Los Angeles Preps: St. Francis

Arcadia Invitational to showcase talent

April, 5, 2012
Many of the top high school track and field athletes from across the country will converge in Arcadia this weekend for one of the most anticipated meets of the season.

The two-day Arcadia Invitational at Arcadia High School begins on Friday. Here is a look at some of the races and events featuring some of the top high school athletes from the L.A. North area and Southern California.

The men's 4x100 seeded relay will pit Chaminade against Rio Mesa and Oaks Christian. The women's 4x100 seeded relay will feature Simi Valley, Woodland Hills Taft, Westlake and Monrovia.

The men's 110-meter seeded hurdles has Elijah Jolt from Arroyo Grande against James Knowles from St. Francis and Marquis Norris from Concord De La Salle.

The women's 1-mile seeded race has Chelsey Totten from Golden Valley running against Rebecca Mehra from Palos Verdes and Emily Taylor from Marina.

The men's 100-meter seeded race is packed with Michael Davis from Glendale, Vinnie Saucer from Oaks Christian and Philip Johnson from Bishop Amat.

The women's 4x400 seeded relay will include teams from Oaks Christian, El Camino Real, Mater Dei and Summit.

The meet begins on Friday afternoon with the women's seeded 4x800 relay featuring 26 teams including Valencia, Harvard-Westlake, Arroyo Grande, Palos Verdes, Palisades and San Marcos.

St. Francis upsets No. 6 Crespi, 66-52

January, 26, 2012

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE – Crespi is finding out how important Michael Milligan Jr. is to its basketball team.

St. Francis found an offensive weapon in Tei Vanderford that might prove valuable as the season unfolds.

Vanderford scored a career-high 24 points to lead St. Francis to a 66-52 win over Crespi, the No. 6 team in the ESPN Los Angeles basketball rankings, at St. Francis High School on Wednesday night.

“He’s a baseball player first. He did not play varsity basketball last year,” St. Francis co-coach Ray O’Brien said. “He’s just a great athlete that’s great under pressure. He’s gotten better every game. He’s learned our system.”

It was the third loss in a row for Crespi, playing without Milligan, the team’s 6-feet-4 forward. He has missed the past two games with a concussion, but coach Russell White said he expects Milligan to return for Crespi’s game against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame on Friday.

When asked if playing without Milligan makes that much of a difference, White said simply, “Apparently.”

“I didn’t know he was,” White said. “The proof is in the pudding.”

(Read full post)

Royal hands Westlake a league loss

January, 10, 2012
The Royal boys basketball team handed Westlake its first loss in Marmonte League play on Monday night.

Royal's J.R. Powell came on strong late in his team's 62-51 win over Westlake (14-6). He hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter after being held scoreless in the first three quarters.

Scott Woods scored 22 points and was the leading scorer for Royal (12-5). Westlake's Joshua Brooks scored 18 points.

Calabasas (15-2) improved to 5-0 in Marmonte League play with a 71-46 win over Newbury Park. Holden Israel scored 23 points for Calabasas.

Calabasas is home against Westlake on Wednesday night and the Coyotes can take a commanding lead in the Marmonte League standings with a win.

In the Mission League, Alemany improved to 3-0 with a 79-69 win over St. Francis. Marqueze Coleman and Bear Henderson each had double-doubles for Alemany. Coleman had 26 points and 10 rebounds. Henderson scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds.

Alemany (14-2), winners of seven games in a row, plays Crespi in a match-up of the top two teams in the Mission League on Wednesday night. Crespi (15-1) is 2-0 against Mission League opponents.

Tight race atop Marmonte League

January, 5, 2012
The Marmonte League is shaping up to be a three-team race after the first three games of league play.

Calabasas and Westlake are tied for first with 3-0 records. Royal is surprisingly in third place with a 2-1 record.

Fourth place is up for grabs with four teams -- Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley and Agoura -- with 1-2 records.

Calabasas is coming off a tight, 66-64, win over Moorpark on Wednesday night. Spencer Levy led Calabasas with 20 points.

Royal downed perennial powerhouse Thousand Oaks, 52-40, behind the sharp shooting of senior J.R. Powell. He scored 15 points, hit three 3-pointers and set the school record for most 3-pointers in his career. He has 155, breaking Matt Padavick’s record of 152.

Simi Valley beat Newbury Park, 74-62. Kameel Zriek scored 24 points for Simi in the win.

Calabasas is at Agoura on Friday night. Westlake travels to Moorpark and Royal is home against its crosstown rival Simi Valley.

The Mission League got off to a spirited start as well.

Crespi beat Loyola, 75-73, in the Mission League opener and handed the Cubs their first loss of the season.

Alemany beat Chaminade, 72-53. Max Guercy scored 30 points and had five assists for Alemany, winners of five in a row.

Harvard-Westlake beat St. Francis, 64-37.

Friday night is shaping up to be a big night in the Mission League too. Alemany plays at Loyola and Crespi is home against St. Francis.

Title Thursday for L.A. North

December, 29, 2011
It’s been a busy and productive week for some of the top boys basketball teams from the L.A. North region. Here is a look at some of the tournament championship and semifinal games tonight involving those teams:

Chaminade vs. Eastside Catholic in the championship game of the Chaminade tournament. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.

Canyon vs. Ventura in the championship game of the Ventura tournament. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

Oaks Christian vs. Cleveland of Reseda in the semifinals of the Oaks Christian tournament. Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. Etiwanda vs. Santa Monica in the other semifinal. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

Village Christian vs. St. Francis in the semifinals of the La Salle-Temple City tournament. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Crespi vs. Washington Prep in the semifinals of the Sea Hawk Beach Classic at Redondo Union High School.

Woodland Hills Taft vs. Windward in the semifinals of the Torrey Pines tournament

Alemany vs. Modesto Christian in the semifinals of the Modesto Christian tournament. Bakersfield vs. Weston Ranch is the other semifinal at the Modesto Christian tournament.

Here are some highlights from games played on Wednesday night:

(Read full post)

L.A. North: Pick six games of the week

November, 23, 2011
No. 2 Westlake (11-0) vs. Hart (8-3) at College of the Canyons, Friday (7 p.m.)
Hart is back in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, but the Indians are about to get a taste of what it will take to start winning CIF championships again. Westlake hasn’t really been tested since Week 1, an overtime win over Del Oro in Loomis in Northern California. This game could be over by halftime and a feast of sacks for Justin Solis and Johnny Stuart. Westlake will be able to rest up its starters before the Northern Division semifinals.

No. 9 Oaks Christian (9-2) vs. Highland (9-1), Friday (7:30 p.m.)
Oaks Christian has rattled some of the top quarterbacks in the Marmonte League, but Highland has a special one in Christian Tago. The senior has thrown for 2,323 yards and 25 touchdowns. He is headed to San Jose State next fall. Oaks Christian has a good quarterback in sophomore Brandon Dawkins, who has thrown for 1,927 yards and 21 touchdowns in addition to rushing for 176 yards and three touchdowns. There should be lots of scoring in this one.

Canyon (9-2) vs. No. 11 St. Bonaventure (9-2) at Ventura High School, Friday (7 p.m.)
This is a rematch of last year’s Northern Division quarterfinals. St. Bonaventure won, 45-21, before losing in the semifinals. Canyon is coming off a 21-0 shutout over Palmdale in the first round. Junior receiver Drew Wolitarsky had a nice game with four catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns. St. Bonaventure escaped a first-round scare, 19-10, over Redondo. It took nearly a half before the Seraphs woke up and erased a 10-0 deficit. Running back Zack Green rushed for 137 yards and Marcus Chambers gained 47 yards in 10 carries, scoring the first touchdown for St. Bonaventure in the second quarter. Shaun Wick, St. Bonaventure’s leading rusher with 885 yards and 11 touchdowns, did not play against Redondo.

Birmingham (9-2) vs. No. 16 Dorsey (10-1), Friday (7 p.m.)
Birmingham needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to beat Arleta, 21-18, in the first round of the City Section Division I playoffs. Quarterback Trae Smith passed for 115 yards and two touchdowns and scored the winning touchdown on a three-yard run with a little over a minute to play. Dorsey is the third-seeded team in the City Section playoffs and clobbered Fairfax, 35-13, in the first round.

No. 22 Chaminade (9-2) vs. San Luis Obispo (8-3), Friday (7:30 p.m.)
Chaminade receiver Elijah Dunston caught two passes for 74 yards and scored two touchdowns in his team’s 45-15 win over Inglewood in the first round of the Western Division playoffs. He wasn’t the only Chaminade player who made the most of his touches. Running back Terrell Newby scored three touchdowns in 12 carries and gained 70 yards. San Luis Obispo won a shootout, 54-28, against Camarillo in the first round of the playoffs. The Tigers exploded for 28 points in the third quarter and extended a 13-point halftime lead to 41 points in the fourth quarter.

St. Francis (9-2) vs. Arroyo Grande (10-1), Friday (7:30 p.m.)
Arroyo Grande is the team no one wants to face in the Western Division playoffs. The Eagles made it to the championship game and lost to Serra last season. Arroyo Grande has won 10 games in a row and hasn’t lost since opening night against Lompoc. The Eagles won convincingly, 41-6, over Dos Pueblos in the first round of the playoffs. St. Francis is a tough team too. The Golden Knights have won three games in a row, including, 45-28, over Paramount in the first round of the playoffs. Quarterback Jared Lebowitz threw for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Luke Anderson rushed for 44 yards in nine carries and scored three touchdowns.

CIF-SS playoffs: Western Division

November, 13, 2011
CIF-SS playoffs:
Western Division

Gardena Serra (8-2) shook up the seedings for the Western Division playoffs by beating Chaminade, 35-29, in the Mission League finale on Friday night. Serra went from the No. 3 seed to the top seed and Chaminade (8-2) fell from the No. 1 to No. 3. Second-seeded Arroyo Grande (9-1) and Serra look as if they are on a collision course for a rematch of last year’s Western Division final. Chaminade played the toughest schedule of any team in the Western Division, but losing to Serra in the league season finale is not the way Eagles coach Ed Croson wanted to enter playoffs. Ventura (10-0) might be the most underrated undefeated team in the playoffs. All Ventura has done this year is outscore its opponents, 328-82, a four-to-one margin, and shut out three of its opponents. Four teams, including St. Francis, earned at-large bids into the Western Division playoffs. The Golden Knights might be the most dangerous of the four, but will have a tough quarterfinal game against Arroyo Grande if they can win their first-round game aganst Paramount, the San Gabriel League champion. Here’s a breakdown of the division:

The seeds: No. 1 Serra, No. 2 Arroyo Grande, No. 3 Chaminade, No. 4 Ventura

Best first-round matchup: St. Francis (8-2) vs. Paramount (5-5) -- Paramount ended up in a three-way tie for first place with Dominguez and Downey in the San Gabriel League standings. The Pirates lost their league season finale, 32-27 to Dominguez, but earned the top seed from the San Gabriel League in the Western Division playoffs. Paramount’s Bernard Foy is a ball hawk with six interceptions and three touchdowns. St. Francis doesn’t score a lot of points, but they don’t give up a lot of points either. The Golden Knights are averaging 28.5 points, but are only giving up 17.3. St. Francis defensive lineman Tyler Marona leads the team with 10 sacks. The Golden Knights’ two losses came against Mission League opponents. The first was 44-30 against Serra. The second was a week later, 31-13, to Chaminade. A first-round upset is not out of the question for St. Francis. A deep run in the playoffs is highly questionable.

Toughest road: Ventura (10-0) -- The Cougars don’t seem to be getting the respect they deserve. Their first-round game is against Dominguez (7-3), which finished in a three-way tie for first place in the San Gabriel Valley League but earned an at-large bid in the playoffs. The Dons have won seven of their last eight games and will be a tough first-round challenge for Ventura. If the Cougars advance to the quarterfinals, they will most likely face a tested Santa Monica team, the Ocean League champion. Ventura is in the same half of the playoff bracket as Serra, the reigning Western Division champion.

Potential shocker: Camarillo (7-3) vs. Chaminade (8-2), quarterfinals -- Camarillo has one of the best receivers in the state in Jake Maulhardt who has 105 catches for 1,465 yards and 14 touchdowns. Conrad Kotake has emerged as a legitmate receiving threat as well with 51 catches for 935 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has also scored four rushing touchdowns. The wild card is junior quarterback Travis Valdez. Since taking over the starting role on Oct. 6, he is undefeated and has won five games in a row. He has passed for 1,999 yards and 29 touchdowns. Mind you, Valdez’s eye-popping numbers are all against Pacific View League opponents. Chaminade will be Valdez and Camarillo’s toughest test to date. If the game’s a shootout, it might favor Camarillo. If Camarillo can’t stop Chaminade running back Terrell Newby, it will be an Eagles' blowout.

Darkhorse: Chaminade (8-2) -- The Eagles went from being the favorite to win the Western Division championship to the No. 3 seed in playoffs. Losing to Serra has created doubters, maybe even among the Chaminade faithful. Then again, it might work to Chaminade’s advantage to be considered an underdog. Chaminade played one of the toughest non-league schedules around. The Eagles beat Venice, Valencia and Mira Costa, all playoff teams in other divisions in Southern California, before starting Mission League play. Chaminade wouldn't have to face Serra again until the championship game of the Western Division playoffs, that is of course if the Eagles can win a potential matchup against Arroyo Grande in the semifinals.

Final analysis: The Western Division is filled with potential upsets. The four at-large teams are just as dangerous as some of the league champions. Serra has a seemingly easy route to the Western Division semifinals, opening against Culver City. Ventura has not lost a game all season and probably won’t until the semifinals, where Serra most likley awaits. Arroyo Grande has a much tougher road. St. Francis, Camarillo and Chaminade are in the bottom half of the Western Division bracket. The quarterfinals and semifinals might take a lot out of Arroyo Grande. Chaminade opens against Inglewood and will most likely face Arroyo Grande in the semifnals.

Championship prediction: A case can be made for each of the top four teams in the Western Division playoffs to make the championship game. Serra is looking to repeat as champions. Arroyo Grande is looking to return to the title game for a second year in a row. Chaminade is the most battle-tested team in the Western Division playoffs. Ventura is undefeated and playing with a ton of confidence. In the end, it will be a rematch of the Mission League championship game between Chaminade and Serra. Chaminade is not going to lose to the same team twice in the same season.

Link to the Western Division playoff bracket on CalPreps.com

L.A. North: Pick six games of the week

November, 11, 2011
Valencia (5-4) vs. Saugus (6-3), Friday (7:30 p.m.)
This is essentially the Foothill League championship game. Valencia is in search of its third league championship in a row. Saugus won the Foothill League championship in 2008. Canyon is tied with Valencia and Saugus for the lead in the Foothill League standings, each with 3-1 records. Valencia can actually win the title outright if Golden Valley can pull off the greatest upset in school history by beating Canyon tonight. Valencia would have to beat Saugus too. Most likely scenario is Canyon will share the Foothill League championship with the winner of the Valencia-Saugus game.

No. 15 Chaminade (8-1) vs. No. 25 Serra (7-2), Friday (7 p.m.)
This could be a night of out with the old, in with the new. Both Chaminade and Serra have perfect 4-0 records in the Mission League standings. Serra is the reigning Mission League champion and beat Chaminade 35-21 last season. That was of course with Marquis Lee and George Farmer. This time around, Chaminade has the six-game winning streak and the offensive stars with running back Terrell Newby and quarterback Logan Scott. Winner takes the Mission League championship and most likely the No. 1 seeding in the Western Division playoffs.

No. 23 Crespi (7-2) vs. No. 17 Loyola (7-2) at L.A. Valley College, Friday (7 p.m.)
This game means more to Crespi than to Loyola. The Celts need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Cubs are already in the playoffs no matter if they win or lose this game. Still, no team wants to head into playoffs on a losing note. This is a big game in the Serra League with all sorts of playoff implications.

Burroughs (5-4) vs. Burbank (4-5) at Arcadia High School, Friday (7 p.m.)
The “Big Game” is bigger for Burroughs than for Burbank. At stake for the Indians is the Pacific League championship and a favorable seeding in the Southeast Division playoffs. Burbank can play the role of spoiler and still make the playoffs with a win. Burbank is in a tie for fifth place with Muir in the Pacific League standings. The top-four teams in league make the playoffs.

Sierra Canyon (9-0) vs. Calvary Chapel (5-3) at Downey High School, Friday (7 p.m.)
Sierra Canyon can punctuate its first Alpha League championship with a win over Calvary Chapel and cap an undefeated regular season. Calvary Chapel has lost two games in a row and hasn’t scored a point in eight quarters. Paraclete and Brentwood shut out Calvary Chapel in consecutive weeks.

Cathedral (3-6) at St. Francis (7-2), Friday (7:30 p.m.)
St. Francis can clinch a playoff spot with a win over a Cathedral team that hasn’t won a Mission League game this season. The Knights started out hot, winning their first six games. But St. Francis has lost two of its last three games, both to Mission League opponents. The Knights are coming off a 28-22 win over St. Paul, so things are looking up for St. Francis. Cathedral was shut out by Chaminade, 33-0, last week, and it could have been much worse. Chaminade scored only three points in the second half.

L.A. North: Pick six games of the week

October, 27, 2011
Newbury Park (3-4) vs. No. 2 Westlake (7-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Westlake quarterback Justin Moore spread the ball around in the Warriors’ 34-13 win over Moorpark. He threw touchdown passes to Brad Wellman, Cody Tuttle and Connor Cook. Newbury Park won its second Marmonte League game, 37-13, over Calabasas. It could be a long night for the Panthers.

Thousand Oaks (5-2) vs. No. 3 St. Bonaventure (6-1), Friday (7 p.m.) – The Seraphs recorded their third shutout of the season, 56-0, over Agoura. The Lancers put a scare into Oaks Christian, losing 24-17. Thousand Oaks is making a habit of playing close games and winning a few of them.

Simi Valley (5-2) vs. No. 12 Oaks Christian (5-2), Friday (7 p.m.) – Seniors Jordan Payton and Carlos Mendoza stepped up for the Lions against Thousand Oaks. But senior running back Ishmael Adams is expected to miss one more game with a sprained ankle. Surprising Simi Valley is navigating the Marmonte League with some degree of success. The Pioneers are coming off a 37-3 win over crosstown rival Royal, snapping a seven-year losing streak to the Highlanders.

No. 18 Crespi (6-2) vs. No. 14 Alemany (5-2), Friday (7 p.m.) – Alemany had two weeks to prepare for its Serra League game against Crespi. The Warriors are 1-0 in league and tied for first place with Loyola. Crespi is coming off a 28-14 loss to Bishop Amat and is tied for second place in league with a 1-1 record. It’s a must win for both teams, but all the games in the Serra League are turning into must wins.

St. Francis (6-1) vs. No. 19 Chaminade (6-1), Friday (7:30 p.m.) – St. Francis losts its first game of the season, 44-30, to Gardena Serra. Chaminade whacked Harvard-Westlake, 55-0, to win its fourth game in a row. The Eagles have won both of their Mission League games by a combined scored of 86-6.

Burbank Burroughs (4-3) vs. Pasadena Muir (4-3), Friday (7 p.m.) – Burroughs running back Zander Anding has four 300-yard rushing games in a row. With one more, he'll become the second player from the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County to have five in a row. The first player to do it was Ventura’s Tyler Ebell in 2000. Standing in Anding’s way is Muir. Anding rushed for 358 yards and three touchdowns against Crescenta Valley last week.

L.A. North: Games of the Week

October, 19, 2011
CanyonTim Haddock/For ESPNLA.comCanyon will be facing a tough defense when it takes on Valencia in a key Foothill League game.

The Canyon football team has been rolling over opponents, averaging 49.8 points. The Valencia football team has been shutting down opposing offenses, yielding an average of 12.2 points.

When the two teams meet on Friday night at Valencia High School, it will be a classic matchup of an explosive offense vs. a stingy defense.

Except that the Valencia offense woke up against West Ranch in the Foothill League opener last week.

Valencia (3-3), the reigning Foothill League champ, scored a season-high 31 points in a 31-14 win over West Ranch. Running back Jake Solley rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns for Valencia, which came into the game averaging only 13.6 points.

Canyon (6-0), the No. 20 team in the ESPNLA top 25 rankings, is coming off a 51-28 win over Saugus. The Cowboys eclipsed the 50-point mark for the fourth time this season and have been beating teams by a average margin of 36 points per game.

Canyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal threw three touchdowns passes, two to receiver Drew Wolitarsky, in the game against Saugus. But Canyon coach Rich Gutierrez said it was the emergence of the running attack that has led to Canyon’s high scores and eye-popping statistics.

Canyon running back Max Archuleta has rushed for 727 yards and scored eight touchdowns in six games. He is averaging 121.1 yards per game and 7.8 yards per carry. Gutierrez says Archuleta is a phenomenal athlete, but he had no idea how much of an impact he would make on the offense.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Gutierrez said. “The offensive line is doing their thing. It's execution. It’s increased our options.”

With a running game that demands attention, Jerozal and Wolitarsky have been able to shine throughout the season. It has also given receivers Coley Apsay and Brenden Stach chances to make plays.

Gutierrez calls Apsay, the starting point guard on the Canyon basketball team, his team’s most consistent player.

“Coley’s one of our best athletes,” Gutierrez said. “He’s a solid possession receiver.”

Valencia will definitely be the toughest defense Canyon has faced all season. But Gutierrez says he expects a tough game every week.

“They have great players, great coaches,” Gutierrez said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Saugus, but I almost see every week as the toughest test we have. I see every game as a tough game. They got talented kids. It’s good stuff.”

Here’s a look at some of the other top games in the L.A. North:

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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.

L.A. North: The Top 10

October, 16, 2011

Only one team in the top 10 lost last week. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, the No. 10 team in the L.A. North, lost to Crespi, 28-26, in the Serra League opener. It was a close game and another tough loss for Notre Dame, which dropped its second in a row.

Enter Thousand Oaks at No. 10. The Lancers can make a mess of the Marmonte League if they can figure out a way to beat Oaks Christian on Friday night.

Four teams remain undefeated, including top-ranked Westlake. St. Francis needed a last-second field goal to beat Harvard-Westlake and stay unbeaten. Canyon got a record-breaking performance from quarterback Jonathan Jerozal in its Foothill League opening win over Saugus. Ventura scored just enough to beat Dos Pueblos in the Channel League opener for both teams.

Here’s a look at the top 10:
  1. (1) Westlake (6-0) -- Dashon Hunt scored three touchdowns in Westlake’s 45-14 win over Simi Valley. He scored two rushing touchdowns and intercepted a pass for a touchdown.
  2. (2) Crespi (5-1) -- Crespi’s offense was far from crisp in a 28-26 win over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. Special teams, on the other hand, came up with some huge plays. Crespi had a kick-off return for a touchdown and a blocked field-goal attempt for a touchdown. A blocked punt set up a third touchdown for the Celts.
  3. (3) Alemany (5-2) -- The Warriors started Serra League play with a huge win over Bishop Amat, 26-21. Coach Dean Herrington won his 50th game at Alemany. Quarterback Devon Dunn wasn’t spectacular but threw a touchdown pass to Jerico Richardson and rushed for a touchdown.
  4. (4) Chaminade (5-1) -- After playing some of the top teams in Southern California, Chaminade had a bit of a cakewalk against St. Paul, the No. 1 team in the Southern Section Western Division. Chaminade, the No. 2 team in the Western Division, beat St. Paul, 31-6, in the Mission League opener. Looks as if there will be a new Western Division No. 1 on Monday.
  5. (5) Oaks Christian (4-2) -- Sophomore quarterback Brian Dawkins threw for 387 yards and four touchdowns in his team’s 50-0 shutout over Royal. Dawkins broke Jimmy Clausen’s school record for passing yards in a game. Clausen threw for 367 yards against Santa Paula in 2006.

(Read full post)

L.A. North: The Top 10

October, 10, 2011

There’s a new No. 1 football team in the L.A. North area. Westlake knocked off Oaks Christian in impressive fashion with a 22-point win on Thursday night on national television. The Warriors dominated on the offensive line, defensive line and with its rushing attack.

Westlake moves up to No. 1. Oaks Christian drops to No. 5. Chaminade jumps three spots to No. 4 after a thrilling, come-from-behind win over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

Four top-10 teams, Westlake, Canyon, St. Francis and Ventura, are undefeated.

Here’s a look at the top 10 teams in the region:
  1. (2) Westlake (5-0) – Westlake quarterback Justin Moore threw the ball only 13 times in his team’s 43-21 over previously top-ranked Oaks Christian. He didn’t need to throw the football that many times as Oaks Christian couldn’t stop the Westlake running attack.
  2. (4) Crespi (5-1) – The Celts easily took care of Woodland Hills Taft, 56-7. Now Crespi begins its Serra League schedule against a stunned Sherman Oaks Notre Dame team on Friday night.
  3. (5) Alemany (4-2) – Alemany wide receiver Steven Mitchell had a big game against Beverly Hills. He caught five passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 48-12 win.
  4. (7) Chaminade (4-1) – It wasn’t the prettiest game against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, but Chaminade ended the roller-coaster night on the upswing and won 36-32. That never-say-die mentality will be hard to beat.
  5. (1) Oaks Christian (3-2) – Westlake found a weakness in the Oaks Christian defense: Run straight up the middle. The good news for Oaks Christian is that the Lions probably won’t face a team as tough as Westlake until the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

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L.A. North: The Top 10

October, 2, 2011
What happened to the teams from the Serra League? Alemany and Crespi, the class of the Serra League, lost on Friday night. For Alemany, it was another heartbreaking one-point loss. For Crespi, it was a blowout against Vista Murrieta.

At least Sherman Oaks Notre Dame stepped up, shutting out Golden Valley.

Alemany has two losses this season, both by one point. The Warriors lost to J.W. North by one point, 36-35, two weeks ago. Their most recent lost was to Dorsey, 14-13.

Crespi was undefeated at 4-0 entering the game against Vista Murrieta. Maybe a more telling stat was that the teams Crespi beat were a combined 2-12.

As a result, Alemany and Crespi drop a little in the L.A. North top 10 rankings. Westlake and St. Bonaventure move up a little. Oaks Christian remains on top and awaits its crosstown rival Westlake on Thursday night.

Here’s a look at the top 10:
  1. (1) Oaks Christian (3-1) – Quarterback Brandon Dawkins threw for three touchdowns and the Lions improved to 3-0 in Marmonte League play with a 56-7 win over Calabasas.
  2. (4) Westlake (5-0) – The Warriors scored 73 points and, believe it or not, it wasn’t the highest total of Friday night. Paraclete dropped 86 points on Marshall of Pasadena. Westlake stayed undefeated with a 73-27 win over Royal.
  3. (5) St. Bonaventure (3-1) – Ouch! The Seraphs shut out Simi Valley, 34-0. Running backs Shaun Wick and Zach Green each scored two touchdowns for St. Bonaventure.
  4. (2) Crespi (4-1) – The Celts had a 13-7 lead on Vista Murrieta in the first half, but ultimately lost, 38-20. It was the first loss of the season for Crespi. Vista Murrieta, meanwhile, stayed undefeated at 4-0.
  5. (3) Alemany (3-2) – The Warriors have lost two games by a combined score of two points. They lost by one point to Dorsey on Friday night. Alemany quarterback Devon Dunn was knocked out of the game in the second half because of an injury after a sack.
  6. (6) Canyon (4-0) – The Cowboys rolled over Beverly Hills, 56-6. Canyon receiver Drew Wolitarsky caught five passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He broke the school record for career receiving touchdowns with 26.
  7. (7) Chaminade (3-1) – The Eagles looked good against Mira Costa in a 29-13 win. Running back Terrell Newby rushed for 243 yards and scored two touchdowns.
  8. (8) Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (5-0) – The Knights had no problem with Golden Valley, shutting out the Grizzlies, 42-0. After its first four plays of the game, Notre Dame was up 21-0.
  9. (9) St. Francis (4-0) – The Golden Knights handed West Ranch an embarrassing first loss in a matchup of previously undefeated teams. St. Francis won 35-0, building a 28-0 lead in the first half.
  10. (10) Ventura (5-0) – The Cougars welcomed back MaxPreps All-American Nick Rudolph with a 27-0 win over Camarillo. Ventura running back Conner Armstrong had a nice night with 145 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

L.A. North: Games of the Week

September, 28, 2011
Camarillo receiver Jake Maulhardt had one of the greatest performances in state history against Canyon High School last week. He set a state record with 28 receptions and scored three touchdowns.

But his team lost, 52-28, to Canyon and dropped to 1-2 on the season. Camarillo’s offense has been able to put points on the scoreboard, averaging 23 a game. Its defense, on the other hand, is giving up 30.6 points per game.

Camarillo coach Dennis Reidmiller says he is hoping his defense can increase its intensity against undefeated Ventura (4-0) on Friday night at Camarillo High School.

“We’re scoring points,” Reidmiller said. “We’re not doing a real good job of tackling. We got to do a much better job of tackling.”

Ventura is coming off a 35-20 win over Nordhoff and has been scoring at a rapid clip, 37.7 points per game. Running back Conner Armstrong has rushed for 466 yards and scored 10 touchdowns in four games. Quarterback Rodney Stanley has thrown for 816 yards and eight touchdowns.

Stanley has been posting those numbers without one of the team’s best receivers, tight end Nick Rudolph. He was selected to the MaxPreps preseason All-American team, but has missed the last two games and has only eight catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He is expected to make his first start since Sept. 9 against Agoura.

“He’s a little banged up and sat out the last two weeks,” Ventura coach Brad Steward said.

Steward added that receiver Hunter Winans has played well in Rudolph’s absence and is a big reason why the team is undefeated.

“We like to point toward an undefeated season,” Steward said. “We want to be as good as we can when league starts.”

Camarillo presents problems for Ventura, and every other team it faces, with the 6-foot-7 Maulhardt at receiver. One of the nice surprises on the Camarillo side is the play of sophomore quarterback Michael Marin. He has passed for 922 yards, completing 68 percent of his passes, and nine touchdowns in three games. He has only thrown one interception in 124 pass attempts. Steward said his team will have to score to keep up with Camarillo.

“I think they’re very, very dangerous,” Steward said. “We’re hoping to get a few stops. We’re trying to disguise coverages. We can’t let them sit on one thing. Keep it varied and keep them off-balance.”

Here’s a look at some of the other top games in the region:

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