"They're a good, well-coached team," Sage Coach Tom Monarch said.
"We've played them three times and never beat them. They've had some
good years over there."
But Saddleback Valley Christian this year, according to Monarch,
isn't as strong as in years past. The Warriors lost quite a few
linemen to graduation, Monarch said.
And that's where Sage's advantage lies.
The strength of the Lightning squad this year is the beefed up
offensive line, which paved the way for backs Keya Manshadi, a
senior, and junior Don Ayres to rush for a combined 240 yards and
four touchdowns against Fairmont Prep.
All seniors, the starting squad of Kyle Ramer, Brandon David,
Bryan Kornswiet, Nick Sohl and Michael Morgan also provided sophomore
quarterback Jamie McGee the needed time to complete 5 of 8 passes for
75 yards and two touchdowns Friday.
The offensive line translated to the defensive front, as Sage held
Fairmont scoreless until 2:02 remaining in the game. Saddleback
Valley Christian could play out similarly, Monarch said.
"I don't think [SVC] had the oxes Fairmont had," said Monarch,
referring to Huskies' running backs Spencer Williams and Rich
Johnson. "But [SVC] has a little more balance and I think they play a
more disciplined defense."
Ayres and Manshadi, both first-team All-Academy League selections
in 2004, are expected to carry the load again Friday, Monarch said.
But Monarch also didn't want to get ahead of himself, saying that
it's hard to gauge the strength of an opponent this early in the
"We might be a little more physical, but they'll be tough," he
said. "I anticipate a good game. I think they'll scout us well and we
have scouted them well."