'If we can get off to a great start, then this team - which as the
talent, has the potential to have a banner season.'
Marina got out of the gate with an impressive start last Thursday
as it ran all over host Corona del Mar in a 28-7 victory.
Yet the most defining moment for the Marina program during the
three-game stretch to begin the '99 season comes tonight, when the
Vikings play host to Newport Harbor at Westminster High in the
Independent's Game of the Week.
'This week's game definitely is a defining moment for our football
team,' said Rehling, who also stated that Marina hasn't beaten Newport
Harbor in 'a long, long time.'
'There's no guessing game with Newport. Offensively, then run it
right at you, so we'll need to be primed on defense. We'd better be,
because they're big, and we'll need to be physical enough to hand in
there and punch. On the other side of the ball, Newport has an extremely
aggressive front four. This is a big test for us.'
The Sailors potent rushing game, featuring Andre Stewart and Ryan
Brill, will be pitted against Marina's primary back, Ray Mietkiewicz.
In last Thursday's 55-6 blow out of Orange, the Stewart/Brill duo
combined to rush for 219 of Newport Harbor's 308 total rushing yards.
In all, the Sailors rushed for five touchdowns against the
Panthers, who avoided a shutout by scoring in the fourth period.
Mietkiewicz had his way against Corona del Mar, rushing for 164
yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 28-7 Viking victory in a game played
on the Newport Harbor campus stadium.
Tonight's game will be a key one for Marina quarterback Beau
Brown. The junior had his first career varsity start last week, and both
he and the Vikings' veer offense will be tested against a very tough
Newport Harbor defense.
'Beau has a big game ahead of him, but we're confident in his
abilities,' Rehling said. 'Philosophically, we're basically trying to do
the same thing as Newport, and that's counter with a strong rushing game
of our own. Defensively, we want to put pressure on their quarterback and
get into their backfield. It's key that we not give up the big play.'
Coach Jeff Brinkley returns six offensive and three defensive
starters from last year's 6-4 squad. The Sailors used two quarterbacks,
sophomore Brian Gaeta and junior Chris Manderino last week, and the pair
have a very talented receiving group to throw to in Billy Clayton and
The offensive line is another strong suit and includes, among
them, Division I prospect Blair Jones, a 6-8, 262 senior tackle, and
senior tackle Robert Cole (6-4, 325).
Marina's defense opened the season impressively as it recorded six
sacks against Corona del Mar.
'We'll need a similar effort to beat Newport,' Rehling concluded.
'We're coming off a big win, and hopefully, we can carry that momentum
into this game. We're looking forward to this one.'