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’Cats must build off win

Posted: September 16, 2009 9:33 p.m.
Updated: September 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Immediately following its overtime win over Lancaster on Friday, West Ranch head coach Sean O’Brien told his team it had 10 hours to celebrate.

Then it was back to the business of analyzing film.

Too many West Ranch miscues allowed the Eagles to erase a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit send the game to overtime, where the Wildcats (1-1) went on to win 34-27.

However, the team improved after a season-opening loss to Hueneme, which is a trend O’Brien said must continue in order for the Wildcats to be successful against Eastside of Lancaster at 7 p.m. today at Antelope Valley High.

West Ranch appears ready to take that next step.

“They are eager, a basket of puppies,” O’Brien said. “They absolutely want to get this right. This group has their shoes on and is in the car, ready for where we want to take them.”

Last season, Eastside (0-1) lost in the opening round of the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs to Mira Costa.

O’Brien is not taking the Lions lightly.

“Quality opponent, well-coached, disciplined, athletic — everything you want in an opponent,” he said. “And it’s a great place in our season, because we have to improve to have a shot against them. ... This is a team that is going to take tremendous effort to beat. You are not going to get lucky against these guys.”

Top Eastside threat Dajohn Gaines, a junior running back, tweaked his ankle in the team’s 35-20 loss to Escondido last week but is still expected to play, according Lions head coach Steve Lockhart.

Lockhart said junior quarterback Brent Jones must throw the ball with a lot more confidence and the team must do better in the short passing game.

But the key element Lockhart stressed was on the line.

“(Escondido) worked us up front on both sides of the ball, and our guys up front have to do better,” he said.

Meanwhile, West Ranch is focusing on containing Gaines and the mobile Jones, who O’Brien noted likes to roll one way and throw back across the field.

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