Game Preview: Cypress at Western

Western (6-4) captured its 5th straight Orange League title, while Cypress enters the playoffs as the number-3 seed from the Empire League at 8-2.

If Cypress would have played Anaheim Western last month, the Centurions probably would of dismantled the Pioneers. Now, in mid-November as Cypress travels to Western, it will tackle a completely different team in a playoff opener.


Western (6-4) captured its 5th straight Orange League title, while Cypress enters the playoffs as the number-3 seed from the Empire League at 8-2.


Cypress will not hesitate to go up top with QB Matt Kanuse aiming at a number of gifted receivers, while Western will run and then run some more.

Cypress seems the more fundamentally sound team, but cannot afford to make more than three mistakes. Western can hide its mistakes behind RB's Eddie Lark, Derrick Carr, and run first QB Lester Bodiford.

Both teams feature 2-way starters. Kanuse only plays QB. Bodiford plays QB/DB, meaning Cypress must tire Bodiford by throwing deep early. However, if Bodiford comes out passing, the Pioneers will break this game open early.

Again, Bodiford is good for 2 TD in every big game and put that with the recent emergence of Lark, gives the Pioneers a 14-point, home-field advantage.

After seeing limited early season action at RB, Lark has rushed for 300 yards and 5 TD in the past two games and is a key player for a Pioneer victory.

"Lark keeps getting better for us every week and we're very excited about his progress,'' said Western coach Toby Howell. "We hope he keeps it up in the playoffs."

Howell's second option is usually a hand off to Carr, who has run for nearly 500 yards and 5 TD in just eight games. Bodiford, considered one of the top-10 athletes in OC, has thrown and run for 16 TD and 1150 yards.

Western also uses starting safety Derek Orman at QB, enough that he has thrown for 300 yards, 3 TD.

For Cypress, it is Kanuse who has also totaled 16 TD on 1,300 yards. Centurion RB's Jason Rivera and Joseph Perez have combined on nearly 1,000 yards and 12 TD.

For Cypress to pull out the win, it must utilize its far superior passing game. Kanuse has speedy, 6-4, Anthony Jackson as has score guy, finding him 30 times for 455 yards, 5 TD.

Kanuse also has Josh Davidson to shoot for, whose caught 17 passes, 237 yards, 3 TD, and sure-handed Ryan Saumur with 17 for 190 yards.

Jackson, Davidson, and Rivera also are active defenders at dual purpose LB/DB. Justin Connally and Marcos Maldonado are both in on most tackles.

Western has faced an overall higher level of competition than Cypress this year and enter this game averaging 54 points in its las four games, including a 43-12 win last week against Anaheim Savanna for the Orange League title.

After starting the season at 6-0, Cypress finished at 2-2. The Centurions defeated the one common opponent, Placentia Valencia, 10-6. Western lost 28-20 to Valencia on September 14, but this is now a Pioneer team that has grown into a group of battle-tested warriors.


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