Los Angeles Preps: Ishmael Adams

Two Oaks Christian players on West roster for U.S. Army All-American Bowl

January, 4, 2012
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl has 16 players from California on the West roster.

Two players, seniors Jordan Payton and Ishmael Adams, are from Oaks Christian.

Payton is a 6-feet-2 wide receiver who is expected to announce where he will play in college after the game on Saturday. His choices have been whittled down to three: Notre Dame, Cal and UCLA.

Adams was a two-way player in high school, at cornerback and running back, and is headed to UCLA as a defensive back.

Other players from California on the West roster include Crespi offensive lineman Jordan Simmons, Dominguez cornerback Brandon Beaver, Monrovia defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy and Muir defensive back Kevon Seymour.

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be televised from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday at 10 a.m. on NBC.

Northern: Westlake 49, Oaks Christian 42

December, 10, 2011

WESTLAKE VILLAGE -- Westlake and Oaks Christian went toe-to-toe again in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship game Friday night.

In a rematch of the last year’s Northern Division title game, Westlake came out on top, fending off a tenacious Oaks Christian team that refused to quietly relinquish the division crown.

When it looked as if Westlake had the game in hand, Oaks Christian mounted a furious comeback in the final 90 seconds. But five touchdowns by Westlake’s Dashon Hunt proved to be too much to overcome.

Westlake (14-0) hung on for a 49-42 win over Oaks Christian (11-3) and won its second Northern Division championship in the past three years. Westlake has played in three consecutive Northern Division championship games and lost to Oaks Christian by one point last year on a missed field goal that hit the right upright.

“They’re all great, but this one is special,” Westlake coach Jim Benkert said. “This year, they redeemed all that. I’m really, really proud.”

Hunt rushed for 125 yards and scored four touchdowns on the ground. He intercepted a pass in the second quarter and returned in 20 yards for a touchdown.

Oaks Christian quarterback Brandon Dawkins threw five interceptions and the Lions committed six turnovers.

“You turn the ball over six or seven times, you can’t expect to win the game,” Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell said.

Oaks Christian built a 21-7 lead in the first half on three touchdown catches by little-used Francis Owusu. He caught four passes for 179 yards.

But Westlake scored two touchdown in less than a minute in the second quarter to tie the score, 21-21, just before halftime.

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Preview: Westlake at Oaks Christian

December, 7, 2011

The sequels are never quite as good as the originals. There are exceptions: “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Godfather II” come to mind.

The CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship game between Oaks Christian and Westlake is a rematch of last year’s title game. It will be hard to exceed the hype, drama and outcome of the original.

The cast of players for Westlake has changed dramatically. Quarterback Justin Moore took over for Nick Isham, who started for Lousiana Tech this season as a freshman. Running back Dashon Hunt has taken over admirably for Tavior Mowry. Connor Cook has emerged as a big-play receiver in place of the reliable Nelson Spruce from last year’s Westlake team.

The Oaks Christian roster has some familiar names, including Arizona State-bound linebacker Carlos Mendoza, highly recruited receiver Jordan Payton and a double-threat at corner back and running back in Ishmael Adams.

These two teams know each other well. This championship game on Friday night at Oaks Christian will be the fourth meeting in the past two seasons.

Westlake (13-0) comes in as the overwhelming favorite and the No. 1-ranked team in the ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25. Several outlets have Westlake ranked as the No. 1 team in the state. The Warriors are 39-2 over the past three seasons and won the Northern Division championship in 2009.

Oaks Christian (11-2) is the reigning Northern Division champion, ranked fifth by ESPN Los Angeles and is making its ninth straight CIF championship game appearance. The Lions moved up to the Northern Division last year after competing in the Northwest Division. Oaks Christian is 6-2 in CIF championship games and playing for its seventh CIF football championship in the past nine years.

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

December, 1, 2011
No. 7 Oaks Christian (10-2) vs. No. 8 St. Bonaventure (10-2) at Ventura High School, Friday (7 p.m.) – Oaks Christian is on the road for its Northern Division semifinal game against St. Bonaventure and coach Bill Redell probably prefers it that way. The two teams met in the second week of Marmonte League play at Oaks Christian and the game was delayed nearly 30 minutes when the lights went out at the football stadium in the middle of a punt in the second half. Redell said if his team faced St. Bonaventure again in the playoffs, he would like to play the game during the day and anywhere but at Oaks Christian. Even though Oaks Christian won by 12 points, the game was much closer than that. St. Bonaventure cut Oaks Christian’s lead to three points, 27-24, in the fourth quarter before the lights went out. Oaks Christian scored the last nine points of the game on a safety and a 59-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Dawkins to Chris Davis. Oaks Christian had 400 yards of total offense to St. Bonaventure’s 401. Dawkins passed for 177 yards. St. Bonaventure quarterback Marc Evans had 156 yards passing. Oaks Christian gained 223 yards on the ground to St. Bonaventure’s 245. Oaks Christian running back Ishmael Adams had a big game with two rushing touchdowns and 77 yards on 11 carries.

No. 18 Chaminade (10-2) vs. No. 19 Arroyo Grande (11-1), Friday (7 p.m.) – Arroyo Grande eliminated Chaminade, 52-19, in the semifinals of the Western Division playoffs last year. Chaminade coach Ed Croson is not looking forward to a second long road trip in a row in the playoffs. His Eagles had to rally in the fourth quarter to beat San Luis Obispo in the quarterfinals. Arroyo Grande, on the other hand, is home for the third week in a row in the playoffs. Arroyo Grande is coming off a 49-28 win over St. Francis in the quarterfinals, but the game was much closer than the final score indicated. Arroyo Grande scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to turn a four-point deficit into a 21-point blowout. Two of the touchdowns Arroyo Grande scored were of the defensive variety. Garrett Owens intercepted a pass and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown. Seth Jacobs returned a fumble 55 yards for another touchdown. Chaminade running back Terrell Newby is closing in on 2,000 yards rushing for the season. He has 1,885 yards and 30 touchdowns and is coming off a 282-yard, three-touchdown performance against San Luis Obispo.

Canoga Park (8-4) vs. South East (11-1), Friday (7 p.m.) – Canoga Park, the fifth-seeded team in the City Section Division II playoffs, needed double overtime to eliminate Bell in the quarterfinals. Running back Khyree Morgan leads Canoga Park with 1,179 yards and 14 touchdowns, but was held to 39 yards in 16 carries against Bell. South East, the top-seeded team in the Division II playoffs, blew out Fremont, 42-19, in the quarterfinals. Running back Robert Lewis gained 157 yards and scored two touchdowns for South East against Fremont.

Granada Hills (7-5) vs. Marshall of Los Angeles (10-2), Friday (7 p.m.) – Granada Hills turned it on in the second half against Van Nuys in the quarterfinals of the City Section Division II playoffs. The Highlanders outscored Van Nuys 20-0 en route to a 44-22 win. Granada Hills had 290 rushing yards against Van Nuys. Brian Sanchez was the leading rusher with 181 yards and three touchdowns. Marshall was actually down 10-6 in the first quarter against Lincoln in its quarterfinal game before rattling off 43 unanswered points and winning 49-10. Marshall quarterback Anthony Benitez threw for 313 yards and five touchdowns, two to Jonathan Mina. He caught five passes for 113 yards.

Bishop Diego (11-1) vs. Sierra Canyon (12-0) at Granada Hills High School, Friday (7 p.m.) – Sierra Canyon eliminated Bishop Diego, 48-17, in the first round of the East Valley Division playoffs last year. They meet again in the East Valley Division semifinals. No. 1 seeded Sierra Canyon is coming off a 38-0 shutout over Ontario Christian. Bishop Diego has won 11 games in a row, including 21-14 over Twentynine Palms in the East Valley Division quarterfinals.

Paraclete (10-2) vs. Rim of the World (7-5), Friday (7 p.m.) – Fortune is smiling on Rim of the World in the East Valley Division playoffs. The Fighting Scots knocked third-seeded St. Margaret’s out of the playoffs, 23-13, in the quarterfinals. They are home for their semifinal game against Paraclete, the reigning East Valley Division champion. Rim of the World running back Jacob Taylor is coming off a monster game. He rushed for 264 yards on 47 carries and scored three touchdowns. The Spirits eliminated Aquinas, 42-7, in the quarterfinals last week. Paraclete running back Ryan Davis scored two touchdowns and rushed for 73 yards. James Holland returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and Joshua Adams returned a fumble for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

L.A. North: The Top 10

November, 21, 2011
One team in the L.A. North Top 10 lost in the first round of the CIF football playoffs. Another team in the top 10 didn’t even make the playoffs.

Alemany, the No. 4-seeded team in the Southern Section Pac 5 Division playoffs, lost to St. John Bosco, 33-28.

Crespi, which ended up in a three-way tie with Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Bishop Amat for third place in the Serra League, lost a spot in the Pac-5 Division playoffs on coin flips.

It was probably just as well. The three teams from the Serra League in the Pac-5 Division playoffs lost in the first round. Loyola was upset by Huntington Beach and Bishop Amat lost to Santa Margarita.

Here’s a look at this week’s L.A. North top 10:
  1. (1) Westlake (11-0) – The Warriors easily eliminated Eastside, 59-12, in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs. Kicker Alex Ball set the Southern Section record for field goals with a 24-yarder in the second quarter. Westlake was up 52-6 at halftime. The good news for Eastside is that the Lions almost outscored Westlake’s second stringers in the second half.
  2. (3) Oaks Christian (9-2) – Mira Costa was no challenge for the reigning Northern Division champion. Oaks Christian scored on its first six possessions and rolled to a 43-10 win in the first round. Running back Ishmael Adams had quite a night, rushing for 98 yards on three carries and scored two touchdowns.
  3. (4) Ventura (11-0) – The Cougars are putting on their best DJ Khaled impression. All they do is win, win, win no matter what. Ventura jumped out to a 21-0 lead and won convincingly, 41-14, over visiting Dominguez in the first round of the Western Division playoffs. After top-seeded Gardena Serra was upset by Culver City, Ventura is now the highest remaining seeded team in its half of the playoff bracket.
  4. (5) St. Bonaventure (8-3) – It wasn’t pretty, but St. Bonaventure won its first round Northern Division playoff game, 19-10, over Redondo. The Serpahs were down 10-0 in the second quarter and 10-8 at halftime. They finally took the lead on a 40-yard field goal by Brandon Rominger in the third quarter and held Redondo scoreless in the second half. St. Bonaventure certainly won no style points for this one.

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

November, 3, 2011
Agoura (1-7) vs. No. 2 Westlake (8-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Westlake running back Dashon Hunt has been tough to stop in recent games. He is averaging 94 yards rushing and has scored six touchdowns in the past three games. He gained 99 yards and scored two touchdowns in Westlake’s 49-3 win over Newbury Park last week. One of his touchdowns came on a 42-yard punt return. He also returned an interception for a touchdown against Simi Valley three weeks ago. Agoura is coming off its first win of the season, 24-17, over Calabasas. The Chargers go from playing one of the worst teams in the Marmonte League to one of the best teams in the state. It could be a long night for Agoura.

No. 3 St. Bonaventure (7-1) vs. Calabasas (1-7), Friday (7 p.m.) – The Seraphs have surrendered only 31 points in their past five Marmonte League games, including shutouts over Agoura and Simi Valley. Shaun Wick and Zack Green combined for 256 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 50-8 win over Thousand Oaks last week. Calabasas has lost all seven of its Marmonte League games. It could be a long night for Calabasas.

Moorpark (5-3) vs. No. 11 Oaks Christian (6-2), Friday (7 p.m.) – Oaks Christian running back Ishmael Adams is expected to make his first start in three games after spraining his ankle in practice. He missed the past two games. While the return of Adams is good news, Oaks Christian might be without Arizona State-bound linebacker and running back Carlos Mendoza. He injured his shoulder in the 38-7 win over Simi Valley last week. Redell said he might roll the dice and rest Mendoza the next two weeks until the playoffs start. Wide receiver Jordan Payton is also nursing an injured ankle, but Redell said he looked pretty good on his 80-yard touchdown run against Simi. Moorpark needs a win to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. The Musketeers, 4-3 in Marmonte League play, are in a three-way tie for fourth place in league with Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. Only the top five teams in league are guaranteed playoff spots.

No. 17 Bishop Amat (6-3) vs. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (5-3), Friday (7 p.m.) – Notre Dame is slowly seeing its season slip away. After a promising 5-0 start, the Knights have lost three games in a row, including its two Serra League games. They had a bye last week and two weeks to prepare for Bishop Amat. But Notre Dame lost to Loyola, 27-14, in its last game. Bishop Amat is seeing its season spiral away too. The Lancers have lost two of their past three games and are 1-2 in league. Bishop Amat is coming off a 14-3 loss to Loyola last week.

No. 18 Chaminade (7-1) vs. Cathedral (3-5) , Friday (7 p.m.) – Chaminade is on a roll with a five-game winning streak including three straight Mission League games. The Eagles have outscored their Mission League opponents 117-19. They beat St. Francis, 31-13 last week. Cathedral has lost all three of its Mission League games and were shut out by Gardena Serra and St. Paul. The Phantoms lost to Harvard-Westlake, 34-26, last week.

Paraclete (7-1) vs. Sierra Canyon (8-0) at Granada Hills High School, Saturday (7 p.m.) – Paraclete is the reigning Southern Section East Valley Division champion and has won seven games in a row since losing, 7-6, to Serrano on opening night. Sierra Canyon is undefeated and coming off a 42-8 win over Brentwood. Paraclete is the No. 2 team in the East Valley Division poll after a 49-0 shutout over Calvary Chapel. Sierra Canyon is the top-ranked team in the East Valley Division. This game is about as big as it gets for small schools.

Oaks Chr. RB out at least two weeks

October, 21, 2011
Senior running back Ishmael Adams, the team's leading rusher and starting cornerback, will miss at least two weeks with an ankle injury, according to a report in the Daily News.

Adams has rushed for 414 yards and scored five touchdowns in six games. He has also caught eight passes for 162 yards and a touchdown.

Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell told the Daily News that Adams stepped in a sprinkler hole.

Oaks Christian plays Thousand Oaks in a Marmonte League game tonight.

Football: Trophy case grows for Simmons

October, 13, 2011
Jordan SimmonsAngela MeansCrespi's Jordan Simmons was named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl this week.

ENCINO -- The accolades continue to mount for Jordan Simmons from Crespi.

The prep football season, mind you, is not over yet. We're at the midway point.

Nevertheless, Simmons accepted an invitation to play in the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl this week. His selection comes as little surprise. The honor is one of many for the 6-foot-5 and 325-plus pound senior offensive lineman, considered one of the country's premier prospects.

[+] EnlargeJordan Simmons
Angela MeansSome recruiting experts think Jordan Simmons' ability will be a fit at guard at college.
"I'm really looking forward to competing against some of the best guys,'' Simmons said with regards to playing in the all-star game featuring the nation's elite. The action take places in a few months, on Jan. 12. Simmons will represent the West against a team of standouts from the East. NBC will broadcast the event live at 1 P.M. EST from the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas.

“This game will give me a chance to see how I measure up against some of the top competition that's out there,'' Simmons added. “My goal is to come out and establish my name. I know if I keep working hard, and keep working on my fundamentals, then I should be fine."

ESPN Recruiting ranks Simmons as the nation's No. 5 player at guard and No. 86 overall. Closer to home, Simmons is No. 6 in the Southland and No. 9 in the Golden State.

He has close to 30 scholarship offers on the table, quite a few from Division I powerhouse programs. Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame are among the many potential suitors. Nearby, coaches and scouts from UCLA and USC are constant contact with him.

“Simmons is a big boy who will we feel will fit best at guard in college,'' said Craig Haubert, a well-respected ESPN national recruiting analyst. “This ESPNU 150 prospect brings more to the table than just his massive size though. He also has good flexibility and foot quickness. He needs to watch his pad level at times, but he can be a dominant blocker in the run game.”

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L.A. North: Five things from the weekend

October, 10, 2011
  1. The most glaring stat from Westlake’s 43-21 win over Oaks Christian is the rushing yard comparison. Westlake rushed for 444 yards to Oaks Christian’s 156. Westlake had two players with more than 100 yards rushing. Quarterback Justin Moore gained 226 yards and scored a touchdown. Jarrius Bishop had 104 yards and scored a touchdown. For good measure, Dashon Hunt had 80 yards and scored a touchdown. Oaks Christian had only five runs of 12 yards or more and only two rushes of more than 20 yards. Perhaps the more telling stat from the game was the turnover ratio. Westlake forced four turnovers and did not commit any. All of Oaks Christian’s turnovers came at key moments. With Westlake up 20-14 in the second quarter, Oaks Christian drove to the Warriors 13-yard line. But Bradley Wellman picked off Brandon Dawkins and ended the Oaks Christian scoring threat. Westlake proceeded to drive 77 yards in eight plays to take a 27-14 lead on a touchdown run by Bishop. On the ensuing drive, Oaks Christian running back Ishmael Adams broke off the biggest rush of the game, a 43-yarder that gave the Lions a first-and-10 on the Westlake 37-yard line. But Westlake defensive end Johnny Stuart sacked Dawkins on the next play, forced a fumble and recovered the football to end the first half. With Westlake up 37-21 in the fourth quarter, Moore, playing defensive back, picked off Dawkins and set up one of Alex Ball’s five field goals. Jordie Hannel forced the fourth turnover by sacking Dawkins late in the fourth quarter and causing him to fumble on the Oaks Christian 22-yard line. It led to Ball’s last field goal of the game. Westlake sacked Dawkins five times in the game. Ball tied the school record with 29 field goals in his career. Jordan Mannisto, a senior at the University of Houston, kicked 29 field goals for Westlake from 2005 to '07. Ball, a senior, has kicked 12 field goals in five games this season.

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L.A. North: Oaks Christian QB leaves

September, 29, 2011
Luke FalkTim Haddock for ESPNLA.comLuke Falk started two games for Oaks Christian but has decided to return to Utah.
Luke Falk, the highly touted junior quarterback at Oaks Christian, has left the school and returned to his home in Logan, Utah, with his family.

Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell said Falk and his family returned to Utah for “personal reasons” and had “family issues.”

Falk started the first two games for Oaks Christian. The Lions lost their season opener to Bellevue (Wash.), but Falk threw for 317 yards and two touchdowns.

Falk started the second game for Oaks Christian against Agoura, but was replaced in the first quarter by sophomore Brandon Dawkins. Oaks Christian won the game against Agoura, 50-11.

“We needed to take a look at Dawkins,” Redell said. “He looked real good against Agoura.”

Dawkins started the third game of the season for Oaks Christian, passing for one touchdown and rushing in another, in a 36-24 win over St. Bonaventure. Falk was the back-up and Redell said he intended to play him in the second half. But Oaks Christian was up 20-3 at halftime and Redell decided to stay with Dawkins the rest of the game.

“If he was the starting QB, he would have stayed,” Redell said. “I think he would be here. It didn’t work out. He’s a great kid. Against Bellevue, he did some good things.”

Dawkins will be the starter on Friday night against Calabasas. Redell said he doesn’t have a back-up quarterback for the next game and if something happens to Dawkins, he will use a wildcat-type offense with running backs Ishmael Adams and Carlos Mendoza.

According to a story in the Salt Lake Tribune, Falk will return to Logan High School, but won’t be able to play on the football team until his senior season.

Football: No. 8 Oaks Christian 36, No. 5 St. Bonaventure 24

September, 24, 2011

WESTLAKE VILLAGE -- The Oaks Christian football team has a pair of super sophomores who had breakout performances against a tough St. Bonaventure team on Friday night.

In more ways than one, quarterback Brandon Dawkins and receiver Chris Davis played lights out.

Dawkins and Davis each scored a touchdown in Oaks Christian’s 36-24 win over St. Bonaventure to help the Lions take early control of the race for the Marmonte League title. Dawkins gave the Lions a 13-3 lead in the second quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run.

Davis caught a 60-yard touchdown pass from Dawkins to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.

But the game wasn’t without drama. Oaks Christian (2-1), the No. 8 team in the ESPLNA prep football rankings, was ahead, 20-3, at halftime before St. Bonaventure mounted a second-half comeback. It was much like the game between the two teams last year when Oaks Christian had a 19-0 lead before St. Bonaventure rallied to tie the score and send the game into overtime.

St. Bonaventure (2-1), the No. 6 team in the ESPNLA rankings, scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to cut the Oaks Christian lead to three points, 27-24. After forcing Oaks Christian to punt with a little less than seven minutes to play in the game, the stadium lights went out.

While the ball was in the air after the punt, the lights in the stadium dimmed. The ball ended up on the St. Bonaventure 1-yard line. After a 15-minute delay to restore the lights, the game resumed. St. Bonaventure started its drive from its own 1-yard line.

When asked if he knew why the lights went out, Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell said, “I have no idea.”

After the game, St. Bonaventure coach Todd Therrien had only one thing to say, “No comment.”

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Football: Defensive players to watch in the Southland

September, 20, 2011
Jabari RuffinWeAreSC.comJabari Ruffin, who has committed to USC, is ranked the No. 4 prospect overall in California.

Defense, as the old adage states, wins championships. We've all heard it before.

If that's the case, the Southland appears to have more than enough talented players residing on the defensive side of the ball to make a decided difference for their respective teams.

With so many different individuals making crucial plays all over the field in the first two weeks of the season thus far, we figured that it might be a good idea to take an in-depth look at some of the premier prospects residing on the defensive side of the ball in the greater Los Angeles area.

That said, consider this as a who's who list of the more high-profile prospects around.

Defensive line: Monrovia's Ellis McCarthy. When it comes to the top recruits from these parts, few are better than the 6-foot-4, 305-pound senior. McCarthy is a force to be reckoned with every time he lines up. He's a run-stopping force. That's not to say the big man can't put pressure on the quarterback. McCarthy does it all, plain and simple. His top choices for college include USC, Cal, Florida, Washington and Oregon.

Defensive line: Westlake's Justin Solis. The top players in Ventura County typically do not receive nearly as much recognition as they deserve. Solis, however, is the exception to the rule. The 6-3, 285-pound senior was recruited by a handful of Pac-12 Conference programs. Ultimately, Colorado proved to be the best fit. Boise State, Georgia Tech and Iowa State also offered.

Defensive line: Irvine Woodbridge's Kyle Kelly. The 6-3, 225-plus pound senior is a pass-rushing specialist, a load to deal with from the edge. Kelly committed to Arizona despite having offers from Florida and Vanderbilt. Vista Murrieta's Jeremy Castro and Long Beach Poly's Alonzo Williams were also considered for this spot. In the end though, Kelly offers far too much upside.

Linebacker: Downey's Jabari Ruffin. ESPNU ranks him as one of Southern California's top recruits. Only San Clemente's Kyle Murphy is ahead of Ruffin. After watching the 6-3, 225-pound senior in action, it's blatantly obvious he is far more advanced than most of his peers. His game is tailor-made for the next level. USC landed a prized prospect when he committed in early March.

Linebacker: La Habra's Aaron Porter. Don't run the ball up the middle against this guy. And don't think your running back or tight end is going to break free in the middle of the defense when the 6-1, 230-pound senior is in uniform. Porter, heading to UCLA, is a jack-of-all trades. Opponents best know where he is on the field, at all times. Avoiding his general direction is recommended.

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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.

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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.

Football: No. 8 Oaks Christian

August, 27, 2011

Oaks Christian is coming off a championship season, winning the CIF Southern Section Northern Division title over Marmonte League rival Westlake. The Lions kept most of their defense in tact from a year ago, led by Arizona State-bound linebacker Carlos Mendoza and cornerback Ishmael Adams.

After winning a championship last season, Oaks Christian might be headed for a letdown. But coach Bill Redell points to the tradition that has quickly been established at the school in little more than a decade.

It has become expected the Oaks Christian football teams will win CIF championships. This team has a CIF state bowl game in its sights. Keeping the winning tradition alive at Oaks Christian is the main motivation for this team though.

Here's a closer look at the Lions:

Team: Oaks Christian.

Coach: Bill Redell, 12th year.

2010 Record: 12-2, won CIF Southern Section Northern Division championship, 29-28, over Westlake.

Returning starters: 14 total. Eight on defense, six on offense.

Key players on offense: RB Ishamel Adams, RB Carlos Mendoza, WR Jordan Payton, QB Luke Falk, QB Brandon Dawkins, OL Robert McGee, OL Marcus Piechowski.

Key players on defense: DB Ishmael Adams, LB Carlos Mendoza, DB Jordan Payton, LB Cameron Judge, LB Cole Taylor, DL Marcus Piechowski, DL Marcus Jones.

Difference maker: Jordan Payton. The senior wide receiver will shoulder the load on the offensive side of the ball. He caught 61 passes for 840 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior. Only Blair Holliday, now playing at Duke, had better numbers than Payton last season. Payton will also see considerable time at defensive back. He was committed to USC, but had second thoughts. According the Redell, Michigan is the leader in the clubhouse on the recruiting trail for Payton.

Newcomers: QB Luke Falk, WR Zack Hernandez, WR Zack Bornstein.

Not to be missed: Oaks Christian vs. Bellevue, Wash., Sept 3 at Mission Viejo High. Oaks Christian and the rest of the Marmonte League teams have only one preseason game. Oaks Christian scheduled one of the toughest teams in the country in Bellevue, the reigning 3A state champions from Washington. Bellevue enters the 2011 season as the top-ranked team in Washington and No. 42 team in the country as ranked by ESPN Rise.

Coach’s comment: "There’s great tradition here that the kids feel they need to continue. In fact we have a T-shirt that says Tradition Never Graduates. I think they want to keep up the tradition of a winning program.”

Final analysis: Oaks Christian has been quarterback prep for the past few years. The school has produced Jimmy Clausen, Nick Montana and continued the tradition of sending quarterbacks to major college programs when last year’s starter Richie Harrington made it on the Oregon State football team. Bill Redell said the starting quarterback job at Oaks Christian is still up for grabs between junior Luke Falk, a transfer from Utah, and sophomore Brandon Dawkins. The defense, led by linebacker Carlos Mendoza, who is headed to Arizona State, might be the strength of this team. Eight players return on defense, including Ishmael Adams at corner back, one of the top college prospects in the country. Oaks Christian made the jump from the Southern Section Northwest Division to the Northern Division and won a CIF championship. The Lions were slow out of the gate in 2010, going 2-2 to start before winning 10 games in a row including four in the playoffs. Oaks Christian will most certainly be shooting for another Northern Division championship and perhaps a berth in a CIF state bowl game.