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Wednesday, September 7, 2011
LA North: Games of the week

By Tim Haddock

Chaminade football coach Ed Croson doesn’t schedule any easy games for his team. Friday night’s opener against Venice is no different.

Venice reached the semifnals of the CIF City Section Division I playoffs last season and lost to eventual champion Crenshaw.

The Gondoliers opened their season with an impressive, come-from-behind, 34-27 win over Harvard-Westlake. Croson said Venice will be a good test for his team to open the season at Chaminade High School at 7:30 p.m.

“They’re one of the top four teams in the City Section year in and year out,” Croson said. “They’ve always got talent. What they lack in discipline, they make up for in speed.”

The big question at Venice is who will start at quarterback. Senior Dean Sarabia started at quarterback against Harvard-Westlake, but when Venice was down 21-0, coach Angelo Gasca put in sophomore Alexander Diamont. He rallied his team to tie the score at 27-27 before engineering the winning drive in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

Croson said the Venice players have a history of never giving up, and he credits the coaching staff for instilling that quality.

“They have to play every play,” Croson said. “Playing every play, there’s something to be said for that. And they’re tough kids.”

Chaminade, ranked No. 19 in this week's ESPNLA Top 25 rankings, has no questions at quarterback. Senior Logan Scott will start. He passed for  1,409 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior. He also rushed for 267 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, and scored a touchdown.

“He has a ton of poise,” Croson said. “He can make decisions and he make quick reactions. He’s intelligent and cool under pressure.”

Chaminade scrimmaged against St. Bonaventure last week. The teams played to a 22-22 tie. Scott hit junior receiver Elijah Dunston for a pair of touchdowns in the first half. That combination could create problems for opposing defenses. Croson said Dunston is running sub-11-second times in the 100 on the Chaminade track team.

“We have some guys who can run,” Croson said. “We have to go out and play our game. In high school, it’s all about continued improvement.”

Here’s a look at the other top games in the LA North:

No. 9 St. Bonaventure (0-0) at No. 2 Corona Centennial (0-0), Friday (7:30 p.m.) – This is the season opener for both teams. St. Bonaventure went 11-2 and advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs, losing to Westlake, in 2010. Centennial was 14-1 and won the Inland Division championship. Centennial lost to Palo Alto, 15-13, in their CIF state bowl game at the Home Depot Center last year.

Lancaster Eastside (0-1) at No. 5 Alemany (1-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Alemany is coming off a decisive, 55-0, win over Pasadena. Eastside lost to Granite Hills, 26-15, in its season opener.

L.A. Jordan (0-1) at No. 10 Crespi (1-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Crespi opened with a stunning, 48-6 win over Dominguez. Jordan is still looking for its first touchdown of the season after a 34-0 loss to Dorsey.

Burroughs of Burbank (0-1) at No. 22 Canyon Country Canyon (0-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Burroughs is getting its fill of the Foothill League early. The Indians lost to Saugus, 31-20, to open the season. One bright note: Running back Zander Anding rushed for 277 yards and scored three touchdowns, including one on an 84-yard kickoff return. Canyon went 10-2 and advanced to the CIF-SS Northern Division quarterfinals last year.

No. 23 Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (1-0) at Valencia (0-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Notre Dame opened with an impressive, 35-13, win over Gardena Serra. Valencia is the reigning Foothill League champion and advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-SS Northern Division playoffs last season.

Follow Tim Haddock on Twitter @thaddock.