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Football: They're excited in Westlake Village

September 25, 2010 |  9:10 am

I called Westlake Coach Jim Benkert Saturday morning. He was meeting with his team. I asked if the players were excited about facing Oaks Christian on Friday, the school less than a mile apart from Westlake.

He said, "Hold on." Then he asked his players, "Are you excited about playing Oaks Christian?"

The next thing I know, there's a loud, "Yes," coming from my phone.

It took 11 years to get Westlake and Oaks Christian to finally play a football game against each other, but it's set for 8:30 p.m. at Oak Christian. Westlake has been given 3,000 tickets and has already sold 1,000.

Oaks Christian has 3,000 tickets, and Athletic Director Jan Hethcock said the general public can begin purchasing tickets at the Oaks Christian receptionist area on Monday beginning at 7:30 a.m. The game will air on Prime Ticket.

Both schools are 2-0 in the Marmonte League. Oaks Christian expects to be at full strength with the return of receiver Jordan Payton and tight end Dillon van der Wal from injuries.

Coach Bill Redell was scheduled to discuss who will start at quarterback with his assistant coaches on Saturday after Trevor Gretzky and Richie Harrington shared duties against Calabasas.

Having seen both teams, I'd say Westlake is the favorite. But in neighborhood rivalry games, anything goes.

Update: Redell said Saturday that Gretzky and Harrington will compete in practice this week for the starting job, with a decision made by Thursday.

-- Eric Sondheimer