NHS gridders begin
play-off run tonight
By Jesse Phelps
A dynamic regular season saw
the tried-and-true Nordhoff football offensive philosophy of
run, run, run begin to morph into something resembling a balanced
attack, leading to a perfect league record and the No. 1 ranking
in CIF Southern Section Division XI.
A stable of tough Ranger running backs and receivers, two strong
lines, a maturing quarterback and an aggressive defense look
to get the post-season off to a fast start tonight, putting that
ranking on the line against unranked LaSalle, which finished
No. 3 in the Camino Real League with a 2-8 record.
The Rangers finished with the inverse record, 8-2, with both
losses coming to larger schools in tougher divisions. Before
a regular season-ending loss to the Arroyo Valley Hawks, the
Rangers had not failed to defend their home turf in the 2003
A win in this initial game, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at Ojai
Valley Community Stadium, would set up a showdown with the winner
of a contest between No. 4 Valley Christian of Cerritos (7-3)
and unranked San Jacinto (6-3-1).
Nordhoff gained 2,152 yards as a team on the ground this season,
powered by senior Josh Catlett (467 yards and seven TDs), junior
Will Strong (956 yards and 17 TDs), senior Clark Bigler (350
yards, one TD) and senior Marty Vogel (182 yards, two TDs).
Meanwhile, junior quarterback Ryan Whitcomb found his passing
groove, finishing the season with a 60 percent completion rate,
and upping that to better than 70 percent over the course of
the final four contests.
Defensively, the Rangers are led by the brother tandem of sophomore
linebacker Casey Catlett and senior lineman Josh Catlett. Sean
Baier and Strong are also playmakers on defense.
Both lines and the locker room are bolstered by the presence
of senior leader Micah Reed. Teammates have alluded to the leadership
provided by Reed all season long and the team seems closer than
most high school units. It could be Nordhoff's year - but the
Rangers will need to get off to a fast start against the only
team with a losing record they are likely to meet in the postseason.
The Ojai Valley News
to the news
QUARTERBACK RYAN WHITCOMB looks to make the pass as teammate
Josh Catlett prepares to stave off an opponent in last Friday's
loss to San Bernardino's Arroyo Valley Hawks..