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Barons fall in opener

Fountain Valley loses to Nevada's South Hualapai on late-fourth quarter score, 26-23

three locals open season this week.

September 01, 2010|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com

The Fountain Valley High Barons got a jump on the rest of the local schools by opening the 2010 prep football season Friday.

The Barons traveled to South Hualapai, Nevada, to take on the Faith Baptist Crusaders in a nonleague game, which was won in the final moments by the host team, 26-23. Crusaders quarterback Joe Portaro got 22 of his 296 passing yards (21 of 54) when he connected with Brett Lubbe for the winning touchdown with 23 seconds remaining in the game. It was the third touchdown pass thrown by Portaro.

The winning drive was set up by a Fountain Valley turnover.

The Barons rallied from deficits of 6-0 after one quarter, 12-10 at halftime and 19-10 in the third quarter, to take a 23-19 lead in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Josiah Fernandez and Montana Merhoff, who rushed for 161 yards and a pair of scores on 16 carries, both rushed for second-half touchdowns.

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Fountain Valley is idle this week. The Barons return to action Sept. 10 at San Clemente. Huntington Beach (at Corona del Mar) and Marina (vs. Capistrano Valley) also will open their respective seasons that day.

Three other local prep teams — Brethren Christian, Edison and Ocean View — launch their season's this week.

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Brethren Christian at Pasadena Poly, 3 p.m. today, Pasadena Poly High: Brethren Christian enters the opener a bit banged up. Coach Bruce Eien said that senior all-league lineman Bob Frisch has a strained knee and is a "day-to-day" decision. The Warriors' top two linebackers, Bryant Freese and Jon Vazquez, didn't play in Friday's scrimmage because to injuries, but even though they're not 100%, Eien says the pair are expected to play today.

Pasadena Poly is a senior-laden team that returns 18 starters from a 2009 squad that reached the second round of the CIF Northeast Conference playoffs. Among the key returners for the Panthers are senior quarterback Hunter Merryman (6-5, 225) and senior All-CIF defensive back Blake Edwards, who also starts at running back and wide receiver. Merryman threw for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns and was intercepted just twice last season. Edwards was his top receiver with 575 yards on 27 receptions. He also was the team's top rusher with 637 yards and nine touchdowns.

Poly is coming off a 6-4 season.

"They are a very good team with lots of experience," Eien said of the Panthers. "They have a very good running back in Blake Edwards and a tall, big quarterback in Hunter Merryman.

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