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October 4, 2004After a slow start, Mission Vieo, Calif. quarterback Mark Sanchez came on strong in the second half as the Diablos rolled over Long Beach Poly 41-14 leaving no doubt who the state's top football team is this year.
"No one thought it would be like this," Sanchez told us after the game.
"Watching them on film, we saw some things we thought we could exploit but still thought the game would go down to the wire, just like last year.
"They have so many athletes, especially in the secondary so it was tough to find much room to throw and I didn't want to force anything. Those guys can really close on the ball fast so I was just trying to manage the game and not take too many chances."
Sanchez finished the game eight of 18 for 124 yards and three touchdowns and still has yet to throw an interception this year. Mission Viejo came in to the game ranked No. 1 in the state by CalHisports.com while Poly was No. 2.
On the season, the talented signal caller has completed 44 of 72 passes (61 percent) for 737 yards and seven touchdowns while USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow and recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach Ed Orgeron watched from the sidelines.
"I can't wait to get to USC," Sanchez, the nation's No. 1 quarterback, said.
"I'm even thinking about not playing basketball this year so I can continue to work out for football.
"I want to be ready to compete right away at SC, that's what it's all about there, competing. I'm not sure what Matt (Leinart) will do after this season but my goal is to come in and give myself every opportunity to play as early as possible."