Los Angeles Preps: Muir

Dodgers set to visit Muir on Friday

April, 12, 2012
The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to visit Muir High School in Pasadena on Friday morning in advance of Jackie Robinson Day this weekend. Current players Dee Gordon and Tony Gwynn Jr., as well as former players Tommy Davis, "Sweet" Lou Johnson, Kenny Landreaux and Derrel Thomas are scheduled to speak to students about Robinson's legacy and his impact on baseball and society as a whole.

Before playing at UCLA, Robinson was a four-sport star at Muir, excelling in basketball, football, track and baseball. Sunday will mark the 65th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier.

Students will have the opportunity to ask questions in a panel discussion, and will be presented with tickets to Sunday's Jackie Robinson Day game at Dodger Stadium.

Calabasas plays for assistant Frazier

March, 8, 2012

CALABASAS -- They play for him.

His unwavering spirit is motivation.

His passion for the game carries on.

His recovery remains a possibility.

The Calabasas High School boys' basketball team dedicated its season to fallen assistant coach Joe Frazier, who has been in coma since the summer after he was involved in a motorcycle accident while wearing a helmet and being struck by a hit-and-run driver.

What a memorable season it has been.

[+] EnlargeCalabasas basketball
Sean Ceglinsky for ESPNLA.comCalabasas players from left, Spencer Levy, Joshua Cohan, Holden Israel and Zac Hepps stand with a cutout of assistant coach Joe Frazier, who is in a coma after a motorcycle accident last summer.
The Coyotes secured the first Southern Section championship in the school's 37-year history last week in honor of Frazier with a 69-39 Division 3-AA victory over South Torrance. Believe it or not, they are not quite finished.

Playing with heavy hearts, Calabasas took a step in the right direction toward acquiring another ring for Frazier with Wednesday's 86-56 victory over Bakersfield Frontier in a Division III first-round playoff game of the Southern California Regionals.

“Joe is a great assistant to me, a great coach to the kids and a great friend to everyone, there was no way we were going to let him down,'' Coyotes coach Jon Palarz said. “When the accident happened, it hit home hard. Joe has been coaching with us at Calabasas for almost two years, but he was embraced right away and is loved by so many people.''

Similar to how they have done so many times in the past, the Coyotes (28-3) plan to commemorate Frazier again by wearing a patch with the initials JF on their left shoulders during Saturday's second-round game at home against Bellflower St. John Bosco.

“To have something so inspirational pushing us the whole way to accomplish our goal of winning a title and championship ring for our coach Joe Frazier, it's something that I don't think I'll never forget for the rest of my life,'' senior Joshua Cohan said.

Frazier was leaving campus on Aug. 25, the first week of school, and heading home when his life suddenly changed.

According to LAPD reports, he was struck near the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Wilbur Avenue in Tarzana, located in the San Fernando Valley. Frazier suffered a head injury, was rushed to Northridge Hospital Medical Center and underwent emergency surgery. The 28-year old was listed in critical condition by a hospital spokeswoman at the time.

The hit-and-run driver has not been identified.

(Read full post)

Report: Muir forfeits 20 games, misses playoffs

February, 13, 2012
The Muir boys' basketball team, which went 24-2 and won the Pacific League title for the first time in over a decade, missed the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs after forfeiting 20 games for using an ineligible player.

The school failed to prove a valid change of address for 6-foot-5 senior forward Andre Frazier, according to the Pasadena Star-News.

"We're shocked," Muir coach Gamal Smalley told the newspaper. "I know our administration worked really hard to make sure they could provide everything that CIF was asking for, and I thought they came close."

Frazier transferred last year from Fairfax, and also previously attended Burbank Bellarmine-Jefferson and L.A. University.

As a result, nine-time league champion Pasadena, which came in second place in the Pacific League and received a No. 2 seeding in Division 3AAA, repeats as titlist.

South: Boys' basketball top 10

February, 12, 2012
The south Los Angeles County boys’ basketball top 10 power rankings as the 2012 playoffs get underway:

1. Long Beach Poly (23-1)
Credit the Moore League champion Jackrabbits for shaking off the departure of Ryan Anderson (Boston College) and Alexis Moore (USC) from last year's Division 1AA title team. Then again, Poly never rebuilds -- it reloads. Coach Sharrief Metoyer has done a tremendous job. This week: CIF-SS Division 1AA first round vs. Riverside King, Friday, 7 p.m.

2. Gardena Serra (24-2)
Coach Dwan Hurt has his group riding a nine-game win streak heading into the playoffs. The Cavaliers swept through the Del Rey League, and appear to be the slight favorite in Division 4AA. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Salesian, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

3. Loyola (21-4)
Not exactly the regular season the Cubs had hoped for, but they can forget about falling short in the Mission League with a championship run in the next couple of weeks. Julian Harrell and Jacob Hazzard lead a deep, dangerous squad. This week: CIF-SS Division 1AA first round vs. Trabuco Hills, Friday, 7 p.m.

4. La Verne Lutheran (19-6)
Lost in senior forward Grant Jerrett's selection to the McDonald's All-American game is the strides sharpshooter Eric Cooper Jr. has taken as a go-to player for the Trojans. Jerrett demands double teams down low, and Cooper, an Arizona commit, is making opponents pay. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Pasadena Marshall, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

5. Price (19-7)
Mixed results for the Knights last week after beating Compton but losing to fellow Division 4AA contender La Verne Lutheran in overtime. San Diego State signee Skylar Spencer and Co. thrive in transition, so they'll be a tough draw in the playoffs. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Blair, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

6. St. John Bosco (19-6)
No shame in finishing at 8-2 in the Trinity League, especially with both losses coming against the state's top-ranked squad. If there's consolation for Braves fans, it's that this team, with junior Isaac Hamilton and sophomore Daniel Hamilton at its core, only figures to get better under first-year coach Derrick Taylor. This week: CIF-SS Division 3A first round vs. Jurupa Hills, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

7. Bishop Montgomery (21-4)
Sure, the Knights couldn't get it done against Del Rey League rival Gardena Serra, but wins against Woodland Hills, Westchester, Pacific Hills and Price don't lie. Montgomery is a team to keep an eye on in a stacked bracket. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Templeton, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

8. Muir (24-2)#
A loss to neighboring rival Pasadena in the regular-season finale didn't discourage coach Gamal Smalley, who led the Mustangs to their first Pacific League crown in over a decade. But the excitement was short-lived, as the Mustangs were disqualified from postseason play and stripped of their title for using an ineligible player. Muir forfeited 20 victories.

9. Damien (24-2)
The Spartans rolled to their second consecutive Sierra League championship, earning a No. 1 seeding in Division 3AAA. They now have a target on their back, and it will be up to Saint Mary's-bound forward Chris Reyes to fight through constant double teams. This week: CIF-SS Division 3AAA first round vs. El Dorado, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

10. Pacific Hills (23-4)
A loss to Windward in the finale denied the Bruins sole possession of the Alpha League title. It didn't affect their postseason aspirations, though, as the Bruins received a No. 1 seeding in Division 4A. This week: CIF-SS Division 4A second round vs. winner of Costa Mesa-St. Monica, Friday, 7 p.m.

Ten more, in alphabetic order: Crenshaw (22-4), Compton (17-9), Downey (22-5), Fairfax (19-9), Leuzinger (21-5), Mayfair (21-5), Pasadena (19-7), Santa Monica (18-8), Westchester (20-6), Windward (18-8)

# - Denotes season has concluded

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

Pasadena avenges rare loss to Muir

February, 9, 2012

PASADENA -- Brandon Jolley had some fun with the Rose City rivalry Thursday night, blowing kisses toward the opposing fans after nearly every made basket in the second half.

It didn’t matter who scored; Jolley blew kisses, each more exuberant than the last. And when it was time for seriousness, Jolley was there too.

Nine-time Pacific League champion Pasadena had been dethroned by Muir earlier in the week, and, earlier in the season, beaten by its neighboring rival for the first time in over a decade. Jolley made sure to avenge the loss and regain pride, leading Pasadena to a 71-53 road victory against Muir in the regular-season finale.

Brandon Jolley
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comBrandon Jolley's 26 points were the difference as Pasadena avenged an earlier loss to Muir.
“When they beat us at our house [last month] we underestimated them, we didn’t really care about them,” said Jolley, who poured in a game-high 26 points and grabbed eight boards. “We had to take them more seriously.”

Pasadena (19-7) galloped into the Mustangs' gym, opening a 23-9 lead after the first quarter behind Jolley’s energy down low. The Bulldogs began with a sizzling 14-2 run, and the highly anticipated rematch never lived up to the hype.

“There’s a lot of talk in this town, and Jolley was one who felt there was too much talk going on,” Pasadena coach Tim Tucker said. “I think people got it confused that we’re the second team in the city. We’re not the second team in the city. We might have some blips and a little bad luck, but we’re five points away from being undefeated [in league] this year. We know how good we are. Jolley knows how good he is. We came out to prove it.”

Muir’s bumpy beginning, meanwhile, coincided with coach Gamal Smalley’s decision to honor his seniors by fielding an all-senior lineup. The group of non-starters stayed on the floor for almost two minutes.

“We were in foul trouble in the first game so we couldn’t play Pasadena defense,” Tucker said. “We got down, slapped the floor and said ‘We’re not giving them anything.’ We got out to an early lead and built on it.”

(Read full post)

South: Boys' basketball Top 10

February, 6, 2012
The south Los Angeles County boys’ basketball top 10 power rankings:

1. Long Beach Poly (21-1)
The Jackrabbits were perhaps the region's most impressive team at Saturday's Nike Extravaganza, blowing past OLu with intensity on defense and efficiency from Roschon Prince and Reuben Strickland on offense. This week: at Millikan, Tues.; vs. Long Beach Jordan, Thurs.

2. Loyola (20-4)
Simply put, the Cubs appeared gassed in Saturday's loss to Woodland Hills Taft at the Nike Extravaganza. They're a solid perimeter-shooting team but looked to have tired legs following Friday night's win against Harvard-Westlake. This week: vs. St. Francis, Wed.

3. Gardena Serra (23-2)
The Cavaliers, who claimed the Del Rey League title by beating Bishop Amat, have three players averaging more than 10 points per game. This week: at La Salle, Mon.

4. La Verne Lutheran (18-6)
Surprisingly, the Trojans hung tough against powerful Mater Dei at the Nike Extravaganza before faltering late. It was still an impressive showing, especially since Grant Jerrett was limited with an ankle sprain. This week: at Price, Fri.

5. Price (18-6)
The Knights missed an opportunity to make a loud statement by losing to Alemany at Saturday's "To The Rack" Showcase. They host a fellow small-school power in a potential Division 4AA playoffs preview Friday. This week: at Compton, Tues.; vs. La Verne Lutheran, Fri.

(Read full post)

South: Boys' basketball Top 10

January, 29, 2012
The south Los Angeles County boys’ basketball top 10 power rankings:

1. Long Beach Poly (18-1)
The Jackrabbits increased their lead to two games in the Moore League standings thanks to Roschon Prince's stellar game at Compton on Friday. The junior wing had 35 points and 12 rebounds. This week: at Lakewood, Wed.; vs. Long Beach Wilson, Fri.; vs. Orange Lutheran in Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei, Sat.

2. Loyola (18-3)
An up-and-down week ended in a positive way with a 92-84 win against Orange Lutheran at the Fairfax State Preview Classic. Still in the Mission League race, but need some help. This week: at Notre Dame, Wed.; at Harvard-Westlake, Fri.; vs. Taft in Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei, Sat.

3. Gardena Serra (21-2)
There's great balance throughout coach Dwan Hurt's roster, that much was evident in the Cavaliers' 10-point win against host Fairfax at the State Preview Classic on Saturday. Senior guard Kajon Mack and big Daddy Ugbede complement each other well. This week: vs. Bishop Montgomery, Wed.; vs. Bishop Amat, Fri.

4. La Verne Lutheran (16-5)
A 67-62 overtime loss to Westchester on Saturday snapped a nine-game win streak. The Trojans face an interesting group of competitors in the next few days. This week: vs. Ribet Academy, Tues.; at Renaissance Academy, Wed.; at Mater Dei in Nike Extravaganza, Sat.

5. Price (17-5)
The Knights have won six straight since losing at the Brandon Jennings Invitational in Milwaukee, riding the leadership of junior guard Chance Murray and bouncy forward Skylar Spencer. The upcoming schedule will put their streak in serious jeopardy, though. This week: at Ribet Academy, Fri.; at Alemany, Sat.

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L.A. South: Prep basketball roundup

January, 25, 2012
St. John Bosco (16-4) eked out a 72-68 victory at JSerra on Wednesday night to improve to 5-0 in Trinity League play, setting up a highly intriguing matchup with Mater Dei, the region's top-ranked squad, on Friday in Bellflower. Isaac Hamilton led the way with a game-high 26 points.

Loyola (16-3) lost at home to Alemany, 95-81, and is now two games back in the Mission League standings. The Cubs had gotten back into the race with an impressive win against Crespi earlier in the week. Loyola got 24 points from Julian Harrell.

In the Western League, Fairfax (14-7) beat Westchester, 53-46. Brendyn Taylor had 17 points. In the Pacific League, Muir (20-1) beat Burbank, 54-52, thanks to Jelani Mitchell's 17 points.

Windward (14-7) bounced back from a demoralizing Alpha League loss to Pacific Hills, defeating Sierra Canyon 68-67.

In the Ocean League, Culver City beat Beverly Hills, 87-81, behind 33 points from Aamahd Walker and 32 from Keilan Horton.

South: Boys' basketball Top 10

January, 23, 2012
The south Los Angeles County boys' basketball top 10 power rankings:

1. Long Beach Poly (15-1)
The Jackrabbits had success at the King Holiday Hoopfest in Seattle, handing Rainier Beach (Wash.) its first loss of the season. An important stretch in the Moore League lies ahead. This week: at Long Beach Jordan, Mon.; vs. Cabrillo, Wed.; at Compton, Fri.

2. Loyola (15-2)
Despite a rough start in the Mission League, the Cubs can ascend to the top of the standings by handling their business this week. This week: vs. Crespi, Mon.; vs. Alemany, Wed.; at Chaminade, Fri.; vs. Orange Lutheran at Fairfax State Preview, Sat.

3. La Verne Lutheran (15-4)
The Trojans beat a Gabe York-less Orange Lutheran team last Monday, but a win is a win. Arizona-bound forward Grant Jerrett is a nominee for the McDonald's All-American game. This week: vs. Hope Centre, Thurs.; at Westchester, Sat.

4. Gardena Serra (19-2)
The Cavaliers are rolling, having routed three opponents since losing to Price on a waved-off field goal that appeared to beat the buzzer. Great depth on this roster. This week: at Cathedral, Fri.; vs. Fairfax at Fairfax State Preview, Sat.

4. Price (13-5)
The Knights have won a pair of close games since losing at the Brandon Jennings Invitational in Milwaukee. This week: vs. Hope Centre, Tues.; vs. Renaissance Academy, Thurs.; vs. Windward at Fairfax State Preview, Sat.

6. St. John Bosco (15-4)
The Braves got just one win at the Allstate National Prep Classic in New Orleans over the weekend, but they did stay undefeated in Trinity League play with a close win against Orange Lutheran. Big test against the region's best team looms. This week: at JSerra, Wed.; vs. Mater Dei, Fri.

7. Bishop Montgomery (16-3)
They may not admit it, but the Knights are already eying their Feb. 1 rematch with Serra, which will likely decide the Del Rey League championship. This week: vs. Bishop Amat, Wed.; vs. La Salle, Fri.

8. Windward (13-6)
The busy Wildcats were idle all of last week, taking in some much-needed rest. Nick Stover and Co. pick up the pace again in the Alpha League. This week: vs. Pacific Hills, Tues.; vs. Sierra Canyon, Wed.; vs. Price at Fairfax State Preview, Sat.

9. Muir (18-1)
The Mustangs defeated neighboring rival Pasadena for the first time in over a decade thanks to the clutch free-throw shooting of Jelani Mitchell. The Pacific League rematch is set for Feb. 9 at Muir. This week: at Arcadia, Mon.; vs. Burbank, Wed.; vs. Hoover, Fri.

10. Damien (18-1)
Can anyone slow down the Sierra League-leading Spartans? They've had their close calls and figure to get tested Saturday against the Inland Empire's best squad. This week: vs. Ayala, Wed.; vs. Claremont, Fri.; vs. Etiwanda at Azusa Pacific, Sat.

Ten more, in alphabetic order: Crenshaw (15-4), Compton (11-7), Dorsey (18-6), Downey (16-5), Leuzinger (15-4), Pacific Hills (19-3), Pasadena (13-6), Peninsula (14-5), Santa Monica (13-6), Westchester (12-4)

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

Muir stuns rival Pasadena, 64-60

January, 20, 2012

PASADENA -- There's a new force in the Rose City.

Muir beat rival Pasadena for the first time in more than a decade Friday night, 64-60, and grabbed the top spot in the Pacific League. When the final buzzer sounded, visiting Muir fans stormed the court at Pasadena's Tom Hamilton Gym.

A frantic altercation soon followed: Pasadena's Brandon Jolley suffered a cut on his hand while going after Muir's Jelani Mitchell, bloodying the walls in the hallway leading into the locker rooms. Police were called in to clear the area, and cooler heads prevailed. Muir players were escorted by police from the locker room to their bus in the parking lot, where a large crowd still remained about a half hour following the game's conclusion.

"This is tremendous," Mitchell said before the altercation. "Pasadena has been the best team in this league for a long time. We beat them. And we beat them at their house."

Mitchell sank two clutch free throws with seven seconds remaining to put Muir (18-1, 7-0 Pacific) up by four. Pasadena missed a jumper at the other end, the final seconds ticked off the clock and the drought was over. Half of the gym erupted.

"I'm really excited for the guys and happy for the program," Muir coach Gamal Smalley said. "It's a big hurdle but now we have the rest of the race. I told the guys it's only one game. As much as we're happy and celebratory, we have to now stay focused. To turn the corner as a program, consistency is a major issue."

Pasadena (13-6, 6-1) has claimed the league title nine straight years, but that streak is now in serious jeopardy. Muir's lone loss came against two-loss Village Christian in the championship game of the La Salle/Temple City Tournament.

Muir's Tevin Polk scored a team-high 16 points off the bench, though he is normally a starter. Smalley's game plan to use Polk in a substitute role worked. Jolley had 16 for Pasadena and coach Tim Tucker said his hand injury was not serious.

"He doesn't like to lose," Tucker said of Jolley.

(Read full post)

Muir's Seymour commits to USC

January, 7, 2012
Pasadena Muir defensive back Kevon Seymour committed to USC on Saturday at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game in San Antonio, Texas.

The four-star prospect also considered Cal, Oregon and UCLA. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Seymour is the 19th-ranked player in California.

Seymour gives USC its 12th verbal commit, joining local standouts Jabari Ruffin (Downey), Max Tuerk (Santa Margarita), Jordan Simmons (Crespi), Scott Starr (Norco) and Darreus Rogers (Carson).

National signing day is Wednesday, Feb. 1.

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

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.

Loyola takes D.C. tournament

December, 31, 2011
The Loyola Cubs aren't hibernating this winter.

Loyola (11-0), which had three losses by this time last season, stayed unbeaten Friday night with a 66-53 win against National Jesuit Christmas Classic tournament host North Bethesda (Md.) Georgetown Prep. The Cubs claimed their third tournament championship trophy of the season, and now turn their attention to Mission League play.

Penn-bound forward Julian Harrell, who had 17 points in the title game, earned tournament most valuable player honors.

Other results from Friday's tournament action:

DeMatha (Md.) 74, Windward 64
Windward (8-5) could never get over the hump in the second half, losing to 10th-ranked DeMatha in the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic National Division championship. Still, it was an impressive week in San Diego for the Wildcats. Point guard Jordan Wilson and forward Nick Stover were named to the all-tournament team.

Bishop Montgomery 84, L.A. Washington 55
The Bishop Montgomery Knights improved to 11-2 by winning the Redondo Sea Hawk Beach Classic. They captured the Westchester Tip-off Classic title earlier in the season.

La Verne Lutheran 98, Compton 95 (4 OT)
The early game in the losers' bracket at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic tournament was a dandy. Compton (7-7) had a two-point lead with four seconds remaining in the third overtime but La Verne Lutheran's Grant Jerrett, an Arizona signee, sent the game into a fourth period with a difficult tying shot. Lutheran (10-3) had a three-point lead with 3.1 seconds left in the second overtime but Compton's Lorenzo Murphy sank a clutch sank a clutch 3-pointer. Jerrett had hit a tying 3-pointer with under 30 seconds remaining in the first overtime. Compton's sensational senior Victor Robbins nailed a tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation. Jerrett finished with 35 points, while Robbins had 30.

Sun Valley Village Christian 58, Pasadena Muir 47
Muir (11-1) fell for the first time this season, failing to capture its third consecutive La Salle/Temple City Holiday Classic tournament crown.

L.A. South: List of bowl game participants

December, 30, 2011
Here's a list of the south Los Angeles County senior football players participating in All-American bowl games.

Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.
Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 3 p.m. PT

LB Jeremiah Allison (Dorsey)
WR Malik Gilmore (Lakewood/verbal to Oregon State)
WR Jaydon Mickens (Dorsey)
WR Bryce Treggs (St. John Bosco/verbal to Cal)
K/P Conrad Ukropina (Loyola)

Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Thursday, Jan. 5 at 4:30 p.m. PT

WR Darius Powe (Lakewood/verbal to Cal)

The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas
Saturday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. PT

DB Brandon Beaver (Dominguez)
DT Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia)
LB Jabari Ruffin (Downey/verbal to USC)
DB Kevon Seymour (Muir)
WR Derrick Woods (Inglewood/verbal to Oklahoma)

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.