Los Angeles Preps: Canyon Country Canyon

I.E.: Boys' basketball playoff primer

February, 16, 2012
2/16/12
4:30
PM PT
With the best Inland Empire boys’ basketball teams placed in the top four divisions of the Southern Section playoffs, here’s a rundown of what to look for beginning with Friday’s first-round games.

DIVISION 1AA

Background: The Inland Empire is well known in this division. The region has sent a representative to the championship game the last three years. Long Beach Poly beat Corona Centennial last season, Mater Dei toppled Etiwanda the year before and Riverside King upset Mater Dei in 2009.

Best Shot: If third-seeded Etiwanda is to continue that trend, the Eagles will likely need to find a way to beat second-seeded Long Beach Poly. They lost to the Jackrabbits in the Division 1AA semifinals last season and again nine days later in the second round of the SoCal Regional playoffs. There are few high school coaches who squeeze more out of their players than Dave Kleckner at Etiwanda, however.

Best first-round game: Highland at Silverado. A good old- fashioned high desert showdown as 11th-seeded Silverado brings a 16-game winning streak into the postseason. The Hawks will need to find a way to slow Highland senior guard Joseph Prince, who is averaging 23.4 points. Prince, who played the last two seasons at Glenbrook North High in Northbrook, Ill., scored a season-high 37 points in the regular-season finale last week against Lancaster.

Darkhorse: Rancho Verde didn’t land on the same side of the bracket as top-seeded Mater Dei, so that can already be considered a victory. In the last three seasons, the Mustangs lost all four postseason meetings against Mater Dei, with three losses in the section playoffs and another in the SoCal Regionals. Rancho Verde is seeded 10th and drew a good challenge in the opener against visiting Montclair. A possible second-round game against seventh-seeded Eisenhower looms.

DIVISION 1A

Background: A team from the I.E. has qualified for the semifinals in this division the last three seasons, Redlands East Valley a year ago, Colony in 2010 and Chino Hills in 2009. In the last final appearance by an I.E. team, Riverside King beat Etiwanda in the 2008 championship game at Honda Center.

Best Shot: The I.E.’s streak of semifinalists could be in serious jeopardy. The highest-seeded teams in this division are No. 7 Chino Hills and No. 10 Vista Murrieta, and they would meet in the second round should they win their openers. The good thing is, one I.E. team would be guaranteed a trip to the quarterfinals.

Best first-round game: Corona at Arroyo Valley. Both these teams have held their own against good competition this season. Corona tied for fifth in the highly competitive Big VIII League and Arroyo Valley finished runner up in the San Andreas League, losing both games to league champion Cajon by a combined six points.

Darkhorse: Vista Murrieta has shown it can reach up and bite a good team if they’re not paying attention. The Broncos beat Murrieta Valley by 13 points in a Southwestern League game last month and the Nighthawks are seeded third in Division 2A. Davin Guinn, a 6-5 senior forward for Vista Murrieta, is one of the top players in the division. He matched his season high with 32 points in the rematch against Murrieta Valley last week.

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Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
1:00
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LA Preps ESPN.com Illustration


The action has been fast-paced over the past week, with many of the Southland's premier programs in league play. This is the time when teams begin to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

The top half of the ESPNLosAngeles.com rankings remains intact, for the most part. There is, however, some shuffling in the middle of the poll. And low and behold, we have a pair of worthy newcomers in the all-important mix toward the bottom half of things.

1. (1) Mater Dei (17-2): Can anyone stop the Monarchs? Doesn't appear to be likely. Starting to think these kids are capable of going wire-to-wire atop the poll. At least during regular season play.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (14-1): One of the toughest stretches of the season looms particularly large this week for the Jackrabbits. They have three games, including a difficult test Friday at Compton.

3. (3) La Verne Lutheran (15-4): Business as usual for Grant Jerrett & Co. The senior forward and one of the Southland's top players is averaging 23 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks per game.

4. (5) Loyola (15-2): Had a funny feeling it would be a mere matter of time before the Cubs found a way to climb into the thick of things. Can't imagine them falling on hard times anymore this year.

5. (7) Etiwanda (19-1): Jordan McLaughlin receives most of the headlines. He has had help along the way though, from Sheldon Blackwell, Dominique Walker, Brandon Townes and Sam Fleming.

6. (4) Crespi (18-2): The Celts suffered a surprising setback to North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake last week. Things don't get any easier with a Mission League showdown at Loyola on Monday night.

7. (8) Windward (13-6): The Wildcats have not played a game in 10 days. The time for rest and relaxation is a thing of the past. They will be back in the saddle on Tuesday against visiting Pacific Hills.

8. (6) Taft (17-3): Any questions about whether the Toreadors were the cream of the crop in the Los Angeles City Section were answered in a road victory over Los Angeles Fairfax this past weekend.

9. (13) Bishop Montgomery (16-3): With a rematch against Serra on Feb. 1, the Knights cannot afford to look too far ahead. Staying focused on the task at hand is paramount at this point.

10. (15) Gardena Serra (19-2): Having faced six teams in the rankings thus far, all signs point to the Cavaliers being a more than ready, battle-tested bunch once postseason play begins in mid-February.

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ESPNLA prep football Top 25: Week 7

October, 16, 2011
10/16/11
10:40
PM PT
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Santa Margarita's loss to Mater Dei was the big upset of the week and it shook up our weekly top 25 rankings. Others, like Servite, Long Beach Poly and Crespi, took care of business by beating ranked opponents. Bishop Amat and Orange Lutheran fell the hardest -- nine spots each -- after stumbling against Alemany and Servite, respectively. Here are the rankings heading into Week 7:

1. Servite (5-1)
Much to the delight of coach Troy Thomas, the Friars looked like their old selves Friday. Cody Pittman found Ainslie Johnson twice for long touchdowns, and Butch Pauu led a stingy defense. Last week: Beat Orange Lutheran, 21-8. Next: vs. JSerra at Cerritos College, Friday.

2. Westlake (6-0)
The league-leading Warriors turned the ball over on their first two possessions Friday but responded well. UCLA commit Dashon Hunt, a junior, ran for two touchdowns and added a pick-six. Last week: Beat Simi Valley, 45-14. Next: at Moorpark, Friday.

3. St. Bonaventure (5-1)
Running backs Shaun Wick and Zack Green shouldered the load for the second straight week, combining for 195 yards in 20 carries Friday. Defensively, the Seraphs were solid. Last week: Beat Newbury Park, 38-6. Next: vs. Agoura at Ventura College, Friday.

4. Corona Centennial (5-1)
The Huskies have never lost to Santiago, their neighboring rivals, but were a little too excited in victory Friday. They were flagged 17 times. Romello Goodman ran for four touchdowns and Hayden Gavett passed for three. Last week: Beat Santiago, 56-34. Next: vs. Norco, Friday.

5. Long Beach Poly (6-1)
A packed house saw a more motivated bunch after the break, as the Jackrabbits reached the end zone on their first three possessions of the second half. The Moore League is theirs to lose. Last week: Beat Lakewood, 38-21. Next: at Millikan, Oct. 28.

6. Santa Margarita (5-1)
The Trinity League got its first "upset" Thursday, putting the Eagles in catch-up mode early. Johnny Stanton and Ryan Wolpin, the two main weapons, were contained by the Monarchs. Last week: Lost to Mater Dei, 21-14. Next: vs. Orange Lutheran at Saddleback College, Friday.

7. Redlands East Valley (6-0)
A surprisingly slim margin of victory for the Wildcats, whose defense gave up a season-high 13 points. They maintain the high ranking thanks to the impressive win over Mission Viejo. Last week: Beat Miller, 21-13. Next: at Redlands, Friday.

8. Mission Viejo (5-2)
The Diablos got back to their winning ways behind Alex Bridgford's 389 yards passing and three touchdowns. Receiver Brandon Neville had two of the scores, six catches and 129 yards. Last week: Beat Dana Hills, 48-21. Next: vs. San Clemente, Oct. 28.

9. Rancho Cucamonga (6-0)
Tailback Tyan Washington ran for three touchdowns, making sure Rancho Cucamonga handled its business. Now the intriguing Baseline League matchup between two undefeated teams is here. Last week: Beat Alta Loma, 41-17. Next: at Upland, Friday.

10. San Clemente (7-0)
Utah-bound quarterback Travis Wilson threw the ball only nine times Friday, but the Tritons still put up a monster offensive performance, led by a rushing attack that amassed 305 yards. Last week: Beat Trabuco Hills, 43-14. Next: vs. Dana Hills, Friday.

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ESPNLA prep football Top 25: Week 6

October, 10, 2011
10/10/11
12:12
AM PT
LA PrepESPN.com Illustration

Following their dominant Marmonte League victory against rival Oaks Christian, the Westlake Warriors made a big leap -- from ninth to third -- in our weekly top 25 rankings. Mission Viejo took a hard fall -- from second to 10th -- after losing to top 10 newcomer Redlands East Valley, which made the biggest rise from No. 21 to No. 9. Here are the rankings heading into Week 6:

1. Servite (4-1)
The Friars have had an extra week to clear their minds following the last-minute loss to Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. Now, they begin the grueling Trinity League schedule. Last week: Idle. Next: vs. Orange Lutheran at Cerritos College, Friday.

2. Santa Margarita (5-0)
They didn't play last week, but the Eagles were beneficiaries of Mission Viejo's loss at Redlands East Valley. The Johnny Stanton and Ryan Wolpin show hits the road this week. Last week: Idle. Next: vs. Mater Dei at Santa Ana Stadium, Thursday.

3. Westlake (5-0)
Consider the message delivered. The Warriors made a statement by thumping their rivals behind 444 rushing yards, 226 of those coming from quarterback Justin Moore. Last week: Beat Oaks Christian, 43-21. Next: vs. Simi Valley, Friday.

4. St. Bonaventure (4-1)
The potent tandem of Shaun Wick and Zack Green combined for 170 yards rushing in 33 carries, and the Seraphs got just enough from quarterback Marc Evans. Last week: Beat Moorpark, 28-17. Next: at Newbury Park, Friday.

5. Corona Centennial (4-1)
Does anyone in Corona even miss former quarterback Michael Eubank? Hayden Gavett didn't play the whole game Friday but finished with 139 yards rushing in five carries (three touchdowns) and 178 yards passing. Last week: Beat J.W. North, 52-34. Next: at Santiago, Friday.

6. Long Beach Poly (5-1)
On Friday, the Jackrabbits put up the most points since 2005, when they hung 65 on Millikan. With the big one coming up against Lakewood, the offense couldn't have picked a better time to start clicking. Last week: Beat Long Beach Jordan, 67-6. Next: vs. Lakewood at Veterans Stadium, Friday.

7. Bishop Amat (5-1)
What else can we say about tailback Jalen Moore? The senior rushed for 214 yards in 38 carries on Thursday. Couple that with efficient passing from Rio Ruiz and you've got an offense that can score with the best of them. Last week: Beat Venice, 38-35. Next: vs. Alemany, Friday.

8. Orange Lutheran (5-0)
The Lancers' chance to take down the area’s top-ranked team has arrived. Quarterback Conner Sullivan must be smart with the ball against the Friars' opportunistic bunch. Last week: Idle. Next: vs. Servite at Cerritos College, Friday.

9. Redlands East Valley (5-0)
Not having the services of top runners Darreus Parrison and Taylor Thompson surely affected the offense. But REV's top-notch defense handled its business. Last week: Beat Mission Viejo, 10-7. Next: vs. Miller at Univ. of Redlands, Friday.

10. Mission Viejo (4-2)
On Friday, deep in the Inland Empire, the Diablos couldn't do what they had done previously: make up for the absences of leading rushers Buzzy Yokoyama, Jahleel Pinner and Daniel Marx. Last week: Lost to Redlands East Valley, 10-7. Next: at Dana Hills, Friday.

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ESPNLA prep football Top 25: Week 5

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
12:14
AM PT
LA PrepESPN.com Illustration

Top-ranked Servite traveled to Nevada and took its first loss of 2011. Still, dropping a road game against a nationally ranked team wasn't too devastating, so the Friars remain at the pinnacle of our weekly top 25 rankings heading into Week 5:

1. Servite (4-1)
A late field goal by nationally ranked Bishop Gorman sank the Friars in Las Vegas. They remain at the top spot because they haven't loss to a Southern California team since 2009. Last week: Lost to Bishop Gorman, 31-28. Next: vs. Orange Lutheran at Cerritos College, Oct. 14.

2. Mission Viejo (4-1)
The absence of top player Jahleel Pinner (ankle) didn't affect the Diablos, who got solid production from quarterback Alex Bridgford and two-way stud Max Redfield. Last week: Beat Carson, 31-0. Next: vs. Redlands East Valley at Univ. of Redlands, Friday.

3. Santa Margarita (5-0)
Two monster performances kept the Eagles undefeated. Johnny Stanton rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns and Ryan Wolpin added 214 yards in 33 carries. Last week: Beat Los Alamitos, 38-27. Next: vs. Mater Dei at Santa Ana Stadium, Oct. 13.

4. Oaks Christian (3-1)
Credit coach Bill Redell's squad for handling its business before the big rivalry game. Quarterback Brandon Dawkins threw the ball only eight times Friday and the Lions still won by seven touchdowns. Last week: Beat Calabasas, 56-7. Next: at Westlake, Thursday.

5. St. Bonaventure (3-1)
The defense pitched its second shutout of the season, bouncing back from a disappointing effort against Oaks Christian in the Marmonte League opener. Shaun Wick ran for two scores. Last week: Beat Simi Valley, 34-0. Next: at Moorpark, Thursday.

6. Corona Centennial (3-1)
The high-powered Huskies, behind Hayden Gavett's dual-threat capabilities, are back to scoring in the 40s. Fellow Big VIII League schools can't be feeling too confident about their chances. Last week: Beat Riverside Poly, 48-6. Next: vs. J.W. North, Friday.

7. Long Beach Poly (4-1)
We already know what to expect from Poly's defense. Now, with Moore League play underway, expect the offense to start posting huge numbers. Last week: Beat Compton, 41-14. Next: vs. Long Beach Jordan at Veterans Stadium, Friday.

8. Bishop Amat (4-1)
Really, the Lancers might be a top-five team had they not been blown out against Servite in early September. They're still dangerous, especially if Jalen Moore keeps running the ball the way he can. Last week: Beat Cathedral, 56-7. Next: at Venice, Thursday.

9. Westlake (4-0)
An opportunity to make a massive statement has arrived. Westlake is either a serious contender in the Marmonte or just the third-best team. Warrior Stadium will be the place to be, that's for sure. Last week: Beat Royal, 73-27. Next: vs. Oaks Christian, Thursday.

10. Orange Lutheran (5-0)
The perfect start has generated buzz and, now, the Lancers get an extra week to get ready for the area's top-ranked team. The bye couldn't have come at a better time. Last week: Beat Redondo, 33-13. Next: vs. Servite at Cerritos College, Oct. 14.

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ESPNLA prep football Top 25: Week 4

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
4:43
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In arguably the biggest week of the season in terms of matchups, there were major shifts in the latest ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings, including a couple of newcomers and a few who dropped out. In all, there were six matchups involving top 25 teams and seven teams from the list who lost. Here are our rankings heading into Week 4:

1. Servite (4-0)
All the Friars do is keep winning, making it 30 in a row over teams from the Southland, including a victory last week over the last team from this region to hand them a loss -- Edison in 2009. Last week: beat Edison, 27-14. Next: at Bishop Gorman, Fri., 7 p.m.

2. Santa Margarita (4-0)
Junior QB Johnny Stanton shows his value with his arm and his legs by surpassing 100 yards in both passing and rushing, including three TDs on the ground in a rout of a good Carson team. Last week: beat Carson, 39-21. Next: vs. Los Alamitos at Veterans Stadium, Thu., 7:30 p.m.

3. Mission Viejo (3-1)
Prep football Twitter wars? Well, not exactly, but the Diablos responded to Snoop Dogg's disparaging tweets during the week in the best way any team can, by being able to point to the scoreboard.
Last week: beat Long Beach Poly, 17-12. Next: at Carson, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

4. Crespi (4-0)
The Celts take advantage of all the week's power matchups by doing what they're supposed to do: overpower an overmatched opponent to jump up three spots in the rankings. Last week: beat Palisades, 40-0. Next: vs. Vista Murrieta, Fri., 7 p.m.

5. Oaks Christian (2-1)
The night the lights went out in ... Westlake Village? The Lions take the early lead in the Marmonte League race after a contentious victory over the league's other private school power. Last week: beat St. Bonaventure, 36-24. Next: vs. Calabasas, Fri., 7 p.m.

6. St. Bonaventure (2-1)
The Seraphs had all the momentum when a power outage at Oaks Christian stalled the game in the fourth quarter for nearly 25 minutes. In the end, Bonny dug too deep a hole. Last week: lost to Oaks Christian, 36-24. Next: vs. Simi Valley at Ventura HS, Fri., 7 p.m.

7. Corona Centennial (2-1)
We know on the surface it seems unfair for the Huskies to have dropped a spot after a one-sided win, but we couldn't in good conscience rank them ahead of a team -- St. Bonaventure -- they already had lost to. At least not yet. Last week: beat Chaparral, 49-14. Next: vs. Riverside Poly at Riverside Ramona HS, Thu., 7 p.m.

8. Long Beach Poly (3-1)
If it wasn't clear already, the defense is going to keep the Jackrabbits in every game this season. But the offense will need to catch up if a sustained postseason run is in order. Last week: lost to Mission Viejo, 17-12. Next: at Compton, Fri., 7 p.m.

9. Alemany (3-1)
So was the loss to J.W. North an aberration? The Warriors answer in a most definitive way with an impressive display against a strong Chaminade team behind Steven Mitchell's two touchdown catches.
Last week: beat Chaminade, 38-14. Next: vs. Dorsey, Fri., 7 p.m.

10. Bishop Amat (3-1)
It was the Jalen Moore show for the second week in a row. A week after rushing for 303 yards, the senior gets 191 and two touchdowns to lift the Lancers to a big second half. Last week: beat Damien, 28-7. Next: vs. Cathedral, Fri., 7 p.m.

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ESPNLA prep football Top 25: Week 3

September, 19, 2011
9/19/11
4:18
PM PT
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.

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ESPNLA prep football Top 25: Week 2

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
7:35
PM PT
Four of last week's top eight teams lost, paving the way for some shuffling among the highly ranked. Servite, our No. 1 squad, was the only top 12 team from last week to stay in the same slot. Here are our rankings heading into Week 2:

1. Servite (2-0)
A scary thing for Trinity League and Pac-5 opponents to consider: Senior quarterback Cody Pittman might be better this year. Last week: Beat Bishop Amat, 49-14. Next: vs. La Habra at Cerritos College, Friday, 8 p.m.

2. Long Beach Poly (2-0)
Only two weeks in, the Jackrabbits have already taken down one of the state's better teams and a City Section favorite. Last week: Beat Carson, 38-18. Next: vs. Narbonne at Veterans Stadium, Fri., 7 p.m.

3. Alemany (2-0)
The defending Serra League champs are proving that life without former dynamic weapon Vernon Adams isn't so bad. Last week: Beat Eastside, 46-7. Next: vs. Riverside North at Riverside CC, Fri., 7 p.m.

4. Santa Margarita (2-0)
The Eagles had no trouble against their crosstown rivals, recapturing bragging rights in the sold-out "Rumble at the Ranch." Last week: Beat Tesoro, 39-7. Next: at Trabuco Hills, Thursday, 7 p.m.

5. Mission Viejo (1-1)
A memorable trip to the East Coast turned sour in a miserable loss to the nation's top-ranked team. Last week: Lost to Don Bosco Prep (N.J.), 35-7. Next: vs. La Quinta, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

6. St. Bonaventure (1-0)
It's safe to say the Seraphs didn't really mind their 115-mile bus ride back to Ventura on Friday night. Last week: Beat Corona Centennial, 29-27. Next: at Royal, Fri., 7 p.m.

7. Corona Centennial (0-1)
Coach Matt Logan's concerns about youth and inexperience were verified in a major way. Last week: Lost to St. Bonaventure, 29-27. Next: vs. Mater Dei at Santa Ana Stadium, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

8. Crespi (2-0)
Talk about explosive. The Celts, led by Cody Cordell, have put up 112 points through two games. Last week: Beat L.A. Jordan, 64-0. Next: vs. Clovis West at Buchanon HS, Sat., 7:30 p.m.

9. Oaks Christian (0-1)
They've had the extra week to analyze tape, correct mistakes and refine a defense that struggled to stop nationally-ranked Bellevue (Wash.) in the opener. Last week: Idle. Next: at Agoura, Fri., 7 p.m.

10. St. John Bosco (2-0)
Mistakes on special teams nearly cost the Braves in Lakewood. They might be on the verge of something special if kinks are ironed out. Last week: Beat Lakewood, 35-31. Next: vs. Santa Fe, Fri., 7 p.m.

11. Bishop Amat (1-1)
As if poor defensive play wasn't enough of a concern, coach Steve Hagerty is unsure about offensive catalyst Zachary Shay's health. Last week: Lost to Servite, 49-14. Next: vs. La Mirada, Fri., 7 p.m.

12. Carson (1-1)
Freakishly-talented receiver Darreus Rogers will need some help if the Colts hope to pull off an upset or two in the coming weeks. Last week: Lost to Long Beach Poly, 38-18. Next: Santa Margarita, Sept. 23.

13. Westlake (1-0)
Momentum figures to be favorable for the Warriors, who might still be riding high following a thrilling overtime win in their opener. Last week: Idle. Next: vs. Calabasas, Fri., 7 p.m.

14. Mater Dei (0-1)
The Monarchs surely went back to the drawing board, looking to correct a defensive formula that failed them to start. Last week: Idle. Next: vs. Corona Centennial at Santa Ana Stadium, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

15. Rancho Cucamonga (2-0)
Perhaps the best dual threat in San Bernardino County, quarterback Dimitri Morales has thrown for 500 yards and six touchdowns through two games. Last week: Beat Great Oak, 35-0. Next: at Muir, Fri., 7 p.m.

16. Orange Lutheran (2-0)
Jabari Wilson had 152 rushing yards and Conner Sullivan added 203 through the air to lead the Lancers' balanced attack. Last week: Beat Los Osos, 36-21. Next: vs. Tesoro at Orange Coast College, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

17. Norco (1-0)
Coach Todd Gerhart's bunch needed to come from behind to avoid an upset in their first game of 2011. Last week: Beat Crenshaw, 21-20. Next: vs. Etiwanda at Colony HS, Fri., 7 p.m.

18. Chaminade (1-0)
The Eagles broke in their new blue turf with a victory thanks to Terrell Newby's five touchdowns and 269 rushing yards. Last week: Beat Venice, 41-21. Next: at Valencia, Fri., 7 p.m.

19. Lakewood (1-1)
Top playmaker Darius Powe sat out because of an injury but his young, athletic teammates stepped up to make things interesting. Last week: Lost to St. John Bosco, 35-31. Next: at Mayfair, Fri., 7 p.m.

20. San Clemente (2-0)
Highly regarded offensive lineman Kyle Murphy plays a huge role in the Tritons' running game, which produced 393 rushing yards and four touchdowns Thursday. Last week: Beat Fountain Valley, 43-10. Next: vs. La Costa Canyon, Fri., 7 p.m.

21. Vista Murrieta (1-0)
Tyler Rausa converted a game-winning 38-yard field goal as time expired, but the Broncos made things harder than they had to be. Last week: Beat Etiwanda, 31-28. Next: vs. Corona Santiago, Fri., 7 p.m.

22. Canyon Country Canyon (1-0)
Canyon's offense was impressive: Senior quarterback Jonathan Jerozal threw for 179 yards and two touchdowns; tailback Max Archuleta ran for 164 and a score. Last week: Beat Burroughs, 42-14. Next: vs. Knight, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

23. S.O. Notre Dame (2-0)
Lucas Alfonso became an instant hero on campus, nailing a 40-yard field goal in overtime to keep the Knights perfect. Last week: Beat Valencia, 17-14 (OT). Next: vs. Taft, Fri., 7 p.m.

24. Upland (2-0)
Not a bad start for the Highlanders, who racked up 365 yards Friday after putting up 63 points by halftime in their opener. Last week: Beat Tustin, 31-20. Next: at Serrano, Fri., 7 p.m.

25. Redlands East Valley (1-0)
Difficult tests are on the horizon but, if their opening performance is any indication, the Wildcats appear poised to meet them head on. Last week: Beat Dominguez, 30-0. Next: at San Gorgonio, Fri. 7 p.m.

Dropped out: Tesoro (24)

Newcomer: Redlands East Valley (25)

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter. Make sure to follow @ESPNLAPreps for live in-game updates, final scores and news.

L.A. North: The Top 10

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
9:47
AM PT
Every team in the LA North has at least one game under its belt. The Marmonte League season opens this weekend. Moorpark vs. Thousand Oaks looks like the best game on the schedule.

Chaminade moves up a couple of spots after a 41-21 opening night win over Venice.

Some of the top performances:

Chaminade’s Terrell Newby: Five touchdowns against Venice.

Canyon’s Drew Wolitarsky: Seven catches for 173 yards against Burroughs of Burbank.

Quartz Hills’ Mario Lodge: 202 rushing yards and four touchdowns against Oxnard.

Here’s a look at the LA North Top 10 after Week 1. Previous week's rankings are in parentheses:
  1. (1) Oaks Christian (0-1): The Lions ease into Marmonte League play against Agoura on Friday. Oaks Christian is coming off a 31-21 loss to Bellevue, the reigning 3A state champion from Washington, on Sept. 3. Agoura was 2-8 and won only one league game in 2010.
  2. (2) St. Bonaventure (1-0): The Seraphs opened with an impressive 29-27 win over Corona Centennial, the No. 2 team in the ESPN LA prep football rankings. St. Bonaventure begins Marmonte League play against Royal on Friday night.
  3. (3) Alemany (2-0): The Warriors walloped on another easy opponent, 46-7, over Eastside from Lancaster. Alemany plays JW North at Riverside City College on Friday.
  4. (4) Crepi (2-0): The Celts clobbered LA Jordan 64-0. Crespi will be tested this weekend against Clovis West from Fresno. Clovis won the CIF Central Section Division I championship and went 12-1 in 2010. The only loss for Clovis: 34-33 to Crespi on Sept. 17. The game is in Fresno on Saturday night.
  5. (5) Westlake (1-0): The Warriors are coming off a 30-27 overtime win over Del Oro from Loomis on Sept. 3. Westlake opens Marmonte League play against Calabasas on Friday night.
  6. (9) Chaminade (1-0): The Eagles got off to a slow start against Venice but rolled to a 41-21 opening night win. Chaminade’s Terrell Newby scored five touchdowns. He will give the Valencia defense all it can handle on Friday night.
  7. (7) Canyon (1-0): The Cowboys piled on Burroughs of Burbank, 42-14, with receiver Drew Wolitarsky having one of the biggest games of the weekend. He caught seven passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. Canyon plays Knight from Lancaster on Friday night.
  8. (6) Moorpark (1-0): The Musketeers won their opening night game, 21-10, over Palos Verdes on Sept. 2. Moorpark plays Thousand Oaks in one of the better Marmonte League openers. Thousand Oaks shut out Hueneme, 62-0, two weeks ago.
  9. (8) Quartz Hill (1-0): The Rebels opened with an impressive 42-13 win over Oxnard. Quartz Hill running back Mario Lodge turned some heads with 202 yards rushing on 11 carries. He also scored four touchdowns. Let’s see if he can put up those kind of numbers against Bakersfield, which reached the championship game of the Central Section Division I playoffs last year.
  10. (10) Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (2-0): The Knights needed overtime to beat Valencia, 17-14. Notre Dame was held scoreless for three-and-a-half quarters, but scored 14 points in the last seven minutes of the game. Notre Dame plays City Section power Woodland Hills Taft on Friday.

Follow Tim Haddock on Twitter @thaddock.

ESPNLA prep football top 25: Week 1

September, 5, 2011
9/05/11
3:33
PM PT
Opening week has come and gone, and only one team in the top 10 of the ESPNLA.com Top 25 prep football preseason rankings lost. Three teams fell completely out following rather lackluster performances but, other than that, there was no drastic movement. Here are our rankings heading into Week 1:

1. Servite (1-0)
New year, new names, same old story. Coach Troy Thomas' bunch just finds ways to win. Last week: Beat Oceanside, 20-0. Next: vs. No. 7 Bishop Amat, Friday.

2. Corona Centennial (0-0)
The Huskies' uptempo attack and new quarterback Hayden Gavett get a tough first test. Last week: Idle. Next: vs. No. 9 St. Bonaventure, Friday.

3. Mission Viejo (1-0)
A successful opening weekend was spoiled by senior transfer Buzzy Yokoyama's leg injury. Last week: Beat Bakersfield Centennial, 35-6. Next: at Don Bosco Prep (N.J.), Saturday.

4. Long Beach Poly (1-0)
The Jackrabbits traveled north and pulled out a thrilling victory against the state's No. 7-ranked team. Last week: Beat Sacramento Grant, 24-23. Next: vs. No. 8 Carson at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Friday.

5. Alemany (1-0)
Devon Dunn had no problems in his first career varsity start. The junior threw for three touchdowns and ran for another. Last week: Beat Pasadena, 55-0. Next: vs. Lancaster Eastside, Friday.

(Read full post)

Inland Empire: Winners and losers from Thursday's SoCal Regionals

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
4:38
PM PT
Looking back, even the losses don’t seem so bad anymore.

The Fontana Summit boys’ basketball team never quite received the respect it deserved this season, mainly due to its lukewarm 10-6 start to the season.

The SkyHawks were seeded No. 6 in the Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs and marched into the semifinals. They were awarded an at-large berth into the Southern California Regional Division 2 playoffs and were seeded 10th.

After winning its opener in overtime, Summit scored its biggest upset of the season Thursday night, traveling to second-seeded Ventura and dominating from start to finish in the 66-45 victory. Ventura won the Division 2AA title last weekend.

Summit will meet Palos Verdes Peninsula in Saturday’s semifinals. Thanks to a couple of other upsets on the same side of the bracket, the SkyHawks are seeded higher than the Panthers, giving them home-court advantage. After traveling to Harbor City for their first-round game Tuesday, then to Ventura less than 48 hours later, the SkyHawks should appreciate the opportunity to play in their own gym.

Summit hasn’t lost at home this season. All of their defeats occurred during pre-league tournaments and showcases. Two defeats came against Etiwanda, a Southern Section Division 1AA semifinalist, another to Division 1AA finalist Corona Centennial and one to San Diego Section Division I champion Carlsbad La Costa Canyon.

Eagles can’t get past Jackrabbits...again

Etiwanda coach Dave Kleckner will spend another offseason seeing everything in green and gold, but it won’t be the good kind.

Those are the school colors of Long Beach Poly, which ended the Eagles' season for the second consecutive year with a 66-63 victory Thursday night in a Division 1 regional quarterfinal at Long Beach City College.

During the last two postseasons, Etiwanda has played the Jackrabbits four times and lost three. The Eagles made a valiant comeback from 14 points down at the start of the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie on Jordan Daniels' last-second 3-point attempt.

Byron Wesley scored 18 points in his last game for Etiwanda before heading off to USC. Tyler LaCour pitched in 17.

Long Beach Poly moves on to play Mater Dei on Saturday at Long Beach City College beginning at 7 p.m. In the other Division 1 semifinal, second-seeded Corona Centennial will host third-seeded Woodland Hills Taft at 5 p.m. at Eastvale Roosevelt High.

For the Eagles, it’s back to the drawing board. They graduate their top five scorers in Wesley, Daniels, LaCour, Troy Fiawoo and Evan Jenkins. Look for them to rebuild around their next star, freshman guard Jordan McLaughlin.

(Read full post)

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