Los Angeles Preps: Alex Bishop

Northern Division: Oaks Christian 42, Valencia 33

December, 4, 2010

VALENCIA – The Oaks Christian football team scored three touchdowns in the first five minutes of the third quarter and beat Valencia, 42-33, in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs on Friday night.

The game was tied, 14-14, at halftime. Oaks Christian broke the tie and built a 34-14 lead on three touchdown passes by quarterback Richie Harrington.

Two of those touchdown passes went to Jordan Payton. Carlos Mendoza came up with a key interception in the middle of the Oaks Christian scoring spree. Blair Holliday started the touchdown barrage with his first of two touchdown catches in the game.

Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell said his team made an impressive turnaround after coming close to self-destructing in the first half.

“We were inside the 15 three times and didn’t score any points,” Redell said. “The interception, that helped. We started hitting our receivers.”

Valencia (11-2) pooched the opening kickoff of the second half and Oaks Christian (11-2) returned it to the Valencia 35-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Harrington hit Holliday with a touchdown pass to put Oaks Christian up 20-14.

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LA North: Five things from the weekend

November, 22, 2010

1. The CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs made quick work of the Golden League. Four teams made the playoffs. All four were eliminated in the first round. Highland was overmatched by a quick-striking Valencia team, the fourth seed in the division. Valencia quarterback Alex Bishop threw five touchdown passes in the first half. Running back Steven Manfro scored three touchdowns and now has 39 in 11 games. Both were able to take most of the fourth quarter off. Quartz Hill, the co-champion of the Golden League, lost 28-21, to Thousand Oaks. Knight, the other co-champion, was clobbered by Westlake, the reigning Northern Division champ, 58-0. Canyon eliminated Palmdale, 24-13, in a game was not as close as the scored might indicate. The Marmonte League fared the best in the Northern Division playoffs. Five teams made the playoffs and all five won their first-round games. The Marmonte League tri-champions, Oaks Christian, Westlake and St. Bonaventure, won by a combined score of 136-22.

2. Where to start with the upsets in the first round of the CIF football playoffs? Let’s start with the first one. Crespi knocked off Los Alamitos, the No. 18 team in the ESPNLA.com rankings, in the first round of the Pac-5 Division playoffs on Thursday. Crespi quarterback Kenny Stenhouse threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns, but it was the Crespi defense that came up with a couple of big plays in the fourth quarter. Stenhouse connected with Devin Lucien for a 96-yard touchdown to give Crespi a decisive 28-14 win. On the drive before that one, Los Alamitos drove inside the Crespi 10-yard line and had a chance to tie the score. But Crespi stopped Los Alamitos on a fourth-down play and took over on its own 4-yard line. Crespi scored an insurance touchdown and advanced to the quarterfinals. Crespi is home against second-seeded Servite on Friday night.

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Northern Division: No. 13 Valencia 42, Highland 17

November, 19, 2010

VALENCIA – The Valencia football team added a new wrinkle to its offense in a 42-17 blowout over Highland in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

Going no-huddle and running a hurry-up offense, Valencia, the No. 13 team in the ESPNLA.com rankings, posted 35 first-half points and quarterback Alex Bishop threw five first-half touchdown passes.

After scoring only 24 points against Hart and 14 in the Foothill League finale against Saugus, Valencia coach Larry Muir might have thought his high-powered offense was getting a little anemic.

“We picked up the tempo a little bit,” Muir said after the game. “I think the kids did a good job executing the hurry-up offense.”

Valencia, the fourth-seeded team in the Northern Division, didn’t waste much time scoring in the first half. Down 3-0 after Highland capped its opening drive with a 41-yard field goal, Valencia scored 35 unanswered points. Bishop threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Max Rodriguez with 6:17 to play in the first quarter.

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LA North: Game of the Week: No. 16 Valencia vs. Canyon

October, 21, 2010
Canyon is the surprise team of the Foothill League. The Cowboys are undefeated at 6-0 and look like the only team that might be able to challenge Valencia for the Foothill League championship.

Valencia comes into tonight’s game against Canyon at Canyon High School with only one blemish on its record, a disappointing, 39-24, loss to Loyola two weeks ago.

Canyon has a balanced offensive attack. Quarterback Jonathan Jerozal has thrown for 1,495 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is completing 62 percent of his passes and has only thrown four interceptions. Running back Darius Rudolph has rushed for 765 yards and six touchdowns. He is averaging 127.5 rushing yards per game and has caught nine passes for 62 yards.

Canyon wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky has caught 43 passes for 810 yards and eight touchdowns.

But the biggest weapon for Canyon might be kicker Mohammad Roknipour. He has made seven field goals this season including a 57-yarder in a 36-3 win over Dos Pueblos.

Valencia running back Steven Manfro is having a season for the ages. He broke the Foothill League and school record for rushing last week against West Ranch. He rushed for 418 yards and scored five touchdowns in his team’s 55-28 win. He has scored 26 touchdowns in six games and has scored five touchdowns in a game four times.

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LA North & LA South: Loyola 39, No. 8 Valencia 24

October, 8, 2010
VALENCIA, Calif. -- Jared Baker ran just about wherever he wanted Friday.

Up the middle and through the tackles of would-be defensive linemen and linebackers. To the outside and past the outstretched arms of opposing cornerbacks and safeties. It didn't matter who, or what, was in his way, it was Baker‘s night.

The senior running back was seemingly unstoppable, rushing for 240 yards on 20 carries and four touchdowns to help guide Los Angeles Loyola to a 39-24 nonleague upset over host Valencia, No. 8 in ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Top 25 rankings.

“Valencia came into this game with the momentum, no one gave us much of a chance to win, everyone thought that we were going to lose,’’ said Baker, who’s committed to Arizona State. “We came out fired up. We were confident and wanted to prove that we can hang with some of the best teams out there.“

The Cubs (3-3) did just that, opening up a 22-7 lead late in the first half and then holding off numerous comeback efforts from Valencia (4-1).

Trailing by 15 points midway through the fourth quarter, the Vikings attempted one last rally. They moved the ball with relative ease and Steven Manfro scored on a 2-yard touchdown run up the middle. All of a sudden, the Cubs advantage wasn’t as decisive and Valencia trailed 32-24 with 7:23 left.

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