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Football: It's the pupil vs. the teacher

The Marmonte League opener on Thursday night between Thousand Oaks and host Westlake Village Westlake has an intriguing coaching matchup.

Thousand Oaks' Mike Leibin, 33, spent 12 years as an assistant to Westlake's Jim Benkert, starting at 18 after playing four years of football for Westlake. He became the team's defensive coordinator in 2000 when Troy Thomas left to begin his championship run, first at Encino Crespi, then at Anaheim Servite.

Leibin knows the Westlake program so well that he probably has an extra key to open up the locker room. He took over at Thousand Oaks in 2007, and this is his best team yet. He's had two weeks to prepare for the Warriors, who haven't lost since 2008, and that makes Benkert a little concerned.

From an outsider's perspective, this game is going to be decided by which team can run the ball most effectively to set up their passing attack. That means watch out for Westlake's Tavior Mowry and Thousand Oaks' Rickey Minyard.

-- Eric Sondheimer

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