Los Angeles Preps: Dion Willis

City Division I: An epic brewing at the Coliseum

December, 9, 2010

After Carson clinched a spot in the City Section Division I championship game last week, coach Elijah Asante went mythical on reporters, likening Crenshaw to Kraken, a powerful creature featured in the film "Clash of the Titans."

In the movie, protagonist Perseus uses the power of Medusa's snake-infested head to turn Kraken into stone. No word yet on what Carson plans to do with Crenshaw on Saturday at the Coliseum.

"I don't know what we're going to do," Asante said, "but we're going to have to come up with a plan to stop all that talent."

The plan figures to include the legs of tailbacks Dion Willis and Myles Johnson. Both surpassed the 100-yard mark in No. 1-seeded Carson's 40-21 semifinal win over Taft last Friday. It might not be Medusa's head, but if we include quarterback Justin Alo's running abilities, then consider Carson (11-2) a three-headed monster.

Will that be enough to offset defending City champion Crenshaw (11-2) and the nearly-mythical DeAnthony Thomas? The No. 2-seeded Cougars, who advanced to Saturday's 1 p.m. game with a 63-12 victory against Venice, have outscored opponents 156 to 26 in three playoff games. And while we're keeping tally, how does a 574-55 scoring streak in 11 straight wins sound?

"It's not about intimidation," Johnson said. "I mean, some dudes go out there and are intimidated. But it's Carson and Crenshaw -- that's what it's supposed to be."

LA South: Athletes of the week

November, 23, 2010
Dion Willis, Carson, Sr.

Willis scored four touchdowns and rushed for 161 yards on 11 carries to help Carson, the top seed in the City Section Div. I playoffs, to a 42-6 win over Sylmar in the first round Friday. The Marine League co-MVP -- Willis shared the honor with teammate Justin Alo -- busted a 70-yard score on the game's first play. He averaged nine yards per carry the rest of the way, complementing quarterback Alo's 11-for-14, 226-yard effort.

Jacklyn Bamberger, Palisades Charter, So.

Bamberger captured the L.A. City Section individual girls' cross country championship by finishing Pierce College's three-mile course in 18:46.61 on Saturday. She edged San Pedro junior Evelyn Gonzalez (18:51.46) and El Camino Real freshman Peyton Cline (18:53.60). Birmingham claimed the team title by having four runners finish in the top 12.

LA South, Orange County: It's a pay-Dei for Carson

September, 4, 2010
Two plays that culminated just 13 seconds apart played a huge role in Carson's 14-10 upset of Mater Dei Saturday at Santa Ana Stadium. Actually, it was only the second play that really mattered.

Mater Dei, ranked No. 8 to Carson's No. 21 in the ESPNLA top 25, was down by a touchdown when Glen Rapheal returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown. It tied the score and turned the momentum in favor of Mater Dei midway in the second quarter.

Or so it seemed. But Dion Willis made the play of the night for Carson when he returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a score. Willis had taken the ball behind a flock of blockers then bowled up the middle as though he were headed for the lead pin. Near midfield he drifted to the right as he burst away from flailing defenders.

“One person touched me on the thigh,” said Willis, a senior who is being courted by a few Pac-10 schools. He returned one kickoff for a touchdown last season – against Banning. “I like this one way better,” he said.

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