made Swiss cheese of the Nordhoff secondary, shooting
holes in it all night to the tune of 11-14 passing and 149 yards.
Still, heading into the second half, the game was easily within
reach of the Rangers.
Trailing 13-0 and needing a defensive stop to open the third
quarter, the Rangers locked down and forced a fourth down near
midfield. But Lopez picked up just enough for the first on his
subsequent carry. Then Holland and his favorite target went to
work. Sandwiched around another Lopez carry, junior receiver
Chastin West caught passes of 25 and 24 yards, the latter for
a touchdown and the Musketeers led 20-0.
After a pair of penalties killed the next Nordhoff possession,
Moorpark ate up the remainder of the third with another monster
drive, capped by Lopez's third score of the evening, a 31-yard
burst through the left side of the line.
With nothing to lose, the Rangers opened up the offense on its
next drive and Chesser began to make things happen once he got
out of the pocket. On a bootleg, he completed an 11-yard strike
to Hayden Herbruck, then followed with two runs to get into Moorpark
On second and three at the Moorpark 38, Chesser handed the ball
to Josh Catlett, who picked up the first down. After a 15-yard
unsportsman-like conduct penalty against the Musketeers, Chesser
kept the ball again and got Nordhoff in position for a first
In total, Chesser picked up 33 yards in keepers on the drive,
which the Rangers eventually capped off with a 1-yard power burst
by Catlett for the touchdown.
The scoring was completed by Moorpark's Greg Dettore, who busted
a 70-yard run up the sideline for a touchdown late in the fourth
Catlett rushed 10 times for 21 yards and the score and also recorded
two sacks on the day.
Afterward, he wondered if his team was mentally prepared for
a war with the defending CIF Southern Section Division IV champs.
He said he'd like to see more enthusiasm and fight from his teammates
"We just gotta step up," said Catlett, "be more
enthusiastic out there. We're really quiet and everybody was
just, like, whatever out there."
Nordhoff head coach Cliff Farrar pointed to penalties and a lack
of playmaking in analyzing his team's defeat. "Penalities
definitely hurt us," he said. "How many times did we
face a first and 12 or a second and 20 tonight? And defensively,
we just couldn't make the big play. We're in trouble speed-wise."
In total, the rangers netted only 90 yards rushing. Junior Will
Strong was the team leader with 41 yards on 11 carries. Chesser,
who was sacked a number of times, wound up with minus two yards
rushing, despite his excellent play on the scoring drive.
The Ranger defense was led by the Catlett brothers. In addition
to his two sacks, Josh also contributed 11 tackles. Younger brother
Casey had 15 tackles and Strong had 11.
Next up for the Rangers is another non-league battle with Santa
Ynez next Friday. They'll open their home schedule with Calabasas
and their first league game comes against Carpinteria at home
on Oct. 3.
The Ojai Valley News
to the news
QUARTERBACK PAUL CHESSER looks to pass in the Ranger's season
opener against the Moorpark Musketeers. Friday marked Nordhoff's
second year in a row losing to Moorpark after beating them three
years in a row before the 2002 loss.