Los Angeles Preps: George Farmer
The Cavaliers will be looking to bounce back this year. They have one of the region's top running backs in senior-to-be Anterio Bateman, and there's a crop of young talent moving up the ranks.
Quarterback Jalen Greene, athlete Jordan Lasley and linebacker Dwight Williams were among a handful of elite sophomores invited to USC's prestigious "Junior Day" camp last week.
Bateman averaged over nine yards per carry last season despite being limited by a nagging ankle injury. Greene accumulated more than 2,000 yards of offense and had 17 total touchdowns in a dual-threat role. Lasley transferred in from Carson, where he was the heir apparent to all-City Section honoree Darreus Rogers. Williams is the team's leading returning tackler.
Serra opens the season in late August against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame before leaving the state for a game in Utah.
GARDENA -- As it turns out, stories about Serra's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Yes, the Cavaliers graduated a boatload of talent and are still greener than broccoli, but there they were Friday night, storming the field after another Mission League championship win.
Young and inexperienced Serra held on to beat Chaminade, 35-29, in a thrilling game that featured five lead changes. A group of Cavaliers tried to douse coach Scott Altenberg with icy water but couldn't, proving how ripe they really are.
"That's our team in a nutshell," Altenberg said. "They tried to dump me with water, they tripped and dumped it on themselves."
It could have been easy for Serra (8-2, 5-0) to make excuses given the lack of star power. This team doesn't have the lucrative names like in years past. No Robert Woods, no Marqise Lee or George Farmer.
None of that mattered.
Ronnie Vaughn rushed for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore quarterback Jalen Greene had 217 total yards plus the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter to carry the Cavaliers. Chaminade (8-2, 4-1), ranked No. 15 in the ESPN Los Angeles Top 25, had the ball with 1:18 remaining and 90 yards to go but couldn't generate magic. Logan Scott's last-second heave from the Serra 37 sailed wide of the end zone, and Serra players stormed the field.
"A lot of things were going through my head," Greene said. "I was nervous and I didn't even want to watch the play, but I was just hoping, 'Please don't catch this ball, please pick it, just let us get this W tonight.' "
Vaughn's 23-yard touchdown run had given No. 25-ranked Serra a comfortable 35-22 advantage with 5:57 left. Less than 40 seconds later, Scott responded with a clutch 76-yard scoring pass to Kevin Lewallyn, cutting the deficit to 35-29. Chaminade caught Serra napping and recovered the ensuing onside kick but couldn't capitalize, turning the ball over on downs.
The Eagles had taken a brief lead on Terrell Newby’s 47-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers were without leading rusher Anterio Bateman, who was on crutches and had his left ankle in a cast. His absence didn’t appear to affect the running game -- Greene, Vaughn and Malik Roberson combined for 224 rushing in the first half alone. Greene finished with 140 rushing yards in 13 carries.
This is essentially the Foothill League championship game. Valencia is in search of its third league championship in a row. Saugus won the Foothill League championship in 2008. Canyon is tied with Valencia and Saugus for the lead in the Foothill League standings, each with 3-1 records. Valencia can actually win the title outright if Golden Valley can pull off the greatest upset in school history by beating Canyon tonight. Valencia would have to beat Saugus too. Most likely scenario is Canyon will share the Foothill League championship with the winner of the Valencia-Saugus game.
No. 15 Chaminade (8-1) vs. No. 25 Serra (7-2), Friday (7 p.m.)
This could be a night of out with the old, in with the new. Both Chaminade and Serra have perfect 4-0 records in the Mission League standings. Serra is the reigning Mission League champion and beat Chaminade 35-21 last season. That was of course with Marquis Lee and George Farmer. This time around, Chaminade has the six-game winning streak and the offensive stars with running back Terrell Newby and quarterback Logan Scott. Winner takes the Mission League championship and most likely the No. 1 seeding in the Western Division playoffs.
No. 23 Crespi (7-2) vs. No. 17 Loyola (7-2) at L.A. Valley College, Friday (7 p.m.)
This game means more to Crespi than to Loyola. The Celts need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Cubs are already in the playoffs no matter if they win or lose this game. Still, no team wants to head into playoffs on a losing note. This is a big game in the Serra League with all sorts of playoff implications.
Burroughs (5-4) vs. Burbank (4-5) at Arcadia High School, Friday (7 p.m.)
The “Big Game” is bigger for Burroughs than for Burbank. At stake for the Indians is the Pacific League championship and a favorable seeding in the Southeast Division playoffs. Burbank can play the role of spoiler and still make the playoffs with a win. Burbank is in a tie for fifth place with Muir in the Pacific League standings. The top-four teams in league make the playoffs.
Sierra Canyon (9-0) vs. Calvary Chapel (5-3) at Downey High School, Friday (7 p.m.)
Sierra Canyon can punctuate its first Alpha League championship with a win over Calvary Chapel and cap an undefeated regular season. Calvary Chapel has lost two games in a row and hasn’t scored a point in eight quarters. Paraclete and Brentwood shut out Calvary Chapel in consecutive weeks.
Cathedral (3-6) at St. Francis (7-2), Friday (7:30 p.m.)
St. Francis can clinch a playoff spot with a win over a Cathedral team that hasn’t won a Mission League game this season. The Knights started out hot, winning their first six games. But St. Francis has lost two of its last three games, both to Mission League opponents. The Knights are coming off a 28-22 win over St. Paul, so things are looking up for St. Francis. Cathedral was shut out by Chaminade, 33-0, last week, and it could have been much worse. Chaminade scored only three points in the second half.
In order to maintain their reputation as one of the best around, Serra needs to find ways to keep Raymond Ford involved on the offense side of the ball. The senior receiver, after all, is the heir apparent to George Farmer, now at USC. Ford has the potential to be the playmaker Farmer was last season when he played alongside fellow wideout Marqise Lee, also currently with the Trojans.
One potential problem: There are lingering questions about who is going to get the ball into the hands of Ford.
It appears as if sophomore Jalen Greene is the front-runner to win the starting quarterback job. If he falters, Ryan Barbarin patiently waits in the wings and the junior would like nothing more than the opportunity to prove himself.
Here is a closer look at the Cavaliers:
Team: Gardena Serra
Coach: Scott Altenberg, 13th year
2010 Record: 14-1, won CIF Southern Section Western Division championship.
Returning starters: Five total. Three on defense. Two on offense.
Key players on offense: WR Raymond Ford (UCLA commit), RB Anterio Bateman.
Key players on defense: S Patrick Wooten, DT Kris Cooper, DT Kache Palacio, LB Thomas Brown.
Difference maker: It begins and ends with Ford, also a shut-down corner in the secondary. George Farmer and Marqise Lee are gone. A season ago, the seniors were the Southland's premier pass-catching tandem. Both are at USC now. Ford will be expected to fill the void left behind and the senior appears capable of handling the additional workload.
Newcomers: Brown, a transfer from Long Beach St. Anthony. Palacio, a transfer from Los Angeles Westchester. QB Jalen Greene. QB Ryan Barbarin.
Not to be missed: at West Hills Chaminade, Friday, Nov. 11. There will be tons of tests along the way, to be sure. None of those games, however, figure to be as important as the season finale in the San Fernando Valley in a showdown with Mission League title implications. The Eagles hope to make a statement with a win and will likely give Serra all it can handle in this one.
Coach’s comment: “We haven't lost many games around here in the recent past, and because of that, we have a target on our backs. Some people might think we don't have the big names anymore and there will be plenty of teams gunning for us. That's the way things work, it's the nature of the beast. Our job is to make sure there is not a huge drop off in our level of play.”
Final analysis: Replacing Framer and Lee will not be easy. QB Conner Preston also graduated, having moved on to SMU. Season-ending injuries to OLB Ardis Perez and MLB Malachi Mageo a couple of weeks ago certainly does not help matters. Bottom line: Ford must stretch the field vertically to keep opposing defenses honest and Bateman needs to take advantage of open running lanes when the situation presents itself. If that happens, Serra figures to be in position to make, yet another, postseason run.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.
2. The Keppel badminton team won its second consecutive CIF Southern Section championship Saturday, ousting Diamond Bar 12-9. Keppel won all eight of the boys matches; Diamond Bar won all eight of the girls matches. The Aztecs took it by winning four of the five mixed doubles.
3. Pitcher Franny Vaaulu paced the Warren softball team to the La Mirada Showcase Tournament title Saturday. Vaaulu didn't start because she had to take the SAT exam, but was nearly untouchable when she arrived, giving up only one hit and striking out 10 in the 5-2 win over California. It was Warren's 15th straight win. The Bears (21-3) went into the week ranked No. 5 in Division 3.
4. The Mira Costa boys' volleyball team will have a target on its back on the road to redemption. The Mustangs (31-1) received the No. 1 seed in the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs Sunday. The Bay League winners lost to Loyola in the CIF title match last year. "We're finally healthy and the kids are motivated," Mira Costa co-coach Mike Ninnis told the Daily Breeze. "They're ready for the playoffs."
5. Another baseball game between Lakewood and Compton, another 29-run margin of victory for the Lancers. Lakewood followed up its 30-1 win over Compton from April 6 with a 29-0 drubbing on Friday. Nick Torres, Jimmy Gosano and Zach Alofaituli each scored four runs. The Lancers (25-4-1, 10-1) weren't expected to win the Moore League, but they clinched at least a share of the title with the victory. They can win it outright by beating Long Beach Jordan on Wednesday.
Editor's note: In the latest of a postseason series on West Coast prep football prospects, recruiting expert Greg Biggins takes a look at the region's top wide receivers now that national signing day has come and gone:
It was an overall strong year at the receiver position as several highly touted players lived up to their pre-season hype and several other players emerged as legitimate prospects with big senior seasons.
For the second year in a row, a player from Serra (Gardena, Calif.) tops our wide receiver rankings. Last year, it was Robert Woods, a freshman All-American at USC. This year, it’s Cavaliers standout George Farmer who earned the top spot.
Farmer did it all for the Cavs catching 65 balls for 1,514 yards and 14 touchdowns, added two more scores on the ground and took four kicks to the house as well. He has incredible speed and could run a sub 10.4 100 meters this year. He played full time in the secondary and some feel Farmer could be an All-American safety in college but receiver is definitely where he’ll start out and it wouldn’t be surprising if he has the same early impact as Woods.
Kasen Williams finished his career as one of the most prolific receivers in state history. He’s a big athlete who can run and shattered just about every school record while playing in four state championship games at Skyline. He ended his high school career with 232 catches, for 4,121 yards and an amazing 56 touchdowns and will be counted on to play the minute he hits the field next fall.
Brandin Cooks does everything well and has the talent to make an impact right away in college. He’s explosive with a great burst off the line and has the softest hands in the region. He’s a pure route runner and caught 66 passes for 1,125 yards and 10 touchdowns this past season.
Devon Blackmon could end up the top receiver on this list or drop down a few notches. He has tremendous speed and runs very well after the catch. He’s one of the few players capable of catching a short hitch, making five guys miss and going the distance. He must work on his hands and consistency catching the ball however as he’s still relatively new to the receiver position.
Injuries are the only thing that have slowed down Victor Blackwell the last two seasons. When healthy, he has game breaking speed and is a true deep threat. He’s wiry strong, is an advanced route runner and finished his season on a high note catching 50 balls for 976 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Top 10
1. (1) George Farmer, 6-2, 190, Gardena (Calif.) Serra -- USC
Lived up to the preseason hype and had a dominant year on both sides of the ball.
2. (2) Kasen Williams, 6-2, 205, Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline -- Washington
Some are calling Williams the best WR in state history.
3. (5) Brandin Cooks, 5-10, 160, Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln -- Oregon State
Underrated regionally and nationally but should shine in Beavers offense.
4. (3) Devon Blackmon, 6-0, 155, Fontana (Calif.) Summit -- Oregon
Game breaker who will stretch the field right away for the Ducks.
5. (4) Victor Blackwell, 6-1, 190, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei -- USC
Has all the tools to shine at the next level.
6. (8) Devin Lucien, 6-1, 190, Encino (Calif.) Crespi -- UCLA
Blew up as a senior and might have the strongest hands in this group.
7. (7) B.J. Kelley, 6-2, 175, Fresno (Calif.) Central -- Oregon
Explosive with good hands, could play before Blackmon.
8. (12) Patrick Onwuasor, 6-2, 195, Inglewood (Calif.) -- Arizona
Great frame, tough and physical and can get deep.
9. (11) Nelson Spruce, 6-2, 190, Westlake (Calif.) -- Colorado
Polished route runner with good size and great hands.
10. (NR) Marvin Hall, 5-10, 175, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey -- Washington
Undersized but has game-breaking speed and is very productive.
The Next 10:
11. (14) Richard Mullaney, 6-2, 185, Thousand Oaks (Calif.) -- Oregon State
12. (17) Blair Holiday, 6-2, 185, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian -- Duke
13. (NR) Dominique Williams, 6-4, 185, Pomona (Calif.) Garey -- Washington State
14. (16) Tyler Trosin, 6-0, 170, Folsom (Calif.) -- Oregon State
15. (10) David Richards, 6-2, 200, Palmdale (Calif.) -- Arizona
16. (NR) Michael Thomas, 6-2, 180, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft -- Unsigned
17. (13) Rahmel Dockery, 5-10, 160, University Place (Wash.) Curtis -- Washington State
18. (19) Josh Perkins, 6-4, 180, Cerritos (Calif.) Gahr -- Washington
19. (9) Jamaal Jones, 6-2, 175, Graham (Wash.) Graham -- Kapowsin- Washington
20. (NR) Quinton Pedroza, 6-3, 205, Chino (Calif.) -- Utah
Greg Biggins is an occasional contributor to the ESPNLosAngeles.com Preps Blog. For more recruiting news, check out his Insider blog on West Coast recruiting.
MID VALLEY DIVISION
Offensive player of the year: QB Nick Bueno, Monrovia
Defensive player of the year: LB Derrick Johnson, Monrovia
Coach of the year: Ryan Maddox, Monrovia
Defensive player of the year: DL J.R. Tavai, Mira Costa
Defensive player of the year: Eric Capachione, South Torrance
Offensive player of the year: HB Chris Solomon, West Covina
Defensive player of the year: LB Maurice Dupleasis, West Covina
Coach of the year: Mike Maggiore, West Covina
Offensive player of the year: WR George Farmer, Serra
Defensive player of the year: S Marqise Lee, Serra
Coach of the year: Scott Altenberg, Serra
For a list of all the All-CIF-Southern Section football teams, click this link.
CARSON -- It slipped away in the downpour.
Serra coach Scott Altenberg wouldn't use the rain as an excuse, but the wet conditions had an effect on his team.
The usually fleet-footed Cavaliers were forced to slow down. Folsom capitalized on a flurry of Serra mistakes, turning a tight contest into a resounding 48-20 win in the CIF Division II state championship Saturday at the Home Depot Center.
Serra trailed by one heading to the fourth quarter, but Folsom converted three turnovers into three touchdowns in a mere 1:14 for a 21-point lead.
"The conditions definitely affected us a little bit," Altenberg said. "But Folsom's a great football team. You don't take anything away from them. They played well."
The Cavaliers (14-1) committed five turnovers -- all in the second half. Dual-threat quarterback Dano Graves threw for three touchdowns, ran for three more and had 297 yards of total offense for Folsom (14-1).
"This is amazing," Graves said. "One of the best feelings of my life. We're going to Disneyland. I'm not kidding about that; we're really going to Disneyland."
Graves' play was magical throughout. Folsom took the opening kickoff 77 yards and claimed a quick 7-0 lead on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Graves to Tyler Trosin two plays later. The Bulldogs doubled their lead shortly after on another Graves-to-Trosin hookup, this one for 42 yards.
"We had a lot of momentum," Graves said.
WHEN: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: Home Depot Center
TV: FSN Prime Ticket
There was never any doubt that Serra would be here, a win away from its second consecutive state football crown.
With all that collegiate talent -- especially at the skill positions -- Serra's spot at the Home Depot Center was all but secured. On paper, the Cavaliers appeared unstoppable and it translated onto the field with Conner Preston slinging it to stud wideouts George Farmer and Marqise Lee. Their closest call came in a Mission League battle at West Hills Chaminade in early November, but even then, Serra erased a fourth-quarter deficit, turned on the jets and left with a two-touchdown win.
Sixteen weeks after it began, Western Division champion Serra might have finally met its match.
At least it looks that way on paper.
Folsom, which qualified for the bowl game by winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title, has scored fewer than 49 points just twice all season. The Bulldogs have won 13 in a row and average a staggering 52 points per game.
A lot more stands out on Folsom's rap sheet, specifically quarterback Dano Graves' ridiculous numbers. He has passed for 3,488 yards and 59 touchdowns and rushed for 20 more scores. That's a total of 79 touchdowns, or 34 more than Serra's Preston (42 passing, three rushing).
But the big number here might be 29 -- as in the number of consecutive wins for Serra, the state's longest current streak. And remember, the Cavaliers return to the site of last year's Division III bowl game victory. Folsom will be making its bowl game debut, so the nod goes to Serra in the not-so-wide-eyed category.
No matter how you slice it, the game promises to be a close, back-and-forth battle.
For Serra, it only took 16 weeks.
But since we're ESPNLA.com, we asked Biggins to give us a comprehensive list of the best players in the Southern Section and City Section of the CIF.
Here is Biggins' list of the best SoCal has to offer, regardless of position.
The list includes three players from Gardena Serra and two apiece from Crenshaw, Mater Dei and, Lakewood. Listed after each player is their current college commitment. If nothing is listed, it means the player is undecide. Six of Biggins' top 25 SoCal players are committed to USC.
Letters of intent can be signed beginning Feb. 2.
1. DeAnthony Thomas, 5-9, 160, ATH, Crenshaw (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- USC
2. George Farmer, 6-2, 210, WR, Serra (Gardena, Calif.)
3. Greg Townsend, 6-3, 260, DL, Beverly Hills (Calif.)
4. Marqise Lee, 6-1, 190, ATH, Serra (Gardena, Calif.)
5. Todd Barr, 6-3, 265, DL, Lakewood (Calif.)
6. Victor Blackwell, 6-1, 190, WR, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) -- USC
7. Devon Blackmon, 6-0, 160, WR, Summit (Fontana, Calif.)
8. Jason Gibson, 6-3, 220, DE, Serra (Gardena, Calif.)
9. Tre Madden, 6-1, 215, LB, Mission Viejo (Calif.) -- USC
10. Kelsey Young, 5-10, 185, RB, Norco (Calif.) -- Stanford
11. Antwaun Woods, 6-1, 325, DT, Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) -- USC
12. Max Wittek, 6-4, 215, QB, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) -- USC
13. Junior Pomee, 6-3, 215, TE, Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley, Calif.)
14. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, 5-9, 185, CB, Chino Hills (Calif.)
15. Troy Niklas, 6-7, 260, ATH, Servite (Anaheim, Calif.)
16. Devon Moreland, 6-3, 215, DE, Salesian (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Southern Methodist
17. Jeff Worthy, 6-4, 275, DT, Whittier Christian (La Habra, Calif.) -- Boise State
18. Jalen Jefferson, 6-2, 200, LB, St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.) -- California
19. Rahim Cassell, 6-1, 205, LB, Lakewood (Calif.) -- Oregon
20. Corey Waller, 6-3, 210, LB, Poly (Long Beach, Calif.)
21. Isaac Luatua, 6-2, 290, OL, La Mirada (Calif.) -- Alabama
22. Devin Lucien, 6-1, 190, WR, Crespi (Encino, Calif.)
23. DeVante Wilson, 6-4, 230, DE, Corona (Calif.)
24. Marcus Martin, 6-3, 350, OL, Crenshaw (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- USC
25. Patrick Onwuasor, 6-2, 190, ATH, Inglewood (Calif.)
West region positional breakdowns:
Greg Biggins is an occasional contributor to the ESPNLA.com Preps Blog. For more recruiting news, check out his Insider blog on West Coast recruiting.
Entering the fourth quarter Friday night, the visiting Cavaliers trailed by a touchdown. However, they scored 21 unanswered points the rest of the way to defeat the upset-minded Eagles, 35-21, and take over sole possession of first place in the Mission League.
"Chaminade gave us a scare, I can tell you that much,'' Serra coach Scott Altenberg said. "It took us a little while to get our offense going, but once we finally found our comfort zone, they couldn’t stop us. Once we started clicking, it was pretty much over.’’
Serra (9-0, 4-0), No . 5 in ESPNLosAngeles.com's Top 25 rankings, trailed for a majority of the first three quarters. As for the Eagles (8-1, 3-1), No. 24 in ESPNLA poll, they played with inspiration and created some doubt in the minds of their heavily favored opponent.
In the fourth quarter, Marqise Lee made sure to change of all that though. He scored on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Conner Preston to give Serra a 28-21 advantage with 3:25 left.
Any hopes Chaminade might have had at making an improbable comeback were all but ruined when Shaquille Richard scored on an 8-yard run to extend the lead to 35-21 with 1:54 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Eagles were demoralized, to be sure.
Sean Ceglinsky/Special to ESPNLA.com
Devin Lucien, left, and Chris Harper form one of the most potent receiving duos in the Southern Section.
Pick your poison, Devin Lucien or Chris Harper. But before making the decision about which Encino Crespi High receiver to double-team on the football field, know this, there’s no good answer. More than a few opposing coaches can attest after having made the wrong choice this season.
Week in and week out, Lucien and Harper have combined to play about as well as any other wideout tandem in the Southland. And as a result, the Celts are still alive and well in the postseason playoff picture heading into Friday night’s Serra League game against visiting Los Angeles Loyola at 7 p.m.
“Devin and Chris bring so much to the table, it’s crazy. Those guys make my job a whole lot easier,’’ Crespi quarterback Kenny Stenhouse said. “Lucien is big, fast and athletic, he’s the total package, no doubt. Harper runs great routes and catches everything thrown his way, he’s a handful to deal with.’’
Lucien and Harper compare rather favorably to some of the more talented pass-catching teammates residing in Southern California. Of course, Gardena Serra’s George Farmer and Marqise Lee instantly come to mind. And there's also Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Victor Blackwell and Sedric Hill.
For all intents and purposes, Lucien is the more polished of the two outside threats for the Celts. He is, after all, an experienced senior. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder has scholarship offers from several NCAA Division I programs and leads Crespi with 45 receptions for 860 yards and 12 touchdowns.
1. You didn't get the sense that Bishop Amat's Jalen Moore expected to talk to reporters following his team's come-from-behind win against No. 9 Crespi on Friday. After the playing of the school's alma mater, the junior tailback jogged toward the locker room with the rest of his teammates until he was nabbed. It's weird, given he had rushed for 270 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. It's one thing for a player to say, "It was a team effort, the offensive line really helped us out, etc." It's another thing to show it, which Moore did. Or perhaps he's just camera shy.
2. How about the performance of Dorsey quarterback Joseph Gray, who basically played on one ankle Friday? The Washington-bound slinger threw for seven touchdowns in the Dons' rout of Locke. If Gray keeps this up, Dorsey (6-0) and Crenshaw (4-2) appear headed for a clash on Nov. 12. Save the date.
3. Serra's George Farmer was back at full strength Saturday, which only meant pain for St. Francis defensive backs. The stud wideout, who sat out the second half of the Narbonne game two weeks ago due to an injured hip, had three touchdowns and 217 yards receiving in a 41-14 road win.
4. After seeing Crespi's high-powered offense Friday at Bishop Amat, it's hard to imagine any team having success against Kenny Stenhouse and Co. But that's exactly what Compton Dominguez did a month back, riding out of Encino with a 14-11 win. Hold Crespi to a mere 11 points? On the road? That's mind-boggling. Dominguez (5-1) was at it again Friday, winning a defensive struggle at Warren, 21-16. The five-point victory followed one of four points, which followed a pair of shutouts. Clump that together with a now-impressive six-point loss to Bishop Amat and you've got a sleeper in Compton.
5. Lakewood took a big blow in its loss to Long Beach Poly last week, but got off the mat on Friday to return to its winning ways. Poly was idle, but will resume its Moore League title redemption tour Friday against Millikan.
Gardena Serra receiver George Farmer said his team is a "finishing team." Serra outscored St. Francis, 14-0, in the second half of the Mission League opener for both teams on Saturday night in La Canada Flintridge.
After taking a 20-0 lead, Serra let St. Francis back in the game. St. Francis scored two touchdowns in the second quarter and cut the lead to six.
Farmer put his team out front, 27-14, before the end of the first half with a 35-yard touchdown reception, shown in the video.
After the game, Farmer said he had to remind his teammates not to let up even after taking a 20-0 lead. He also said his team finishes strong and he has confidence his team can score late in games.
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE – Gardena Serra receiver George Farmer caught three touchdown passes in his team’s 41-14 win over St. Francis in the Mission League opener for both teams on Saturday night.
Every one of his touchdown catches came at crucial times of the game.
His first gave Serra, the No. 5 team in the ESPNLA.com rankings, a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. He caught a little outlet pass, broke a couple tackles and turned it into an 82-yard touchdown reception.
His second touchdown came with seven seconds left in the first half. He caught a 35-yard pass from quarterback Conner Preston in the corner of the end zone to put Serra up 27-14 at halftime.
His third and final touchdown capped the opening drive of the third quarter. Farmer caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Preston that gave his team a 34-14 lead.
Serra coach Scott Altenberg said Farmer’s third touchdown catch was the most important.
“The first drive of the second half was going to be big for us and it was,” Altenberg said.
Serra (6-0) jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first half. In addition to Farmer’s first-quarter touchdown, Serra scored on a 3-yard run by running back Shaquille Richard and a 15-yard fumble recovery from Patrick Wooten.
St. Francis mounted a little comeback, scoring twice in the second quarter, and cut Serra’s lead to six.
St. Francis quarterback Brett Nelson scored on a 1-yard run with seven minutes to play in the second quarter. The Golden Knights scored again on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Christian Hess with 3:27 to play in the second quarter.
But that was as close at St. Francis (3-3) would get.
“It’s unfortunate, because we played better than the score indicated,” said St. Francis coach Jim Bonds. “I was proud of our effort.”
Serra scored its final touchdown in the fourth quarter. Preston scored on a 3-yard run with 4:37 to play in the game.
Farmer had a huge night with nine catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns.
“He had a great game,” Altenberg said. But Altenberg wasn’t completely satisfied with his team’s performance or composure. His players were called for unsportsmanlike penalties late in the game and one of the referees said one of the Serra players threw a punch at a St. Francis player. “We had our moments when we didn’t execute. It’s frustrating.”
Preston threw for 304 yards and was 18-of-25 passing. Richard gained 65 yards on 15 carries and was the leading rusher for Serra.
Nelson threw for 241 yards and a touchdown for St. Francis. He was 22-of-36 passing, rushed for a touchdown and threw one interception.
Hess caught seven passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. Travis Talianko caught five passes for 57 yards.