Los Angeles Preps: Jordan Lasley

Football: Look out for Serra this fall

February, 15, 2012
State bowl game appearances had become the norm at Gardena Serra in recent years. Expectations fell dramatically in 2011 following the graduation of elite talent, namely George Farmer and Marqise Lee. Still, Serra was good enough to earn a No. 1 seeding in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs, but stumbled in first-round shocker against Culver City.

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.

Football: No. 9 Carson

August, 27, 2011
Talking about last season's shortcomings opens up healed wounds, so Carson coach Elijah Asante would rather keep those thoughts in the past. The Colts, Asante says, will carry nothing over from last year's 45-7 drubbing at the hands of Crenshaw in the City Section Division 1 title game at the Memorial Coliseum. It's just a terrible memory now, one that he doesn't even want to use as motivation.

"It doesn't give us any extra anything," Asante says. "It was a game we lost. Crenshaw out-coached us and outplayed us. But that was last year."

With that being said, this year is this year and these Colts aren't shying away from anyone, setting up inter-sectional duels against Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly, Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo to open up the season. "People are giving the teams we'll play more credit than they're giving us," Asante says. "People aren't looking at Carson like it's a tough game for [other teams]."

Here is a closer look at the Colts:

Team: Carson

Coach: Elijah Asante, second season.

2010 Record: 11-3, lost in the CIF City Section Division I championship game.

Returning starters: 12 total. Six on offense, six on defense.

Key players on offense: WR Darreus Rodgers (USC commit), QB Kevin McMahon, RB Kendell Sparks, RB Kameron Walker

Key players on defense: DB Jerrod Moton, DB Jordan Lasley, DL Pu'e Togia

Difference maker: Rogers caught 45 passes for 1,347 yards (29.9 average) and eight touchdowns last season, earning first-team All-City honors as a junior. And that came on a team that generally ran more than it threw. He's the leading receiver among all returning players in Los Angeles.

Newcomers: QB Kevin McMahon (transfer from South Torrance)

Not to be missed: vs. Mater Dei, Friday, Sept. 2. Arguably the area's most intriguing opener, Carson has a chance to build momentum heading into its next three doozies. Perhaps Asante put it best: "Mater Dei is not trying to lose this game. They're whole reputation is at stake. They can't lose to Carson three years in a row. They can't ... under any circumstances."

Coach’s comment: "We set up a really tough schedule and we expect to win every single one of those games. That's our expectation."

Final analysis: Sure, Carson wants to win its third consecutive Marine League championship. That's always the first goal -- win league and get into the postseason. But make no mistake about the Colts' aspirations: anything short of a City Section Division 1 title would be classified as disappointing. Things have set up nicely for Asante's offense, with the addition of McMahon, who he has pegged as "The Cannon." The Colts hope that a multidimensional attack, coupled with some defensive improvement, has them leaving the Memorial Coliseum with hardware at season's end.

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.