Los Angeles Preps: Drew Wolitarsky

L.A. North: Five things from the weekend

April, 23, 2012
  1. Canyon High receiver Drew Wolitarsky has picked up two college offers. One is from West Point and the other is from Arizona. The junior wide receiver caught 75 passes for 1,628 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also returned 14 punts for 203 yards and had two returns for touchdowns. The Canyon football team finished in third place in the Foothill League and reached the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs in 2011.
  2. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame Khalfani Muhammad won the 100, and was on the winning 4x100 and 4x200 meter relay teams at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut. He already holds the fastest time in the state in the 100, 10.54 seconds set at the Maurice Greene Invitational on April 14. He won the 100 at Mt. SAC in 10.55 seconds. He anchored the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams.
  3. Simi Valley’s Sarah Baxter anchored the winning 4x200 meter relay team at the Mt. SAC Relays. The girls broke the school record winning the invitational race in 11 minutes, 59.68 seconds, the third fastest time in the nation this year. Harvard-Westlake has the top time in the nation at 11:45.18 and Redondo Union is second at 11:53.53 seconds. The team of Baxter, Erika Barr, Amanda Hamilton and Desirae Jones rallied past Beverly Hills to win the race at Mt. SAC.
  4. The Harvard-Westlake girls 4x1,600 meter relay team set a school record at the Mt. SAC relays, but finished in third in the race. The team of Cami Chapus, Amy Weissenbach, Lizzy Thomas and Yasmin Moreno finished the race in 20 minutes, 40.17 seconds. It was 17 seconds faster than the school record time set in 2003. Redondo Union won the race in 20:01.38, breaking the state record held by Saugus set in 2011. The Harvard-Westlake girls won the 4x800 relay at the Mt. SAC Relays in 9:08.69, the second fastest time in the nation.
  5. Moorpark’s Sean Barry tossed a no-hitter against Westlake in a Marmonte League baseball game on Friday. Barry struck out 11 and walked five. Michael Ketring provided the offense for Moorpark, going 3-for-3 with a double and drove in three runs. The Musketeers scored four runs in the sixth inning to break open an otherwise tight game. Tim Burtzloff started the game for Westlake and went 3 1/3 innings. He gave up only one run on four hits.

No. 11 St. Bonny 38, Canyon 17

November, 26, 2011

VENTURA -- St. Bonaventure scored two lightning-quick touchdowns against Canyon in the quarterfinals of their CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoff game. One was on a punt return by speedy Montre Lee. The other was on an interception return by lumbering defensive tackle Patrick Kenney.

Both third-quarter scores came in a 10-second span and St. Bonaventure eliminated Canyon, 38-17, from the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Lee scored on a 45-yard punt return and Kenney returned an interception 26 yards 10 second later at Ventura High School on Friday night.

After building a 21-3 lead at halftime, St. Bonaventure’s two quick strikes from a pair of unlikely sources put the game out of reach for visiting Canyon (9-3).

Lee said he told his coaches before the game he was going to return a kick for a touchdown. He has been hurt the last few weeks and not playing at 100 percent health.

“This whole game I was hungry,” Lee said. “I told my coaches I was going to take back a return, I was going to take back a punt or a kick return and I was ready for that one.”

Kenney scored his first career touchdown on the interception return. It was only his third career high school interception.

What little hope Canyon had of rallying in the second half was squashed by the touchdowns by Lee and Kenney.

“We already had a commanding lead,” St. Bonaventure coach Todd Threrrien said. “That kind of put it out of reach.”

(Read full post)

L.A. North: Pick six games of the week

November, 23, 2011
No. 2 Westlake (11-0) vs. Hart (8-3) at College of the Canyons, Friday (7 p.m.)
Hart is back in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, but the Indians are about to get a taste of what it will take to start winning CIF championships again. Westlake hasn’t really been tested since Week 1, an overtime win over Del Oro in Loomis in Northern California. This game could be over by halftime and a feast of sacks for Justin Solis and Johnny Stuart. Westlake will be able to rest up its starters before the Northern Division semifinals.

No. 9 Oaks Christian (9-2) vs. Highland (9-1), Friday (7:30 p.m.)
Oaks Christian has rattled some of the top quarterbacks in the Marmonte League, but Highland has a special one in Christian Tago. The senior has thrown for 2,323 yards and 25 touchdowns. He is headed to San Jose State next fall. Oaks Christian has a good quarterback in sophomore Brandon Dawkins, who has thrown for 1,927 yards and 21 touchdowns in addition to rushing for 176 yards and three touchdowns. There should be lots of scoring in this one.

Canyon (9-2) vs. No. 11 St. Bonaventure (9-2) at Ventura High School, Friday (7 p.m.)
This is a rematch of last year’s Northern Division quarterfinals. St. Bonaventure won, 45-21, before losing in the semifinals. Canyon is coming off a 21-0 shutout over Palmdale in the first round. Junior receiver Drew Wolitarsky had a nice game with four catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns. St. Bonaventure escaped a first-round scare, 19-10, over Redondo. It took nearly a half before the Seraphs woke up and erased a 10-0 deficit. Running back Zack Green rushed for 137 yards and Marcus Chambers gained 47 yards in 10 carries, scoring the first touchdown for St. Bonaventure in the second quarter. Shaun Wick, St. Bonaventure’s leading rusher with 885 yards and 11 touchdowns, did not play against Redondo.

Birmingham (9-2) vs. No. 16 Dorsey (10-1), Friday (7 p.m.)
Birmingham needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to beat Arleta, 21-18, in the first round of the City Section Division I playoffs. Quarterback Trae Smith passed for 115 yards and two touchdowns and scored the winning touchdown on a three-yard run with a little over a minute to play. Dorsey is the third-seeded team in the City Section playoffs and clobbered Fairfax, 35-13, in the first round.

No. 22 Chaminade (9-2) vs. San Luis Obispo (8-3), Friday (7:30 p.m.)
Chaminade receiver Elijah Dunston caught two passes for 74 yards and scored two touchdowns in his team’s 45-15 win over Inglewood in the first round of the Western Division playoffs. He wasn’t the only Chaminade player who made the most of his touches. Running back Terrell Newby scored three touchdowns in 12 carries and gained 70 yards. San Luis Obispo won a shootout, 54-28, against Camarillo in the first round of the playoffs. The Tigers exploded for 28 points in the third quarter and extended a 13-point halftime lead to 41 points in the fourth quarter.

St. Francis (9-2) vs. Arroyo Grande (10-1), Friday (7:30 p.m.)
Arroyo Grande is the team no one wants to face in the Western Division playoffs. The Eagles made it to the championship game and lost to Serra last season. Arroyo Grande has won 10 games in a row and hasn’t lost since opening night against Lompoc. The Eagles won convincingly, 41-6, over Dos Pueblos in the first round of the playoffs. St. Francis is a tough team too. The Golden Knights have won three games in a row, including, 45-28, over Paramount in the first round of the playoffs. Quarterback Jared Lebowitz threw for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Luke Anderson rushed for 44 yards in nine carries and scored three touchdowns.

L.A. North: 5 things from the weekend

November, 21, 2011
  1. Not only is the Ventura football team undefeated through 11 games and the first round of the playoffs, they haven’t trailed in a game since Week 1. The Cougars were down 16-15 in the third quarter against Pacifica in the season opener. Ventura scored the final 19 points of the game to win, 34-16. Coach Brad Steward was looking through Ventura’s first 10 games in preparation for the opening of the Southern Section Western Division playoffs against Dominguez and discovered his team’s streak in leading games. The Cougars have been on quite a roll since the start of the season. Teams are scoring only 8.7 points against Ventura. The Cougars are coming off a 41-14 win over Dominguez in the first round of the Western Division playoffs. They play Santa Monica (10-1) in the quarterfinals on Friday night. The Vikings are on a bit of a roll of their own, with seven wins in a row and their loss only coming against Valencia on Sept. 30.
  2. The Marmonte League went a perfect 5-0 in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs. The biggest blowout, Westlake over Eastside, 59-12. The closest game, surprisingly, St. Bonaventure, 19-10, over Redondo. Quarterbacks were the difference for Oaks Christian and Moorpark. Sophomore Brandron Dawkins threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns in Oaks Christian’s impressive 43-10 win over Mira Costa. He could have had more, but only played in the first half. Moorpark’s Grant Rohach passed for 176 yards and a touchdown, but every one of his passes were crucial in a 17-10 win over fourth-seeded Valencia. He threw a touchdown pass to Kenny Feyh in the fourth quarter to give Moorpark a 15-10 lead. Rohach also connected with Alex Tolliver for an important two-point conversion pass for a seven-point lead in the final minutes of the game. Not to be forgotten was a tough road win for Thousand Oaks, 20-7, over Quartz Hill. The Lancers erased a 7-0 deficit and scored 20 unanswered points to win going away. Moorpark and Thousand Oaks will play each other in the quarterfinals in a rematch of their Marmonte League opener. Thousand Oaks won that game, 27-24, on a last-second field goal.
  3. The San Fernando Valley went 1-4 in the first round of the City Section Division I playoffs. Birmingham was the only team to advance to the quarterfinals. El Camino Real, Arleta, Woodland Hills Taft and Reseda all lost in the first round and were eliminated. Arleta running back Dejon Coleman rushed for 156 yards and scored a touchdown in his team’s 21-18 loss to Birmingham. He broke the City Section record with 47 touchdowns this season. Birmingham scored the winning touchdown with a little over a minute to play in the game. The lone remaining team from the San Fernando Valley plays No. 3 Dorsey in the second round.
  4. The magic ran out for Camarillo and quarterback Travis Valdez. The junior threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns, but Camarillo lost to San Luis Obispo, 54-28, in the first round of the Western Division playoffs. Valdez threw for 2,594 yards and 35 touchdowns in eight games. He took over the starting quarterback job on Oct. 6 and won his first six starts. Receiver Jake Maulhardt caught 10 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown for Camarillo. He ends his high school career with 119 catches, second most in Southern Section history. Richard Mullaney from Thousand Oaks set the Southern Section record last year with 122 catches over his high school career.
  5. A week after losing a share of the Foothill League championship for using an ineligible player and having to forfeit a game, Canyon won impressively in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs, 21-0, over Palmdale. Quarterback Jonathan Jerozal threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Drew Wolitarsky caught four passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. The Canyon defense came up with some huge plays. Juan Rodriguez blocked a 30-yard field-goal attempt. Mikey Hager had an interception just before halftime and set up Wolitarsky’s second touchdown catch, a 77-yarder as time expired. Canyon moves on to face St. Bonaventure in a rematch of last year’s Northern Division quarterfinal game. St. Bonaventure won that game, 45-21.

Valencia 34, No. 20 Canyon 7

October, 21, 2011

VALENCIA – The Canyon football team made too many mistakes, missed too many opportunities, and in the end, played a team that was not quite ready to relinquish the Foothill League championship.

Valencia jumped out to a 17-point halftime lead and rolled to a 34-7 win over previously undefeated Canyon, the No. 20 team in the ESPNLA.com football rankings, in a Foothill League game at Valencia High School on Friday night.

Valencia receiver Malik Townsend caught two touchdown passes and the Vikings defense held Canyon to 34 rushing yards and 212 yards of total offense.

“I knew it was going to take a team effort,” Valencia coach Larry Muir said. “The secondary stepped up. The defensive line was going to have to play tough against the run.”

Valencia is the two-time reigning Foothill League champion. Canyon (6-1) won its first six games of the season, including the Foothill League opener last week against West Ranch.

Valencia (4-3) played a tough preseason schedule that included Chaminade and Loyola. The Vikings were 3-3 entering the game against Canyon.

The Vikings opened the game with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Sean Murphy and chewed up nearly five minutes of the first quarter.

Canyon’s first drive consisted of three plays and a punt. Valencia got the ball back at midfield and stalled after three plays.

Valencia was forced to punt, but Canyon had 12 players on the field for the punt return. The penalty gave Valencia a first down and the Vikings capped the drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Murphy to Townsend.

It was the first of many mistakes by Canyon.

(Read full post)

Duo rewriting Canyon record book

October, 20, 2011
Quarterback Jonathan Jerozal and receiver Drew Wolitarsky are rewriting the football record book at Canyon High School.

Jerozal broke the record for career touchdown passes last week against Saugus. He threw three touchdowns against the Centurions and has 62 in his career, breaking the mark of 61 set by Nate Longshore from 2001 to '03.

“I knew I was coming up on it,” Jerozal said. “I wasn’t sure how many I needed. I wasn’t really paying that much attention to it. It’s an amazing feeling, such a feat to hold that record now.”

Wolitarsky set the school receiving and touchdown reception marks this season. He has 3,049 receiving yards and 28 touchdown catches over his career. Sean Coen held the old records of 2,600 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns playing at the same time as Longshore.

Jerozal needs 157 passing yards to break Longshore’s career passing record of 6,789 yards.

The senior quarterback looks back on his career as one of good fortune and opportunity. His coach said Jerozal turned what was a tumultuous time in the football program into a reason to celebrate.

Jerozal was forced into the starting quarterback role as a sophomore, probably a little before he was ready to take over the offense, because several players, including the quarterback, quit the team.

“Bringing Jonathan up, I think we all knew he could play at that level,” Canyon coach Rich Gutierrez said. “Coming in, although he was somewhat young, I think Jonathan had been preparing his whole life to be a quarterback. We were very aware of his natural ability and his instincts. Sometimes, sadly, through unfortunate events, you actually get something that comes out to be just a beautiful thing.”

Canyon, which won a CIF state bowl game in 2003, had one of its worst seasons in 2009, Jerozal’s sophomore season. The Cowboys went 2-9 and missed the playoffs. Jerozal finished his sophomore season with 2,124 passing yards with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Was he asked to be the starting quarterback at Canyon too soon?

(Read full post)

L.A. North: Games of the Week

October, 19, 2011
CanyonTim Haddock/For ESPNLA.comCanyon will be facing a tough defense when it takes on Valencia in a key Foothill League game.

The Canyon football team has been rolling over opponents, averaging 49.8 points. The Valencia football team has been shutting down opposing offenses, yielding an average of 12.2 points.

When the two teams meet on Friday night at Valencia High School, it will be a classic matchup of an explosive offense vs. a stingy defense.

Except that the Valencia offense woke up against West Ranch in the Foothill League opener last week.

Valencia (3-3), the reigning Foothill League champ, scored a season-high 31 points in a 31-14 win over West Ranch. Running back Jake Solley rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns for Valencia, which came into the game averaging only 13.6 points.

Canyon (6-0), the No. 20 team in the ESPNLA top 25 rankings, is coming off a 51-28 win over Saugus. The Cowboys eclipsed the 50-point mark for the fourth time this season and have been beating teams by a average margin of 36 points per game.

Canyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal threw three touchdowns passes, two to receiver Drew Wolitarsky, in the game against Saugus. But Canyon coach Rich Gutierrez said it was the emergence of the running attack that has led to Canyon’s high scores and eye-popping statistics.

Canyon running back Max Archuleta has rushed for 727 yards and scored eight touchdowns in six games. He is averaging 121.1 yards per game and 7.8 yards per carry. Gutierrez says Archuleta is a phenomenal athlete, but he had no idea how much of an impact he would make on the offense.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Gutierrez said. “The offensive line is doing their thing. It's execution. It’s increased our options.”

With a running game that demands attention, Jerozal and Wolitarsky have been able to shine throughout the season. It has also given receivers Coley Apsay and Brenden Stach chances to make plays.

Gutierrez calls Apsay, the starting point guard on the Canyon basketball team, his team’s most consistent player.

“Coley’s one of our best athletes,” Gutierrez said. “He’s a solid possession receiver.”

Valencia will definitely be the toughest defense Canyon has faced all season. But Gutierrez says he expects a tough game every week.

“They have great players, great coaches,” Gutierrez said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Saugus, but I almost see every week as the toughest test we have. I see every game as a tough game. They got talented kids. It’s good stuff.”

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

(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)

L.A. North: Five things from the weekend

October, 3, 2011
  1. The Ventura football team ran its record to 5-0 with a convincing 27-0 win over Camarillo in one of the longest rivalries in Ventura County. The two teams met for the 30th time on Friday night. The game didn’t quite live up to expectations, though. Camarillo receiver Jake Maulhardt was coming off a state-record performance against Canyon. He caught 28 passes to set the new state mark with 347 receiving yards and scored three touchdowns. Against Ventura, he caught only eight passes for 72 yards. Still a good night, but it pales in comparison to the previous game. Ventura receiver Hunter Winans outplayed Maulhardt with seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. He has 30 catches for 438 yards and two touchdowns in five games. Nobody expected Ventura to shut out Camarillo, which came into the game averaging 23 points. Ventura moved up to No. 7 in the latest CIF-Southern Section Western Division polls The Cougars were ranked 10th last week. St. Paul from the Mission League is ranked No. 1 in the Western Division, followed by Mission League rival Chaminade at No. 2.
  2. The Paraclete football team set a school record with 86 points against Pasadena Marshall. The Spirits won the game, 86-0, playing second and third stringers in the second half. There is a CIF rule to use a running clock when a team is up by more than 30 points, but the Paraclete coaches said Marshall refused to use a running clock. “We asked for it after the first half,” the Paraclete coaches said on Twitter. “We have nothing but respect for Coach [James] Zall and his squad. He’s building something special.” Paraclete was up 37-0 after the first quarter and 65-0 at halftime. The Spirits gained 547 yards of total offense and Anton Hutcherson scored three touchdowns. The Spirits forced five turnovers and held Marshall to minus-9 yards of offense.
  3. Arleta’s Dejon Coleman recorded his first seven-touchdown game and third six-touchdown game of the season in a 68-0 win over Monroe in the East Valley League opener. What is more impressive is that he scored his six rushing touchdowns in only nine carries in the game. He scored on runs of 73, 60, 35, 72, 47 and 19 yards and gained 320 yards in nine carries. For those keeping score at home, that’s 35.5 yards per carry. He also scored on a 72-yard kickoff return in the second half. That gives him 20 touchdowns in four games.
  4. Canyon receiver Drew Wolitarsky caught two touchdown passes in his team’s 56-6 win over Beverly Hills. He set the school record with 26 career receiving touchdowns on Friday night. For good measure, he scored a touchdown on a 66-yard punt return in the second quarter. Wolitarsky caught five passes for 101 yards and had scoring catches of 33 and 29 yards from quarterback Jonathan Jerozal. Wolitarsky has caught 24 passes for 491 yards and six touchdowns in four games. He is averaging 20.4 yards per catch and 122.8 receiving yards per game.
  5. The Downey girls' volleyball team was the surprise winner in the 28-team Royal Classic over the weekend in Simi Valley. Downey beat Ayala, 25-22, in the championship match and knocked off reigning Royal Classic champion Notre Dame Academy, 25-23, 29-27, in the semifinals. Host Royal lost in the quarterfinals of the gold division playoffs to Downey, 25-23, 25-22. El Camino Real won the silver division championship, 25-23, 25-18, over Granada Hills.

L.A. North: The Top 10

October, 2, 2011
What happened to the teams from the Serra League? Alemany and Crespi, the class of the Serra League, lost on Friday night. For Alemany, it was another heartbreaking one-point loss. For Crespi, it was a blowout against Vista Murrieta.

At least Sherman Oaks Notre Dame stepped up, shutting out Golden Valley.

Alemany has two losses this season, both by one point. The Warriors lost to J.W. North by one point, 36-35, two weeks ago. Their most recent lost was to Dorsey, 14-13.

Crespi was undefeated at 4-0 entering the game against Vista Murrieta. Maybe a more telling stat was that the teams Crespi beat were a combined 2-12.

As a result, Alemany and Crespi drop a little in the L.A. North top 10 rankings. Westlake and St. Bonaventure move up a little. Oaks Christian remains on top and awaits its crosstown rival Westlake on Thursday night.

Here’s a look at the top 10:
  1. (1) Oaks Christian (3-1) – Quarterback Brandon Dawkins threw for three touchdowns and the Lions improved to 3-0 in Marmonte League play with a 56-7 win over Calabasas.
  2. (4) Westlake (5-0) – The Warriors scored 73 points and, believe it or not, it wasn’t the highest total of Friday night. Paraclete dropped 86 points on Marshall of Pasadena. Westlake stayed undefeated with a 73-27 win over Royal.
  3. (5) St. Bonaventure (3-1) – Ouch! The Seraphs shut out Simi Valley, 34-0. Running backs Shaun Wick and Zach Green each scored two touchdowns for St. Bonaventure.
  4. (2) Crespi (4-1) – The Celts had a 13-7 lead on Vista Murrieta in the first half, but ultimately lost, 38-20. It was the first loss of the season for Crespi. Vista Murrieta, meanwhile, stayed undefeated at 4-0.
  5. (3) Alemany (3-2) – The Warriors have lost two games by a combined score of two points. They lost by one point to Dorsey on Friday night. Alemany quarterback Devon Dunn was knocked out of the game in the second half because of an injury after a sack.
  6. (6) Canyon (4-0) – The Cowboys rolled over Beverly Hills, 56-6. Canyon receiver Drew Wolitarsky caught five passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He broke the school record for career receiving touchdowns with 26.
  7. (7) Chaminade (3-1) – The Eagles looked good against Mira Costa in a 29-13 win. Running back Terrell Newby rushed for 243 yards and scored two touchdowns.
  8. (8) Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (5-0) – The Knights had no problem with Golden Valley, shutting out the Grizzlies, 42-0. After its first four plays of the game, Notre Dame was up 21-0.
  9. (9) St. Francis (4-0) – The Golden Knights handed West Ranch an embarrassing first loss in a matchup of previously undefeated teams. St. Francis won 35-0, building a 28-0 lead in the first half.
  10. (10) Ventura (5-0) – The Cougars welcomed back MaxPreps All-American Nick Rudolph with a 27-0 win over Camarillo. Ventura running back Conner Armstrong had a nice night with 145 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

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)

L.A. North: The Top 10

September, 19, 2011
Alemany blew a 14-point lead in the second half and lost a tough road game to J.W. North in Riverside. As a result, the Warriors dropped a couple of spots in the area top 10 rankings.

Westlake and Crespi posted impressive wins and moved up a couple of notches.

Thousand Oaks pulled out a thrilling, 27-24, last-second win over Moorpark and knocked the Musketeers out of the top 10.

Quartz Hill is barely hanging on to a top-10 spot after an embarrassing, 35-7, loss on the road to Bakersfield.

Here’s a look at the LA North top 10:
  1. (1) Oaks Christian (1-1) – The Lions won their first game in a big way. Oaks Christian beat Agoura, 50-11, in the Marmonte League opener. Running back Ishmael Adams rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
  2. (2) St. Bonaventure (2-0) – The Seraphs shut out Royal, 59-0, behind quarterback Marc Evans. He threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns in the Marmonte League opener for both teams. Next up for St. Bonaventure is Oaks Christian on Friday night. Oaks Christian beat St. Bonaventure, 33-32, last season.
  3. (4) Crespi (2-0) – The Celts traveled to Fresno for a tough game against Clovis West and won, 42-28. Quarterback Cody Cordell threw five touchdown passes for Crespi.
  4. (5) Westlake (2-0) – The Warriors shut out Calabasas, 63-0, in their Marmonte League opener. Justin Moore threw three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth touchdown.
  5. (3) Alemany (2-1) – The Warriors lost for the first time this season, a surprising, 36-35, setback to J.W. North in Riverside. Alemany had its 15-game regular-season winning streak snapped.
  6. (6) Chaminade (2-0) – The Eagles beat Valencia, 14-10, but had to rally with two touchdowns in the second half to do it. Terrell Newby scored both touchdowns but was held to 73 yards in 24 carries.
  7. (7) Canyon (2-0) – The Cowboys showed no mercy against Knight in a 56-7 win. Quarterback Joanathan Jerozal threw four touchdown passes, three to receiver Drew Wolitarsky.
  8. (10) Sheman Oaks Notre Dame (3-0) – The Knights had little trouble against Woodland Hills Taft, 35-0. Running back Khalfani Muhammad rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown.
  9. (NR) Thousand Oaks (2-0) – Jamie Sutcliffe hit a 40-yard field goal with no time left in regulation to give Thousand Oaks a 27-24 win over Moorpark. Sutcliffe was 2-for-5 in field-goal attempts, but hit the game-winner.
  10. (9) Quartz Hill (1-1) – The Rebels lost, 35-7, to Bakersfield. Quartz Hill gave up three second-half touchdowns. Osirius Burke scored the only touchdown for Quartz Hill in the second quarter.

L.A. North: The Top 10

September, 12, 2011
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.

Football: No. 24 Canyon Country Canyon

August, 19, 2011

The Canyon Country Canyon football team has a rich tradition, but the program has been down the past few years.

After guiding Canyon to a 10-2 record and into the quarterfinals of the CIF- Southern Section Northern Division playoffs, coach Chris Varner resigned. Rich Gutiterrez, the athletic director at Canyon and an assistant under Varner, takes over a program poised to return to greatness.

The team has a three-year starter at quarterback in Jonathan Jerozal and one of the best wide receivers in Southern California in junior Drew Wolitarsky. Expectations are high at Canyon, but this is a program that has historically set high goals and achieved them.

Here is a closer look at the Cowboys:

Team: Canyon Country Canyon

Coach: Rich Gutierrez, first year.

2010 Record: 10-2, lost in quarterfinals of CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

[+] EnlargeJonathan Jerozal
Tim Haddock for ESPNLA.comCanyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal is a three-year starter for the Cowboys.
Returning starters: 11 total. Five on offense. Six on defense.

Key players on offense: QB Jonathan Jeroza, WR Drew Wolitarsky, RB Max Archuleta, WR Coley Apsay, C Alex Vaughn, OT Juan Rodriguez.

Key players on defense: MLB Adam Evans, OLB Robert Hooper.

Difference maker: DE Juan Rodriguez.

Newcomers: WR Coley Apsay, WR Brenden Stach, DB Jordan Canady, NG Estaban Vazquez, coach Rich Gutierrez.

Not to be missed: Canyon at Valencia, Oct. 21. This game will most likely decide the Foothill League championship. Canyon will be looking for its first league title since 2006. Valencia will be looking for its third league championship in a row.

Coach’s comment: “This is a tremendous experience. I go game by game. You can’t overlook anybody. We try to focus on what’s in front of us.”

Final analysis: This might be the year Canyon snaps Valencia’s hold on the Foothill League championship. The last time Canyon won the Foothill League title in 2006, the Cowboys went on to win a CIF state championship. Jerozal is a three-year starter at quarterback. Wolitarsky has been on varsity since he was a freshman and still has a year of high school left. Coach Gutierrez said Rodriguez is a tremendous leader. “It’s really great to see. Juan makes some really great things happen.”

Follow Tim Haddock on Twitter @thaddock.

LA North: Canyon Country Canyon's new football coach has good energy

August, 18, 2011

Canyon Country Canyon wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky set the school record with 1,772 yards as a sophomore last season. His team advanced to the CIF Southern Section Northern Division quarterfinals.

At the end of the season, coach Chris Varner resigned and Rich Gutierrez took over. Wolitarsky said Gutierrez brings a different kind of energy to practice than Varner.

Follow Tim Haddock on Twitter @thaddock.