Los Angeles Preps: Wyatt Bradford

L.A. South: Top first-round playoff games

November, 18, 2011
It's win or go home now. Here are Friday night’s top first-round playoff games in south Los Angeles County:

Pac-5: Huntington Beach (8-2) vs. No. 16 Loyola (8-2) at L.A. Valley College, 7 p.m. — The Loyola Cubs have some momentum after coming back from a 15-point deficit in the Serra League finale against Crespi. Loyola tailback Wyatt Bradford could eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, and senior quarterback Nick Cotton is coming off his best game of the season (17 of 28 for a season-high 208 yards and four touchdowns). The impressive thing about the Cubs is that if opposing teams want to grind it out, they will too.

Inland: Corona Santiago (7-3) at No. 19 Charter Oak (9-1), 7 p.m. — The Sierra League champion Charter Oak Chargers might be the league's only hope for a playoff win, given that third-place Damien plays at Vista Murrieta and runner-up Chino Hills heads to Rancho Cucamonga. An attractive matchup against undefeated Upland looms in the second round, but senior quarterback Travis Santiago (2,629 passing yards and 21 touchdowns) will have to steer his group clear of overlooking Corona Santiago.

Southeast: Bonita (6-4) at Arcadia (8-2), 7 p.m. — The defending Southeast Division runner-up Bonita Bearcats capped the regular season with four consecutive wins, so they've got a bit of swagger heading into this one. It's not the same team coach Eric Podley had last year but running backs Cameron Griffin and Reggie Turner and receiver Garrett Horine were capable weapons during the season. And speaking of weapons, Arcadia has its share in quarterback Myles Carr, the top-rated signal caller in the area according to ESPNU Recruiting, and Washington-bound receiver Taylor Lagace.

Mid-Valley: Pomona (6-4) at Monrovia (7-3), 7 p.m. — Will defending Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia take its first step toward a repeat? Highly touted defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, rising linebacker prospect George Frazier and the rest of the Wildcats defense appears to have found its groove in Rio Hondo League play, allowing under six points per game on average. Monrovia might be on upset alert, though: Three of Pomona's four losses were by a combined 10 points, and the Red Devils gave top-seeded Covina all it could handle.

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.

No. 12 Alemany 28, No. 13 Loyola 14

November, 5, 2011

MISSION HILLS – Alemany coach Dean Herrington had two words of advice for his junior quarterback Devon Dunn in the middle of his game-winning drive in the fourth quarter against Serra League rival Loyola.

Be careful.

Easier said than done on a muddy and sloppy field that was pelted by showers all afternoon.

But Dunn took his coach’s words to heart and found receiver Corey Sims with 46 seconds left to score the go-ahead touchdown. Alemany scored two touchdowns in the final minute of the game to beat Loyola, 28-14, on Friday night at Alemany High School.

The four-yard touchdown catch by Sims -- one of Herrington’s favorite two-point conversion plays that produced an all-important six points -- gave Alemany a 21-14 lead. Defensive back Steven Mitchell intercepted a pass and returned it 55 yards to ice the game and hand Loyola its first Serra League loss of the season.

Alemany (7-2), the No. 12 team in the ESPNLA.com Top 25 rankings, clinched at least a share of the Serra League championship with a perfect 3-0 record and one game left to play. Loyola (7-2), ranked No. 13 by ESPNLA, is alone in second place in the Serra League with a 2-1 record.

Down by seven points at halftime and five minutes into the fourth quarter, Loyola tied the scored, 14-14, on an 18-yard touchdown catch by Kodi Whitfield.

Alemany got the ball back with 6:35 left to play and drove 67 yards to take a seven-point lead. Dunn completed three passes for 36 yards in the drive, including the four-yard touchdown to Sims.

Alemany only needed a field goal to win the game, but Herrington was not comfortable attempting a kick on the sloppy field.

“With the mud and stuff, it’s not a given,” Herrington said.

(Read full post)

Alemany's Mitchell quite a top catch

November, 2, 2011
When the season started, Alemany coach Dean Herrington knew he had a special group of receivers on his football team.

Junior Steven Mitchell has emerged as the best of the bunch.

He leads the team with 34 catches for 741 yards, an average of 92.6 yards per game, and nine touchdowns. He has nearly three times as many receiving yards as UCLA-bound Jerico Richardson, who is second on the team with 265 yards. Mitchell’s nine touchdowns are more than Richardson, Jeff Farrar and Corey Simms combined.

“He has unbelievable speed and great body control,” Herrington said. “Against Dorsey, he only touched the ball four times. That will never happen again.”

The game against Dorsey was one of the few hiccups this season for Alemany (6-2), the No. 12 team in the ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings. The Warriors lost that game, 14-13. Both of Alemany’s losses have been by one point. The Warriors also lost to J.W. North 36-35.

When Alemany plays Loyola (7-1), the No. 13 team in the ESPNLA rankings, on Friday night at home in a crucial Serra League game, Herrington will make sure Mitchell is very much in the mix.

Alemany and Loyola are tied for first place in league with 2-0 records. The winner of Friday night’s game is guaranteed at least a share of the league title.

“It’s a big game in the sense that we control our own destiny,” Loyola coach Mike Christensen said. “You can’t take a breath in this league. If you do, you’re going to get beat.”

(Read full post)

I.E.: Games of the Week

September, 28, 2011
Grudge week arrives with a couple of heavy-hitting cross-section matchups and one long-awaited Big VIII League opener. The Calpreps.com computer is also looking to rebound from another tough loss last week to the human brain from ESPNLA.


(ESPNLA top 25 rankings included)

No. 15 Loyola (4-0) at No. 21 Upland (4-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Upland has been a nightmare for defensive coordinators this season, averaging 46 points a game. The Highlanders exploded for 54 last week against Norco, led by by USC-bound inside linebacker Scott Starr. Upland will need to be even better this week. Against four quality offenses, Loyola is giving up an average of just under nine points a game. Keep an eye on Chaz Anderson of Loyola, a wide receiver/defensive back who has committed to Boise State. He caught two touchdown passes last week in a 28-14 victory against St. John Bosco and helped limit Bosco’s talented passing game, led by Cal-bound wide receiver Bryce Treggs, to just 121 yards through the air. Cameron Walker also stepped into a two-way role last week following the ankle injury to starting running back Wyatt Bradford. Walker responded with 76 yards rushing and a touchdown and helped form the blanket in the secondary. The Cubs will be up against another Pac 12-bound receiver in Kenny Lawler (Arizona State), but they'll also need to keep an eye on shifty running back Donta Abron, who's plenty capable of inflicting damage of his own.

Calpreps.com computerized projection: Loyola 35, Upland 28

ESPNLA: Loyola 31, Upland 30


No. 17 Vista Murrieta (3-0) at No. 4 Crespi (4-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Vista Murrieta was coasting along this time last year, then the Broncos hosted Crespi and their defense suddenly turned into a wet paper bag and they lost, 45-31. Now it’s Vista Murrieta’s turn to make the long commute to Encino and face a team with 15 returning starters and a couple of high-profile transfers, including quarterback Cody Cordell (Oaks Christian). Crespi’s most heavily recruited player is offensive lineman Jordan Simmons, ranked as the No. 5 guard in the nation by ESPN. He’s part of an offensive line that averages 280 pounds. They'll get a nice push from Vista Murrieta's defensive front, led by Washington-commit Jeremy Castro, who had 11 sacks in 14 games last season and two so far this year.

Calpreps.com: Vista Murrieta, 24, Crespi 21

ESPNLA: Crespi 27, Vista Murrieta 17

Norco (2-1) at Roosevelt (1-2), Friday (7 p.m.) – Get ready for the longest-awaited payback in the Big VIII this season. Roosevelt toppled the Cougars, 24-21, on Norco's home field last season, stopping them on fourth down with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining and putting a huge dent in their league title hopes. Roosevelt quarterback Aaron Crone threw for a league-leading 23 touchdown passes as a junior but hasn’t played this season because of an injured throwing shoulder suffered in a preseason game. If he’s still not ready to go, it could be a long night for the Mustangs.

Calpreps.com: Norco 35, Roosevelt 22

ESPNLA: Norco 42, Roosevelt 21

No. 23 Redlands East Valley (3-0) at Chino Hills (2-2), Friday (7 p.m.) – Redlands East Valley might be looking to exact a bit of revenge as well. A year ago against Chino Hills, the Wildcats were dismal on offense, managing only one field goal in a 14-3 loss. The biggest hope for Chino Hills is that REV gets caught looking ahead to next week’s game against No. 3 Mission Viejo. Chino Hills can move the ball with one of the I.E.'s top junior receivers in Jack Austin, and boasts a defense that held Pomona running back Sir Darius Yarbrough, a 600-yard rusher heading into the game, to 12 yards last week in a 37-6 victory. REV had a bit of a wakeup call the same night against Dorsey, hanging on for a 14-12 victory. The Wildcats dropped 10 passes in the last two weeks and can't afford those mistakes if they want to avoid getting embarrassed by Chino Hills again.

Calpreps.com: Redlands East Valley 26, Chino Hills 10

ESPNLA: Chino Hills 14, Redlands East Valley 13

Last week’s picks:

Calpreps.com: 4-1.

ESPNLA: 5-0.


Calpreps.com: 6-3.

ESPNLA: 8-1.