Los Angeles Preps: West Covina

South: Football All-CIF honors

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
9:20
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A list of players and coaches from south Los Angeles County who garnered top honors on All-CIF teams, sorted by division:

MID-VALLEY DIVISION

Offensive player of the year: QB Steven Rivera (senior, Arroyo)
Defensive player of the year: LB Brett Walsh (junior, Monrovia)
Coach of the year: Ryan Maddox (Monrovia)

Thoughts: No one was more valuable than Rivera, who capped his stellar four-year career by passing for 3,400-plus yards and 38 touchdowns and leading the Arroyo Knights to the Mission Valley League title. By all indications, Walsh beat out teammate Ellis McCarthy, one of the state's most highly recruited players, for top defensive honors. Walsh, a junior, was second in the entire Southern Section with 192 tackles, thriving behind McCarthy's havoc up front. Maddox was recognized for the second straight year after leading the Wildcats to their second straight title.

NORTHEAST DIVISION

Offensive player of the year: RB Alex Tayco (senior, Rio Hondo Prep)
Defensive player of the year: LB Jake Holguin (junior, Rio Hondo Prep)
Coach of the year: Ken Drain (Rio Hondo Prep)

Thoughts: A deserved sweep for the divisional-champion Kares. Holguin, a 6-foot-3 linebacker who led a defense that allowed just over 10 points per game last season, returns next year.

SOUTHEAST DIVISION

Offensive player of the year: RB Chris Solomon (senior, West Covina)
Defensive player of the year: LB Dorrin Turner (senior, West Covina)
Coach of the year: Mike Maggiore (West Covina)

Thoughts: The back-to-back divisional champs swept for the second straight year, with Maggiore and Solomon repeating in their respective slots. Backup tailback Jimmy Frazier, who had more yards and touchdowns than Solomon in less carries, could have easily shared the offensive player of the year award. Solomon, who is being recruited as a defensive back, recently took an official visit to Colorado.

L.A. South: All-region football teams

December, 20, 2011
12/20/11
5:55
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Here’s an all-encompassing look at the top performers in south Los Angeles County for the 2011 prep football season.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Troy Williams, Narbonne, Junior -– Williams was superb in managing Narbonne's no-huddle spread attack. He did it with his arm (3,247 passing yards, 34 touchdowns), he did it with his legs (587 yards, 11 scores), and he made the right decisions with the football. The junior quarterback guided the Gauchos to the City Section Division I title.

OFFENSIVE MVP

Robert Lewis, South East, Senior -– Opposing coaches schemed to stop Lewis but the electrifying tailback still averaged 10 yards per carry and amassed 2,023 yards and 30 touchdowns for the City Section Division II champs. Coach Derwin Henderson pegged him as the city's best all-around talent. Lewis has verbally committed to Southern Methodist.

DEFENSIVE MVP

Ellis McCarthy, Monrovia, Senior -– The mind-boggling numbers aren't quite there because the big guy faced double- and triple-teams on a weekly basis. Coach Ryan Maddox built his defense around the 305-pound defensive tackle and it paid off with Monrovia capturing its second straight Mid-Valley Division championship. McCarthy has offers from all over, including Cal, USC, Florida, Oregon and Washington.

SPECIAL TEAMS MVP

Jack Schneider, Charter Oak, Junior -– With 89 total points, Schneider was the region's top scorer among kickers. In 12 games he made 65 extra points for the Sierra League champions.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Manual Douglas, Narbonne –- By the end of the season, Douglas had his Gauchos playing as well as any team in the area. Narbonne finished 11-3 and reached its third City Section title game in the last four years. Douglas scheduled tough with games at Long Beach Poly and Tesoro, and the strategy paid dividends.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB – Steven Rivera, Arroyo, Sr. –- Rivera capped his stellar four-year stay at Arroyo by passing for 3,408 yards and 38 touchdowns, leading the Knights to the Mission Valley League title.

RB – Tray Boone, Narbonne, Sr. –- The shifty back rushed for six touchdowns in the City Section Division I title game to finish with 1,400 yards and 22 touchdowns. He did all of this in an offense that primarily throws the ball.

RB – Marquise Bias, Monrovia, Sr. -– The powerful Bias pounded his way to 260 yards and three touchdowns in the Mid-Valley Division title game, and finished with more than 1,500 yards for the season.

WR – Bryce Treggs, St. John Bosco, Sr. –- The Cal commit made Trinity League defenses look foolish, hauling in 11 touchdowns to go along with 1,377 receiving yards.

WR – Darreus Rogers, Carson, Sr. –- Rogers, a USC commit, was the City Section's leading receiver with 1,251 yards. He had a monster performance in the title game but it wasn't enough for the Colts.

WR – Alex Villalobos, San Gabriel, Sr. -– The slot-type Villalobos was the state leader with 2,001 receiving yards. He added 21 touchdowns for the Mid-Valley Division runner-up Matadors.

OL - Beau Leati, Narbonne, Sr. -- City Section coaches selected Leati as the lineman of the year and for good reason. He anchored a line that opened gaping holes for Boone and protected Williams.

OL – Lacy Westbrook, Dominguez, Sr. -– The UCLA commit was out when the Dons started the season with two losses, but his added a major spark to their ground attack.

OL – Beau Boyster, St. John Bosco, Sr. -– The Braves averaged more than 400 yards of offense per game and the Arizona commit was in the middle of it, with his protection of strong-armed Rene Medina.

OL – Gerrad Kough, Pomona, Sr. -– The Colorado commit spearheaded a Pomona running game that averaged more than 215 yards per game.

OL – George Castro, West Covina, Sr. -– West Covina was 25th in the state in rushing yards per game (332) and Castro was a big reason why.

PK – Mason Bryant, Monrovia, Jr. -– Bryant did it all for the back-to-back champion Wildcats as a receiver, defensive back and kicker, totaling 117 total points.

P - Conrad Ukropina, Loyola, Sr. –- Six of Ukropina's 25 punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, and he averaged 43 yards per punt, the best in the Pac-5 Division.

SECOND TEAM

QB – Travis Santiago, Charter Oak, Sr.
RB – Jimmy Frazier, West Covina, Sr.
RB – Kurt Scoby, Charter Oak, So.
WR – Richard Smith, Long Beach Poly, Sr.
WR - Antoine Anderson, Narbonne, Sr.
WR – Hunter Duran, Arroyo, Sr.
OL – Chase Eldredge, Palos Verdes, Sr.
OL – Chad Wheeler, Santa Monica, Sr.
OL – Justin Johnson, Dorsey, Sr.
OL – Alec Zenner, San Dimas, Sr.
OL – Nico Falah, St. John Bosco, Jr.
PK - Ret Tilman, Culver City, Sr.
P – Hayden Hunt, Long Beach Poly, Sr.

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DL – Demetric McKinney, West Adams, Sr. -– McKinney recorded a state-leading 26 sacks in only 12 games.

DL – Jeremiah Allison, Dorsey, Sr. -– Allison will be used as a linebacker in college but he was fierce coming off the three-point stance for Dorsey. Allison had 14 sacks for the Coliseum League champions, giving him 34 over his last two seasons.

DL – Jesse Ojeda, San Dimas, Sr. -– He only measures 5-feet, 7-inches but Ojeda was a force for the Saints, getting to the quarterback 17 times.

LB – Brett Walsh, Monrovia, Jr. -– Walsh was second in the entire Southern Section with 192 tackles, thriving behind McCarthy's havoc up front. He added eight sacks, and figures to garner attention during the offseason.

LB – Sergio Gonzalez, Ganesha, Jr. -– The outside linebacker led the Mid-Valley Division with 17 sacks.

LB – Nuoye Clemmons III, West Adams, Sr. -– Clemmons ranked second in the City Section with 146 tackles.

LB – Salamo Fiso, Long Beach Poly, Sr. -– The Arizona State commit spearheaded a strong Jackrabbits defense with 117 tackles.

DB – Kevin Page, Dorsey, Sr. -– Page intercepted six passes, including a big one on the road to clinch a victory at Alemany.

DB – Tyrone Taylor, Torrance, Sr. -– The Cal State Fullerton baseball signee had 190 tackles from the safety position.

DB – Shane Baumann, St. John Bosco, Sr. -– Baumann was in the middle of every defensive play, it seemed. He ranked fifth in the Pac-5 Division with 126 tackles and also had five interceptions.

DB – Mark Wright, Rolling Hills Prep, Sr. –- Wright had 10 interceptions in nine games, good for a tie for second place in the state.

SECOND TEAM

DL – Alonzo Williams, Long Beach Poly, Sr.
DL – Robbie Haines, Arcadia, Sr.
DL – Daniel Rios, Rosemead, Jr.
LB – Keishawn Haley, Culver City, Jr.
LB – Matt Rowe, Long Beach Poly, Sr.
LB – Jabari Ruffin, Downey, Sr.
LB – Thomas Brown, Gardena Serra, Sr.
DB – Trayvon Watson, West Adams, Sr.
DB – Gabriel Marks, Venice, Sr.
DB – Naijel Hale, Lakewood, So.
DB – Chris Solomon, West Covina, Sr.

ESPNLA prep football final Top 25

December, 19, 2011
12/19/11
12:22
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LA PrepESPN.com Illustration

Santa Margarita moves into the top spot after winning the CIF State Division I bowl in thrilling fashion. Westlake's stay atop the rankings was short-lived as the Warriors were overwhelmed by a superior Northern California power. The final ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings:

1. Santa Margarita (13-2)
If we learned anything about junior quarterback Johnny Stanton it's that he thrives when the lights shine the brightest. Stanton's go-ahead score with 16 seconds remaining secured the CIF State Division I bowl championship, and it'll be remembered for a long time. Coach Harry Welch won his third bowl game with the third different school. Last week: Beat San Jose Bellarmine, 42-37.

2. Vista Murrieta (9-5)*
The Broncos were a perfect 14-0 on the field but weren't selected for a state bowl game. They could reach the spotlight next year with the dynamic Su'a Cravens returning for the Inland Division champs.

3. Westlake (14-1)
Not exactly how coach Jim Benkert envisioned the CIF State Open Division bowl game, but consolation lies in the fact that it wasn't the first time De La Salle embarrassed a team, and it won't be the last. The Warriors figure to be in the mix again next year, with top playmakers Dashon Hunt and Justin Moore returning. Last week: Lost to De La Salle, 35-0.

4. Narbonne (11-3)
The City Section Division I champions are favored to repeat in 2012, if only because they've got the section's leading passer in Troy Williams (3,247 yards and 34 touchdowns).

5. Corona Centennial (12-2)
Quarterback Hayden Gavett exceeded expectations in his first year as starter following Michael Eubank's graduation. Running back Romello Goodman finished seventh in rushing in the section.

6. San Clemente (12-2)
The Tritons reached the Pac-5 Division championship game but must replace Utah-bound quarterback Travis Wilson next season.

7. Mission Viejo (10-3)
Safety Max Redfield, one of the top defensive backs in the 2013 class, has already bagged an offer from USC. He'll draw plenty of interest next season.

8. Upland (12-1)
No matter what you call them -- the Highlanders or Scots -- Baseline League champion Upland has a good group returning, led by quarterback Nate Romine.

9. Oaks Christian (11-3)
The Lions could take the next step if quarterback Brandon Dawkins, only a sophomore, develops the way many expect him to.

10. St. Bonaventure (10-3)
The Seraphs finished in third place in the Marmonte League and will have to find replacements for leading offensive standouts Shaun Wick and Marc Evans.

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L.A. South: The final Top 10

December, 19, 2011
12/19/11
12:19
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There were no south Los Angeles County schools involved in the state bowls, so the rankings remain as they did last week. The area's sectional champions were Narbonne (City Section Division I), West Covina (Southeast Division), Monrovia (Mid-Valley Division) and South East (City Section Division II). The final top 10 rankings:

1. (1) Narbonne (11-3)
The City Section Division I champions are favored to repeat in 2012, if only because they’ve got the section’s leading passer in Troy Williams (3,247 yards and 34 touchdowns).

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (10-2)
The Jackrabbits got their second straight Moore League championship but will have a lot of offensive talent to replace.

3. (3) St. John Bosco (8-4)
The third-place team from the Trinity League made its first playoff appearance since 2006, and leading running back DaVonte Young returns next season.

4. (4) Charter Oak (10-2)
The Chargers won the Sierra League and have a dynamic talent in tailback Kurt Scoby for the next two years.

5. (5) Carson (8-6)
The Colts lost in the City Section Division I title game for the second straight year. And, according to reports, they’ll have to replace energetic coach Elijah Asante.

(Read full post)

ESPNLA prep football Top 25

December, 12, 2011
12/12/11
12:10
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LA PrepESPN.com Illustration

Shiny trophies were handed out to sectional champions, led by state-bowl selections Westlake (Northern Division) and Santa Margarita (Pac-5 Division). Harbor City Narbonne claimed the City Section Division I title, moving up to the No. 4 spot in the ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings. Our list heading into the state bowl games:

1. Westlake (14-0)
The Warriors won their second Northern Division championship in three years behind Dashon Hunt's five touchdowns. Westlake is going bowling. Last week: Beat Oaks Christian, 49-42. Next: Open Division state championship game vs. Concord De La Salle at Home Depot Center, Saturday, 8 p.m.

2. Vista Murrieta (9-5)#*
Junior quarterback Nicholas Stephens scored the Inland Division championship-winning touchdown with 26 seconds remaining. They were undefeated on the field, but they didn't get the nod for the Division I state bowl. Last week: Beat Corona Centennial, 35-28.

3. Santa Margarita (12-2)
Coach Harry Welch won his ninth overall championship and first with the Eagles. Quarterback Johnny Stanton had 240 total yards. The Eagles are heading to state. Last week: Beat San Clemente, 27-13. Next: Division I state championship game vs. San Jose Bellarmine at Home Depot Center, Friday, 8 p.m.

4. Narbonne (11-3)*
Emotional leader Tray Boone usually talks the talk, but he backed it up Friday with six touchdown runs and 316 total yards to lead the Gauchos to the City Section Division I title. Last week: Beat Carson, 48-32.

5. Corona Centennial (12-2)*
Quarterback Hayden Gavett and running back Romello Goodman finally ran into the team that could keep up. Last week: Lost to Vista Murrieta, 35-28.

6. Oaks Christian (11-3)*
The Lions were closer to Westlake this time around, but it still wasn't enough in the Northern Division championship game. Last week: Lost to Westlake, 49-42.

7. San Clemente (12-2)*
The Tritons had to settle for a pair of first-half field goals, and it was the difference at Angel Stadium. The Tritons could have put the Eagles on their heels. Last week: Lost to Santa Margarita, 27-13.

8. Mission Viejo (10-3)*
The South Coast League champions have Max Redfield coming back next year. He's projected as one of the top safeties on the West Coast.

9. Upland (12-1)*
Quarterback Nate Romine returns next year for the Baseline League champs.

10. St. Bonaventure (10-3)*
The third-place Seraphs must replace departing seniors Shaun Wick and Marc Evans.

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L.A. South: The Top 10

December, 11, 2011
12/11/11
11:45
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With no south Los Angeles County schools heading to the state bowls, we can label this a collective down year in the region. Narbonne (City Section Division I), West Covina (Southeast Division), Monrovia (Mid-Valley Division) and South East (City Section Division II) are champions. The top 10 rankings heading into the final week of play:

1. (1) Narbonne (11-3)
Emotional leader Tray Boone usually talks the talk, but he backed it up Friday with six touchdown runs and 316 total yards to lead the Gauchos to the City Section Division I title. Last week: Beat Carson, 48-32.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (10-2)
A quick exit from the Pac-5 bracket but at least order appears to have been restored for the back-to-back Moore League champions.

3. (3) St. John Bosco (8-4)
The third-place team from the Trinity League made its first playoff appearance since 2006, and leading running back DaVonte Young returns next season.

4. (4) Charter Oak (10-2)
The Chargers won the Sierra League and have a dynamic talent in tailback Kurt Scoby for the next two years.

5. (5) Carson (8-6)
For the second straight year, the Colts stumbled in the City Section Division I title game when mistakes turned costly. Last week: Lost to Narbonne, 48-32.

(Read full post)

Southeast: West Covina 84, La Serna 21

December, 10, 2011
12/10/11
12:03
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Pedro Moura/ESPNLA.com
West Covina celebrates its second consecutive CIF-SS Southeast Division championship, which came Friday in a dominating 84-21 win over La Serna.

WHITTIER -- Thursday night, roughly 24 hours before Friday's CIF Southern Section Southeast Division title game between favored West Covina and upstart La Serna, West Covina star running back Chris Solomon and his father went to a local shop to get a custom hat designed and made.

West Covina, it read on the front. 2010-2011 back-to-back to champs.

His number -- 20 -- was on the right side and 'Solomon' was written on the back. Solomon, a senior being recruited by the likes of Arizona State and Arizona, was the only player to have one, but he told all his teammates during pregame drills that his plan was to run over to his dad in the stands at the final whistle and wear the hat throughout the postgame celebrations -- just like the professionals do.

It was that kind of championship game for West Covina. There wasn't even a thought that they could lose Friday's game against La Serna. And the Bulldogs didn't come close, pulling off a monstrous 84-21 win at California High to finish off a championship run in which they were never challenged in the playoffs.

"Thank God we won," Solomon said afterward, laughing. "And I'm glad I'm wearing this hat."

As his coach, Mike Maggiore, talked to the team afterward in an emotional final huddle for the 2011 squad, Solomon kept taking off the hat, looking at it, and putting it back on again. It was as if he was slowly realizing that his goal for the past 12 months had just been met -- forcefully and in incredible fashion.

"We knew we were going to dominate," Solomon said. "But we didn't know we were going to dominate like this."

Truthfully, the Bulldogs (13-1) dominated to levels never before seen, breaking the all-time record for points scored and margin of victory in a CIF final. La Serna (10-4), making their first CIF title appearance in 44 years, didn't have a chance after the first half, when they trailed, 49-7. But Lancers coach Margarito Beltran refused a running clock until the fourth quarter, and West Covina kept piling it on.

(Read full post)

West Covina's top two seeing double

December, 7, 2011
12/07/11
11:13
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Chris Solomon and Jimmy Frazier see the finish line and the West Covina running backs plan to sprint through it.

Their 2010 CIF championship rings need some company, after all.

"Our whole team is giving its all to try to get this ring," said Solomon, who rushed for 290 yards and five touchdowns in only 11 carries against La Mirada last week.

Top-seeded West Covina (12-1), a win away from repeating as Southeast Division champion, faces La Serna at California High on Friday. Solomon -- a senior with offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Nevada -- and Frazier figure to be at the center of it. They have combined for 2,419 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns.

"Jimmy Frazier is a starting running back at most schools," Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore said. "He's talented and works hard, averaging over 13 yards per carry. But no matter who is carrying the ball, our offensive line is blocking and opening holes."

The scary thing for underdog La Serna (10-3) is that Solomon has fully recovered from a sprained ankle that limited him during the season. The scarier thing? Frazier might be the bigger threat.

"When my boy Chris went down, I felt like it was my job to step up and take charge," Frazier said.

The Bulldogs don't mask their identity -- they thrive on the ground (332 rushing yards per game) and wear down opposing defenses. Making it all the more impressive is the fact that they lost four starters from last year's offensive line.

"The new kids stepped up and competed at a high level," Maggiore said. "This is great for the school and the community. The kids have worked tremendously hard, have earned the chance to come back and defend our championship. This is special."

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Preview: West Covina vs. La Serna

December, 7, 2011
12/07/11
6:54
PM PT
SOUTHEAST DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP

No. 1-seeded West Covina Bulldogs (12-1) vs. La Serna Lancers (10-3)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: California High School (Whittier)

Broadcast: Live on FoxSportsWest.com

How they got here: Top-seeded West Covina beat Norwalk (38-8), Pasadena (55-12) and fourth-seeded La Mirada (63-34). Unseeded La Serna beat Mayfair (47-34), Los Altos (42-38) and Muir (28-3).

School history: This will be West Covina's fifth all-time and second consecutive title game appearance. The Bulldogs captured the divisional championship last year with a 37-33 win over Hacienda League rival Bonita. This is La Serna's first divisional title game since 1967.

Key players: West Covina is led by the reigning division player of the year, senior RB/DB Chris Solomon (290 rushing yards and five TDs last week), and senior tailback Jimmy Frazier (115 yards per game, 16 TDs on the season). For the Lancers, senior running back OJ Medina (120 yards per game, 20 TDs) and senior defensive lineman Craig Jones lead the charge.

Bulldogs' take: "It feels good to compete for another championship. We put last year behind us and now we're just focusing on this year. We're hoping to get another ring and continue the legacy at West Covina." - Solomon

Lancers' take: "Our team is mostly made up of young guys. They've been stepping up after a couple of injuries. We've pulled through." - Medina

Prediction: West Covina 35, La Serna 27

ESPNLA prep football Top 25

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
11:40
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LA PrepESPN.com Illustration

Top-ranked Westlake rolled through Thousand Oaks to clinch its spot in the Northern Division championship game. Four new teams enter the ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings this week, led by Carson, which upset top-seeded San Pedro in the City Section Division I semifinals. The Colts return to the title game after losing to Crenshaw last year. Ocean League champion Santa Monica lost to league rival Culver City -- the surprise of the playoffs -- and fell out. Our rankings heading into the championship round:

1. Westlake (13-0)
Quarterback Justin Moore and tailback Dashon Hunt encountered no problems, leading the Warriors to their largest margin of victory since September. Last week: Beat Thousand Oaks, 62-0. Next: Northern Division championship vs. Oaks Christian, Friday.

2. Corona Centennial (12-1)
What the 5-foot-5 Romello Goodman lacks in size he makes up for in speed. The tailback rushed for 248 yards and a pair of touchdowns to send the Huskies to another title game. Last week: Beat Rancho Cucamonga, 41-21. Next: Inland Division championship vs. Vista Murrieta, Friday.

3. Vista Murrieta (8-5)#
All units contributed Friday, with the Broncos getting scores on offense, defense and special teams. The versatile Su'a Cravens, an offensive hero the previous week, had four sacks. Last week: Beat Upland, 39-19. Next: Inland Division championship vs. Corona Centennial, Friday.

4. Santa Margarita (11-2)
Some job second-year coach Harry Welch has done. Quarterback Johnny Stanton capped the game-winning 70-yard drive with a late one-yard touchdown run. Last week: Beat Mission Viejo, 21-20. Next: Pac-5 Division championship vs. San Clemente at Angel Stadium, Saturday.

5. Oaks Christian (11-2)
The Lions erased a 10-point deficit to punch their ticket to the final. Oaks Christian captured the Northern Division crown last year with a one-point win over Westlake. Last week: Beat St. Bonaventure, 27-24. Next: Northern Division championship vs. Westlake, Friday.

6. San Clemente (12-1)
Senior Christian Tober scored three touchdowns Friday -- each of at least 70 yards -- helping the Tritons reach their first final since 1979. Last week: Beat Tesoro, 51-16. Next: Pac-5 Division championship vs. Santa Margarita at Angel Stadium, Saturday.

7. Narbonne (10-3)
The Gauchos made easy work of a very good defense to secure a spot in the title game for the third time in four years. Quarterback Troy Williams is hungry. Last week: Beat Dorsey, 41-7. Next: City Section Division I championship vs. Carson at East L.A. College, Friday.

8. Mission Viejo (10-3)*
A tough way for the Diablos to go out. The defense had a go-ahead 85-yard touchdown on a recovered fumble but couldn't make a stop in the final minutes. Quarterback Alex Bridgford wasn't able to manufacture the game-winning drive. Last week: Lost to Santa Margarita, 21-20.

9. Upland (12-1)*
It took a while, but the previously unbeaten Highlanders finally met their match. They were within two points at the break but numerous mistakes turned costly in the second half. Receiver Kenny Lawler won't soon be forgotten, though. Last week: Lost to Vista Murrieta, 39-18.

10. St. Bonaventure (10-3)*
The Seraphs at one point led by 10 despite the absence of quarterback Marc Evans, who did not play because of a shoulder injury. They got the ball back in the waning seconds but time ran out on the final punt return. Last week: Lost to Oaks Christian, 27-24.

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L.A. South: The Top 10

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
11:12
PM PT
The Narbonne Gauchos gain a stranglehold of the top spot after an eye-opening semifinal victory. Of course, a little help from rival Carson didn't hurt. The Colts return the rankings following their shocking upset of top-seeded and previously unbeaten San Pedro. Ocean League champion Santa Monica falls out after its lopsided loss to underdog Culver City. The south Los Angeles County top 10 rankings heading into the championship round:

1. (3) Narbonne (10-3)
The Gauchos made easy work of a very good defense to secure a spot in the title game for the third time in four years. Quarterback Troy Williams is hungry. Last week: Beat Dorsey, 41-7. Next: City Section Division I championship vs. Carson at East L.A. College, Friday.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (10-2)*
Order appears to have been restored for the back-to-back Moore League champions.

3. (5) St. John Bosco (8-4)*
The third-place team from the Trinity League made its first playoff appearance since 2006.

4. (6) Charter Oak (10-2)*
The Chargers won the Sierra League and have a dynamic talent in tailback Kurt Scoby for the next two years.

5. (NR) Carson (8-5)
The Colts leap back into the rankings following a rather surprising upset of top-seeded San Pedro. They were expected to make it back to the title game, but they took a difficult route to get there. Last week: Beat San Pedro, 24-19. Next: City Section Div. I championship vs. Narbonne at East L.A. College, Friday.

(Read full post)

L.A. South: The Top 10

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
10:50
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Long Beach Poly fell out of the region's top spot for the first time this season following its second-round loss to Santa Margarita. Last week's second- and third-ranked teams -- St. John Bosco and Charter Oak, respectively -- also stumbled. Now, three of the region's top four squads come from the City Section. Marine League champion and top-seeded San Pedro is the only remaining undefeated team in the south Los Angeles County top 10 rankings heading into the third round of the playoffs:

1. (4) San Pedro (12-0)
The top-seeded Pirates eliminated the two-time defending City Section Division I champs Friday, securing another matchup with fifth-seeded Carson. The Marine League champs defeated the Colts 21-0 on Oct. 28. Last week: Beat Crenshaw, 31-7. Next: semifinals vs. Carson, Friday.

2. (1) Long Beach Poly (10-2)*
The lack of consistency from the quarterback positions was a season-long concern for coach Raul Lara. That turned into a nightmare Friday when the Jackrabbits were intercepted five times. The good news: Gerard Wicks returns next season. Last week: Lost to Santa Margarita, 49-16.

3. (5) Narbonne (9-3)
Junior quarterback Troy Williams had six total touchdowns, and the emerging Tray Boone had two more to propel the Gauchos to their third straight 50-point performance. They now face perhaps the city's top defense. Last week: Beat West Adams, 59-20. Next: semifinals vs. Dorsey, Friday.

4. (6) Dorsey (11-1)
The fast and talented Dons defense had six takeaways Friday, and USC-bound receiver Jaydon Mickens had four total touchdowns to go along with six receptions and 82 yards. Last week: Beat Birmingham, 45-13. Next: semifinals at Narbonne, Friday.

5. (2) St. John Bosco (8-4)*
Bosco twice cut its deficit to four on Friday but the defense couldn't come up with stops. Still, the Braves made their first playoff appearance since 2006, so they've got nothing to hang their heads about. Last week: Lost to San Clemente, 42-24.

(Read full post)

L.A. South: The Top 10

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
1:15
AM PT
The south Los Angeles County top 10 rankings heading into the second round of the playoffs:

1. (1) Long Beach Poly (10-1)
The Jackrabbits avoided a repeat of last year’s first-round exit, scoring touchdowns on each of their first six drives. This is a different bunch. Last week: Beat Newport Harbor, 49-14. Next: second round vs. Santa Margarita at Veterans Stadium, Friday.

2. (3) St. John Bosco (8-3)
Many doubted, and now many believe. The Braves, who finished third in the Trinity League, took down the Serra League champions thanks to DaVonte Young’s short touchdown run with less than a minute left. Last week: Beat Alemany, 33-28. Next: second round vs. San Clemente, Friday.

3. (4) Charter Oak (10-1)
A running clock was implemented to start the fourth quarter Friday, an indication of the combined power of Charter Oak’s two units. Travis Santiago passed for 322 yards and five touchdowns. Last week: Beat Corona Santiago, 63-21. Next: second round at Upland, Friday.

4. (5) San Pedro (11-0)
The top-seeded Pirates rolled behind quarterback Kenny Potter’s three total touchdowns and an effective run game led by Gregory Thomas. Now they’ve got the two-time defending champs. Last week: Beat Gardena, 49-7. Next: second round vs. Crenshaw, Friday.

5. (6) Narbonne (8-3)
The second-seeded Gauchos got another great showing from ESPNU 150 quarterback Troy Williams (234 yards and three touchdowns). They scored on four of their first 11 plays from scrimmage. Last week: Beat Reseda, 52-7. Next: second round vs. West Adams, Friday.

(Read full post)

CIF-SS playoffs: Southeast Division

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
4:19
PM PT
Defending champion West Covina is in prime position for a repeat after receiving the division's top seeding Sunday. The Bulldogs (9-1) didn't go undefeated because, really, they wanted to test themselves against Loyola, a Pac-5 playoff team. Coach Mike Maggiore hopes that loss pays dividends. Here’s a breakdown of the division:

The seeds: No. 1 West Covina, No. 2 Santa Fe, No. 3 Burbank Burroughs, No. 4 La Mirada.

Best first-round matchup: Bonita (6-4) at Arcadia (8-2) -- Tailback Cameron Griffin is running the ball well for Bonita. Arcadia has the weapons -- namely Myles Carr and Taylor Lagace to be a scary team.

Toughest road: La Mirada (6-4) -- If the La Mirada Matadores make it past Crescenta Valley -- and that's a big if -- they'll have to fend off either Bonita or Arcadia in the second round. That's the epitome of a grueling draw.

Potential shocker: Muir (6-4) at No. 2 Santa Fe (6-4), first round -- It might not be that big of a shocker, given that Muir has the star power with Kevon Seymour, rated as one of the top athletes in the area, and running back Tairen Owens, a Washington commit.

Darkhorse: Bonita (6-4) -- The Bearcats have won four straight and gave Hacienda League foe West Covina all it could handle in last year's championship game. Griffin is averaging 125 yards rushing over the last four games.

Final analysis: The division breaks down quite simply -- there's West Covina and there's everybody else. Talented teams abound, but no one is as physical as Maggiore's bunch. Tailback/safety Chris Solomon, the reigning division player of the year, could very well take the honor again this season.

Championship prediction: West Covina vs. Burroughs – Solomon isn't the only capable runner in West Covina's backfield. Jimmy Frazier has rushed for over 1,000 yards and Aaron Salgado is also approaching the four-digit mark. Unless Burroughs' running back Zander Anding can pull off another 300-yard game, there's too much power here for the Bulldogs not to make it two straight titles. Final score: West Covina 33, Burroughs 27.

Link to Southeast Division playoff bracket on CalPreps.com

L.A. South: Thursday's top games

November, 9, 2011
11/09/11
6:01
PM PT
League championships are up for grabs across the region this week. Here are Thursday night's top five games in south Los Angeles County:

Cabrillo vs. No. 5 Long Beach Poly at Veterans Stadium, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- As the Jackrabbits take the final turn toward a second consecutive Moore League title, it's only fitting that ESPN High School will recognize the defending national champion Long Beach Poly girls' track team during halftime Thursday. Football coach Raul Lara, meanwhile, can only hope that his team -- specifically the defense -- sprints through the finish line. A win would give Poly (8-1, 5-0) sole possession of first place and likely secure a high seeding in the Pac-5 Division bracket. Upset-minded Cabrillo (7-2, 4-1) has the division's leading passer, senior Derek Stewart (2,116 yards, 19 touchdowns).

Diamond Ranch at West Covina, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- When West Covina coach Mike Maggiore had his team take on Loyola earlier this season, it was with games like this in mind. West Covina (8-1, 5-0) will stay home this time but the hungry Diamond Ranch Panthers (5-4, 4-1) will try everything to unseat the defending Hacienda League champions. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 1 in the Southeast Division, can go perfect in league play for the second straight year.

La Puente vs. Azusa at Citrus College, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- The Mid-Valley Division poll that the CIF-Southern Section released before the season didn't include the La Puente Warriors (9-0, 6-0). Well, look at the Warriors now. They have a chance to finish with an unblemished mark and their first Montview League title since 2007. It won't be an easy task against Azusa (6-3, 6-0), the three-time defending league titlist.

El Monte at Arroyo, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- El Monte, coming off a thrilling win against crosstown rival South El Monte, has plenty of momentum. The Lions (7-2, 4-0) scored two touchdowns in the final 43 seconds to remain in contention to win its first league championship since 1979. Two-time defending champ Arroyo (8-1, 4-0) is potent behind quarterback Steven Rivera (2,512 passing yards, 33 total touchdowns).

Schurr at San Gabriel, Thursday, 7 pm. -- The San Gabriel Matadors (5-4, 4-0) can win the Almont League outright with a victory against visiting Schurr (3-6, 3-1). A Schurr win, combined with an Alhambra win at Bell Gardens, would create a three-way tie atop the standings.

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