Los Angeles Preps: Elijah Dunston

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.

No. 25 Chaminade 36, No. 20 N.D. 32

October, 7, 2011

WEST HILLS -- They will remember this one for a while.

Chaminade did seemingly everything in its power to blow what appeared to be an insurmountable lead at halftime Friday night against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

Questionable play calling. Countless mistakes on special teams. Unnecessary timeouts. You name it and the Eagles somehow, someway, committed the wrong doing.

In the end, however, Chaminade managed to figure things out.

Scoring a pair of touchdowns with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter certainly helped out matters. And turning away one last-gasp effort by the visiting Knights as time expired enabled Chaminade to escape with a 36-32 nonleague victory

“There is no quit in this team, no way'' Chaminade coach Ed Croson said. “We gave Notre Dame plenty of chances to win this game. We almost self-destructed. We knew it was going to be a fight though and we weren't going to back down. This was a big, big win.''

Indeed it was a big win for Chaminade (4-1), ranked No. 25 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com rankings. Notre Dame (5-1) figures to fall from its No. 20 spot next week.

Chaminade's Logan Scott scored on a nine-yard touchdown to cut the Notre Dame lead to 32-29 with 1:56 left. And when Cory Harris and Isaiah Bernard recovered the subsequent onside kick, the Eagles were in business near midfield.

Chaminade handed the ball over to its workhorse, Terrell Newby, the rest of the way. He scored on a one-yard run with 15 seconds left for the game's final margin. All told, the 5-foot-10 junior had 141 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

“We never gave up hope in this one,'' Newby said. “This team has a lot of spirit, a lot of fight in it, and I think we proved that to everyone out there tonight.''

Notre Dame trailed 21-3 at intermission.

Lucas Alfonso kicked a 25-yard field goal, Kelly Hilinski scored on a one-yard touchdown run and Khalfani Muhammad found the end zone on a seven-yard run of his own to give Notre Dame its first lead of the game, 25-21, with 7:17 left.

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Football: No. 10 Alemany 38, No. 18 Chaminade 14

September, 23, 2011
WEST HILLS -- For those who have not heard the name Steven Mitchell, consider this a formal introduction. His name is one to remember, rest assured.

The junior wide receiver from Mission Hills Alemany made a number of game-changing plays Friday night, seemingly too many count, to help guide the visiting Warriors to a rather impressive 38-14 victory over West Hills Chaminade in a nonleague game.

“I was in the zone out there tonight, I felt like I couldn't be stopped,'' said Mitchell, who finished with nine receptions for 151 yards and a pair of touchdown catches. “I was seeing things before they happened. There wasn't much thinking. Instincts took over.''

Mind you, with the game out of reach, he did not play in the fourth quarter.

The win was important on several levels for the Warriors (3-1), No. 10 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 25 rankings. They were coming off last week's 36-35 loss to Riverside North and the skeptics began wondering about whether the team was overrated.

The talk is bound to subside now.

The Eagles (2-1), No. 18 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com rankings, were in the wrong place at the wrong time. With no answer for Mitchell, they were in trouble from the start.

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L.A. North: Five things from the weekend

September, 12, 2011
  1. Chaminade running back Terrell Newby shouldered the load in his team’s 41-21 win over Venice on Friday night. He scored five touchdowns and rushed for 269 yards. But Newby wasn’t the only star of the night for Chaminade. Senior running back Devon Lee rushed for 80 yards in 11 carries. His little brother, sophomore defensive back Donovan Lee, intercepted two passes. Junior wide receiver Elijah Dunston hauled in a 30-yard touchdown catch. Junior receiver Kevin Lewallyn caught five passes for 41 yards. Senior quarterback Logan Scott didn’t have a great night passing, going 12-for-16 for 132 yards, but he completed passes to six different receivers. He was able to mix it up well and keep a number of receivers involved in the game. He also rushed for 74 yards on 12 carries.
  2. Arleta’s Dejon Coleman had a game for the ages against Marshall. He scored six touchdowns, and the Mustangs needed every one of them in a 56-42 win. He also amassed 456 all-purpose yards. Coleman scored three rushing touchdowns, caught a 60-yard touchdown pass and returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown. With his team down 42-41 with a little under two minutes to play, he returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to give his team a 49-42 lead. He scored Arleta’s final touchdown to give his team the two-touchdown margin of victory.
  3. After an impressive 35-13 opening night win over Gardena Serra, the Sherman Oaks Notre Dame football team needed overtime and a fumble recovery to win its second game of the season, 17-14, over Valencia. Valencia shut out Notre Dame for three quarters and nearly five minutes into the fourth quarter. Kevin Carrasco caught a 42-yard touchdown pass to bring Notre Dame to within two points, 14-12, with 3:50 to play. The Knights successfully completed a two-point conversion to tie the score and send it into overtime. Sophomore Lucas Alfonso made a 40-yard field goal to give Notre Dame a three-point lead in the first overtime period. Valencia’s first overtime possession ended after one play. Jay Jay Wilson caught an 18-yard pass but was stripped at the 10-yard line. Dominick Mugavero recovered the fumble for Notre Dame and ended the game.
  4. The Saugus girls' cross country team hasn’t raced in the Kiwanis Seaside Invitational in Ventura for two years. The girls returned for the 22nd annual race and won the junior and senior events. The Frankian sisters, Karis and Abigail, won their races. Karis Frankian won the senior race in 17 minutes, 6.82 seconds over the 3-mile course. It was the fourth-fastest time in meet history. She also won the freshman race at the Seaside Invitational three years ago. Abigail Frankian won the sophomore race. Valencia’s Maddie Dignadice won the junior race in 17:43.90. La Reina’s Ariana Brajkovich won the freshman race in 19:23.
  5. The Oaks Christian girls' volleyball team won the gold division of the San Luis Obispo tournament, downing Saugus, 25-22, in the championship match. Oaks Christian’s Nicole Leonard earned the most valuable player award in the 32-team tournament. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame won the University girls volleyball tournament in Irvine. The Knights beat Beckman, 25-22, 26-24, in the championship match. Emily Moss and Callan Kinnan were all-tournament selections for Notre Dame. Viewpoint won the Laguna Blanca girls volleyball tournament for the second year in a row. The Patriots beat Grace Brethren, 25-23, in the championship match. Elizabeth Sheffield was the tournament MVP for Viewpoint.

Football: No. 20 Chaminade 41, Venice 21

September, 10, 2011

WEST HILLS -- Chaminade running back Terrell Newby scored a career-high five touchdowns in his team’s 41-21 win over Venice at Chaminade High School on Friday night.

Newby gained 269 yards in 27 carries and continually pounded the Venice defense with bruising runs.

Newby’s biggest gain of the game came on his last carry. Chaminade coach Ed Croson, with his team up 35-21 in the fourth quarter, was trying to run out the clock. He sent in his goalline unit with Newby in the backfield. Newby broke off a 63-yard touchdown run with a little under three minutes to play.

“We pulled the plug at the beginning of the fourth quarter,” Croson said. “It got a little ragged. We didn’t plan on that.”

The Chaminade offense looked a little shaky in the first half. Newby scored two touchdowns, one on a five-yard run and the other on a 13-yard run, but Venice kept it close.

Dayrian Clark intercepted a pass from Chaminade quarterback Logan Scott that slipped out of his hand and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.

Chaminade (1-0), the No. 20 team in the ESPNLA top 25 rankings, went into halftime with a 13-7 lead with Newby carrying the load. He rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. While the Chaminade offense struggled in the first half, the Eagles' defense shined. They held Venice to -5 rushing yards on seven carries in the first half.

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LA North: Games of the week

September, 7, 2011
Chaminade football coach Ed Croson doesn’t schedule any easy games for his team. Friday night’s opener against Venice is no different.

Venice reached the semifnals of the CIF City Section Division I playoffs last season and lost to eventual champion Crenshaw.

The Gondoliers opened their season with an impressive, come-from-behind, 34-27 win over Harvard-Westlake. Croson said Venice will be a good test for his team to open the season at Chaminade High School at 7:30 p.m.

“They’re one of the top four teams in the City Section year in and year out,” Croson said. “They’ve always got talent. What they lack in discipline, they make up for in speed.”

The big question at Venice is who will start at quarterback. Senior Dean Sarabia started at quarterback against Harvard-Westlake, but when Venice was down 21-0, coach Angelo Gasca put in sophomore Alexander Diamont. He rallied his team to tie the score at 27-27 before engineering the winning drive in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

Croson said the Venice players have a history of never giving up, and he credits the coaching staff for instilling that quality.

“They have to play every play,” Croson said. “Playing every play, there’s something to be said for that. And they’re tough kids.”

Chaminade, ranked No. 19 in this week's ESPNLA Top 25 rankings, has no questions at quarterback. Senior Logan Scott will start. He passed for 1,409 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior. He also rushed for 267 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, and scored a touchdown.

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