Rangers scratch Tigers from
By Jesse Phelps
Nordhoff's varsity football team
keeps finding ways to win big games. The march toward a possible
CIF championship continued Friday night in San Jacinto, where
the Rangers won their quarterfinal CIF Division XI play-off game
with a nip-and-tuck 35-26 win over the host Tigers.
Junior running back Will Strong led the way once again, putting
together his second consecutive four-touchdown game. Strong rushed
for 191 yards on 23 carries and scored twice in the fourth quarter
to put the game out of reach after San Jacinto came storming
back from an early deficit.
The score was 21-14 at halftime but San Jacinto (7-4-1) scored
on a 48-yard Ryan Kessman catch and run in the third quarter.
But a botched extra point by kicker Johan Crispin, his first
miss of the year, kept the Rangers in the lead.
They would increase the margin in the fourth quarter when Strong
scored on a 20-yard burst. Again, San Jacinto answered, but was
unable to tie the score when they twice failed to convert on
a two point conversion.
A penalty wiped out a Strong interception on the first attempt,
then Zach Tane, Kevin Wortham and Sean Baier stopped the run
on the second attempt.
"That would have tied the game and it kept the momentum
our way," said Nordhoff coach Cliff Farrar.
That opened up the door for the Rangers (10-2), who didn't fail
to capitalize on an opportunity to go up by two scores. This
time Strong busted his longest run of the night, a 53-yard touchdown
on a lateral swing pass.
"Hayden (Herbruck) and Clark Bigler had two big blocks on
that run that sprung Will and allowed him to go in untouched,"
Wylie Stroberg's 12th consecutive extra point since being called
up from the junior varsity put the game out of reach. "He's
doing a real nice job," said Farrar.
The game looked at first like it might not be so close. The Rangers
controlled the game on the ground in the first quarter, capping
a 14-play, 56-yard drive with Strong's 2-yard touchdown.
Then Josh Catlett gave Nordhoff a 14-0 lead early in the second
with a 1-yard score, also his second consecutive game reaching
But the Tiger offense picked up the pace. Running back Deshawn
Smith gained 129 yards on 20 carries, much of that in the seocnd
quarter. It was the best output agains the Rangers by a back
in quite some time.
Strong would score his second touchdown of the game in the second,
a 2-yarder set up by a 69-yard pass play from Ryan Whitcomb to
Clark Bigler. But powered by Smith and a touchdown from Casey
Jordan and Michael Martinez, the Tigers pulled within seven at
Nordhoff got some nice performances from several key players
in advancing to play a rematch with league and division No. 3
Oaks Christian this Friday.Whitcomb completed 5 of 11 passes
for 112 yards and Paul Chesser has 100 yards from scrimmage on
three receptions and 10 runs.
Farrar said his team has jelled at the right time and, despite
Strong's incredible numbers, it has taken an entire team effort
to get to this point.
"This isnt a one man show," he said. "We are real
pleased with Paul Chesser, Ryan's throwing the ball well and
Clark is running our counters and reverses well. The offense
is really doing a nice job. Every time we get into atight situation,
they 've responded with a score. (Offensive coordinator) Scott
Titus is doing a nice job calling the plays and the kids are
having a lot of fun with it."
The semifinals will feature two Tri-Valley League match-ups.
While the Rangers battle Oaks Christian (71-12 winners over Twentynine
Palms) in Thousand Oaks, Oak Park will take on Carpinteria after
demolishing Santa Monica 56-0 in its own quarterfinal contest.
Nordhoff beat all three remaining squads on its way to an unsdefeated
league season and the top ranking in CIF Division XI heading
into the playoffs.
Farrar said his guys are anticipating another good battle with
the Lions. "Everybody's excited and we're all lookin forward
to it," he said. "Anything can happen at this time
of year. You've got to be prepared to play a whole game and we're
ready to do that."
The Ojai Valley News
to the news
HEAD COACH CLIFF FARRAR shows the fans what number he thinks
Nordhoff will be after their game against Oaks Christian tonight.