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RAMS, BEETDIGGERS CHASE GOLD

When the sun sets on Mountain View High's soccer field Tuesday night, don't expect players from Jordan to lay down and die against 5A championship stalwart Highland. If anything, both teams have the same goal in mind after learning an indentically bitter lesson a year ago.

The two teams meet in the third game of the 5A quarterfinals at 6 p.m. in Orem. Both the Beetdiggers and Rams are battling for a return to the championship after losing the 4A and 5A games respectively in 1995. For Highland coach Brock Varoz, that just means keeping the same mechanics from past success."Nothing's really different," said the coach of the '94 5A champs and '95 runners-up. "It's just a matter of picking up a playoff spot, as long as you do it at the right time."

Name any of the Rams' critical players, and they probably have playoff experience under the belt. Leading off would be goalkeeper Christian Sanchez and scoring threats Jared Croft and Mark Pulver.

"They're not in for a big surprise," Croft added of his troops. "They know what to expect."

As do the 'Diggers. Making the transition to 5A hasn't been too strenuous, according to Coach Bill Noble. "By soccer standards, it's just another season," he said. "The 5A league didn't make a difference to us."

Jordan still had to rebound for a playoff spot, just like last year. The only difference being a league featuring Brighton, Hillcrest and Alta - three of this year's most talented teams. The result was a more defensive team.

"It's really been balanced scoring, but we haven't scored alot."