Final exams. No, not in the classroom, but on the playing field.
The Huntington Beach High and Fountain Valley football teams each passed their final nonleague tests last week with near-flying colors. This weekend, Edison, Marina and Ocean View and Brethren Christian, will attempt to do the same.
The Chargers, Vikings, Seahawks and Warriors, all close out nonleague play with home games.
Huntington and Fountain Valley both are in a bye week.
San Clemente (2-3) vs. Edison (2-2)
(7 p.m., Huntington Beach High)
Two teams, both short-handed due to injury, look to put an end to recent streaks collide in a final nonleague game for both squads.
Edison has dropped its last two games, most recently, a 21-7 decision to Mater Dei at Santa Ana Stadium in a televised contest. Four touchdowns were produced in the game, three of which were scored by the defense. The other TD also was set up by the Mater Dei defense.
Edison's lone score came on a 60-yard interception return by Marcus Epps. The touchdown by the senior defensive back, who had nothing but a clear field ahead to the end zone, gave the Chargers a 7-6 lead with four minutes left in the third quarter.
The Chargers outgained Mater Dei in the first half and held the Monarchs to less than 200 yards of total offense.
Mater Dei scored its first touchdown on an interception return, and final TD on a fumble return when it appeared that Edison was moving in for a possible score, down 14-7, with under four minutes to play.
An interception by the Monarchs led to their second touchdown of the game.
The loss knocked Edison out of the No. 1 spot in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division poll. The Chargers shared the top spot with La Habra last week.
Edison, which has held down the No. 1 spot since September 2012, is now ranked second, behind the Highlanders.
"We've turned the ball over too many times in three of the four games we've played this year," Edison Coach Dave White said. "If we take care of those turnovers, we'll be fine."
White aid that Edison will be without starting running back Marcus Swanigan for Friday's game. The senior injured his shoulder against Mater Dei and didn't play the majority of the second half.
San Clemente lost starting quarterback Sam Darnold two weeks ago to an ankle injury. The Tritons started the season 2-0 but have lost three-straight games, scoring 13 points in each of those losses.
Last week, they lost, 34-13, to Newport Harbor.
"Not having their quarterback hurts them, but they are always very physical team on defense," White said.
Capistrano Valley (3-2) vs. Marina (1-3)
(7 p.m., Westminster High)
Marina's final tune-up before the start of Sunset League play comes against a Capo Valley team that was dropped last week by Corona del Mar.
Capo Valley, which came into that game ranked No. 9 in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division, was no match for a Corona del Mar team that is ranked No. 1 in the Southern Division, and lost, 42-14. The Cougars actually took a 7-0 lead on a 70-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Matthew Gordon to Philip O'Shea in the opening quarter.
They gave up 42-straight points until sophomore running back Tyler Waggoner scored on a short run in the final minute of the game.
Gordon threw for 147 yards and rushed for 70 yards to lead the Cougars on offense.
Marina was idle last week. The Vikings have dropped consecutive games to Westminster and San Juan Hills, and have given up 93 total points in those losses.
Marina led Westminster late but gave up a touchdown in the final two minutes and lost, 42-38, on Sept. 13. In a 51-7 loss Sept. 20 to San Juan Hills, the Vikings trailed by just 15-7 at the half.
"We must finish a game," Marina Coach George Pascoe said. "Two weeks ago [against Westminster], we stopped playing the last two minutes, then last game [against San Juan Hills], we stopped [playing] at halftime. Play an entire game, and we will be OK."
Los Amigos (3-1) vs. Ocean View (0-4)
(7 p.m., Ocean View High)
Ocean View gets its final shot at a win before the beginning of its Golden West League schedule when the Seahawks take on the Lobos.
Los Amigos brings a two-game win streak into the game. The Lobos are coming off a 56-14 romp past Santa Ana last week. Senior quarterback and team captain Anthony Magana had a big game with a punt return, interception return, 91-yard run, and 26-yard pass, go for touchdowns. Senior running back Eduardo Perez also rushed for two scores.
"Los Amigos won't do us any favors this week as they are fast and aggressive," Ocean View Coach Luis Nunez said. "We will need to be perfect and continue to create turnovers to have a chance."
Ocean View was shut out last week, 23-0, at Bolsa Grande in a game that was only 7-0 heading into the fourth quarter.
An aggressive Seahawks defense created four turnovers in the loss.
"We couldn't get any consistency or rhythm on offense all night," Nunez said. "Lack of depth at tailback forced us to pass more than we'd like. Still, we're turning the ball over way too much. Defensively, we put together our best effort of the year. The offense put them in bad position all night.
"We need to continue to build on the positives as we are playing a ton of juniors. I still believe this season can be turned around but we will need to continue to get better defensively and hopefully get healthy offensively and get back to our style of play."
Riverside Christian (0-4) vs. Brethren Christian (2-1)
(7 p.m., Ocean View High)
Brethren Christian goes after its third-straight win when it plays host to winless Riverside Christian.
The Warriors last week took a 35-21 game from host Fairmont Prep at Yorba Linda High. They held a 35-7 halftime lead and still led by that margin heading into the fourth quarter.
Senior receiver Austin Gorrell scored on 14-, 62-, and 28-yard touchdown passes from quarterback Jack McInally, who also rushed for a touchdown. Junior defensive lineman Guy Demazeliere recorded a safety.
BC had an apparent touchdown taken off the board when junior running back Andrew Assaf's 99-yard run to the end zone was negated by a personal-foul call against the Warriors near the Fairmont Prep 20 yard line.
"It was a good win," BC Coach Pat McInally said. "I thought we played better defensively, and [Fairmont Prep] scored late on us."
McInally said that Riverside Christian is "off to a rough start."
"They do have some good athletes and a very good offense," he said. "They run the double wing T, and we will have to be ready to play on the defensive front."
Idle: Fountain Valley; Huntington Beach.
Fountain Valley (4-1)
The Barons ended nonleague play Friday with an impressive win as they defeated host Westminster, 27-13. Two big plays in second half, a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior free safety Sal Ochoa, and a 69-yard scoring run by senior running back Isaiah Davis, broke open a 14-13 game.
Ochoa intercepted two passes and Davis rushed for a game-best 176 yards on 15 carries. Fountain Valley Coach Ray Fenton said senior receiver Noah Rivard, who scored on a 37-yard run and 25-yard pass from senior quarterback Scott Schultz in the second quarter, had a "breakout game."
Ochoa's return for a touchdown marked the third time in the past three games the Barons have scored by way of an interception.
They have four interception returns for touchdowns in four of their first five games.
The Barons, ranked sixth in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division, go into their bye week with a 4-1 record. Their only loss in nonleague play came at home against Trabuco Hills (24-17) on Sept. 13.
They take a two-game win streak into their league opener against Marina on Oct. 11.
"I'm pleased with our record but not with the way we have been playing," Fountain Valley Coach Ray Fenton said. "We have a lot of things to clean up in our program during our bye week. There's a lot of room for improvement and the time is here to do it because league play is here."
Huntington Beach (3-2)
The Oilers capped their nonleague portion of the schedule with a big win over Downey. They rode a strong rushing attack to a big lead, then held off the Vikings to win, 37-29.
The Oilers led, 24-7, at the half, and were up 31-7, before the Vikings rallied.
Downey was the second-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division.
"We were really able to run the ball on them, and we benefited from good field position all night," Huntington Coach Eric Lo said. "We played a great first half but let them back in it."
Sophomore running back Travis Heer led the rush attack with 136 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. Another sophomore back, Hunter Simmons, ran for 52 yards and a TD on nine carries. Senior receiver Maurice Barber took in a 13-yard scoring pass from senior quarterback Kai Ross in the first half for the game's first score.
Junior lineman Hojun Lee recorded a safety in the first quarter, and Ross had an interception, on defense for the Oilers.
The win allowed Huntington to end a two-game winless streak and moved the Oilers into a tie with Fullerton for the No. 10 spot in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division rankings. The Oilers open their Sunset League campaign Oct. 11 against defending league champion Edison.
It's a big game on the opening night of league play.
"This bye week allows us to work on fixing some mistakes we've been making," Lo said. "We have played some tough teams during preseason and learned a lot about ourselves and what we need to improve upon.
"We are still looking to play a good, complete game. We've had good halves here and there, but haven't yet played a complete game."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun