The Acorn’s High School Football Game of the Week
The Musketeers haven’t forgotten.
Last year, Moorpark lost to Westlake by three points. The sting of defeat never wore off for the Green Machine.
“It was tough,” said Alec Powell, a Moorpark senior running back who recently picked up a scholarship offer to Stetson University. “This is really big for me. This is a team we want to beat. We all circled this game on our schedule.”
Westlake isn’t overlooking anybody, either, especially since both teams enter the showdown with unblemished records.
“I can’t wait for this Friday,” said Victory Vaka, a 6-foot-3, 305-pound sophomore defensive tackle for Westlake with an offer from Arizona State. “We’re off to a great start.”
The undefeated teams come into the clash ranked in the top- 10 of their respective divisions in the latest CIF-Southern Section polls. Westlake’s No. 4 in Division 2; Moorpark’s No. 2 in Division 3.
Moorpark head coach Ryan Huisenga, who played on the same team as Westlake head coach Tim Kirksey during the 1992 Ventura County All-Star game, said he expects a close game.
“They have a lot of new faces compared to a year ago,” Huisenga said. “They’re very talented guys that have come in. We obviously have to play disciplined football against them. We can’t turn the ball over.”
Both teams trot out playmakers on defense.
Westlake’s defenders, including senior linebacker and Texas commit DeGabriel Floyd, made crucial stops in a 35-21 home win against St. Francis last week.
Vaka said the defense has been playing well after going to battle with the Warrior offense daily at practice.
“The offense gives us great looks,” Vaka said. “That’s how we’re so good. Our No. 1 thing is to communicate with each other to make sure we’re on the right page.”
Moorpark took down Higley of Arizona last weekend, 35-7.
“I think it brought our confidence up even more,” Powell said of the win. “They’re one of the top teams in Arizona. If we can beat a top team like that, it just boosts our morale. We’re really excited now. We’re ready for (Westlake).”
Westlake will play without starting quarterback Marco Siderman, who suffered a sprained ankle in the second half against St. Francis.
Patrick Roberg steps in under center. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior gunslinger boasts a cannon arm and the scrambling capabilities of Tim Tebow.
Carson Kuhl, James Anders, Jason Heller and Kamren Fabiculanan are receivers who can help make Roberg look good in his first start in a Warrior jersey.
Tyler Enderle, a 5- 10, 160-pound receiver, is a junior with big-game potential. He had a touchdown reception against Oxnard on Aug. 31.
A midfielder on the school’s lacrosse team, Enderle plays with speed and physicality. He said Moorpark’s never a pushover.
“They’re a good team,” Enderle said. “It should be close, but we should pull it out in the end.”
The Warriors struggled with defensive penalties against St. Francis.
“We have to be more disciplined,” Vaka said. “We had too many penalties on us, which gave them those points. We have to play smarter than that.”
Powell and Ian Meier, a starting safety, get the ground game going for Moorpark.
Blake Sturgill, Moorpark’s junior quarterback, keeps defenses honest.
He’ll try to connect with receivers Drake London (a USC commit), Jake Mateko and Noah Cronquist, a senior slot receiver who also starts at free safety.
“It was for sure a heartbreaker last year,” Cronquist said. “We just want to put on a show for our community and beat (the Warriors) this year.
“We need our whole team to play amazing. Both of our lines need to play with the same intensity we did this last week.”