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Monday, December 19, 2011
L.A. North: The final Top 10

By Tim Haddock

Westlake and Sierra Canyon reached the CIF State Bowl Games. The Trailblazers from Chatsworth rallied to beat Le Grand in the Division IV bowl game and capped an undefeated season.

The Warriors from Westlake lost to perennial powerhouse Concord De La Salle in the Open Division bowl game.

Despite the loss, Westlake remains the No. 1 team in the L.A. North top 10 rankings.

Here’s a look at the top 10:
  1. (1) Westlake (14-1) – Concord De La Salle shut out Westlake, 35-0, in the Open Division bowl game. It was the only loss of the season for Westlake. The Warriors lose Colorado-bound defensive ends Justin Solis and Johnny Stuart and most of the offensive line to graduation, but the team will be in good hands. Quarterback Justin Moore and Dashon Hunt, who’s already committed to UCLA, are juniors.
  2. (2) Oaks Christian (11-3) – Oaks Christian reached the Southern Section Northern Division championship for the second year in a row. That’s 2-for-2 since moving up to the Northern Division last year. Oaks Christian’s only three losses came against Bellevue from Washington in the first week and twice to Westlake. Record-breaking quarterback Brandon Dawkins is only a sophomore.
  3. (3) St. Bonaventure (10-3) – What a crazy season for St. Bonaventure. The Seraphs opened the season with a two-point win over Corona Centennial. They lost to Oaks Christian in a game in which the lights went out in at the stadium in the fourth quarter. They lost to Oaks Christian again in the semifinals of the Northern Division playoffs. Because of injuries, St. Bonaventure was able to show off a little freshman gem in Marcus Chambers at the end of the season. The running back rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown in two playoff games.
  4. (4) Sierra Canyon (15-0) – The Trailblazers grew up fast. They won their first CIF state bowl game in their short football history. Sierra Canyon only started playing 11-man football three years ago. The seniors on this team remember when Sierra Canyon was an eight-man team. Coach Jon Ellinghouse said after his team won the Division IV bowl game that he wanted to make Sierra Canyon a yearly bowl contender. He’s on the right track.
  5. (5) Chaminade (10-3) – The Eagles stumbled at the end of the season after posting some impressive wins early in the year. They lost to Gardena Serra and consequently loss the Mission League championship. They had two tough road games in the Western Division playoffs and ultimately lost to eventual champion Arroyo Grande. The good news is running back Terrell Newby is only a junior. He, his 2,117 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns are expected back for his senior season.
  6. (6) Ventura (11-1) – The Cougars didn’t lose their first game until the second round of the Western Division playoffs. They won the Channel League championship with an undefeated 4-0 record. Their magical season came to an end against Santa Monica.
  7. (7) Thousand Oaks (8-5) – The Lancers reached the semifinals of the CIF playoffs for the first time since 1988. Unfortunately for Thousand Oaks, the team ran into the buzzsaw that was Westlake. It was an emotional season for Thousand Oaks on and off the field. The team advanced farther in the playoffs than any team in the past three decades. But the team also lost a teammate, Griffen Kramer, who died of what police believe was a heroin overdose in October.
  8. (8) Highland (9-2) – The Golden League got a treat in watching quarterback Christian Tago lead Highland into the quarterfinals of the Northern Division playoffs. But not even the talented, San Jose State-bound Tago was enough to beat Oaks Christian in the playoffs.
  9. (9) Alemany (8-3) – The Warriors made a quick exit in the tough Pac-5 Division playoffs. They lost to St. John Bosco. But the Alemany faithful have much to be thankful for. Quarterback Devon Dunn and receiver Steven Mitchell are juniors.
  10. (10) Paraclete (11-3) – Two of Paraclete’s losses came against Sierra Canyon, which went on to win the Division IV bowl game. The offense is in good hands with quarterback Tyler Carvalho and running back Antoyne Hutcherson. Both are juniors.