Los Angeles Preps: Vernon Adams

Alemany quarterback Vernon Adams switched his commitment, choosing Eastern Washington over Portland State.

Adams led Alemany to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Pac 5 playoffs. Eastern Washington won the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision title over Delaware in January.

Stephan Nembot, a defensive lineman from Montclair Prep, is headed to Washington.

Gerard Poutier, the quarterback at Agoura, signed with Lehigh.

LA North: Football recruits

February, 2, 2011
Here's another crop of recruits and where they are expected to sign today. Oregon State is getting three top-tier players. Wide receiver Richard Mullaney might be the best of the bunch. He set the CIF Southern Section record for receptions and caught 20 passes in the last playoff game of his high school career. Alemany quarterback Vernon Adams was considered by some to be not only the best player in the LA North at his position, but the best football player in the region. He's a little undersized, but a dual threat. He beat teams with his legs and his arm. Yet, he didn't attract much interest from college teams and coaches. The only other school of note that made a run at him was Eastern Washington.

Oregon State

Akeem Gonzales, defense back Alemany

Lavonte Barnett, defensive line, Paraclete

Richard Mullaney WR, Thousand Oaks

Portland State

Vernon Adams, QB, Alemany

Sacramento State

Jake Geringer, QB, Newbury Park

UC Davis

Quinn Harris, LB, Moorpark
1. Oaks Christian (12-2) – Oaks Christian won the CIF Southern Section Northern Division championship, 29-28, over Westlake in the championship game. Oaks Christian loses a ton of senior skill players, including receiver Blair Holliday to Duke and defensive end Dillon Van Der Wal to Arizona State. Running back/defensive back Ishmael Adams, receiver Jordan Payton and linebacker Carlos Mendoza are only a couple of players who will be seniors next season.

2. Alemany (12-1) – In its first tour through the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 playoffs, Alemany made it to the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Servite, 28-21. Senior quarterback Vernon Adams led the team in almost every offensive category. He threw for 2,901 yards and 27 touchdowns. He rushed for 896 yards and scored 14 rushing touchdowns. He led Alemany in passing yards, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He will be a tough one to replace next season.

3. Westlake (12-2) – The Westlake football team lost only two games by a combined two points. The first loss came against St. Bonaventure, 32-31, in double overtime. The second loss came against Oaks Christian in the Northern Division championship. Westlake loses some key players on offense to graduation. Quarterback Nick Isham, running back Tavior Mowry and receiver Nelson Spruce are all seniors. The offense will be most likely be in the hands of sophomore quarterback Justin Moore and sophomore running back Dashon Hunt. Moore and Hunt also saw considerable playing time at defensive back.

4. St. Bonaventure (11-2) – St. Bonaventure lost to Westlake, 37-27, in the semifinals of the Northern Division playoffs. Linebacker Cody Kurz and defensive back Tanner Souza anchored a stingy St. Bonaventure defense that posted three shutouts and held eight opponents to 17 points or less. Kurz and Souza are seniors. The offense has three key players returning. Quarterback Marc Evans, running back Shaun Wick and receiver Jeremy Sanchez are juniors.

5. Paraclete (13-1) – Paraclete won the CIF Southern Section East Valley Division championship, beating Sierra Canyon, 14-7, in the title game. Paraclete lost its opening night game, then rattled off 13 wins in a row. The Paraclete running game should be in good hands, so to speak. Ryan Davis is a junior and rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown in the East Valley Division championship game. His brother, Roosevelt Davis, is a senior and gained 53 yards on 11 carries in addition to picking off a pass on defense against Sierra Canyon.

Paraclete had two sophomores, Travion Boykins and Uriah Trailer, who made significant contributions this season.

(Read full post)

Orange County: Five things from the weekend

December, 6, 2010
1. There’s no telling whether or not Corbin Andersonwould have made much of a difference in Mater Dei’s 42-21 loss to Mission Viejo in the Pac-5 semifinals, but the Monarchs’ leading rusher might have come in handy when his team got inside the three-yard line and had two downs to make two yards. Instead, Freddie Mora and Max Wittek came up inches short. Mater Dei scored later in the half, but a 21-7 lead would have inspired much more confidence to stave off the eventual implosion. Instead, Mission Viejo tied the score in the final minute of the first half and scored on three of its first four possessions of the second half. The reason for Anderson’s absence in the game? “It’s a school issue,” was the official comment from coach Bruce Rollinson. Talk about a letdown.

2. Two weeks in a row and the handshake routine has not gone well with Mission Viejo. Santa Margarita coach Harry Welch described the postgame meeting with Bob Johnson as “a token grunt” after Mission’s 31-28 victory. This past weekend offensive coordinator Bret Johnson apparently was unimpressed with the quality of handshake he was getting from Mater Dei coaches. Might that long pass from Alex Bridgford to Frank Randall, albeit incomplete, along the sidelines on second-and-eight at the Mater Dei 29 -- with one minute remaining and a 42-21 lead -- have something to do with it? It drew boos from the Mater Dei fans. It probably didn’t sit well with the coaches, either. One theory for the big-play attempt: Centennial beat Mater Dei by 31 points (44-13) and Mission was trying to get as close to that margin as possible so that it’s not a compelling argument when state commissioners select the Southern Section Open Bowl participant; however, the argument breaks down when you realize Centennial led 44-0 at one point.

3. It was universally agreed in the press box Saturday that if Alemany quarterback Vernon Adamsplayed in the OC, he would be the all-county quarterback. Adams was reminiscent of last year’s player of the year, Servite’s Cody Fajardo, except he had sidestep moves that made him more dangerous. “I like him a lot now that the game’s over,” Servite coach and defensive coordinator Troy Thomas said. “He’s a special guy. He’s done that against everybody for two years.” The elusive Adams passed for 278 yards and ran 22 times for 140 yards. Defense is Servite’s calling card, and some of the Friars looked gassed afterward. It’s a credit that they sacked him twice for 15 yards, by linebackerConnor Einck and lineman Jody Thomas.

(Read full post)

Pac-5 Division: Servite 28, Alemany 21

December, 4, 2010

Alex Gallardo/Special to ESPNLA.com
Servite's Malik Felton rushes for some of his 155 yards on the ground to lead the Friars to victory.

CERRITOS – Classic Servite.

Special teams, defense, and Malik Felton.

The Friars, seeded second in the Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs, lived up to their reputation Saturday when they relied on their sure things to beat previously unbeaten Alemany, 28-21, to advance to their second consecutive championship.

Servite (13-0) will play top-seeded Mission Viejo (13-0) on Saturday at Angel Stadium in a game that features two of the Southland's heavy hitters, a collision course that seems to have been destined since Day 1. They met last year in the Pac-5 semifinals and Servite won, 19-18, when it turned back a two-point conversion attempt in the last minute. The Friars went on to win the section title, then the State Division II Bowl championship.

Their winning streak now stands at 24 games, but it wasn't without some anxious moments against Alemany (12-1).

Vernon Adams showed just how dangerous he could be. He completed 19 of 34 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns, and ran 22 times for 140 yards. “Tiring,” is how Troy Niklas described trying to track down the elusive senior.

(Read full post)

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."

(Read full post)

LA South: Games of the week

November, 25, 2010
Lakewood will have the services of Allie Long when it hosts No. 3-seeded Alemany in the second round of the Pac-5 Division playoffs on Friday night. The senior tailback left last week's 24-7 home win over San Clemente holding his left wrist and watched the final three quarters with a bag of ice on his hand.

Rashad Wadood picked up the slack, fighting through a sprained ankle that held him out of No. 11 Lakewood's final three Moore League games. He rushed for 201 yards after Long left the game. Lancers coach Thadd MacNeal said Wadood's ankle has improved, which should be a good sign for Lakewood (10-1) fans.

But will two good ankles -- plus Long's participation -- be enough to upset No. 5 Alemany (11-0)? Can Lakewood's stingy defense contain Warriors quarterback Vernon Adams?

"Adams is a dynamic guy," MacNeal said. "He throws the ball as well as he runs the ball, makes a lot of plays. When things break down he seems to have an answer."

Things seem to break down more often than not when Lakewood's Todd Barr has his way up front. The highly touted defensive tackle missed the second half of last week's game after receiving a crunching helmet-to-helmet hit while playing tight end. Barr sat out practice early this week, MacNeal said he has recovered fully. He has 17 1/2 sacks this season.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Follow the action at twitter.com/bangulo for periodic updates.

Three more to see:

City Section Div. I: Taft (8-3) vs. No. 4 Dorsey (10-1) at Rancho Cienega Park, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Taft hopes its season doesn't end the way it began: with a loss at Dorsey. The Dons scored the game's first 20 points back on Sept. 9, getting three touchdown passes from quarterback Joseph Gray on their way to a 37-24 win. The 24 points were a season-low for the Toreadors, who have won six straight.

Western Division: Inglewood (9-2) vs. No. 4 Paso Robles (9-2) at Flamson Middle School, Friday 7 p.m.

Will Inglewood take Interstate 5 or the more scenic Route 101 to Paso Robles? Regardless, it will take more than four hours and 200 miles to get there. Barring a wild, multi-overtime thriller, Inglewood will spend more time on the bus than it will playing the game. Paso Robles, winners of eight straight, will welcome them with open arms.

Mid-Valley Division: No. 4 Covina (10-1) vs. Whittier Christian (10-1) at Whittier College, Friday, 7 p.m.

Valle Vista League champion Covina made easy work of La Canada last week, but faces stiffer competition this week. Whittier Christian has only once allowed 27 points this season -- and that came in a 35-28 loss at Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart. Reason for concern? Half of Covina's wins have come when scoring 27 or less.

MISSION HILLS -- The opening kickoff to start the second half of Friday night’s football game between Alemany and Bishop Amat ended with an injured Alemany player and a 30-minute delay. Danny Serrato was hit by two Bishop Amat players and sustained a neck injury. He was taken to Holy Cross Hospital, which is next to the Alemany football field, by ambulance.

Alemany coach Dean Herrington said after the game he was receiving text message updates indicating that Serrato’s condition was improving.

“A stinger in the neck, that would be my guess,” Herrington said after the game. “All the feeling’s back. He’s getting feeling in everything.”

Serrato was sandwiched by two Bishop Amat players on the kickoff to start the second half. Herrington said he didn’t see Serrato get hit in the head, but rather on both shoulders.

Serrato collapsed and was motionless on the field near the 20-yard line. Blankets were brought out to cover his legs and body.

The game was delayed for more than half an hour as an emergency fire truck and an ambulance were brought on to the field to care for Serrato.

He was put on a stretcher and into the ambulance to be transported to Holy Cross.

LA North and LA South: No. 6 Alemany 38, No. 5 Bishop Amat 30

November, 13, 2010

MISSION HILLS -- It took less than a minute for the Alemany football team to take control of its Serra League regular-season finale against Bishop Amat at Alemany High School on Friday night.

Alemany, the No. 6 team in the ESPNLA.com rankings, scored two touchdowns in the final minute of the first half and ended its regular season with a 38-30 win over Bishop Amat, the fifth-ranked team by ESPNLA.com.

Alemany finished the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record and won the Serra League championship. Bishop Amat (9-1, 4-1 in Serra League) lost for the first time this season.

The game was decided in the final minute of the first half. Down 17-14, Alemany scored two touchdowns and went up 28-17 at halftime. Alemany quarterback Vernon Adams orchestrated two quick-scoring drives and the special teams executed an unconventional, yet successful onside kick.

“We got the breaks and came up with some big catches,” Alemany coach Dean Herrington said.

Adams capped a 79-yard scoring drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Steven Mitchell with 17 seconds left to play in the first half. The touchdown gave Alemany a 21-17 lead.

Not satisfied with taking the lead just before halftime, Herrington called for an onside pooch kick. The ball ricocheted off a Bishop Amat player and landed in the middle of the field. Alemany recovered the ball and took over on the 35-yard line.

(Read full post)

The Alemany and Bishop Amat football teams could not be more evenly matched. Both teams are undefeated at 9-0. Both teams are tied for first place in the Serra League with 3-0 records. Both teams have talented quarterbacks. Both teams have stifling defenses.

The two teams meet on Friday night at Alemany High School in a game that will decide the Serra League championship and have a bearing on seedings for the PAC 5 Division playoffs.

“It’s exciting,” Alemany coach Dean Herrington said. “We’re happy where we’re at.”

Bishop Amat is the No. 3 team in the CIF Southern Section PAC 5 Division poll. Alemany is the fourth-ranked team. Lakewood, Long Beach Poly and Santa Margarita are looking for any way to move up in the polls. A Bishop Amat or Alemany loss would shake up the top four teams in the PAC 5 Division.

Bishop Amat, the No. 5 team in the ESPNLA.com rankings, is averaging 37.6 points per game and is coming off a 52-7 win over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. Quarterback Rio Ruiz threw for 346 yards and five touchdowns. It was his best game of the year statistically and the most yards he’s thrown for since a 42-20 win over Venice on Oct. 8.

Alemany, No. 6 in the ESPNLA.com poll, is averaging 36.7 points per game and is coming off a 28-14 win over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. The Alemany defense, anchored by linebacker Tyler Dabovich and defensive lineman Kyle DeVaughn, has held each of their past five opponents to 17 points or less. The last time Alemany gave up more than 20 points in a game was against Woodland Hills Taft, a 36-26 win on Sept. 24.

But Bishop Amat is a kind of team that’s different than the ones Alemany has faced this year. Teams like Oaks Christian throw the ball more than its runs. Loyola is the opposite, strong running team, but doesn’t throw that much.

Bishop Amat has a balanced attack and Herrington said that’s “a little worrisome.”

In addition to a dangerous passing attack, Bishop Amat’s Jalen Moore has rushed for 1,469 yards and 18 touchdowns in nine games.

Alemany has a balanced attack as well. Quarterback Vernon Adams is as much a threat to throw the ball for big gains as he is for running it. He threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 72 yards on 15 carries against Notre Dame.

Alemany’s Saladin McCullough caught five passes out of the backfield for 100 yards and scored two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, against Notre Dame.

Other games:

Burbank (7-2) at Burroughs (5-4), Thursday, 7 p.m.

This game has been this important in years. Both teams are tied for first place in the Pacific League standings with Arcadia. All three teams have 5-1 records heading into the season finale. Arcadia is expected to win its game against Crescenta Valley, meaning the winner of the Burbank-Burroughs game will most likely get a share of the league title.

West Ranch (5-4) vs. Hart (5-4), Thursday, 7:30 p.m. at College of the Canyons

West Ranch can make the playoffs for the first time in school history. Hart might miss the playoffs for the first time in coach Mike Herrington’s 22-yar career. Hart needs some help, albeit not a lot, to continue its playoff streak. West Ranch controls its own destiny: A win plus a likely Saugus loss to first-place Valencia will put the Wildcats in the playoffs.

Reseda (9-0) at Panorama (6-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

Reseda can end the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record. Panorama can throw a wrench in Reseda’s magical season. Both teams are tied for first place in the Valley Mission League standings. Both teams have perfect 4-0 records in league play.

Moorpark (5-4) at Thousand Oaks (6-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

It seems there is always a good game or two in the Marmonte:League. This is the best of the bunch this week. Both teams are tied for fourth place with 5-3 records in the league standings. There is a three-way tie for first place, with St. Bonaventure, Westlake and Oaks Christian, in the Marmonte League. The winner of this one will secure a spot in the Northern Division playoffs. The loser might be sitting out.

Crespi (6-3) at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (2-7), Friday, 7 p.m.

While Bishop Amat and Alemany are playing for first place in the Serra League, Crespi and Notre Dame are fighting for the last playoff spot in the Serra League. Both teams have 1-2 league records. The winner qualifies for the playoffs. The loser most likely goes home without a playoff spot.

VAN NUYS -- Big plays came in bunches in the football game between undefeated Alemany and injury-plagued Loyola at L.A. Valley College on Friday night.

Alemany, the No. 7 team in the ESPNLA.com top 25 rankings, made the most of its opportunities, stretching the field with long passes and coming up with clutch defensive plays, in a 31-14 Serra League win over Loyola.

Alemany quarterback Vernon Adams threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns. One of his touchdowns was a 65-yard pass to Kyron Defour. Adams also hit Corey Sims with a 50-yard pass that set up Alemany’s first touchdown of the game.

“We got some big plays with the passing game,” said Alemany coach Dean Herrington. “They were pretty aggressive on defense. We made some big plays on them.”

Loyola running back Jared Baker scored on an 87-yard run in the third quarter. The Loyola defense forced three turnovers, two on interceptions but could not turn them into scoring opportunities.

“We didn’t capitalize on the turnovers,” said Loyola coach Mike Christensen. “We didn’t do anything with them after we got them.”

(Read full post)

LA North: Game of the week: No. 7 Alemany vs. Loyola

October, 28, 2010
The Alemany football team, No. 7 in the ESPNLA.com top 25 rankings, will be shorthanded when it takes its undefeated 7-0 record to L.A. Valley College for a Serra League game against Loyola on Friday night.

Receiver Major Armstead broke his collarbone in last week’s game against Crespi. Armstead, a junior, is Alemany’s starting slot receiver and one of quarterback Vernon Adams’ favorite targets.

Alemany coach Dean Herrington did not have a timetable for Armstead’s return.

“Luckily we’re really deep in that position,” Herrington said.

Herrington has plenty of options, but the caliber of the receiving corps is diminished with Armstead out of the lineup.

Loyola has lost two games in a row, but Herrington said he expected a tough game. Loyola has been difficult to figure out. The Cubs have beaten Mira Costa and Valencia but have lost their first two league games to Bishop Amat and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

“They beat a very good Valencia team,” Herrington said. “It should be a good game.”

(Read full post)

LA North: The Top 10

October, 26, 2010
There are three undefeated teams in the LA North top 10. Westlake cruised to win its 21st game in a row. Alemany won a tough game against Crespi to stay undefeated. Chaminade needed to rally in the fourth quarter to beat a pesky St. Francis team. There is one newcomer and one returner to the top 10. Welcome Quartz Hill and welcome back Moorpark.

1. (1) Westlake (7-0)

Westlake cruised to a 38-7 win over Newbury Park. It was the 21st win in a row for Westlake. Quarterback Nick Isham threw three touchdowns. Running back Tavior Mowry scored two touchdowns and rushed for 91 yards. Next up for Westlake is Agoura.

2. (2) Alemany (7-0)

Alemany quarterback Vernon Adams had a hand in every touchdown his team scored in a 28-17 win over Crespi. Adams threw for three touchdowns and scored on a 12-yard run. Next up for Alemany is Loyola.

3. (4) St. Bonaventure (6-1)

Perhaps it was a statement game for St. Bonaventure. The Seraphs beat Thousand Oaks, 52-0. Quarterback Marc Evans threw for three touchdowns and 264 yards. The St. Bonaventure defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns and shut out a good Thousand Oaks team. Next up for St. Bonaventure is Calabasas.

4. (5) Valencia (6-1)

Running back Steven Manfro scored four touchdowns in Valencia’s 52-31 win over previously undefeated Canyon. He has scored 30 touchdowns in seven games. He has 21 rushing touchdowns, seven receiving touchdowns and two kickoff returns for touchdowns. Next up for Valencia is Hart.

5. (6) Oaks Christian (5-2)

Carlos Mendoza scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery and recorded a safety in Oaks Christian’s 65-0 win over Simi Valley. The Oaks Christian defense scored five touchdowns, three on interception returns and two on fumble recoveries. Add in the safety and the Oaks Christian defense scored 32 points. Next up for Oaks Christian is Moorpark.

(Read full post)

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.''

(Read full post)

LA North: The Top 10

October, 12, 2010
1. (1) Westlake (5-0)

Westlake had an easy time against Simi Valley in a 56-6 blowout. The Warriors were up 42-0 at halftime and most of the starters sat out the second half. One note of interest: Nine receivers caught at least one pass against Simi Valley. Next up for Westlake is Moorpark.

2. (4) Crespi (5-1)

Each game is a little more impressive than the last for Crespi. Every week, it seems quarterback Kenny Stenhouse is breaking a school record. In Crespi’s 53-47 win over Woodland Hills Taft, Stenhouse set a school record with six touchdown passes. Next up for Crespi is Bishop Amat.

3. (3) Alemany (6-0)

Alemany is coming off a 53-0 shutout over Beverly Hills. Quarterback Vernon Adams threw for 146 yards and two touchdowns in limited action. Alemany gets two weeks to prepare for its Serra League opener on Oct. 22 against Crespi. Should be a good one.

4. (5) St. Bonaventure (4-1)

St. Bonaventure had all parts of its game working against Newbury Park in a 42-14 win. Running back Shaun Wick scored two rushing touchdowns. Cody Kurz returned a fumble for a touchdown on defense. Chris Cook took the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. Next up for St. Bonaventure is Agoura.

5. (2) Valencia (4-1)
Valencia lost for the first time this season, 39-24, to Loyola. Running back Steven Manfro scored only two touchdowns in this one. That brings his season total to 21 in five games, but it is the first time this season he hasn’t scored at least four touchdowns in a game. Next up for Valencia is Saugus in the Foothill League opener.

(Read full post)