Los Angeles Preps: Marine League

City Div. I: Narbonne 48, Carson 32

December, 10, 2011

MONTEREY PARK -- The "Tray Way," as Narbonne folk have come to know it, was the only way Friday night.

Tray Boone, Narbonne's emotional leader, did all he could to make people proud, then did all he could to fight those pesky tears. In the end, it was far too much to take in.

Behind Boone's six rushing touchdowns, the Narbonne Gauchos beat neighboring rival Carson, 48-32, claiming the City Section Division I championship at Weingart Stadium on the campus of East Los Angeles College. Narbonne won its first title since sharing the throne with league foe San Pedro in 2008. Carson, which has 11 championships to its name, lost in the final for the second year in a row.

"This was my last high school game with these guys," said the glossy-eyed Boone. "To win the championship is amazing."

The game was a rematch of the Oct. 21 thriller in Harbor City, which Narbonne won, 38-37, when Carson botched a potential game-tying extra-point attempt in the final minute. Following last week’s blowout of Coliseum League champion Dorsey, junior quarterback Troy Williams acknowledged how difficult it would be to beat a team twice during the same season.

Thanks to his dynamic tailback, Williams’ worst fears never materialized.

Boone had 200 total yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone, and the senior finished with 316 yards, showing no ill effects from last week’s head injury that knocked him out at halftime.

"That's the man right there," Williams said as Boone walked by with the championship plaque in hand.

Meanwhile, Williams -- the City Section's leading passer -- wasn’t his usual self, visibly hobbling to his spot after every play. After passing for a season-low 75 yards, he admitted that he might have a fractured left leg. But Narbonne (11-3), making its third finals appearance in four years, still clicked offensively.

Among his six touchdowns, Boone had scoring runs of 36, 35 and 11 yards. He touched the ball 33 times, averaging nine and a half yards per touch.

"I never thought I'd run the ball so much in my life," Gauchos offensive coordinator Tim Kaub said. "I'd be stupid for not giving the ball to Tray Boone."

Fifth-seeded Carson (8-6) started the game the way it needed to. Safety Jerrod Moton intercepted Williams’ second pass of the night to set the Colts up near midfield. On the very next play, tailback Roger Jones stormed into the end zone for the quick 7-0 lead.

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Preview: Carson vs. Narbonne

December, 7, 2011

No. 5-seeded Carson Colts (8-5) vs. No. 2-seeded Narbonne Gauchos (10-3)

When: Friday, 8:05 p.m.

Where: Weingart Stadium at East Los Angeles College

Broadcast: Live on Time Warner Cable channel 101

How they got here: Fifth-seeded Carson beat Garfield (24-7), fourth-seeded Venice (47-34) and top-seeded San Pedro (24-19). Second-seeded Narbonne beat Reseda (52-7), West Adams (59-20) and third-seeded Dorsey (41-7). Narbonne and Carson finished second and third, respectively, in the Marine League. The Gauchos won the head-to-head matchup on Oct. 21, 38-37, when the Colts botched the potential game-tying extra-point attempt in the final minute.

School history: Carson has won 11 championships -- the last one in 2003 -- and reached the final last year. Narbonne shared the title with San Pedro in 2008 and has reached the final in three of the last four years.

Key players: For Carson it's USC-bound receiver Darreus Rogers, who also serves as punter and wildcat-formation quarterback, and junior running back Roger Jones. Narbonne is led by junior quarterback Troy Williams, a dynamic talent who sits at the top of the section's passing charts. Gauchos versatile tailback Tray Boone makes opponents pay if they're expecting pass.

Colts' take: “Bring ‘em on. We’re ready.” - quarterback Kevin McMahon

Gauchos' take: "It's very hard to beat somebody twice. We're going to have to practice very hard and make sure we're ready." - Williams

Prediction: Narbonne 35, Carson 31

L.A. South: The Top 10

December, 4, 2011
The Narbonne Gauchos gain a stranglehold of the top spot after an eye-opening semifinal victory. Of course, a little help from rival Carson didn't hurt. The Colts return the rankings following their shocking upset of top-seeded and previously unbeaten San Pedro. Ocean League champion Santa Monica falls out after its lopsided loss to underdog Culver City. The south Los Angeles County top 10 rankings heading into the championship round:

1. (3) Narbonne (10-3)
The Gauchos made easy work of a very good defense to secure a spot in the title game for the third time in four years. Quarterback Troy Williams is hungry. Last week: Beat Dorsey, 41-7. Next: City Section Division I championship vs. Carson at East L.A. College, Friday.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (10-2)*
Order appears to have been restored for the back-to-back Moore League champions.

3. (5) St. John Bosco (8-4)*
The third-place team from the Trinity League made its first playoff appearance since 2006.

4. (6) Charter Oak (10-2)*
The Chargers won the Sierra League and have a dynamic talent in tailback Kurt Scoby for the next two years.

5. (NR) Carson (8-5)
The Colts leap back into the rankings following a rather surprising upset of top-seeded San Pedro. They were expected to make it back to the title game, but they took a difficult route to get there. Last week: Beat San Pedro, 24-19. Next: City Section Div. I championship vs. Narbonne at East L.A. College, Friday.

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No. 17 Narbonne 41, No. 14 Dorsey 7

December, 3, 2011

HARBOR CITY -- Say no more, Narbonne. We hear you loud and clear.

The Gauchos made a resounding statement Friday night, crushing Dorsey, 41-7, to end the debate about which team rightfully deserved the No. 2 seeding in the City Section Division I playoffs. Second-seeded Narbonne will face fifth-seeded Carson in the all-Marine League championship game Dec. 9 at Weingart Stadium on the campus of East L.A. College. Carson stunned top-seeded San Pedro, 24-19, in the other semifinal.

Based on a past result, Narbonne (10-3) is the slight favorite to capture the crown. The Gauchos beat Carson 38-37 on Oct. 21 when the Colts botched a potential game-tying extra-point attempt in the final minute.

“It’s good to be in the final three of the last four years,” Narbonne coach Manual Douglas said.

The win was nearly devastating on two fronts. Quarterback Troy Williams, the leading passer in the City Section, did not play in the second half after suffering a left leg injury on what looked like a malicious hit by a Dorsey lineman. (Williams finished with 202 yards and three touchdowns on 12 of 18 passing, which propelled him past the 3,000-yard mark for the season. He also rushed for 46 yards and another score.

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Dorsey-Narbonne: strength vs. strength

November, 30, 2011
DorseyBlair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comDorsey gets its chance for respect Friday when it takes on Narbonne in the City semifinals.

On a Saturday earlier this month, the Dorsey Dons were in the film room when coach Paul Knox walked in ready to share two bits of information. The good news: Dorsey had received one of four seedings for the City Section Division I football playoffs. The bad: The Dons were seeded third despite winning their league and losing just once, on the road to highly regarded Redlands East Valley.

Adding salt to the wound was the fact that Narbonne, the Marine League runner-up to top-seeded San Pedro and loser of three games, received the No. 2 seeding.

Coliseum League champion Dorsey (11-1) gets a chance to state its case under the lights Friday in Harbor City.

"We want to make skeptics believers," Dons defensive end Jeremiah Allison said.

It doesn't promise to be an easy task. Narbonne (9-3) averages 48 points per game behind dual-threat quarterback Troy Williams, one of the city's top junior prospects. Williams touts single-game highs of 385 passing yards and 124 rushing yards this year.

"I know he has a pretty good feet on him," said Allison, who has been credited with 14 sacks.

But Williams is aware of what he and the explosive Gauchos offense is up against. The Dons are quick defensively and haven't given up more than 26 points in a game this season. On average they give up only 10.

"It's the best defense we've see all year," Williams said.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Dec. 10 championship game at East L.A. College. Marine League foes San Pedro (12-0) and Carson (7-5) square off in the other semifinal.

Here are four other top third-round playoff games in south Los Angeles County on Friday (with ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings):

City: Carson (7-5) at No. 11 San Pedro (12-0), 7 p.m. -- The top-seeded Pirates won 21-0 when these two met in Carson on Oct. 28. Senior quarterback Kenny Potter looks to lead San Pedro to its first title-game appearance since 2008. The Colts, meanwhile, hope to get back to the championship game after losing to Crenshaw at the Coliseum last year.

Western: No. 20 Santa Monica (11-1) at No. 22 Culver City (9-3), 7:30 p.m. -- A chance at redemption for Culver City, which wasn't even expected to make it past Gardena Serra in the opening round. The Centaurs lost to Santa Monica, 17-14, during the regular season. The Vikings pulled that one out thanks to a pair of late-game takeaways.

Southeast: Muir (8-4) vs. La Serna (9-3) at California High, 7 p.m. -- What resolve the Muir Mustangs have shown without coach Ken Howard, who has been on administrative leave since Week 4 following an on-campus incident with a student. Muir has won its two playoff games by scores of 39-7 and 48-0.

Mid-Valley: Monrovia (9-3) vs. Covina (11-1) at Covina District Stadium, 7 p.m. -- After this one is over, either defending division champion Monrovia or top-seeded Covina will be eliminated. The Wildcats, behind big defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, have been playing their best football lately and could give the Colts a serious scare.

Football: City Section Div. I seedings

November, 12, 2011
To no surprise, Marine League champion San Pedro (10-0) on Saturday received the top seeding for the CIF Los Angeles City Section Division I football playoffs. Marine League runner-up Narbonne (7-3) is seeded No. 2, Coliseum League champion Dorsey (9-1) is No. 3 and Western League winner Venice (6-4) is No. 4.

First-round play begins Friday -- either at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. -- at the higher seeded team's field. The quarterfinals are scheduled for Nov. 25, the semifinals for Dec. 2 and the championship for Dec. 10 at East Los Angeles College.

San Pedro's toughest regular-season test came on Nov. 4 against Narbonne, a game the Pirates won 49-42. Carson (5-5), a team San Pedro beat 21-0, is seeded No. 5. The Pirates could face two-time defending City Section champion Crenshaw in the second round. The Cougars finished third in the Coliseum League and are seeded No. 8.

Here's the entire Division I bracket:

No. 16 Gardena (3-7) at No. 1 San Pedro (10-0)

No. 9 El Camino Real (8-2) at No. 8 Crenshaw (5-4)

No. 12 Garfield (5-5) at No. 5 Carson (5-5)

No. 13 Taft (4-6) at No. 4 Venice (6-4)

No. 14 Fairfax (6-4) at No. 3 Dorsey (9-1)

No. 11 Arleta (9-1) at No. 6 Birmingham (8-2)

No. 10 Westchester (7-3) at No. 7 West Adams (5-5)

No. 15 Reseda (8-2) at No. 2 Narbonne (7-3)

L.A. South: Helmet stickers, Week 9

November, 7, 2011
The top five performances in south Los Angeles County for Week 9:

QB Kenny Potter (San Pedro): The Pirates clinched at least a share of the Marine League title behind Potter's 318 total yards, including 227 on the ground, in a 49-42 win over Narbonne.

QB Christian Smith (St. Bernard): Smith completed 31 of 41 attempts for a career-high 475 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-6 win against Mary Star. His Vikings are undefeated.

RB Lance Fernandez (Garfield): Fernandez had quite a memorable East L.A. Classic, carrying the ball 24 times for 162 yards and four scores in a 29-15 win against rival Roosevelt.

RB Tyrone Taylor (Torrance): The Cal State Fullerton baseball commit went deep a few times Friday: 399 all-purpose yards (305 rushing) and six total touchdowns against Lawndale.

QB Jalen Greene (Serra): The sophomore had 240 total yards and four touchdowns in a 70-21 win at Harvard-Westlake, making up for the loss of running back Anterio Bateman (ankle).

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.

L.A. South: Five to see live

November, 3, 2011
Big league implications throughout the Southland this week. Here are Friday night's top five games in south Los Angeles County:

Troy Williams
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comNarbonne quarterback Troy Williams (3) looks to lead the Gauchos to a victory over undefeated San Pedro on Friday.
No. 19 Narbonne at No. 20 San Pedro, 7 p.m. -- For quite a while now, Narbonne coach Manual Douglas has been eying the top seeding in the City Section Division 1 playoffs. The time has come for his Gauchos (6-2, 3-0) to prove they deserve it. The Marine League title goes to the winner. Narbonne's uptempo offense averages nearly 32 points, but San Pedro (8-0, 3-0) hasn't given up more than 20 in any game this season.

Damien at No. 23 Charter Oak, 7 p.m. -- Head over to Covina if you want some touchdowns. Or stay away if you like defensive stops. Over their last six games, the Damien Spartans (6-2, 2-1 Sierra) have given up an average 27 points. That's music to quarterback Travis Santiago's ears, for sure. Charter Oak (7-1, 3-0) has one of the most explosive attacks in the region, averaging 42 points.

Garfield vs. Roosevelt at East L.A. College, 7:30 p.m. -- The longtime rivals meet for the 77th time, and the game is expected to be played in front of another capacity crowd of 20,000. The East Los Angeles Classic is one of the area's most treasured traditions, dating to 1926 and spanning generations. It's really a toss-up this year: Garfield is 4-5 overall but 4-1 in the Eastern League; Roosevelt is 5-3 and 3-1.

La Puente at Duarte, 7 p.m. -- With a win, the unblemished La Puente Warriors (8-0, 5-0) can intensify the magnitude of next week's gigantic matchup against three-time defending Montview League champion Azusa. The Warriors are led by quarterback Ivan Vasquez and his 19-1 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio. Duarte (6-2, 4-1) is still mathematically in contention for the league title.

Downey at Dominguez, 7 p.m. -- The streaking Dominguez Dons (6-2, 3-0) have won six straight, finding a groove that went missing in blowout losses to Crespi and Redlands East Valley. A win against Downey should set up a San Gabriel Valley League championship game next week at Paramount, which is favored against Warren.

L.A. South: The Top 10

October, 30, 2011
The south Los Angeles County top 10 rankings heading into Week 9:

1. (1) Long Beach Poly (7-1)
The Jackrabbits earned their first shutout of the season, showing no signs of rust following a bye week. Nick Pope was impressive in place of quarterback the injured Chaiyse Hales (concussion). Last week: Beat Millikan, 54-0. Next: at Long Beach Wilson, Friday.

2. (2) Loyola (7-1)
The defense came up big, helping the Cubs earn a crucial Serra League win on the road. They benefited from the return of Chaz Anderson, a versatile athlete who had been down because of a knee injury. Last week: Beat Bishop Amat, 14-3. Next: at Alemany, Friday.

3. (3) St. John Bosco (6-2)
The Braves played Servite close, proving that they’re good and, perhaps most important, a serious threat if they reach the Pac-5 Division playoffs. Another tough test awaits. Last week: Lost to Servite, 35-27. Next: vs. Santa Margarita at Saddleback College, Friday.

4. (5) Charter Oak (7-1)
Naturally, it’s difficult not to look toward next week’s highly anticipated contest against defending Sierra League champion Chino Hills. The Chargers, though, have no cakewalk this week. Last week: Beat Claremont, 49-12. Next: vs. Damien, Friday.

5. (4) Bishop Amat (6-3)
The Lancers were doomed when quarterback Rio Ruiz left Friday’s game because of a knee injury. He’s as important a player as there is in the area and the offense couldn’t get it rolling without him. Last week: Lost to Loyola, 14-3. Next: vs. S.O. Notre Dame, Friday.

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L.A. South: Five games to see live

October, 26, 2011
Here are this week's top five games in south Los Angeles County:

No. 1 Servite at No. 16 St. John Bosco, Friday, 7:30 p.m. -- A year older, wiser and better, the St. John Bosco Braves (6-1, 2-0 Trinity) hope they can pull off the shocker this time around. They held a brief lead against Servite (6-1, 2-0) last season before the Friars' experience -- and the Braves' inexperience -- took over. Junior tailback DaVonte Young's spectacular performance against Mater Dei last week was proof that Bosco has another wrinkle to its prolific spread offense. And the Braves were great on defense too, limiting the Monarchs to only a field goal. A Cody Pittman-led Servite attack is an entirely different test, though.

No. 15 Loyola at No. 14 Bishop Amat, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Apparently, the return of hybrid receiver/tailback Zachary Shay (concussion) was exactly what Bishop Amat (6-2, 1-1 Serra) needed to rejoin the league race. After missing the previous five games, the senior had eight catches for 83 yards and a touchdown run in the Lancers' rather surprising 28-14 win at Crespi. If Shay can stay healthy, and if the defense holds up the way it did against the potent Celts, Amat can be a scary team. The Loyola Cubs (6-1, 1-0), meanwhile, haven't won a league road game since 2008, which also marks the last time they beat Amat. The game will be televised by Time Warner Cable on Channel 101 at midnight.

Kevin McMahon
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comThe play of Carson quarterback Kevin McMahon will be key against 7-0 San Pedro.
No. 22 San Pedro at Carson, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Undefeated San Pedro (7-0, 2-0 Marine) finally gets to show that its record is no fluke. The Pirates have won their games by an average of 26 points behind senior quarterback Kenny Potter's 25 total touchdowns, but the combined record of their seven opponents is a woeful 16-33. That obviously hasn't earned them much respect. Carson (3-4, 1-1) comes in on the other side of the spectrum, having played a mini Pac-5 Division series against the likes of Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly, Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo. The Colts are motivated following last week's last-minute loss to rival Narbonne. Quarterback Kevin McMahon has to find a way to get the ball to top playmaker Darreus Rogers more consistently.

Gardena Serra at St. Paul, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Yeah, the Serra Cavaliers (5-2, 2-0 Mission) are young and depleted, but they're still dangerous and a legitimate league contender. Just ask previously unbeaten St. Francis, which fell victim to the young Cavs and standout junior running back Anterio Bateman. St. Paul's only loss came to Chaminade, the league favorite and top-ranked team in the Western Division. "I know this league is awesome from top to bottom," Serra coach Scott Altenberg told the Daily Breeze following last week's victory against St. Francis. "We know how tough it's going to be week to week, and now we know how tough it's going to be half to half."

Gahr at Dominguez, Friday, 7 p.m. -- These teams are heading in opposite directions. Gahr (5-2, 0-2 San Gabriel Valley) has dropped two straight after winning its first five; Dominguez (5-2, 2-0) lost its first two in lopsided fashion -- albeit to Crespi and Redlands East Valley -- but has since won five in a row.

L.A. South: Helmet stickers, Week 7

October, 24, 2011
Tough to keep the list short this week with the bevy of clutch performances across south Los Angeles County. But here are the five honorees for Week 7 in our helmet stickers feature:

Rio Ruiz
Blair Angulo for ESPN.comBishop Amat quarterback Rio Ruiz passed for 236 yards in the Lancers' win over Crespi.
QB Rio Ruiz (Bishop Amat): Committed to USC for baseball, the senior quarterback showed Friday why he's more than just a highly regarded third baseman. Ruiz passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns, keeping the Lancers in Serra League contention with a key win at Crespi.

QB Troy Williams (Narbonne): The junior quarterback scored the go-ahead touchdown against rival Carson on a three-yard sneak Friday. He also threw for 231 yards and two scores.

RB Anterio Bateman (Serra): Bateman's 26-yard touchdown scamper sealed the upset victory over previously unbeaten St. Francis. He finished with 176 yards rushing and three scores.

RB DaVonte Young (St. John Bosco): Young ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns in 23 carries to lead the Braves to a dominant 24-3 Trinity League win against streaking Mater Dei.

QB Brandon Martinez (El Monte): Five touchdown passes and 282 yards for Martinez in Friday night's 50-14 win against Mountain View. He took a seat midway through the third quarter.

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Following him on Twitter.

No. 24 Narbonne 38, Carson 37

October, 22, 2011

HARBOR CITY -- Troy Williams got on one knee and looked on, hoping he'd get his hands on the football at least one more time.

Turns out, he didn't have to.

Narbonne and its star junior quarterback earned a pivotal Marine League victory Friday night, 38-37, thanks to a bad snap by Carson's special teams unit on the potential game-tying extra-point attempt. With just over a minute remaining, quarterback Kevin McMahon had soared into the end zone from a yard out, pulling the Colts to within one. But, as fate would have it, the bad snap got away and Narbonne's sideline erupted.

The Gauchos snapped Carson's 15-game league winning streak.

"I had a feeling they'd miss," Williams said. "That was real fortunate for us right there."

Narbonne, No. 24 in the ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings, covered up the ensuing onside kick and Williams picked up a crucial first down with his legs to seal it. He scored the go-ahead touchdown on a three-yard sneak with 3:02 left in the game. Williams passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns, completing 15 of 27 attempts, and added 78 yards rushing.

"We've been talking about this since my freshman year," Williams said.

Carson coach Elijah Asante, one of the most rah-rah personalities in the area, defended his decision not to go for two points and the win.

"You kick the extra point and you go into overtime," Asante said. "That's what you do. That's the proper way to approach the game. You play in overtime and give yourself a chance to come back. If you miss [the extra point], you lose."

Narbonne (5-2) now appears to be the favorite in league and has a monster matchup against undefeated San Pedro (7-0) looming on Nov. 4 which will likely decide the champion.

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L.A. South: Five games to see live

October, 19, 2011
Here are five of this week’s must-see games in south Los Angeles County:

[+] EnlargeBryce Treggs
Blair Angulo for ESPNLA.com Bryce Treggs leads all Pac-5 Division receivers with 744 yards so far this season.
No. 25 Mater Dei at No. 19 St. John Bosco, Friday, 7:30 p.m. -- They've been waiting for this in Bellflower for a while. The St. John Bosco Braves (5-1), playing at home for the first time in more than a month, can make a loud statement by beating revitalized Mater Dei (3-3), which is coming off a rather shocking upset of previously unbeaten Santa Margarita. A loss Friday would deal a major blow to Bosco's Trinity League hopes, a win would cement them as a serious contender for one of the league's three playoff spots. Cal-bound Bryce Treggs leads all Pac-5 Division receivers with 744 yards and ranks third with seven touchdowns.

Carson at No. 24 Narbonne, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Think a fractured finger is going to keep Carson receiver Darreus Rogers out of this one? No chance. The USC commit suffered a hand injury in last week's 30-9 victory over rival Banning but that hasn't stopped him from predicting a three-touchdown performance Friday. The Carson Colts (3-3) have won 15 straight Marine League games, though that carries little weight against the confident Narbonne Gauchos (4-2) and talented quarterback Troy Williams. A possible No. 1 seeding for the City Section Division 1 playoffs is on the line.

Lakewood at Cabrillo, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Quick, name the leading passer in the Pac-5 Division. It's not Utah-bound Travis Wilson (999 yards) of San Clemente or Conner Sullivan (1,193) of Orange Lutheran. It's not Crespi's Cody Cordell (1,354), St. John Bosco's Rene Medina (1,376) or even Mission Viejo's Alex Bridgford (1,724). The division's top passer? It's Cabrillo's Derek Stewart, who has 1,917 yards and 17 touchdowns for the upstart Jaguars (6-1). The Lakewood Lancers (5-2), behind standouts Darius Powe and Malik Gilmore, are hungry for a win after last week's loss to Moore League favorite Long Beach Poly.

St. Francis at Gardena Serra, Friday, 7 p.m. -- It's a different feeling in Gardena, where the Serra Cavaliers (4-2) are, at least by their standards, on a down year. And even though they've lost two games in a season for the first time since 2007, don't count them out of the Mission League race just yet. Coach Scott Altenberg's bunch is a perfect 1-0 in league and a victory Friday against undefeated St. Francis (6-0) would speed up the rebuilding process. Dual-threat quarterback Jalen Greene, a sophomore who averages 185 yards of total offense per game, gives Serra hope.

San Dimas vs. Covina at Covina District Field, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Opening weekend didn't unfold how these Valle Vista teams had hoped -- San Dimas lost to Bonita, Covina lost to West Covina. There's been nothing but wins since. The San Dimas Saints (5-1) have won five straight games, outscoring opponents 221-52 behind a strong Wing-T offense. Quarterback Billy Livingston (shoulder) was successful in his return to action last week for the streaking Covina Colts (6-1). A league title is at stake here, as well as serious consideration for a No. 1 ranking in the Mid-Valley Division.

Colts. Gauchos. Friday.

October, 18, 2011

Blair Angulo / For ESPNLosAngeles.com
Narbonne's Troy Williams leads the section in passing yards (1,549) and is tied for third in touchdowns (11).
Are the Narbonne Gauchos favored heading into Friday night's Marine League doozy against Carson? They might be.

Here's the reasoning: Carson lost to Long Beach Poly by 20 on Sept. 9 and, a week later, Narbonne did a little better, falling to Poly by just three. If those margins against a common opponent are any indication, the Gauchos appear to have the edge, right?

Well, Narbonne coach Manual Douglas isn't buying it.

"They lost, we lost," he said. "We're both losers."

Friday's loser will face an uphill climb in league. Narbonne (4-2), the 2008 champion, has won three straight since losing at Tesoro. Carson (3-3) has won two in a row since losing to Mission Viejo and has claimed the league title the last two years. Undefeated San Pedro (6-0) is also in the mix.

"They talk a lot and believe in themselves," Carson coach Elijah Asante said of Narbonne. "They talk -- you hear it from their coaches, you hear it from their players. They're definitely not scared of us. They want it."

Narbonne has reason to be confident with Troy Williams, the top quarterback in the City Section, calling the shots. The strong-armed junior leads the section in passing yards (1,549) and is tied for third in touchdowns (11). He has also ran for five scores.

Asante knows exactly what his team is up against. He got a firsthand look at Williams while coaching at USC's "Rising Stars" camp in the summer and came away impressed.

"He's something else," Asante said. "He is raw but his progression over the summer, what I saw is that he's got it. We're going to go after him. We're not going to make it comfortable for him."

The Gauchos' counter?

"We have a stallion back there," Douglas said, "and we have to protect him."

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Following him on Twitter.

Carson's Elijah Asante has no regrets

October, 11, 2011
Elijah AsanteBlair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comCarson coach Elijah Asante has his team as well prepared as any with his ambitious nonleague scheduling.

Carson coach Elijah Asante has unquestionably been the most ambitious scheduler in Los Angeles County this year, aiming to improve his squad against elite competition. He reached for the stars but, in the end, was content just to land on the moon.

After losing to Long Beach Poly, Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo in consecutive weeks, the Colts (2-3) got back on track last Friday with a victory at San Diego Lincoln. And despite the ugly record, you can make the case that no team is better prepared for Marine League play.

That's where the dilemma lies for high school coaches -- sacrifice wins for progression or go for perfection? San Pedro is 5-0 but its opponents have a combined 9-16 mark. Carson's five opponents have gone 17-11; Narbonne's have gone 19-8.

"We got an opportunity to feel the heat, to feel the fire," Asante said. "And it was hot.

"We exposed ourselves to the very best and we aren't quite at that level right now. ... The Marine League isn't going to be a cakewalk either. You've got teams that are playing really well, like San Pedro. You've got Narbonne, which has one of the best quarterbacks [Troy Williams], probably, in the nation. They've got a very dynamic team."

The Colts open league play Friday night at home against Banning (2-3), whose losses were to Cathedral, Crenshaw and Gardena Serra.

"That's a rivalry game," Asante said. "It doesn't matter what our records are -- that's going to be a huge game."

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.