Dinh, Avila roar as Westminster tops Marina


WESTMINSTER – It’s always an interesting dynamic when the Westminster and Marina high school football teams’ take the field against each other.

A lot of the players are familiar with one another, even grew up friends, perhaps, as the middle schools in the area feed students to both institutions.

But any and all amicable feelings between the two programs are put aside for the annual rivalry game.

Westminster (2-0), which was the away team on its own field, took the latest installment of the clash with the Vikings, 42-20, Friday night, behind stellar performances from quarterback Matt Dinh and running back Josh Avila.

Dinh was the model of efficiency, completing 7 of his 10 passes for 108 yards and three touchdowns.

The dual-threat senior added 91 yards on the ground, including another score, while, Avila, Dinh’s backfield mate, added 153 yards on 28 carries with a touchdown of his own.

Avila, the 5-foot-9, 155-pounder, came into Friday’s game craving to make amends for what he considered a lackluster performance in a Week 1 victory over Garden Grove.

It seemed that any Marina defender acting as a stopgap bounced right off Avila as holes opened often and wide for the junior to run through.

“I was just thinking in my mind that I have to just keep going,” he said. “I didn’t do so hot against Garden Grove, so I had to keep pushing tonight.”

And push Avila did, quipping that him making his first appearance in the Marina game as a starter provided extra incentive.

“It was exciting; it’s always a fun game to play,” he said. “I grew up with most of those kids in middle school, so it was fun to be out here and get the win.”

The game didn’t start out fun for Westminster, though, as Marina quarterback Dominic Gonzalez connected with Noah Holmes on a 67-yard touchdown pass on just the third play of the game which gave the Vikings (1-2) an early 7-0 advantage.

“I was very concerned when they scored on the third play (of the game),” Westminster coach Ted McMillen said. “(Marina) has improved, but our kids showed resilience and bounced back.”

That Lions’ bounce-back was in the form of outscoring Marina, 35-7, after the Vikings opening drive touchdown, helping them to a commanding 35-14 lead at the half and allowing them to cruise to the win.

The bright spot for Marina on an otherwise disappointing night was sophomore Blaine Reiderich who finished with 109 yards on carries and a touchdown.

Holmes led all Vikings' receivers with three catches for 82 yards and a score.

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