The Agoura football team will have its toughest test so far this season when it heads to Westlake Village to play Oaks Christian on Friday night at 7 p.m.
Oaks Christian rebounded from a surprising 13-2 loss against Crenshaw two weeks ago with a dominant 36-6 Marmonte League West Division opener over Thousand Oaks last Friday night.
For Agoura, which is 2-3, the Lions represent the Marmonte League opener.
"Obviously, they're very athletic," said Agoura head coach Charlie Wegher. "They present some problems that we haven't seen in our previous opponents."
Oaks Christian (5-1 overall, 1-0 in league) is currently ranked 10th in the state and 44th in the nation by Maxpreps.
The Chargers had a bye last week and that allowed some of their injured players time to heal. It was also a welcome break at the halfway point of the 10-game regular season.
"It was a good week off," Wegher said. "It gave us a break midway through to get some guys healthy that have been banged up."
Richard Poutier, Agoura's senior quarterback, who has not played since the season-opening win over Oak Park, will start on Friday. Wegher said that Poutier and Jack Barmasse, a junior, will split time at the QB position.
"Jack's been doing really well for us, so I think he's earned some playing time," said Wegher. Sam Rubin, a junior lineman, is also back from an injury.
Wegher said that a lot of players have come down with the flu and even bronchitis, but he expects all of them to be ready to play against the Lions.
The coach said his team worked on things last week that needed shoring up.
"There were some things we needed to work on - fundamentally and schematically - and I think we did that," Wegher said.
Oaks Christian is led by quarterback Brandon Dawkins, a junior, who bounced back from a 5-interception game against Crenshaw with a solid performance last week against Thousand Oaks. He threw for two TDs and no interceptions.
Francis Owusu, a senior, is a leading threat at wide receiver for the Lions as is Chris Davis, a junior.
Damon Riggins, a junior, who transferred for three days to Chaminade earlier in the season, only to return later that week to play against Chaminade, is a leading rusher.
But the Lions, as always, have a multitude of talented players.
"We're going to have to execute our best to stay competitive with them and we don't want to give up a lot of big plays," said Wegher. "That's a challenge against them because of their speed."
Wegher said he was disappointed with his team's performance during a September 7 loss at Newbury Park (a non-league foe this year) and told his players he wants a better output.
"I told them, 'I don't want that to happen again,'" he said. "I want to go in against a good opponent and play hard and put out an effort that we can be proud of."
But he also told the Chargers that he doesn't want them to get too amped up against Oaks Christian, only to have a letdown next week. And truth be told, next week's game at Moorpark, might be just as tough.
"I told them not to get caught up in who we're playing and going up and down emotionally based on that," said Wegher. "I said, 'No matter who you're playing and no matter what your own record is, you have to prepare as hard as you can every week. That way, you leave nothing on the table at he end of the night.'"
One sign that usually indicates how a team will play is how it practices that week.
"We've practiced well this week," Wegher said.