THURSDAY NIGHT FRIGHTS

Editor's trip to Southern California cancelled and Rancho Cucamonga crushed by Kaiser as first major weekend of the football season gets underway.

It wasn't a good start to the 2003 football season either for me personally or for one of the teams I thought might be pretty good.

Early in the morning on Thursday, while we were sleeping, prowlers broke into both of my family's cars as well as our garage in Stockton. Nothing of huge value was stolen, except my cell phone and, ominously, a garage door opener. Getting into a car and driving down to Southern California to watch football games, and thus leaving the wife and seven-year-old in the house on Thursday night, was just out of the question.

There was a chance I was still going to be able to zip down I-5 to see the Newhall Hart-Los Alamitos showdown on Friday night, but too many delays on Friday morning caused by the break-in spoiled that plan as well. We will still have a report from tonight's game, but unfortunately it will have to be taken off the FOX Sports Net broadcast.

It looks like I didn't miss much at the Thursday night game I was planning to see, other than a dominating performance by head coach Dick Bruich's bunch at Kaiser of Fontana. Kaiser hosted Rancho Cucamonga, a team that boasts of several highly-recruited Div. I players, and put a 34-0 whipping on the Cougars.

I referred to Rancho Cucamonga, when listing it among the top 50 overall in the preseason state rankings, as being one of my hunch teams to start the season. It's always fun to insert a few of them into the lower reaches of those rankings and if Thursday is an indication that might be bad news for Fallbrook or Bakersfield, two other teams I'd include on the hunch list.

Ravonne Gordon debuted at running back for Kaiser in a spectacular manner. He scored on runs of 31 and 60 yards and finished up with 22 carries for 202 yards. The Kaiser defense also shined and limited Rancho Cucamonga to just 107 total yards.

Another running back in the state who had a big game on Thursday was Liberty of Bakersfield's Kenneth Beurman. He piled up 212 yards and scored three times as Liberty rolled to a 36-7 triumph over Golden West of Visalia.

Another highly-ranked team that played on Thursday was J.W. North of Riverside. The Huskies, who were No. 7 in the preseason state top 50, cruised by Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley, 39-3.

All is not completely lost for me this weekend. The best two teams close to me, Lincoln of Stockton and St. Mary's of Stockton, are playing probably the best opponents on their regular season schedules (other than each other) at different times. On Friday night, Lincoln, which was No. 21 in the preseason state top 50, hosts Granite Bay. Then on Saturday afternoon, St. Mary's heads north to take on defending Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I champ Jesuit of Carmichael. Jesuit was No. 10 in the preseason state rankings and starts out No. 1 by the Sacramento Bee. I'll write up both games as feature stories on this site as soon as possible.


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