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MC vs Parker: Keys to the Game

A season's worth of statistics are available for all to see. But what about the information that doesn't fit into statistical boxes, the intangibles that sometimes determine the game's result? Here they are:

SIZE: Parker has a trio of heavyweights — Wes Gavin (6-foot-6, 285 pounds), Adam Dean (6-2, 245) and Gordie Silver (6-2, 240) — who have been pushing around opposing linemen the last 14 weeks. MC nosetackle Tyler Jameson (6-4, 255) outplayed his opposite in each of the four playoff games, but the Crusaders haven't seen a line with such size at three positions. The wild card is MC defensive lineman Raymond Nelson (6-4, 215), whose agility and long arms could create problems if Parker's 5-9 QB drops back.

COMPETITION: Parker has seen a player far more sought after and elusive than Isaiah Burse. It had no luck, though, stopping Mission Bay's Dillon Baxter. The USC-bound back had 16 carries for 308 yards and four TDs in a 43-28 decision, Parker's only loss. Parker beat St. Margaret's of San Juan Capistrano 28-20 in Week 2 — and San Juan won last year's Small School Bowl and finished 13-1 this season. Parker is 4-1 vs. teams with

10 or more wins, and their foes are a combined 97-60. MC is 4-0 vs. teams with 10 or more wins and its foes are 91-65. It hasn't faced a player that compares to Parker QB Deon Randall, but has beaten teams more physical than Parker. Consecutive wins over Escalon, Central Catholic and Placer (combined 33-6) have strengthened the Crusaders.

WEATHER: It's supposed to be beautiful, with a clear sky and 70-degree temperatures for the 4 o'clock kickoff. A 4 mph wind should have no impact on passes or kicks. Even if the forecasters are wrong and it rains, this is the first of the five games so the turf should stay firm.

NERVES: MC showed some jitters in a semifinal win over Central Catholic, the biggest game in its history up to then, but was sharp in the second half. There were no nerves last week when a late fumble enabled Placer to close within a TD. The Crusaders responded with two late scores to pull away. Parker hasn't had a foe finish within 28 points in six weeks — a 31-20 win over Santa Fe Christian in Week 8 was the last close game. That was 7-7 at the half, before Parker scored three straight TDs. Parker was within a TD of Mission Bay in the fourth quarter, before Baxter's 71-yard TD run.

— RICHARD T. ESTRADA
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