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Fountain Valley's crash to earth

October 1, 2007 |  5:23 pm

Fountain Valley had outscored  opponents, 192-24, through its first four games. The Barons had two shutouts. After a 42-0 victory over Aliso Niguel, you had to wonder, "Are they for real?"

Maybe not as real as they or their fans would like.

Although Fountain Valley led Santa Margarita going into the third quarter, 14-7, the Eagles' ultimate 38-14 victory drove home the point that not all records are created equal. Beating an overmatched opponent is not the same as -- in the case of Santa Margarita -- losing a couple of close games to solid programs such as St. Bonaventure and Dorsey.

Both Fountain Valley (4-1) and Santa Margarita (2-2) are Pac-5 teams. Both seem to be, at best, fourth-place teams from their respective leagues. Santa Margarita had just dropped out of The Times top 25 -- perhaps unnecessarily so.

But Santa Margarita's victory galvanized the notion that the Trinity League is a different animal. Their victory came on the same night that two other Trinity teams defeated Sunset League favorites:  Mater Dei beat Edison, 42-14, and Orange Lutheran beat Los Alamitos,  31-8.

And Fountain Valley? The combined record of its opponents going into the weekend was 2-12. The Barons might have learned how to beat up opponents, but they have not yet learned how to compete. That only comes from the crucible of battle. Something that had not happened until facing Santa Margarita.

The last time Fountain Valley had a winning record in the Sunset League was 2004. Its nonleague opponents were Westminster (which finished 9-3), Newport Harbor, San Clemente, Vista (10-2-1 in the San Diego Section) and Santa Margarita. The Barons lost four in a row heading into league, then defeated Esperanza, 31-30, and Edison, 21-20.

Mere coincidence?

Probably not.

One-sided victories may look impressive, but they do little to prepare a team for the moments that really count.

- Martin Henderson