Sunday, December 4, 2011
L.A. North: The Top 10
By Tim Haddock
The championship game of the Southern Section Northern Division playoffs is the same as it ever was. Oaks Christian, the reigning champion, will play Westlake, the No. 1-ranked team in the state and by ESPN Los Angeles.
The Westlake football team pounded poor Thousand Oaks in the semifinals of the Northern Division playoffs.
Oaks Christian had to rally in the second half to knock out St. Bonaventure in the other Northern Division semifinal setting up a rematch of last year’s championship game. It will be the fourth time in the past two seasons that Westlake and Oaks Christian have played.
Westlake is 2-1 in the previous three meetings. Oaks Christian’s only win came in last year’s Northern Division championship game, 29-28.
Here’s a look at this week’s L.A. North top 10:
(1) Westlake (13-0) – The Warriors will be well-rested for their championship matchup against Oaks Christian. Quarterback Justin Moore threw for 98 yards and two touchdowns in one half of work. Running back Dashon Hunt gained 75 yards in eight carries and scored on a 42-yard punt return, all in the first half. Westlake will be making its third Northern Division championship game appearance in a row. The Warriors won the title in 2009 and lost to Oaks Christian last year.
(2) Oaks Christian (11-2) – The reigning Northern Division champions are making their ninth straight CIF championship game appearance. The Lions have won seven CIF championships, but last year’s was their first in the Northern Division. Brandon Dawkins was about as efficient as a quarterback can be in the semifinal game against St. Bonaventure. He completed 25 of 29 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell said he was surprised he didn’t go 29-for-29. One area of concern might be that the longest pass of the night came on a halfback option. Chris Davis completed a 37-yard pass to Jordan Payton to set up a touchdown run by Dawkins in the third quarter.
(3) St. Bonaventure (10-3) – The Seraphs came up a game short of the Northern Division championship again. Injuries plagued St. Bonaventure before and during its 27-24 loss to Oaks Christian. Starting quarterback Marc Evans sat out because of an injured shoulder. Receiver and kick returner Montre Lee injured his elbow during a key drive in the fourth quarter and was taken off the field in an ambulance. Not to make excuses, but a healthier St. Bonaventure team might have been able to hold a 10-point lead against Oaks Christian. At least the lights stayed on at the stadium.
(4) Chaminade (10-3) – For the second year in a row, Chaminade ended its playoff run in the Western Division semifinals. Arroyo Grande beat Chaminade, 45-36. Running back Terrell Newby ended the season with 188 yards against Arroyo Grande and set the school record for rushing. He gained 2,073 yards in his junior season, easily breaking the record of 1,741 yards set by Tim Lavin in 1987. Newby scored 35 touchdowns this season and has 57 TDs in his career with one year to go.
(5) Sierra Canyon (13-0) – Running backs Danny Jordan and Xavier Menifeld combined for 282 yards rushing – each had 141 yards -- and kicker Noah Zgrablich made three field goals in their team’s 42-16 win over Bishop Diego in the East Valley Division semifinal. The top-seeded Trailblazers get a rematch against Paraclete, the reigning East Valley Division champion, in the title game on Saturday night.
(6) Ventura (11-1) – Ventura lost to Santa Monica in the quarterfinals of the Western Division playoffs.
(7) Thousand Oaks (8-5) – It wasn’t pretty. Thousand Oaks was in the semifinals of the football playoffs for the first time since 1988 and was shut out, 62-0, by Westlake. The Lancers committed five turnovers in the first half and seven in the game. Westlake was up 35-0 at halftime and sat most of its starters in the second half.
(8) Highland (9-2) – Highland lost to Oaks Christian in the quarterfinals of the Northern Division playoffs.
(9) Alemany (8-3) – Alemany lost to St. John Bosco in the first round of the Pac-5 Division playoffs.
(NR) Paraclete (10-3) -- The Spirits were down, 17-10, at halftime to Rim of the World before rallying with 35 points in the second half to advance to the championship game of the East Valley Division playoffs. Quarterback Tyler Carvalho threw three touchdown passes, two to Brydon Maish, and ran for another. Next up is a rematch against Sierra Canyon in the East Valley Division championship game.