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Oilers open 2012 season with major test

High School Football

Huntington Beach is one of four local schools playing this week, taking on powerhouse El Toro on the road.

August 22, 2012|By Mike Sciacca

The 2012 high school football season gets underway this week for four local schools: Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Marina and Brethren Christian. Three of those schools — Fountain Valley, Marina, Brethren Christian — open their campaigns with home games.

Huntington, Fountain Valley, Marina, and the rest of the Pac-5 Division teams move from the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division to the Southwest Division this year.

Below is a brief capsule look at this week's openers.

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Thursday

Huntington Beach vs. El Toro, 7 p.m., Trabuco Hills High: A young Huntington Beach team starts its season in south Orange County against a seasoned El Toro squad that has several big-time players returning from a 2011 team that set several school records.

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El Toro is coming off a 2011 campaign that ended with the Sea View League championship, a runner-up finish to Tustin in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division, and a 12-2 record. This year, the Chargers have moved into the ultra-tough South Coast League and the Pac-5 Division.

Back to direct the potent El Toro offense is record-setting quarterback Conner Manning. Last year, Manning, who has committed to Utah, broke Matt Barkley's Orange County record for passing yards in a season. His favorite target in 2011, Cody White, also returns. White last year led the county in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Returning to the backfield is the team's leading rusher from a year ago, Jacob Furnari, who rushed for more than 1,500 last fall.

"El Toro is a very good team," Huntington Coach Eric Lo said. "I'm concerned with the efficiency of their passing game, speed of the skill players and their game experience."

Huntington also is coming off an outstanding season, one in which the Oilers went 9-3 and reached the second round of the Pac-5 playoffs. Unlike El Toro, the Oilers have had to replace several playmakers. Junior Kai Ross has moved from his wide receiver slot on offense last year to quarterback the Oilers this fall. Ross also will play cornerback.

Huntington was just one of two teams to defeat El Toro last year. The Oilers beat the Chargers, 23-21, in the season opener for both teams.

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Friday

Foothill vs. Fountain Valley, 7 p.m., Huntington Beach High: Fountain Valley, which has 12 starters back from last year's 4-6 team, begins its slate against a Foothill squad that also returns several players from a year ago.

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