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Mariners overpower Trojans in key Division III match-up Phillip Brents | Fri, Oct 22 2010 04:23 PM

The Mar Vista Mariners appeared to be the front runner for this year's South Bay League title but after a 1-3 start, it didn’t look as if the Mariners were generating too much momentum. That has changed -- and changed in a big way -- after the Imperial Beach squad rolled past a Castle Park team off to a fast 5-1 start by a score of 34-6 in last Friday's non-league match-up.

34-6.    It appears Mar Vista has its mojo back.

“They kicked our butts, no excuses,” said Castle Park coach Hans Graham. “They overpowered us.”

Rommel Cooper and Ruben Gonzales each scored two touchdowns to lead the Mariners to their second consecutive victory. Cooper rushed for 114 yards on 16 carries while Gonzales had two carries for 77 yards. Justin Peoples had 135 yards on 13 carries. As a team, Mar Vista rushed for 356 yards on 39 attempts.

Gonzales also had one catch for 20 yards.

The Mariners led 12-0 at the end of the first quarter after Cooper scored on a 16-yard run and Lashon Riggens scored on a 30-yard return after a blocked punt by teammate Gaston Garza.

Gonzales scored his first touchdown on a 74-yard run to boost Mar Vista to a 20-0 halftime lead.
The lead ballooned to 27-0 when Gonzales hauled in a 20-yard scoring pass from Jordan Lertique in the third quarter.

Cooper scored on a 12-yard run in the fourth quarter to hike his TD count to 10 on the season. He has rushed for 996 yards in six games.

Castle Park scored its lone touchdown in the final quarter as Hector Guillen rushed in from three yards out.

The upcoming Division III playoffs look to be interesting from the standpoint of just which teams qualify. Mar Vista, Montgomery and Castle Park are all in the same division and can qualify for the playoffs by either winning the championship title in their respective leagues or by advancing as at-large entries. 

Montgomery (4-2 overall) holds an edge in the division seeding over Mar Vista (3-3 overall) after defeating the visiting Mariners by two points on Oct. 1. Mar Vista now holds a seeding edge over Castle Park (5-2) despite having two fewer wins.

Twelve teams qualify for the Division III playoffs. Currently, seven teams in the division have winning records, including Castle Park and Montgomery. Five more teams have .500 records, including Mar Vista, while four teams have won at least two games.

By the numbers
In last Friday’s game, CP signal-caller John Hernandez completed seven of 13 passing attempts for 75 yards but was sacked three times and fumbled once. Rushing yards were minimal. Jamar Shelby had five carries for 10 yards, Paul Sierra had nine carries for 16 yards and Daniel Noriega had four carries for 11 yards. As a team, the Trojans gained just 44 yards on 22 rushing attempts.

Nicolas Martinez led Castle Park’s receivers with three catches for 29 yards while Stacy Lambert had two catches for 18 yards. Javier Martinez caught one pass for 17 yards while Tyron Eden had one catch for 11 yards.    
For Mar Vista, Gonzales was a busy man on both sides of the ball by also making nine tackles and recording one sack. Lertique had two interceptions on defense while also scoring on a two-point conversion try.   

As a team, the Mariners are averaging 361.5 rushing yards per game. Mar Vista next plays at Sweetwater (1-5) on Friday. The Red Devils are coming off their first victory of the season — 41-0 against visiting Southwest (3-3) last Friday.

Castle Park has a bye week.

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