May 20, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Woodbridge and Northwood ready to battle it out for first place in Pacific Coast League

Northwood players charge out onto the field for last week’s game vs. University. (Photo courtesy John Q. Duong, for OC Sports Zone)

Woodbridge and Northwood football teams, two teams expected to be in the hunt for the Pacific Coast League title, meet Friday night at 7 at Irvine Stadium in the second game of league play.

Both teams are 1-0 in league play.

“Friday’s game between Northwood and Woodbridge probably should be labeled game of the week,” said Northwood Coach Paige Nobles.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Coach Rick Gibson and his staff will have the Woodbridge Warriors ready to play against Northwood. Since the departure of CdM a few seasons ago Woodbridge has set the standard that everyone has tried to match.”

Woodbridge (2-4, 1-0) opened PCL play last week defeating Irvine 27-10. Max Tipple, Tommy Prince and Justin Morgan each rushed for more than 60 yards for the Warriors.

Northwood (5-1, 1-0) defeated University 39-14. In that game, quarterback Jaden Piazza threw for over 200 yards with three passing touchdowns and had over 100 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns.

Friday’s game looks like it could come down to the wire.

“They’re hitting on all cylinders,” Woodbridge Coach Rick Gibson said of Northwood. “They look like a well-oiled machine. They’ve got some very good athletes. I know their noseguard Xavier (Cousar) is probably one of the best defensive players we will see and he also plays offensive line. I tend to look at the defensive side of the ball. I’m sure he does the same on offense. He is a disruptor, that’s for sure and their defense plays fast and hard.

“I’m looking forward to playing them but also know it’s a big challenge.”

Nobles, the Northwood coach, said his team knows what it has to do.

“I believe the keys to a Northwood victory is playing mistake free football and keeping Woodbridge guessing what we are doing next on offense, defense and special teams,” he said. “I do not believe this will be a game won by 20 plus points I believe this game will come down to the last few minutes of the fourth quarter.”

Woodbridge took some positive steps in last week’s win but Gibson said he sees room for improvement.

“We did some good things,” he said. “I was disappointed penalty-wise. We had quite a few penalties. We had more penalties in that game than we had in all of our five previous games total. That’s where you got to look at yourself and say what is it that’s going on.

“The ones where you have late hits on the quarterback or procedure calls like offsides or illegal procedure, those are the ones that should be out. Those should not happen this time of year.”


Portola (5-1, 1-0) at University (0-6, 0-1)

Irvine (0-6, 0-1) vs. Beckman (3-3, 0-1) at Tustin

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;