NHS Gridders win fifth straight game
By Jesse Phelps
Perhaps the best idea is just
for Nordhoff to lose its first game every year. Maybe that would
inspire the type of winning streak this year's edition of the
varsity football team is currently enjoying.
After a pummeling by heavily favored Moorpark in its first game
of the season, the Rangers have risen up to win five consecutive
games, the most recent being Friday's 29-14 romp over Tri-Valley
League rival Fillmore Flashes at Fillmore.
Nordhoff (5-1, 3-0) remained undefeated in league heading into
next week's showdown with CIF Southern Section No. 2 Oak Park,
a team that hasn't yet lost this year.
Against Fillmore (1-5, 0-3) the Rangers used their typical mix
of run first, pass when the opportunity arises, to build a solid
20-0 halftime lead. Junior back Will Strong once again paced
the running game, amassing 114 yards on 15 carries and scoring
Strong scored on runs of 1 yard and 23 yards in the first half,
the latter coming as he found an opening, shed a defender and
sped into the end zone.
"We run our belly series and they'd been doing a good job
of coming up and stuffing that," said Nordhoff head coach
Cliff Farrar. "We called a new scheme and he read the defense
real nicely, bounced off one of the tacklers and outraced everybody.
A good block by Andy Doyle - he's been doing an excellent job
of blocking -sprung him for the touchdown."
For Doyle, it wasn't all hard work and blocking as he also found
pay dirt before the half ended on a 26-yard catch. It was Doyle's
12th catch of the season and his third for a touchdown.
"We had planned on using Doyle as a decoy deep," said
Farrar. "We were actually looking to throw the ball to Paul
Chesser in the slot, but Doyle broke open and (quarterback) Ryan
(Whitcomb) hit him right in stride."
Fillmore got its own passing game in order in the second half,
but couldn't come all the way back, thanks in part to a Nordhoff
defense that refused to surrender the big play.
"They ate up a lot of yards, controlling the ball through
the pass," said Farrar. "A lot of underneath stuff
we were willing to give up to eat up the clock."
The Rangers did surrender two second-half scores to the Flashes,
but answered with two long drives of their own, culminating in
Strong's third score of the night and a field goal by Trevor
Said Farrar, "In the second half they did a good job of
moving the ball against us. Between our two drives and their
two drives, it pretty much ate up the clock, which was great
since they didn't have enough time to stage a comeback."
For the day, the Rangers tallied 178 yards rushing and another
93 through the air, a continuance of the more balanced offensive
attack being implemented by offensive coordinator Scott Titus.
"We want to be balanced, able to throw the ball 10,12 times
a game," said Farrar. "We tried to throw 14 balls,
we also had a penalty on one pass. So, in the neighborhood of
15 throws, which is what we're looking to do now."
The Rangers, who are averaging well over 20 points per contest,
might find the going a bit rougher come Friday against Oak Park,
who beat NHS 20-8 last season. This year's homecoming game will
match the CIF Southern Section's Nos. 2 and 3 teams and Farrar
said he expects a dogfight. The Nordhoff defense, he said, will
need to be on its toes.
"They're a very good football team, scoring a lot of points,"
he said. "Our defense is going to have to play a good game
and their defense is hardly allowing any points. They have a
very good receiver. They like to throw the ball to him. We're
going to have to do something to stop him."
Oak Parks' junior wide-out Gavin Ketchum lists at 6 feet 4 inches,
"He was picked to be a top offensive guy in our league,"
said Farrar. "They'll throw to him on any down."
As usual, homecoming will feature fireworks,
floats and the crowning of king, queen and court at halftime.
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be preceded by the junior
Tickets are available at the gate for $6 or $3 for Nordhoff Parent
The Ojai Valley News
to the news
RANGERS ARE CHARGING AHEAD through this season with a 5-1-0 record
to date. They play Oak Park Friday for homecoming.