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Sunday, November 13, 2011
L.A. North: The Top 10

By Tim Haddock

Two of the undefeated teams in the L.A. North Top 10 earned No. 1 seeds in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs. Westlake, as expected, is the top seed in the Northern Division playoffs. Sierra Canyon is No. 1 in the East Valley Division playoffs.

Ventura, the other undefeated team in the L.A. North top 10, is the No. 4 seed in the Western Division playoffs.

It was a rough end to the regular season for a few teams in the top 10. Crespi lost to Loyola in the Serra League season finale, then lost coin flips to determine the third and final team from the Serra League to advance to the Pac-5 Division playoffs.

Chaminade lost to Gardena Serra in the Mission League season finale and dropped from the No. 1 to the No. 3 seed in the Western Division playoffs.

Simi Valley cracked the top 10 for the first time this season and proceeded to lose to Moorpark in the Marmonte League finale and ultimately was eliminated from playoff contention in the Northern Division on coin flips.

Here is a look at the L.A. North top 10:
  1. (1) Westlake (10-0) – Coach Jim Benkert will never admit it, but his team comfortably beat St. Bonaventure, 35-14, in the Marmonte League championship game. Quarterback Justin Moore picked apart the St. Bonaventure defense throwing for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 69 yards and scored the last touchdown of the game on a quarterback sneak.
  2. (2) Alemany (8-2) – Receiver Steven Mitchell had a huge game, catching nine passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns, in Alemany’s 21-14 win over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in the Serra League finale. Maybe a little too close for comfort for coach Dean Herrington, but Alemany earned the No. 4 seed in the Pac-5 Division playoffs with the Serra League championship and an undefeated record in league play.
  3. (5) Oaks Christian (8-2) – With a 42-7 win over Newbury Park and a St. Bonaventure loss to Westlake in the Marmonte League finales, Oaks Christian earned the No. 2 seed in the Northern Division playoffs. The reigning Northern Division champs went up 42-0 at halftime behind four touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Brandon Dawkins.
  4. (6) Ventura (10-0) – The Cougars didn’t play last week, polishing off the Channel League championship with a 41-0 shutout over San Marcos two weeks ago. The Cougars have had two weeks to prepare for the start of the Western Division playoffs. They will look to extend a perfect season and make a run at a CIF championship.
  5. (3) St. Bonaventure (7-3) – The 1-2 punch of Shaun Wick and Zack Green wasn’t as effective as anticipated against Westlake. Green rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns, but Wick was a little nicked up and only gained 22 yards on 10 carries. If St. Bonaventure faces Westlake again with a healthier Wick, it might be a different outcome.
  6. (4) Chaminade (8-2) – Instead of heading into the Western Division playoffs with a seven-game winning streak and the Mission League championship, Chaminade stumbled across the finish line in a surprising 35-29 loss to Gardena Serra. Chaminade is the No. 3 seed in the Western Division playoffs and won’t have to play Serra again until the championship game. That is if both teams make it through their brackets.
  7. (7) Sierra Canyon (10-0) – The Trailblazers capped their first Alpha League championship with a 48-0 shutout over Calvary Chapel of Downey. They are the No. 1 seed in the East Valley Division playoffs and have their sights set on their first CIF football championship.
  8. (9) Highland (8-1) – The Bulldogs beat Lancaster, 55-13, in the Golden League finale and earned a share of the league championship with Quartz Hill. Quarterback Christian Tago threw for 269 yards and three touchdowns and scored two rushing touchdowns. Highland has won five games in a row and hasn’t lost since Oct. 7 to Quartz Hill.
  9. (8) Crespi (7-3) – The hard-luck Celts had about as bad a weekend as a football team can have. They blew a 15-point lead and lost to Loyola in overtime in the Serra League finale. They finished in a three-way tie for third place with Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Bishop Amat in the Serra League standings. Only one team advanced to the Pac-5 Division playoffs and Crespi lost out to Bishop Amat after a coin flip because of the Celts' loss to the Lancers' earlier.
  10. (NR) Moorpark (6-4) – The Musketeers had about as good a weekend as a football team can have. They shut out Simi Valley, 20-0, in the Marmonte League finale and forced a three-way tie for fourth place with Simi and Thousand Oaks in the league standings. The top five teams in the Marmonte earned playoff berths in the Northern Division. Moorpark and Thousand Oaks advanced on coin flips and the Musketeers were the last team from the Marmonte League with a playoff berth.