The Oaks Christian and Westlake football teams met twice last season. Westlake won the first game convincingly, 31-12, during Marmonte League play in Week 4.
But Oaks Christian won the second meeting in dramatic fashion, 29-28, in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship game.
The two teams meet again Thursday night at Westlake High School and the winner will have an undefeated record in the Marmonte League.
Both teams are coming off impressive wins last week. Oaks Christian (3-1), the No. 4 team in the ESPNLA prep football Top 25 rankings, rolled over Calabasas, 56-7, resting most of its starters in the second half.
Westlake (4-0), the No. 9 team in the ESPNLA rankings, scored 10 touchdowns in a 73-28 win over Royal. Connor Cook scored five of those touchdowns, two on kickoff returns and three on receptions. He caught four passes for 77 yards and had kickoff returns of 85 and 82 yards for touchdowns.
Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell said his team, coaches, cheerleaders and members of the band will march from their school to Westlake for the game.
“It’s seven-tenths of a mile,” Redell said. “We want to make it a tradition.”
The Stanford football team used to walk from campus to its football field for games. But Redell said he got the idea from Westlake coach Jim Benkert. Benkert was going to have his team walk from their school to Oaks Christian last year but changed his mind at the last minute.
The two teams are separated by two blocks in Westlake Village. Oaks Christian and Westlake established a competitive rivalry after last year’s two meetings.
“It’s a healthy rivalry,” Redell said. “We have a lot of respect for Westlake.”
In the Northern Division championship game, Oaks Christian took the lead in the fourth quarter on a two-point conversion run by Blair Holliday. Westlake had enough time to drive down the field on the ensuing possession and set up a 41-yard field-goal attempt.
Westlake kicker Alex Ball, one of the best kickers in Southern California, hit the right upright and the football bounced back onto the field, giving Oaks Christian a one-point win.
Ball was 10-for-10 on extra-point attempts and made a 51-yard field goal against Royal last week.
Oaks Christian sophomore quarterback Brandon Dawkins has been nearly perfect since taking over the starting role two weeks ago. He has completed 28-of-32 of his passes, 88.5 percent, for 460 yards and seven touchdowns.
“He has been a pleasant surprise,” Redell said. “He’s gotten a lot better a lot sooner than I thought he would.”
Here’s a look at some of the other top games of the week in the L.A. North region:
No. 5 St. Bonaventure (3-1) at Moorpark (3-1), Thursday (7 p.m.) – The Seraphs blanked Simi Valley, 34-0, to record their second shutout of the season. St. Bonaventure also shut out Royal, 59-0, to open Marmonte League play. Moorpark is coming off a 42-7 win over Agoura behind two touchdowns from running back Aaron Stanton. He rushed for 135 yards in 13 carries.
No. 15 Crespi (4-1) at Woodland Hills Taft (1-3), Thursday (7 p.m.) – Talk about two teams going in different directions. Crespi lost its first game of the season, 38-20, to Vista Murrieta last week. Taft won its first game of the season, 28-21, over Saugus. Somehow, it’s unlikely Crespi will lose its second game in a row to Taft.
Valencia (2-2) at No. 16 Loyola (4-1) at L.A. Valley College, Saturday (7 p.m.) – Loyola is still licking its wounds after a 38-23 loss to Upland last week. Valencia is finding its stride, shutting out Palmdale and Santa Monica in back-to-back games. The Vikings' defense has been impressive, giving up 6.7 points per game.
No. 19 Canyon (4-0) at Dos Pueblos (0-5), Thursday (7 p.m.) – The Cowboys are averaging 51.5 points per game and are coming off a 56-6 win over Beverly Hills. Canyon receiver Drew Wolitarsky scored three touchdowns against Beverly Hills, one on a 66-yard punt return. Dos Pueblos has scored only 51 points all season and lost to Rio Mesa, 17-14, last week.
No. 20 Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (5-0) at No. 25 Chaminade (3-1), Friday (7:30 p.m.) – Notre Dame took care of Golden Valley quickly, scoring three touchdowns on its first four plays, and won, 42-0. Chaminade ends its tough preseason schedule against an undefeated Notre Dame team. Chaminade running back Terrell Newby had a nice game against Mira Costa, rushing for 243 yards and two touchdowns, last week in a 29-13 win.
Beverly Hills (1-3) at No. 24 Alemany (3-2), Thursday, 7 p.m. – Alemany might need a confidence boost after another tough loss last week, 13-12, to Dorsey. It was the second one-point loss of the season for Alemany. Beverly Hills has lost two games in a row and is averaging only 15 points.
Royal (2-2) at Thousand Oaks (3-1), Thursday, 7 p.m. – This might be the battle for fourth place, and a playoff spot, in the Marmonte League. Royal’s two losses are to St. Bonaventure and Westlake. Thousand Oaks has league wins over Moorpark and Newbury Park.