Los Angeles Preps: Shane Drozdowski

Pac-5: Alemany 42, Lakewood 21

November, 27, 2010
LAKEWOOD -- Alemany had the game on ice, but you couldn't tell by listening to Vernon Adams.

The Warriors' buses warmed up in the parking lot, the cold air making their fumes clearly visible from a distance. Meanwhile, Alemany's cheering section chanted, "We want Servite!" And still, Adams stayed on his teammates. He wanted their collective attention.

"It's not over," Adams yelled. "Let's go!"

He was right: Alemany's season is not over. The No. 3-seeded Warriors beat Lakewood, 42-21, Friday night to move on in the Pac-5 Division playoffs. Adams was behind it, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another. The senior quarterback finished with 206 yards on 12 for 19 passing.

"If Vernon was two inches taller, everyone in the country would want him," Alemany coach Dean Herrington said. "He's a special player. He'll be a coach one day, he's just so smart out there. He's the heart and soul of our team."

Adams made sure the Alemany faithful got their wish. The Warriors play No. 2-seeded Servite next week.

It was a difficult ending for Lakewood coach Thadd MacNeal's squad, which was doomed by Adams' Houdini-like escapes.

The greatest came during Alemany's first drive of the second half. Leading by just seven, Adams used his legs to evade tacklers and pick up a first down on a third-and-long. He avoided a sack on the very next play and found Jerico Richardson for a 24-yard touchdown. It turned out to be the game winner.

"Lakewood came out hard," Adams said. "We just came out harder."

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No. 7 Alemany 28, No. 12 Crespi 17

October, 22, 2010
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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LA North: No. 12 Alemany 36, Taft 26

September, 24, 2010
MISSION HILLS -- Alemany's Saladin McCullough had one important responsibility during the waning moments of Friday's intersectional football game against visiting Woodland Hills Taft and that was to hold onto the ball.

Rest assured, the senior didn't fumble. In fact, he turned what was supposed to be a rather basic running play off the end into an exciting 24-yard touchdown run with less than five minutes left on the fourth quarter clock to essentially clinch a 36-26 victory over the Toreadors.

"I was trying to stay inbounds, chew up some clock, and there was no way I was going to cough up the ball in that situation, our coaches would've been all over me,'' McCullough said. "Once I saw the hole, I hit it and took off down the sideline. No one was going to catch me from behind.''

The highlight reel run by the determined McCullough gave Alemany (4-0), No. 12 in ESPNLosAngeles.com's Top 25 rankings, a 36-20 lead and all but ruined any hopes Taft (1-2) might have had at making a comeback.

The Warriors weren't satisfied with a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Accordingly, Jericho Richardson scooped a Taft fumble and returned it 52 yards for a score to extend the advantage to 30-20 with 10:52 left in the game.

Cisrow McClain scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 1:44 remaining in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late for Taft. The damage had already been done by Alemany, which came up with big play after big play.

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