Los Angeles Preps: Alex Ball

L.A. North: Five things from the weekend

December, 19, 2011
  1. The Sierra Canyon football team won its first CIF state bowl game and is the only team in Southern California with a 15-0 record. But the school might be better known for having two Kardashian sisters on the cheerleading squad. Here’s a look at some of the top players on the Sierra Canyon football team: Senior quarterback Tyler Stewart threw for 2,245 yards and 32 touchdowns. A more impressive stat is that he threw only two interceptions in 222 pass attempts. The Trailblazers had a pair of running backs with 1,000 yards. Senior Danny Jordan had 1,021 yards and eight touchdowns. Junior Xavier Menifield had 1,382 yards and scored 25 touchdowns. Three of those TDs came against Le Grand in the bowl game. He also caught 14 passes for 369 yards and six touchdowns. Junior Preston White led Sierra Canyon in receiving with 35 catches for 490 yards and seven touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, senior Patrick McGown led the team with a whopping 17 sacks. Reggie Prince and Brian Tucker shared the team lead for interceptions with three. Each had one pick in the bowl game against Le Grand. Finally, sophomore kicker Noah Zgrabalich made eight field goals, 81 extra points and was second on the team in scoring with 105 points. Only Menifield had more points with 31 touchdowns, a pair of two-point conversions and 188 points.
  2. The Westlake football team might have lost the CIF Open Division bowl game to Concord De La Salle, but one player came out a winner. Westlake kicker Alex Ball won the Chris Sailer award recognizing the best high school kicker in the nation. Ball converted 19 field goals this season and tied for the state lead with Vista Murrieta’s Tyler Rausa. Ball’s 138 points are the most in the nation by schools that reported totals. Ball did not play in the CIF Open Division bowl game because he tore his ACL in his left leg in the Northern Division championship game against Oaks Christian. Even though Westlake lost the Open Division bowl game, the Warriors are not dodging tough teams next season. Westlake will open the season against Granite Bay in the Battle for Veterans Showcase in Sacramento. Oaks Christian and Thousand Oaks are also playing in the Battle for Veterans Showcase. Oaks Christian will play Del Oro, which lost to Helix in the Division II state bowl game. Thousand Oaks squares off against Franklin of Elk Grove. The week after the Battle for Veterans Showcase, Westlake will host Del Oro. Westlake opened the 2011 season against Del Oro and won, 30-27, in overtime.
  3. Providence of Burbank freshman Marcus LoVett Jr. had one of the best basketball games in San Fernando Valley history. He scored a school record 57 points in an 85-74 win over St. Joseph of Santa Maria in the National Prep Classic in Santa Maria. The previous school record was 52 points by Patrick Gonzalez in 2010. LoVett’s 57 points are the most by a player from the San Fernando Valley since 2005 when Grant’s Michael Danielian scored 58 points against Verdugo Hills, according to the Daily News. Providence plays Fremont on Tuesday in the National Prep Classic.
  4. The Harvard-Westlake boys basketball team won the Palos Verdes Tournament, beating Lawndale, 65-63, in the championship game. Derrick Newton scored the winning basket with 13 second left in the game. He was selected tournament MVP and scored 21 points, had 11 rebounds and four blocks against Lawndale. Zena Edosomwan scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds for Harvard-Westlake in the championship game. He was selected to the all-tournament team.
  5. The Chaminade boys soccer team won the Garces Tournament in Bakersfield beating McLane from Bakersfield, 6-1, in the championship game. Karam Gill and Nick Barbarino scored two goals apiece for Chaminade. Zack Khoury and Alessandro Giambrone each notched a goal. In the Arcadia Classic, the Palmdale boys soccer team shut out Monrovia, 2-0, in the championship game. Oscar Torres was selected the tournament MVP and scored both goals for Palmdale. He also scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Arcadia in the semifinals.

Open Bowl: De La Salle 35, Westlake 0

December, 17, 2011

CARSON -- Westlake coach Jim Benkert was putting the finishing touches on his postgame speech when, suddenly, one of his players shouted, "At least we got a ring!" Laughs followed, and even Benkert cracked a smile.

At last, a positive.

Previously undefeated Westlake, the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division champion, stumbled early and never recovered, losing to perennial power De La Salle, 35-0, Saturday night in the 2011 CIF State Football Championship Open Division Bowl game presented by Farmers. It was so ugly that a running clock was used at the start of the fourth quarter -- a state bowl game first -- and Warriors fans streamed out of Home Depot Center well before the final whistle blew.

"It was a big stage and our kids did their best," Benkert said. "We just made too many mistakes."

De La Salle (13-1), ranked No. 11 in the ESPN High School national poll, captured its third straight Open Division bowl championship. The Spartans recently won their 20th consecutive CIF section championship and were making their sixth straight appearance in a state bowl game.

Westlake got a taste of what Crenshaw and Servite experienced the last two years. The Warriors (14-1) didn't necessarily get manhandled, moving the chains 14 times in the first half. For proper perspective, the mighty Servite Friars didn't get a first down on De La Salle until midway through the third quarter in last year's 48-8 loss.

"De La Salle is a great football team," said Westlake's Dashon Hunt, who was held to only 48 rushing yards. "Our mistakes turned into touchdowns."

Another sour note for the Marmonte League champs: Westlake was the only Southern Section representative to lose during the bowl weekend. Sierra Canyon claimed the Division IV title with a 27-13 victory over Le Grand and Santa Margarita beat San Jose Bellarmine 42-37 for the Division I crown.

Warriors junior quarterback Justin Moore will have plenty to think about during the offseason. He had thrown only four interceptions heading into Saturday, but was picked off twice on Westlake's last two drives of the first half. Both throws were intercepted inside the end zone.

"We didn't make the plays when we needed to," Moore said. "If you do that it's going to come back to hurt you."

Spartans running back Tiapepe Vitale opened the second half with short touchdown run, making it 28-0. Loud chants of "D-L-S" echoed from the stands. Minutes later, it was Wisconsin-bound quarterback Bart Houston diving past the goal line to give De La Salle the 35-0 lead.

The Warriors had their chances early. A fumble recovery in the second quarter gave them new life, but a 27-yard touchdown pass from Houston to a wide-open Michael Hutchings -- on a fourth-and-11 call, for good measure -- had the Warriors cheerleaders looking the other way.

De La Salle showed its dominance in the blink of an eye, breaking the scoreless tie on Vitale's 37-yard touchdown scamper. Westlake was forced to punt on its first possession and, moments later, Houston followed with a sneak for the two-touchdown lead midway through the first quarter.

"That's a good football team over there," Benkert said as De La Salle players carried the trophy. "We didn't take them out of their game."

But, like the player pointed out after the game, at least Westlake got some bling this season.

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.

Open Div.: Westlake vs. De La Salle

December, 15, 2011
The Westlake football team will be a man down for the CIF State Open Division bowl game against Concord De La Salle at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.

Kicker Alex Ball, who has 19 field goals and produces touchbacks on 93 percent of his kickoffs, has a torn ACL in his left leg and won’t be able to play. He broke the state record with 36 field goals in his career and is tied for second in the Southern Section record book with Kai Forbath of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame with 19 field goals in a single season.

Ball injured his leg in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship game against Oaks Christian on Friday night. The torn ACL is in his non-kicking leg, but he can’t plant his left foot to kick.

It takes away a dangerous weapon for Westlake (14-0) against one of the best teams in the country. De La Salle (12-1) is ranked No. 11 in the ESPNHS national poll.

Sophomore Jonathan Weilbacher took over the kicking duties for Ball in the Northern Division championship game and made five extra-points attempts. Ball was injured in the second quarter of the game covering a punt.

Weilbacher was a playoff call-up from the junior varsity team. While he filled in admirably for Ball on the extra-point attempts, Weilbacher does not have the leg to produce touchbacks or long field goals on a consistent basis.

“Hold on to your hats,” Westlake coach Jim Benkert said. “He’s a youngster. He’s going to learn and try to make it happen. He can do some of the things we need.”

(Read full post)

Preview: Westlake at Oaks Christian

December, 7, 2011

The sequels are never quite as good as the originals. There are exceptions: “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Godfather II” come to mind.

The CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship game between Oaks Christian and Westlake is a rematch of last year’s title game. It will be hard to exceed the hype, drama and outcome of the original.

The cast of players for Westlake has changed dramatically. Quarterback Justin Moore took over for Nick Isham, who started for Lousiana Tech this season as a freshman. Running back Dashon Hunt has taken over admirably for Tavior Mowry. Connor Cook has emerged as a big-play receiver in place of the reliable Nelson Spruce from last year’s Westlake team.

The Oaks Christian roster has some familiar names, including Arizona State-bound linebacker Carlos Mendoza, highly recruited receiver Jordan Payton and a double-threat at corner back and running back in Ishmael Adams.

These two teams know each other well. This championship game on Friday night at Oaks Christian will be the fourth meeting in the past two seasons.

Westlake (13-0) comes in as the overwhelming favorite and the No. 1-ranked team in the ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25. Several outlets have Westlake ranked as the No. 1 team in the state. The Warriors are 39-2 over the past three seasons and won the Northern Division championship in 2009.

Oaks Christian (11-2) is the reigning Northern Division champion, ranked fifth by ESPN Los Angeles and is making its ninth straight CIF championship game appearance. The Lions moved up to the Northern Division last year after competing in the Northwest Division. Oaks Christian is 6-2 in CIF championship games and playing for its seventh CIF football championship in the past nine years.

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Northern: No. 1 Westlake 62, Thousand Oaks 0

December, 2, 2011

WESTLAKE VILLAGE -- This one was over before things started.

Justin Moore made sure of it. He left no doubt about the outcome.

The junior quarterback from Westlake did all of his damage in the first half of Friday's 62-0 victory over visiting Thousand Oaks in a Southern Section semifinal playoff game. Moore completed 7-of-10 of his passes for 98 yards and pair of touchdowns to go along with 53 yards rushing on five carries to help the Warriors advance to the Northern Division title game.

“This was a statement game for us. We're for real,'' Moore said.

Indeed the Warriors (13-0) are for real. And then some. They moved up to the top spot, No.1 overall in the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 25 rankings this week and looked every bit the part. The Lancers (8-5) were over-matched from the opening kickoff until the final whistle.

“Are we surprised we won? No, I don't think so,'' Warriors coach Jim Benkert said. “Our kids came into the game focused. We knew what we had to do out on the field.''

The same could not be said about Thousand Oaks, which trailed 45-0 at the half. Things got so bad in the second half, the officials decided to use a running clock. The Warriors, in fact, pulled their starters in the third quarter and let them watch on the bench in the second half.

“This is our house, we weren't going to let Thousand Oaks come in here and think things were going to be easy,'' said the Warriors Dashon Hunt, also a junior and UCLA commit.

Apparently, a two-touchdown lead after the opening 12 minutes, was not enough. The Warriors rattled off four more scores and a field goal before halftime.

(Read full post)

L.A. North: The Top 10

November, 21, 2011
One team in the L.A. North Top 10 lost in the first round of the CIF football playoffs. Another team in the top 10 didn’t even make the playoffs.

Alemany, the No. 4-seeded team in the Southern Section Pac 5 Division playoffs, lost to St. John Bosco, 33-28.

Crespi, which ended up in a three-way tie with Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Bishop Amat for third place in the Serra League, lost a spot in the Pac-5 Division playoffs on coin flips.

It was probably just as well. The three teams from the Serra League in the Pac-5 Division playoffs lost in the first round. Loyola was upset by Huntington Beach and Bishop Amat lost to Santa Margarita.

Here’s a look at this week’s L.A. North top 10:
  1. (1) Westlake (11-0) – The Warriors easily eliminated Eastside, 59-12, in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs. Kicker Alex Ball set the Southern Section record for field goals with a 24-yarder in the second quarter. Westlake was up 52-6 at halftime. The good news for Eastside is that the Lions almost outscored Westlake’s second stringers in the second half.
  2. (3) Oaks Christian (9-2) – Mira Costa was no challenge for the reigning Northern Division champion. Oaks Christian scored on its first six possessions and rolled to a 43-10 win in the first round. Running back Ishmael Adams had quite a night, rushing for 98 yards on three carries and scored two touchdowns.
  3. (4) Ventura (11-0) – The Cougars are putting on their best DJ Khaled impression. All they do is win, win, win no matter what. Ventura jumped out to a 21-0 lead and won convincingly, 41-14, over visiting Dominguez in the first round of the Western Division playoffs. After top-seeded Gardena Serra was upset by Culver City, Ventura is now the highest remaining seeded team in its half of the playoff bracket.
  4. (5) St. Bonaventure (8-3) – It wasn’t pretty, but St. Bonaventure won its first round Northern Division playoff game, 19-10, over Redondo. The Serpahs were down 10-0 in the second quarter and 10-8 at halftime. They finally took the lead on a 40-yard field goal by Brandon Rominger in the third quarter and held Redondo scoreless in the second half. St. Bonaventure certainly won no style points for this one.

(Read full post)

L.A. North: Five things from the weekend

October, 10, 2011
  1. The most glaring stat from Westlake’s 43-21 win over Oaks Christian is the rushing yard comparison. Westlake rushed for 444 yards to Oaks Christian’s 156. Westlake had two players with more than 100 yards rushing. Quarterback Justin Moore gained 226 yards and scored a touchdown. Jarrius Bishop had 104 yards and scored a touchdown. For good measure, Dashon Hunt had 80 yards and scored a touchdown. Oaks Christian had only five runs of 12 yards or more and only two rushes of more than 20 yards. Perhaps the more telling stat from the game was the turnover ratio. Westlake forced four turnovers and did not commit any. All of Oaks Christian’s turnovers came at key moments. With Westlake up 20-14 in the second quarter, Oaks Christian drove to the Warriors 13-yard line. But Bradley Wellman picked off Brandon Dawkins and ended the Oaks Christian scoring threat. Westlake proceeded to drive 77 yards in eight plays to take a 27-14 lead on a touchdown run by Bishop. On the ensuing drive, Oaks Christian running back Ishmael Adams broke off the biggest rush of the game, a 43-yarder that gave the Lions a first-and-10 on the Westlake 37-yard line. But Westlake defensive end Johnny Stuart sacked Dawkins on the next play, forced a fumble and recovered the football to end the first half. With Westlake up 37-21 in the fourth quarter, Moore, playing defensive back, picked off Dawkins and set up one of Alex Ball’s five field goals. Jordie Hannel forced the fourth turnover by sacking Dawkins late in the fourth quarter and causing him to fumble on the Oaks Christian 22-yard line. It led to Ball’s last field goal of the game. Westlake sacked Dawkins five times in the game. Ball tied the school record with 29 field goals in his career. Jordan Mannisto, a senior at the University of Houston, kicked 29 field goals for Westlake from 2005 to '07. Ball, a senior, has kicked 12 field goals in five games this season.

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No. 9 Westlake 43, No. 4 Oaks Chr. 21

October, 7, 2011

WESTLAKE VILLAGE -- The Oaks Christian football players walked from their campus to Westlake High School for their game Thursday night.

But it was the Westlake football team that ran all over Oaks Christian in a Marmonte League game.

Westlake racked up 444 rushing yards in a convincing 43-21 win over its crosstown rivals, handing Oaks Christian its first league loss, and remained undefeated.

Quarterback Justin Moore gained 226 yards in 14 carries and scored the first touchdown for Westlake in the first quarter.

Running back Jarrius Bishop rushed for 104 yards in 20 carries and scored a touchdown on a one-yard run just before halftime to give Westlake a 27-14 lead.

Kicker Alex Ball made five field goals, including a 47-yarder in the third quarter.

Westlake coach Jim Benkert said after the game he needed to come up with a game plan to neutralize the Oaks Christian secondary. The defensive backs for Oaks Christian gave Westlake fits in summer passing leagues, Benkert said.

“They have a lot of great athletes in that secondary,” Benkert said. “We really had to look elsewhere. I don’t think I’ve gone to a running game like that in my career.”

(Read full post)

L.A. North: Games of the Week

October, 5, 2011
Jim Benkert, Bill RedellJohn Lazar/For ESPNLA.comWestlake coach Jim Benkert, left, and Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell have established a competitive rivalry between their teams in Westlake Village.

The Oaks Christian and Westlake football teams met twice last season. Westlake won the first game convincingly, 31-12, during Marmonte League play in Week 4.

But Oaks Christian won the second meeting in dramatic fashion, 29-28, in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship game.

The two teams meet again Thursday night at Westlake High School and the winner will have an undefeated record in the Marmonte League.

Both teams are coming off impressive wins last week. Oaks Christian (3-1), the No. 4 team in the ESPNLA prep football Top 25 rankings, rolled over Calabasas, 56-7, resting most of its starters in the second half.

Westlake (4-0), the No. 9 team in the ESPNLA rankings, scored 10 touchdowns in a 73-28 win over Royal. Connor Cook scored five of those touchdowns, two on kickoff returns and three on receptions. He caught four passes for 77 yards and had kickoff returns of 85 and 82 yards for touchdowns.

Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell said his team, coaches, cheerleaders and members of the band will march from their school to Westlake for the game.

“It’s seven-tenths of a mile,” Redell said. “We want to make it a tradition.”

The Stanford football team used to walk from campus to its football field for games. But Redell said he got the idea from Westlake coach Jim Benkert. Benkert was going to have his team walk from their school to Oaks Christian last year but changed his mind at the last minute.

The two teams are separated by two blocks in Westlake Village. Oaks Christian and Westlake established a competitive rivalry after last year’s two meetings.

“It’s a healthy rivalry,” Redell said. “We have a lot of respect for Westlake.”

In the Northern Division championship game, Oaks Christian took the lead in the fourth quarter on a two-point conversion run by Blair Holliday. Westlake had enough time to drive down the field on the ensuing possession and set up a 41-yard field-goal attempt.

Westlake kicker Alex Ball, one of the best kickers in Southern California, hit the right upright and the football bounced back onto the field, giving Oaks Christian a one-point win.

Ball was 10-for-10 on extra-point attempts and made a 51-yard field goal against Royal last week.

Oaks Christian sophomore quarterback Brandon Dawkins has been nearly perfect since taking over the starting role two weeks ago. He has completed 28-of-32 of his passes, 88.5 percent, for 460 yards and seven touchdowns.

“He has been a pleasant surprise,” Redell said. “He’s gotten a lot better a lot sooner than I thought he would.”

Here’s a look at some of the other top games of the week in the L.A. North region:

(Read full post)

ESPNLA prep football Top 25: Week 3

September, 19, 2011
Alemany and Mater Dei were the only ranked teams to lose last week, so there aren't any newcomers to the latest ESPN Los Angeles prep football 25. There are six matchups between ranked teams this week, making for an intriguing slate of games as nonleague action winds down across the Southland. Here are our rankings heading into Week 3:

1. Servite (3-0)
Cody Pittman had 230 passing yards -- 147 going to favorite target Sam Hunt. But not all went well for the Friars, who will be without running back Charlie Etiaki (collarbone) for over a month. Last week: Beat La Habra, 24-16. Next: vs. Edison at Huntington Beach HS, Fri., 7 p.m.

2. Long Beach Poly (3-0)
The crowd's exhale at Veterans Stadium was clearly audible after the Jackrabbits survived a late charge by a City Section favorite Friday night. Coach Raul Lara had his defense to thank. Last week: Beat Narbonne, 19-16. Next: at Mission Viejo, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

3. Santa Margarita (3-0)
Ryan Wolpin carried 20 times for 133 yards and scored four touchdowns, and the Eagles picked off four passes to beat a neighboring school for the second straight week. Last week: Beat Trabuco Hills, 35-14. Next: at Carson, Fri., 7 p.m.

4. Mission Viejo (2-1)
The Diablos were obviously glad to be back in town following their humbling trip to New Jersey. Alex Bridgford, Jahleel Pinner and D.J. Wilson got the explosive offense back on track. Last week: Beat La Quinta, 47-21. Next: vs. Long Beach Poly, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

5. St. Bonaventure (2-0)
Give the Seraphs credit for not lollygagging through their Marmonte League opener. They could have easily overlooked Royal, instead setting their sights on this week's highly anticipated game. Last week: Beat Royal, 59-0. Next: at Oaks Christian, Fri., 7 p.m.

6. Corona Centennial (1-1)
There's no questioning the Huskies' heart, that's for sure. Hayden Gavett led a late charge to erase two-touchdown deficit, helping Centennial avoid what would have been a demoralizing 0-2 start. Last week: Beat Mater Dei, 28-20. Next: vs. Chaparral, Fri., 7 p.m.

7. Crespi (3-0)
Serra League coaches might have been jumping for joy after the graduation of Kenny Stenhouse, but Cody Cordell might cause some headaches this fall. The junior threw for five touchdowns in Fresno. Last week: Beat Clovis West, 42-28. Next: at Palisades, Fri., 7 p.m.

8. Oaks Christian (1-1)
Sophomore Brandon Dawkins threw the ball only six times in his varsity debut but half went for scores. Ishmael Adams added 121 rushing yards to help the Lions bounce back from their season-opening loss. Last week: Beat Agoura, 50-11. Next: vs. St. Bonaventure, Fri., 7 p.m.

9. St. John Bosco (3-0)
As expected, the Braves are spreading the ball around on offense, averaging nearly 38 points through three games. Cal-bound Bryce Treggs either beats defenses by himself or serves as a decoy. Last week: Beat Santa Fe, 51-0. Next: vs. Loyola at L.A. Valley College, Fri., 7 p.m.

10. Alemany (2-1)
In the biggest shocker so far, the Warriors blew a 14-point lead on the road Friday and lost, snapping their 15-game regular-season winning streak. The schedule doesn't get easier, either. Last week: Lost to J.W. North, 36-35. Next: at Chaminade, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

(Read full post)

LA North: Top 10 football teams

September, 5, 2011
Week 0 produced some surprises, probably none bigger than Sherman Oaks Notre Dame's 35-13 win over No. 25 Gardena Serra. It looks like the Serra League is going to be a battle. All five teams in the Serra League won their season openers. The Marmonte League had its share of close calls and near misses. Westlake and Moorpark won, but both games were far from convincing wins. Oaks Christian lost to Bellevue from Washington, a formidable opponent that gave the Lions defense fits. Here's a look at the LA North top 10 after Week 0:
  1. Oaks Christian (0-1) – The Lions lost to Bellevue from Washington, 31-21, at Mission Viejo on Saturday night. If there is such a good thing as a good loss, this would be it. Oaks Christian won’t see a team like Bellevue and its Wing-T offense again this season. Too much Tyler Hasty, who not only ran the offense at quarterback, but intercepted two passes at cornerback for Bellevue. Next game: Oaks Christian at Agoura on Sept. 16.
  2. St. Bonaventure (0-0) – The Seraphs have a tough opener against Corona Centennial. St. Bonaventure and Chaminade matched each other touchdown for touchdown in a scrimmage last week. The Seraphs can score and they can hit. Next game: St. Bonaventure at Corona Centennial on Friday.
  3. Alemany (1-0) – The Warriors pounded Pasadena, 55-0, in their season opener. Alemany quarterback Devon Dunn threw three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth TD in his debut. The Alemany defense recovered a fumble for a touchdown, intercepted three passes and forced seven punts. Next game: Alemany vs. Eastside at Alemany on Friday.
  4. Crespi (1-0) – The Celts destroyed a good Dominguez team, 48-6, in their season opener. No one likes to look ahead, but circle the game against Alemany on Oct. 28. Next game: Crespi vs. Jordan at Crespi on Friday.
  5. Westlake (1-0) – The Warriors narrowly escaped Del Oro with a 30-27 win in overtime. Alex Ball kicked the game-winner in OT and the Westlake defense completed a goalline stand, turning back Del Oro on the 1-yard line in overtime. Confidence builders on two fronts. Next game: Westlake vs. Calabasas at Westlake on Sept. 16.
  6. Moorpark (1-0) – The Musketeers opened with a 21-10 win over Palos Verdes. The Moorpark defense shined, forcing three turnovers, including a 21-yard interception for a touchdown by Bobby Eckert. Next game: Moorpark vs. Thousand Oaks at Moorpark on Sept. 16.
  7. Canyon (0-0) – The season opener for Canyon against Burroughs of Burbank will be challenging. Burroughs running back Zander Anding rushed for 277 yards against Saugus on Thursday night. He also had a 84-yard kick-off return for a touchdown. Next game: Canyon vs. Burroughs at Canyon on Friday.
  8. Quartz Hill (0-0) – The Rebels open against Oxnard, the reigning Pacific View League champs. Oxnard lost in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs last season. Quartz Hill went 8-3 and won a share of the Golden League championship in 2010. Next game: Quartz Hill vs. Oxnard at Quartz Hill on Friday.
  9. Chaminade (0-0) – The Eagles have an experienced quarterback in Logan Scott and a seasoned running back in Terrell Newby. In a scrimmage against a tough St. Bonaventure defense, both Scott and Newby found holes and made plays. The Mission League is in for a rude awakening. Next game: Chaminade vs. Venice at Chaminade on Friday.
  10. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (1-0) – Notre Dame opened with an impressive, 35-13, win over No. 25 Gardena Serra. Khalfani Muhammad and Kelly Hilinski look like a dynamic duo for Notre Dame. Next game: Notre Dame vs. Valencia at Notre Dame on Friday.
  1. Hart freshman receiver Trent Irwin had quite a debut. He caught five passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns in his team’s 35-21 loss to Tesoro. Both of his touchdown catches came in the fourth quarter, when Hart was deseperately trying to rally in the closing minutes. Making those touchdown passes was sophomore quarterback Connor Wingenroth, who also ran for a 71-yard touchdown in the first half to keep the game close. Irwin didn’t start and Hart coach Mike Herrington sounded like he might reconsider that decision in future games. “He probably could have had more,” Herrington said. “He didn’t start the game for us, but he’s a player. He’s a go-to guy, runs great patterns and catches the ball well. He’s going to have a great future.” Hart struggled at times against Tesoro, but there were some bright spots. Still, it looks like Hart might be a year away from being a power again in high school football.
  2. West Ranch running back Jeff Coprich has a pair of records that might not be broken for a while, at least in the Foothill League anyway. He rushed for a school record 213 yards in his team’s 53-21 win over Nordhoff. Coprich, a transfer from Golden Valley, holds the single-game rushing record for at his old school as well. He rushed for 202 yards against West Ranch on Oct. 22, 2010. Coprich had quite a game against Nordhoff. He scored four touchdowns, two on a pair of 85-yard runs and one on a 70-yard interception return.
  3. The Serra League teams not only went undefeated in the opening week of high school football, three teams posted impressive wins. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame pulled off the stunner of the weekend, beating No. 25 Gardena Serra by 23 points, 35-13. Notre Dame was 2-8 in 2010, so it looks like the rebound is well on its way. Not to be lost are wins by No. 11 Crespi and Loyola. Crespi beat No. 19 Compton Dominguez by 42 points, 48-6, and Loyola won by 14 points, 28-14, over Mira Costa. No. 7 Bishop Amat might have had the least impressive victory, shutting out Garfield, 14-0, as if a shutout is anything but impressive. No. 5 Alemany, the reigning Serra League champs, beat Pasadena, 55-0, and it could have been worse. The game went to a running clock in the third quarter.
  4. It looks like the Westlake football team dodged a couple of bullets against Del Oro in its season opener in Northern California, dubbed the Battle at the Capital. Westlake won the game, 30-27, in overtime on Saturday night, but not before Warriors kicker Alex Ball missed a field goal that would have won the game in regulation, according to a story in the Sacramento Bee. Ball made up for the miss, making a 27-yard field goal to win the game in OT. Del Oro was knocking on the goalline in the overtime period, but turned the ball over on downs after a fourth-and-goal play that ended inside the 1-yard line. Westlake drove down the field and gave Ball another chance to win the game. He didn’t squander his second attempt. Westlake has a bit of break. The next game for the Warriors is Sept. 16 at home against Calabasas.
  5. Burroughs senior cross country runner Anthony Monroy set the course record at the 21st Burbank all-city cross country meet at Johnny Carson Park. He won the race over the 2.6-mile course in 12 minutes, 50 seconds, breaking the mark set by Western Nelson of Burroughs, who held the record in 12 minutes, 59 seconds, in 2007. Christina Shamirian of Burbank won the girls race, the first of her high school career, in 16 minutes, 28 seconds.

Northern Division: Westlake 37, St. Bonaventure 27

December, 3, 2010
WESTLAKE VILLAGE -- Revenge is sweet. And no one understands this better than the members of the Westlake High football team.

All signs pointed to the Warriors finishing up regular-season play with an undefeated record. Ventura St. Bonaventure, however, had other ideas and the Seraphs ended up playing the role of spoiler earlier this year with an unexpected victory over Westlake.

On Friday night, at long last, the Warriors earned a bit of redemption with a 37-27 victory over visiting St. Bonaventure in a Southern Section Northern Division semifinal playoff game.

"Oh yeah, we remember when they beat us, that was a tough loss, you don't get over something like that, it sticks with you for a while,'' Westlake senior Nick Isham said about the Seraphs' 32-31 double overtime victory over the host Warriors in a Marmonte League back in early November.

"We came into this game confident, there was no way we were going to let St. Bonaventure get the best of us again, at our place. We wanted this win and nothing was going to stop us from getting it. We got our revenge.''

With the victory over the Seraphs (11-2), the Warriors (12-1) advance to next week's title game against Westlake Village Oaks Christian, a 42-33 winner over Valencia in the other Northern Division semifinal.

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LA North: No. 2 Westlake 31, Thousand Oaks 3

September, 16, 2010
WESTLAKE VILLAGE -- If the Thousand Oaks High football team thought it was going to somehow, someway, pull off an improbable victory over heavily favored Westlake on Friday night, the Lancers were sadly mistaken.

Sean Ceglinsky/For ESPNLA.com
Westlake coach Jim Benkert addresses his team after its Marmonte League-opening win over Thousand Oaks on Thursday night.

The Warriors reminded visiting Thousand Oaks who was the superior program and did so from the opening kickoff until the final whistle en route to a 31-3 victory in a Marmonte League opener for both schools.

"We came out and did our thing tonight, losing wasn't an option,'' Westlake quarterback Nick Isham said. "This was a statement game for us. We want to be known as one of the best teams around and this win means a lot.''

The Warriors (2-0, 1-0) are No.2 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com Top 25 rankings and they looked every bit the part. Opening up what proved to be an insurmountable 21-3 halftime lead certainly helped matters and ruined any momentum the Lancers (1-1, 0-1) might have had initially.

Westlake entered the fourth quarter with a 25-point advantage, but that didn't stop it from putting more points on the board. Alex Ball kicked a 20-yard field goal to give the Warriors a 31-3 lead at the 11:55 mark, but only after the drive was kept alive by Tavior Mowry, who converted a crucial fourth-and-short opportunity at the Lancers' 25-yard line.

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