Los Angeles Preps: Noah Ciccel

No. 16 Crespi 28, No. 24 Notre Dame 26

October, 15, 2011
10/15/11
12:34
AM PT


ENCINO -- An hour after the football game between Encino Crespi and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, Celts coach Jon Mack was asked to sum up his team’s performance.

“I still haven’t recovered,” Mack said.

The Crespi players gave their coach and their fans several heart-stopping moments in their 28-26 win over Notre Dame in the Serra League opener for both teams Friday night.

Crespi scored touchdowns on a kickoff return and a blocked field-goal attempt. Notre Dame returned two interceptions for touchdowns and scored 17 unanswered points in the second quarter.

In the end though, Crespi came up with three huge plays on special teams and escaped with a narrow victory over its Serra League and San Fernando Valley rival.

“Special teams helped keep us alive in the first half,” Mack said. “We found a way in the end.”

Crespi’s Nate Walker returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and gave the Celts an early 7-0 lead.

But Notre Dame battled back scoring two touchdowns in the last four minutes of the second quarter. Sam Robinson caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Kelly Hilinski to tie the score, 7-7, with 3:58 to play in the first half.

Kevin Carrasco gave Notre Dame a 10-point lead when he intercepted a pass from Crespi quarterback Cody Cordell and returned in 30 yards for a touchdown with 1:16 left in the first half.

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Football: No. 11 Crespi

August, 26, 2011
8/26/11
1:25
PM PT
Encino Crespi lost several key players from a season ago. Then again, the Celts are no different from any other team in the Southland. Perhaps the thing separating them from other programs is the fact this group returns a solid foundation as coach Jon Mack enters his second year at the helm.

Senior Chris Harper takes over as the No. 1 option at receiver in the high-powered Crespi offense following the departure of Devin Lucien, who is playing at UCLA. Fellow wideout Mike Davison, also an upperclassman, figures to assume a larger role as well.

Here's a closer look at the Celts:

Team: Encino Crespi.

Coach: Jon Mack, second season.

2010 Record: 8-4, lost in quarterfinals of CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs.

Returning starters: 15 total. Eight on offense. Seven on defense.

Key players on offense: OL Jordan Simmons, WR Chris Harper, WR Mike Davison, TE Trevon Callahan, TE Jack Vonarb, RB Terry Williams.

Key players on defense: DB Noah Ciccel, DB Nathan Walker, LB Sebastian Edwards, LB Corey Peoples, LB LJ Wilkerson, DL Khorey Gabriel, DL Sean Lomoto.

Difference maker: Simmons, no question about it. The 6-foot-5, 325-pound senior is a superb pass-protector. He is is also a force in the rushing attack, agile enough to get out in space and make a clear path. Accordingly, Simmons is being recruited by most every powerhouse program in the country. He keeps Paul Rawate, Crespi's director of marketing and public relations, busy week in and week out with phone calls from prospective schools. Where Simmons ends up is anyone's guess. One thing is certain: He will be playing on Saturdays in the very near future.

Newcomers: OL Jacob Speer (Granada Hills transfer), OL Colin Prestesater (Glendora transfer), OL Wes Hewitt (Humbolt transfer), QB Cody Cordell (Oaks Christian transfer), LB Sklyer Stone (Westlake transfer), QB Brad Kaaya, WR Jabarian Blackwell.

Not to be missed: at Mission Hills Alemany, Friday, Oct. 28. The host Warriors figure to be ranked among the top 10 teams in the ESPNLosAngeles.com poll at this stage of the season. Crespi might be as well. This game should be for all the marbles, a showdown with Serra League title implications. Clear your schedules now, this one could be a classic.

Coach’s comment: “What a difference a year makes. This time last year we were struggling to teach the language, the fundamentals and the techniques of the game. Now, we are working on perfecting things. I am very pleased with the attitude and effort of this team and cannot wait for fall ball to start.”

Final analysis: Once the Celts determine who the quarterback will be -- Cordell is currently leading Kaaya in the race for the starter's role -- they could possibly be on their way to big things. Harper, Davison and Callahan are reliable targets. And with Simmons in the mix, watch out. Crespi will likely compete for a league title and appears poised for a deep postseason run.

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

No. 7 Alemany 28, No. 12 Crespi 17

October, 22, 2010
10/22/10
11:06
PM PT
ENCINO -- The Crespi High football team tried just about everything it could to stop Vernon Adams on Friday night. Nothing worked.

The senior quarterback from Mission Hills Alemany completed 14 of 17 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns and he gained 69 yards on 20 carries and scored another time to guide the visiting Warriors to a 28-17 Serra League victory over the Celts.

"Tonight, I was taking what the defense was giving me,'' Adams said.

Alemany (7-0, 1-0), No. 7 in ESPNLosAngeles.com's Top 25 rankings, opened up a 21-7 lead at halftime. Crespi (5-3, 2-0), No. 12 in the rankings, mounted a second-half rally but came up short.

Crespi was opportunistic in the second half, particularly in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Noah Ciccel intercepted an Adams pass and returned the ball 38 yards to the Alemany 42-yard line. Shortly thereafter, Patrick McDonough kicked a 26-yard field goal to cut the Warriors lead to 21-17 with 8:25 left.

Alemany responded with a drive of its own to essentially put the game out of reach. The key play came on a third and long as Adams found Corey Sims for 36 yards for a key first down. The Warriors capped things off when Adams hit Saladin McCullough on 9-yard-pass play with 3:41 left to secure an 11-point victory.

"This is a big win for us. I think we wanted it more than Crespi,'' McCullough said. "We came out and did the job we were supposed to do.''

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