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Thursday, November 18, 2010
LA North: Games of the week, CIF playoff edition

By Tim Haddock

The Valencia football team has the No. 4 seed in the CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs. On the plus side, two of the top three teams from the Marmonte League are on the other side of the bracket. If the games play out the way they are supposed to, Valencia will face Oaks Christian, the top-seeded team in the division, in the semifinals. More important, the Vikings will avoid Westlake, the reigning Northern Division champ, and St. Bonaventure, the second seed in the playoffs,  until the championship game.

Oaks Christian earned the top seed on a coin flip and even coach Bill Redell said he felt a little lucky to see his team in the position it is in.

As for Valencia, the Vikings will be facing a Highland team Friday night at home that is licking its wounds after a costly Golden League season finale against Palmdale.

Highland lost the game, 22-7, but also lost its starting quarterback Christian Tago to a broken leg.

Even without Tago, Valencia coach Larry Muir says he expects Highland to put up a fight in the first round.

“Overall, it’s going to be a good test,” Muir said.

Valencia running back Steven Manfro has been tough to stop all season. He has 1,881 rushing yards and has scored 36 touchdowns. Eight of his touchdowns have come on receptions. He leads the team with 31 catches and 701 yards. He has also scored two touchdowns on kickoff returns.

Quarterback Alex Bishop has been throwing the ball well all season too. He has nearly 2,500 yards passing in 10 games and 24 touchdowns to three interceptions.

Other games:

No. 8 Westlake (9-1) at Knight (6-4), Friday, 7 p.m.

Westlake is the No. 3 seed in the Northern Division playoffs, the reigning Northern Division champion, tri-champion of the Marmonte League and the Warriors open on the road? How did that happen? Knight has to feel a little lucky getting this game on its home turf.

Culver City (6-4) at No. 24 Chaminade (9-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Chaminade got a bit of a scare beating St. Paul, 13-12, in the Mission League season finale. Another lapse like that and Chaminade, the No. 3 seed, might be making an early exit from the Western Division playoffs. Terrell Newby leads Chaminade in rushing with 994 yards. Tru Jarvis leads the team with 14 rushing touchdowns. Culver City receiver Alex Jackson has 36 catches for 731 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Palmdale (7-3) at Canyon (9-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Which Palmdale team will show up? The one that beat Hart, 42-7, or the one that lost to Quartz Hill, 34-0? Canyon might not be sure what to expect from Palmdale. What they can expect is another heady game from quarterback Jonathan Jerozal. The only real question is who will have the better game for Canyon between receivers Drew Wolitarsky and TJ Yonkers.

Hamilton (2-6) at Reseda (10-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

What is a 2-6 team doing in the playoffs, even if it is City Section Division II playoffs? This one could get ugly. Reseda is having its best season in almost 20 years. The Regents won the Valley Mission League championship for the first time since 1993 and they have the top seed in the City Section Division II playoffs. Hamilton shouldn’t give them too much trouble, right?