Los Angeles Preps: Anterio Bateman

Football: Look out for Serra this fall

February, 15, 2012
2/15/12
3:32
PM PT
State bowl game appearances had become the norm at Gardena Serra in recent years. Expectations fell dramatically in 2011 following the graduation of elite talent, namely George Farmer and Marqise Lee. Still, Serra was good enough to earn a No. 1 seeding in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs, but stumbled in first-round shocker against Culver City.

The Cavaliers will be looking to bounce back this year. They have one of the region's top running backs in senior-to-be Anterio Bateman, and there's a crop of young talent moving up the ranks.

Quarterback Jalen Greene, athlete Jordan Lasley and linebacker Dwight Williams were among a handful of elite sophomores invited to USC's prestigious "Junior Day" camp last week.

Bateman averaged over nine yards per carry last season despite being limited by a nagging ankle injury. Greene accumulated more than 2,000 yards of offense and had 17 total touchdowns in a dual-threat role. Lasley transferred in from Carson, where he was the heir apparent to all-City Section honoree Darreus Rogers. Williams is the team's leading returning tackler.

Serra opens the season in late August against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame before leaving the state for a game in Utah.

L.A. South: Thirteen for '13

February, 7, 2012
2/07/12
9:54
PM PT
With national signing day behind us, we take an early look at 13 rising senior football recruits from south Los Angeles County to keep tabs on for the 2012 prep season:

QB Troy Williams, Harbor City Narbonne -- At this point, any given prospect list is incomplete without Williams, the dual-threat signal caller who already holds offers from UCLA, Arizona State, Nevada, Southern Methodist and Washington. He was the CIF Los Angeles City Section player of the year last season, guiding Narbonne to the Division I championship by passing for 3,247 yards and 34 touchdowns, and running for 11 more scores. Depending on how the summer goes, Williams can become a national-level prospect.

QB Hayden Rettig, Los Angeles Cathedral - The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Rettig had a spectacular start to the 2011 season, passing for 508 yards and six touchdowns in Cathedral's opener, and another 294 yards the next week. But that was it for the highly touted quarterback, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and was forced to sit out the remainder of his junior season. Rettig, the younger brother of Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig, holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boston College, Purdue and Vanderbilt, but will have to prove that his right knee has fully recovered.

WR John Ross, Long Beach Jordan -- The 5-foot-10 Ross was named the Moore League co-player of the year last season after accumulating 994 receiving yards and returning six kickoffs for touchdowns. On defense he intercepted five passes, returning two for scores. Ross has offers from UCLA and Washington, but many more are expected to follow suit.

ATH Sebastian Larue, Santa Monica -- On film, Larue looks like the Bryce Treggs of the 2013 class. Fast and shifty -- the 5-foot-11 receiver/cornerback/returner boasts a 4.42 time in the 40-yard dash -- Larue is lethal in open space. He had 17 total touchdowns as a junior, and already has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Idaho and nearby UCLA.

RB DaVonte Young, Bellflower St. John Bosco -- Young rushed for at least 100 yards in five games last season and, really, would have had more had he not shared carries with departing senior Royce Moore. With Bosco losing standout receivers Bryce Treggs (Cal), Justin Johnson (Fresno State) and Dalis Bruce (Eastern Washington) to graduation, Young will be counted on to supply the offensive firepower.

RB Anterio Bateman, Gardena Serra -- Bateman, an early ESPNU 150 watch list member, figures to be Serra's top weapon next season. An ankle injury forced him to miss action late in 2011, yet he still surpassed the 900-yard plateau and averaged more than nine yards per carry. Health will be key for a successful campaign this fall.

OL Nico Falah, Bellflower St. John Bosco -- The Braves averaged more than 400 yards of offense per game and the 6-foot-4 Falah was in the middle of it. He has scholarship offers from UCLA, Oregon State, Utah State and San Jose State, but it surely won't end there. The Trinity League will be loaded with a bevy of premier offensive lineman next season, and Falah is among that group.

QB Brandon Cox, Pasadena -- Cox passed for nearly 2,700 yards and 26 touchdowns, and rushed for over 500 yards -- stellar stats that helped him punch a ticket to the prestigious U.S. Army All-American underclassmen combine in San Antonio. He has reportedly garnered interest from the likes of Auburn and Oregon, as well as other Pac-12 schools.

RB Gerard Wicks, Long Beach Poly -- Wicks shares the carries with Manusamoa Luuga, so his numbers may not be as flashy as those of other running backs. He could emerge as the go-to guy for the Jackrabbits, especially with the departures of Arizona State-bound receivers Richard Smith and Josiah Blandin. UCLA appears to be the early front-runner in Wicks' recruitment.

DT R.J. Coleman, Mira Costa -- Last season Coleman had the task of filling the void left by the graduation of J.R. Tavai (USC) and he didn't disappoint. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Coleman is on the ESPNU 150 early watch list, and promises to be one of the top players in the South Bay.

LB George Frazier, Monrovia -- Much of the publicity surrounding Monrovia's back-to-back CIF championship run centered on mammoth defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (UCLA), but Frazier deserves his share of credit. The ESPNU 150 early watch list member was the perfect complement to McCarthy's havoc up front, making play after play for the Wildcats. Frazier is an intriguing prospect who should garner plenty of attention.

DB David Price, Long Beach Poly -- The 6-foot-1 safety is expected to spearhead a solid Poly defense that loses lineman Alonzo Williams (Texas A&M) and linebackers Salamo Fiso (ASU) and Matthew Rowe (ASU) to graduation. Price, an ESPNU 150 early watch list member, holds an offer from Southern Methodist.

WR A.J. Richardson, Harbor City Narbonne -- As the favorite target of Troy Williams, Richardson should get his share of opportunities every week. Gauchos coach Manual Douglas also finds other ways to get the ball in Richardson's hands -- and for good reason. He averaged more than 15 yards per reception last season.

L.A. South: The Top 10

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
10:29
PM PT
The south Los Angeles County top 10 rankings heading into the playoffs:

1. (1) Long Beach Poly (9-1)
No problem for the Poly defense against Cabrillo's Derek Stewart, the leading passer in the entire Pac-5 Division. Linebacker Matthew Rowe and safety David Price each returned interceptions for touchdowns. Last week: Beat Cabrillo, 43-6. Next: first round vs. Newport Harbor, Friday.

2. (2) Loyola (8-2)
The resilient Cubs erased a 15-point deficit, blocked an extra-point attempt in overtime, and Conrad Ukropina made his PAT to clinch the Serra League's second automatic playoff berth Friday. Last week: Beat Crespi, 36-35 (OT). Next: first round vs. Huntington Beach, Friday.

3. (3) St. John Bosco (7-3)
A breakout performance by the lesser-known Royce Moore (178 rushing yards and four touchdowns) helped the Braves grab the third and final Trinity League playoff berth Friday. Last week: Beat Orange Lutheran, 48-28. Next: first round at Alemany, Friday.

4. (4) Charter Oak (9-1)
Hobbling and in pain, senior quarterback Travis Santiago barely warmed up before Thursday's Sierra League title game. He wasn't mobile but still passed for 288 yards and two touchdowns. Last week: Beat Chino Hills, 38-7. Next: first round vs. Santiago, Friday.

5. (5) San Pedro (10-0)
Same old, same old for the Pirates on Friday as they blew out another opponent. On Saturday they received the top seeding for the CIF Los Angeles City Section Division I playoffs. They're the favorites. Last week: Beat Banning, 37-0. Next: City Section first round vs. Gardena, Friday.

(Read full post)

No. 25 Serra 35, No. 15 Chaminade 29

November, 12, 2011
11/12/11
12:21
AM PT


GARDENA -- As it turns out, stories about Serra's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Yes, the Cavaliers graduated a boatload of talent and are still greener than broccoli, but there they were Friday night, storming the field after another Mission League championship win.

Young and inexperienced Serra held on to beat Chaminade, 35-29, in a thrilling game that featured five lead changes. A group of Cavaliers tried to douse coach Scott Altenberg with icy water but couldn't, proving how ripe they really are.

"That's our team in a nutshell," Altenberg said. "They tried to dump me with water, they tripped and dumped it on themselves."

It could have been easy for Serra (8-2, 5-0) to make excuses given the lack of star power. This team doesn't have the lucrative names like in years past. No Robert Woods, no Marqise Lee or George Farmer.

None of that mattered.

Ronnie Vaughn rushed for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore quarterback Jalen Greene had 217 total yards plus the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter to carry the Cavaliers. Chaminade (8-2, 4-1), ranked No. 15 in the ESPN Los Angeles Top 25, had the ball with 1:18 remaining and 90 yards to go but couldn't generate magic. Logan Scott's last-second heave from the Serra 37 sailed wide of the end zone, and Serra players stormed the field.

"A lot of things were going through my head," Greene said. "I was nervous and I didn't even want to watch the play, but I was just hoping, 'Please don't catch this ball, please pick it, just let us get this W tonight.' "

Vaughn's 23-yard touchdown run had given No. 25-ranked Serra a comfortable 35-22 advantage with 5:57 left. Less than 40 seconds later, Scott responded with a clutch 76-yard scoring pass to Kevin Lewallyn, cutting the deficit to 35-29. Chaminade caught Serra napping and recovered the ensuing onside kick but couldn't capitalize, turning the ball over on downs.

The Eagles had taken a brief lead on Terrell Newby’s 47-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.

The Cavaliers were without leading rusher Anterio Bateman, who was on crutches and had his left ankle in a cast. His absence didn’t appear to affect the running game -- Greene, Vaughn and Malik Roberson combined for 224 rushing in the first half alone. Greene finished with 140 rushing yards in 13 carries.

(Read full post)

L.A. South: Helmet stickers, Week 8

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
4:28
PM PT
The top five performances in south Los Angeles County for Week 8:

Robert Lewis
Blair Angulo for ESPN.comRobert Lewis of South East continued his big season for the Jaguars.
RB Robert Lewis (South East): Lewis rushed for 306 yards and scored three touchdowns Friday, leading the Jaguars to a 38-7 win at Bell. Lewis has 1,264 yards for undefeated S.E.

RB Anterio Bateman (Serra): The highly regarded junior has shouldered a heavy load for the Cavaliers. Bateman rushed for 213 yards in 19 carries in Friday's victory over St. Paul.

WR Bryce Treggs (St. John Bosco): The electric Treggs hauled in six passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn't enough as Bosco fell at home to top-ranked Servite, 35-27.

RB Devin Barnes (St. Bernard): Barnes made the most of his 11 carries, rushing for 147 yards and four touchdowns in a 63-26 rout of Verbum Dei. St. Bernard is a perfect 8-0.

RB Desmond Reed (Azusa): Reed had his second straight four-touchdown performance, leading the Aztecs to their 24th consecutive Montview League victory. He ran for 135 yards.

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

L.A. South: Five games to see live

October, 26, 2011
10/26/11
6:49
PM PT
Here are this week's top five games in south Los Angeles County:

No. 1 Servite at No. 16 St. John Bosco, Friday, 7:30 p.m. -- A year older, wiser and better, the St. John Bosco Braves (6-1, 2-0 Trinity) hope they can pull off the shocker this time around. They held a brief lead against Servite (6-1, 2-0) last season before the Friars' experience -- and the Braves' inexperience -- took over. Junior tailback DaVonte Young's spectacular performance against Mater Dei last week was proof that Bosco has another wrinkle to its prolific spread offense. And the Braves were great on defense too, limiting the Monarchs to only a field goal. A Cody Pittman-led Servite attack is an entirely different test, though.

No. 15 Loyola at No. 14 Bishop Amat, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Apparently, the return of hybrid receiver/tailback Zachary Shay (concussion) was exactly what Bishop Amat (6-2, 1-1 Serra) needed to rejoin the league race. After missing the previous five games, the senior had eight catches for 83 yards and a touchdown run in the Lancers' rather surprising 28-14 win at Crespi. If Shay can stay healthy, and if the defense holds up the way it did against the potent Celts, Amat can be a scary team. The Loyola Cubs (6-1, 1-0), meanwhile, haven't won a league road game since 2008, which also marks the last time they beat Amat. The game will be televised by Time Warner Cable on Channel 101 at midnight.

Kevin McMahon
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comThe play of Carson quarterback Kevin McMahon will be key against 7-0 San Pedro.
No. 22 San Pedro at Carson, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Undefeated San Pedro (7-0, 2-0 Marine) finally gets to show that its record is no fluke. The Pirates have won their games by an average of 26 points behind senior quarterback Kenny Potter's 25 total touchdowns, but the combined record of their seven opponents is a woeful 16-33. That obviously hasn't earned them much respect. Carson (3-4, 1-1) comes in on the other side of the spectrum, having played a mini Pac-5 Division series against the likes of Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly, Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo. The Colts are motivated following last week's last-minute loss to rival Narbonne. Quarterback Kevin McMahon has to find a way to get the ball to top playmaker Darreus Rogers more consistently.

Gardena Serra at St. Paul, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Yeah, the Serra Cavaliers (5-2, 2-0 Mission) are young and depleted, but they're still dangerous and a legitimate league contender. Just ask previously unbeaten St. Francis, which fell victim to the young Cavs and standout junior running back Anterio Bateman. St. Paul's only loss came to Chaminade, the league favorite and top-ranked team in the Western Division. "I know this league is awesome from top to bottom," Serra coach Scott Altenberg told the Daily Breeze following last week's victory against St. Francis. "We know how tough it's going to be week to week, and now we know how tough it's going to be half to half."

Gahr at Dominguez, Friday, 7 p.m. -- These teams are heading in opposite directions. Gahr (5-2, 0-2 San Gabriel Valley) has dropped two straight after winning its first five; Dominguez (5-2, 2-0) lost its first two in lopsided fashion -- albeit to Crespi and Redlands East Valley -- but has since won five in a row.

L.A. South: Helmet stickers, Week 7

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
6:30
PM PT
Tough to keep the list short this week with the bevy of clutch performances across south Los Angeles County. But here are the five honorees for Week 7 in our helmet stickers feature:

Rio Ruiz
Blair Angulo for ESPN.comBishop Amat quarterback Rio Ruiz passed for 236 yards in the Lancers' win over Crespi.
QB Rio Ruiz (Bishop Amat): Committed to USC for baseball, the senior quarterback showed Friday why he's more than just a highly regarded third baseman. Ruiz passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns, keeping the Lancers in Serra League contention with a key win at Crespi.

QB Troy Williams (Narbonne): The junior quarterback scored the go-ahead touchdown against rival Carson on a three-yard sneak Friday. He also threw for 231 yards and two scores.

RB Anterio Bateman (Serra): Bateman's 26-yard touchdown scamper sealed the upset victory over previously unbeaten St. Francis. He finished with 176 yards rushing and three scores.

RB DaVonte Young (St. John Bosco): Young ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns in 23 carries to lead the Braves to a dominant 24-3 Trinity League win against streaking Mater Dei.

QB Brandon Martinez (El Monte): Five touchdown passes and 282 yards for Martinez in Friday night's 50-14 win against Mountain View. He took a seat midway through the third quarter.

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

L.A. South: The Top 10

September, 18, 2011
9/18/11
10:52
PM PT
The top seven teams held their ground in our latest south Los Angeles County rankings. Defending Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia fell off after losing to rival Arcadia, opening the door for a newcomer from the Western Division. Our top three teams hit the road Friday, so there could be movement next week. (Note: Last week's rankings are in parentheses.)

1. (1) Long Beach Poly (3-0)
The Jackrabbits bent but didn't break, holding on against a gritty City Section contender. Afterward, coach Raul Lara stressed how important it was to maintain the momentum they've built. Last week: Beat Narbonne, 19-16. Next: at Mission Viejo, Friday.

2. (2) St. John Bosco (3-0)
Senior quarterback Rene Medina threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and Royce Moore had 150 yards rushing in a rout. Now, the Braves and their high-powered offense hit the road. Last week: Beat Santa Fe, 51-0. Next: vs. Loyola at L.A. Valley College, Friday.

3. (3) Bishop Amat (2-1)
Talk about bouncing back. Playing big, bad Servite seems to have paid immediate dividends. Senior tailback Jalen Moore broke out for 303 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Last week: Beat La Mirada, 49-13. Next: at Damien, Friday.

4. (4) Carson (1-1)
Rested and refocused following a humbling loss to Long Beach Poly, the Colts begin the latter half of their rigorous nonleague schedule. The bye might have come at the right time for coach Elijah Asante's bunch. Last week: Idle. Next: vs. Santa Margarita, Friday.

5. (5) Lakewood (2-1)
The "Milk Bucket" trophy stays in Lakewood for at least another year, as the Lancers came back from a halftime deficit to beat their rivals from the north. Brock Dale threw for three scores. Last week: Beat Mayfair, 42-29. Next: vs. Leuzinger, Friday.

6. (6) Narbonne (1-1)
Dual-threat quarterback Troy Williams had only 102 passing yards and eight on the ground, and the Gauchos still nearly pulled off a shocker at Veterans Stadium. Last week: Lost to Long Beach Poly, 19-16. Next: at Tesoro, Thursday.

7. (7) Serra (2-1)
The young Cavaliers overcame the absence of Anterio Bateman (ankle) and Raymond Ford (ankle), with tailback Ronnie Vaughn shouldering a heavier load. Sophomore Jalen Greene keeps showing progress at quarterback. Last week: Beat Mira Costa, 33-0. Next: at Banning, Friday.

8. (10) Charter Oak (3-0)
This offense is supercharged. Senior quarterback Travis Santiago accounted for six touchdowns, throwing for 336 yards on 18 of 24 passing and adding 72 rushing yards. Last week: Beat Esperanza, 54-28. Next: vs. Rancho Cucamonga, Friday.

9. (8) West Covina (2-1)
More proof the Bulldogs are more than just a one-man team. Top player Chris Solomon (ankle) isn't 100 percent but it didn't matter, as Jimmy Frazier ran for 242 yards and four touchdowns. Last week: Beat South Hills, 35-33. Next: vs. Glendora, Friday.

10. (NR) St. Paul (2-0)
The Swordsmen showed why they're ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Western Division poll, steamrollering a helpless Norwalk team to the tune of nearly 300 yards rushing. Last week: Beat Norwalk, 48-6. Next: at Garfield, Friday.

Dropped out: Monrovia (9)

Five more, in alphabetic order: Cathedral, Claremont, Crenshaw, Gahr, St. Francis.

Agree or disagree with the "L.A. South" top 10? Did your favorite school get snubbed? Leave a comment on this post or contact ESPNLosAngeles.com preps writer Blair Angulo directly on his Twitter page.

Football: S.O. Notre Dame 35, No. 25 Gardena Serra 13

September, 2, 2011
9/02/11
10:42
PM PT
GARDENA, Calif -- Khalfani Muhammad from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame might not be the most high-profile prep football prospect in the Southland. The perception about him could, however, be on the verge of changing. Sooner, rather than later, mind you.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound junior gained 186 all-purpose yards and scored a pair of touchdowns Friday night to guide the visiting Knights to a rather impressive 35-13 upset victory over Gardena Serra, which was No. 25 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com preseason rankings.

“I went out there and did my thing, my coach handed me the ball and I made some plays,'' Muhammad said. “My teammates had my back and I had their backs. That's just the way things work around here. We got the job done and had fun doing it. What a win for us.''

Muhammad has been contacted by a number of different Division I schools but does not have any official scholarship offers as of yet. Once word starts to spread about his latest effort, it's possible things will begin to change.

He gained 162 yards on the ground in 22 carries.

“We ran the ball down their throats tonight, Khalfani did a great job, he was able to do whatever he wanted out there,'' Notre Dame quarterback Kelly Hilinksi said.

Serra (0-1) struggled to move the ball with consistency. The Cavaliers played a majority of the game without their star, Raymond Ford. The UCLA-bound senior strained his right foot in the second quarter and did not return.

(Read full post)

LA South: Top returning rushers

August, 19, 2011
8/19/11
6:10
PM PT
With the start of the high school football season less than two weeks away, we give you a list of the top 15 returning rushers in south Los Angeles County, sorted by last year’s totals. Robert Lewis, a senior at South East, is ranked No. 12 on this list but is more than just a ball carrier. Lewis, the top-rated senior running back in the area according to ESPNU recruiting, is committed to Southern Methodist. He's a dynamic playmaker that should build on a solid junior season. West Covina's Chris Solomon ranks second on this list, even though he's projected as a safety at the next level.

Rank / Name (Year, School) / Yards / Touchdowns

1. Giovanni Rivera (Senior, Sierra Vista): 2,304 yards - 14 TD
2. Chris Solomon (Senior, West Covina): 1,790 yards - 20 TD
3. Jalen Moore (Senior, Bishop Amat): 1,634 yards - 23 TD
4. Jamel Hart (Senior, South Hills): 1,318 yards - 17 TD
5. Marquise McGuire (Junior, Long Beach Jordan): 1,200 yards - 3 TD

6. Michael Ortega (Senior, St. Paul): 1,196 yards - 7 TD
7. Walter Moctezuma (Senior, Marshall): 1,190 yards - 15 TD
8. Tony Botello (Senior, Pioneer): 1,189 yards -- 12 TD
9. Michael Wimberly (Senior, West Adams Prep): 1,026 yards - 9 TD
10. Darrell Santiago (Junior, San Pedro): 965 yards - 15 TD

11. Thomas Brown (Senior, Serra): 960 yards - 6 TD
12. Robert Lewis (Senior, South East): 901 yards - 11 TD
13. Kori Garcia (Senior, Santa Monica): 856 yards - 9 TD
14. Tairen Owens (Senior, Muir): 822 yards - 10 TD
15. Anterio Bateman (Junior, Serra): 783 yards - 5 TD

Football: No. 25 Gardena Serra

August, 19, 2011
8/19/11
12:43
PM PT
When it comes to talented prep football teams in the Southland, seemingly no group has enjoyed as much recent success as Gardena Serra. The roster this season, mind you, might not be loaded with multiple high-profile players, as it has been in the past. Nevertheless, the Cavaliers figure to build on their 44-4 record the last four years and be a force to be reckon with once again.

In order to maintain their reputation as one of the best around, Serra needs to find ways to keep Raymond Ford involved on the offense side of the ball. The senior receiver, after all, is the heir apparent to George Farmer, now at USC. Ford has the potential to be the playmaker Farmer was last season when he played alongside fellow wideout Marqise Lee, also currently with the Trojans.

One potential problem: There are lingering questions about who is going to get the ball into the hands of Ford.

It appears as if sophomore Jalen Greene is the front-runner to win the starting quarterback job. If he falters, Ryan Barbarin patiently waits in the wings and the junior would like nothing more than the opportunity to prove himself.

Here is a closer look at the Cavaliers:

Team: Gardena Serra

Coach: Scott Altenberg, 13th year

2010 Record: 14-1, won CIF Southern Section Western Division championship.

Returning starters: Five total. Three on defense. Two on offense.

Key players on offense: WR Raymond Ford (UCLA commit), RB Anterio Bateman.

Key players on defense: S Patrick Wooten, DT Kris Cooper, DT Kache Palacio, LB Thomas Brown.

Difference maker: It begins and ends with Ford, also a shut-down corner in the secondary. George Farmer and Marqise Lee are gone. A season ago, the seniors were the Southland's premier pass-catching tandem. Both are at USC now. Ford will be expected to fill the void left behind and the senior appears capable of handling the additional workload.

Newcomers: Brown, a transfer from Long Beach St. Anthony. Palacio, a transfer from Los Angeles Westchester. QB Jalen Greene. QB Ryan Barbarin.

Not to be missed: at West Hills Chaminade, Friday, Nov. 11. There will be tons of tests along the way, to be sure. None of those games, however, figure to be as important as the season finale in the San Fernando Valley in a showdown with Mission League title implications. The Eagles hope to make a statement with a win and will likely give Serra all it can handle in this one.

Coach’s comment: “We haven't lost many games around here in the recent past, and because of that, we have a target on our backs. Some people might think we don't have the big names anymore and there will be plenty of teams gunning for us. That's the way things work, it's the nature of the beast. Our job is to make sure there is not a huge drop off in our level of play.”

Final analysis: Replacing Framer and Lee will not be easy. QB Conner Preston also graduated, having moved on to SMU. Season-ending injuries to OLB Ardis Perez and MLB Malachi Mageo a couple of weeks ago certainly does not help matters. Bottom line: Ford must stretch the field vertically to keep opposing defenses honest and Bateman needs to take advantage of open running lanes when the situation presents itself. If that happens, Serra figures to be in position to make, yet another, postseason run.

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

SPONSORED HEADLINES