SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PREP INSIDER
LOS ANGELES SECTION BLOG
WEEK 8 QUICK HITS
Things to Watch Week 8
Rivalry Week: South LA Classic
The biggest LA City rivalry will be on display this Friday when Crenshaw hosts Dorsey, a matchup with serious implications for who will take home the Coliseum League title. Dorsey has won back-to-back matchups in this South LA classic but has stumbled to a 1-5 start. Crenshaw is 4-2 and will have transfer QB Isaiah Johnson tuned up and ready to roll. Do the records matter? Maybe not. Dorsey has played a much tougher schedule than the Cougars and will no doubt use previous shortcomings as fuel for this rivalry fire. Crenshaw gets revenge tonight, though.
Prediction: Crenshaw 34 Dorsey 28
Banning Takes On The Top
The Pilots will head into Harbor City to take on the biggest threat in the LA City Section: Narbonne. After a big win against Carson last week, the Gauchos look determined to hang on to the top spot. Banning, however, won’t be a pushover. They’re 4-2 and are coming off a 50-0 shutout of Hawkins. Granted, Hawkins hasn’t put up much of a fight against anyone this season but it can only build the Pilots’ confidence when the offense is clicking. That said, nobody stays confident against Narbonne for long; that won't change here either.
Prediction: Narbonne 48 Banning 14
San Pedro Faces First Big City Test
After a crushing 61-6 win against Gardena on Homecoming last week, the Pirates will have to settle back in to face an angry Carson Colts squad. The Colts lost to Narbonne last Friday and things got a little chippy towards the end. Carson thought Narbonne got the benefit of the doubt on a few late hits, later refusing to shake hands with the Gauchos during postgame. Safe to say both teams will bring it tonight, but San Pedro should remain in control for much of the night.
Prediction: San Pedro 41 Carson 27
Battered Programs Face Off In Search Of First Win
Both Hawkins and LA High were premier football programs last year, with USC football coach Clay Helton making recruiting visits to the schools and heavy media attention paid to both. Things have gone south since then, though. The two high schools were rocked by ineligible player scandals during their football seasons and have had to vacate victories from a successful 2016 campaign. Nearly everyone transfered from Hawkins and LA High faced a similar fate. They meet this afternoon and both are 0-6 as they transition into the next phase. Whoever scores first probably wins.
Prediction: Los Angeles 18 Hawkins 6
East LA Belongs To?
South Gate and Garfield face off tonight in a matchup that should help settle the question of who's top dog in East Los. The Rams of South Gate are 4-2 with a big win against Palisades on their resume, as well as wallops of Jefferson (63-12) and Salesian (57-20). Garfield is 2-4, including a shutout loss against Crenshaw and a defeat against Southern Section power Servite. Last week, though, they smoked Huntington Park, a D-II darling, 48-22. A back-and-forth game ends on the final drive with the Rams gutting it out.
Prediction: South Gate 30 Garfield 29
Week 7 Things to Know
The Los Angeles Unified School District authorized recent transfers to begin play in athletics Oct. 1, meaning several programs will be getting key players on the field for the first time this season. Crenshaw will debut Los Angeles High transfer QB Isaiah Johnson, who impressed in passing leagues over the summer and figures to help push the Cougars towards a shot at the LA City title. Beleaguered Hawkins High School will also be suiting new players in the hopes to get their program back on track.
LA City Section Play Now In Earnest
With non-league games mostly over, the LA schools will begin much-anticipated league play. Dorsey, stumbling to an 0-5 start, opens LA City play with Los Angeles (0-5) and Crenshaw (3-2) takes on Manual Arts (1-4). Other notable City matchups:
Carson (3-2) v Narbonne (2-3)
Westchester (2-3) v Venice (2-3)
Hamilton (3-2) v Palisades (4-1)
San Fernando (3-2) v Reseda (5-0)
Who Gets Off The Schneid?
There are several winless schools in the LA City Section after the first month and change, headlined a Dorsey Dons squad that has run the gauntlet in non-league play. But aside from them, who's likeliest to tab the win column for the first time this year? El Camino Real (0-5) travels to Cleveland (2-3), Panorama (0-6) heads to Canoga Park (4-2), and Hawkins (0-5) plays View Park (3-2). I like the Conquistadors of Elco to break out on Friday.
D-II Bragging Rights
Division-II squads have broken into our Top 10 but have failed to stay: Huntington Park hung around for a few weeks before falling out after a loss to Palisades. Eagle Rock received some votes but haven't had that signature win. Now, it's Reseda's turn. Sitting at #9 heading into Week 7, a huge game against San Fernando will determine if the Regents are for real. And if not? HP, Eagle Rock, and Roosevelt will be clamoring for their shot.
Odds and Ends
Either Narbonne or Crenshaw has accounted for every D1 LA City Championship since 2007, when Birmingham took it home. The Patriots will be looking for that 10-year anniversary magic… Narbonne QB Jalen Chatman won the LA City Player of the Year Award in 2016 as a junior, just a year after fellow Gaucho QB Roman Ale took the award home. Three-peat? It's possible… The SCPI television show crew will be at the Hamilton v Palisades game this Friday. No word if NFL legend Warren Moon (Hamilton '74) will be in attendance…
Week 6 Things to Know
Dorsey Looking For Rebound
The Dons have started the year 0-4 but it's not time to push the panic button. They've played some of the toughest teams in all of Southern California, taking some punishment as part of the learning process. But the winning needs to begin soon, though. A matchup against Culver City (4-0) will be a real test of Dorsey's mettle, as they'll be tasked with containing QB Jonathan Martin. The Centaurs' gunslinger is averaging 363 passing yards per game with 21 TDs through the air so far.
Get Up, Huntington Park
The Spartans were on the disappointing end of a thriller against Palisades last Friday, falling 35-34 in a game that featured kick-return TDs, pick-sixes, and late-game heroics. Huntington Park had risen to #6 on our Top 10 before the loss against Pali, falling to #10 heading into their next game against Garfield Oct. 6. A few Twitter-ers spoke up about the Spartans light schedule, but a win in dominant fashion next week should keep the doubters quiet.
Birmingham Settling In
B-Ham was a preseason Top 10 pick but fell out after a pair of losses. Looking at their schedule, though, the Patriots should be in good position to finish the year atop the San Fernando Valley bragging rights pile. They're 2-3 but played powerhouse Westlake close until late and toppled Agoura. Now, they set their sights on fellow Valley rivals -- Taft, Granada Hills, and then El Camino Real in the coming weeks. Combined record of those opponents? 2-13.
No Love For Reseda?
The Regents are playing outstanding football to start 2017, running their record to 5-0 following last night's win over Canoga Park. Reseda is Division 2, meaning they have a bit of extra work to do to get noticed, but Huntington Park has set the precedent for DII squads hoping to make the leap into our Top 10. San Fernando waits for the Regents next week.
Sleeping on San Fernando
Speaking of Valley teams vying for attention, the SanFer Tigers are doing all they can to crack our rankings. They've lost to a pair of Mission League teams (Alemany 36-7, Notre Dame 29-0) but have waxed LA City rivals. They blanked Panorama 49-0 last week and hung 47 points on Taft earlier in the season. They'll get the Reseda Regents Oct. 6, perhaps a fight that could decide a Top 10 slot.
Things to Watch Week 5
By Alex Scarr
Crenshaw Keeps Building
After a tough opening loss to South Hills, the Crenshaw Cougars have rattled off three straight wins. Fill-in quarterback Jared Greenfield has proven to be very capable in Isaiah Johnson's absence, as the Los Angeles transfer who won't be eligible to play until the beginning of October. A tough slate awaits them tonight, though, as they take on a good Vista Murrieta team. A win against them could vaunt them into our #1 spot.
Dorsey Plays The Best
The Dons have yet to find a win in 2017, starting the year 0-3 against some of the best in Southern California. Thing is, Dorsey has remained in our Top 5 simply because of who they're willing to play. They opened with defending D-5 champion Calabasas, followed by a Gardena Serra squad ranked among the best in the state, and later playing arguably the best team in the area: St. John Bosco. Wins amongst LA City rivals will come fast and furious for the Dons after these tough tune-ups.
Turnover at Los Angeles High
A year after racing to a D-II LA City championship, things at Los Angeles High School have taken a nosedive. Victories from the phenomenal 2016 season were vacated and head coach Eric Scott left the program to take a position at the University of Nevada. And now, new head coach Ted Baker is stepping away from the program after an 0-3 start. Details are scant about Baker's departure, but suffice to say, things are looking bleak for the Romans going forward.
SF Valley Football Update
The San Fernando Valley hasn't seen as many wins from its football programs as it's become accustomed. El Camino Real, a D1 playoff semifinalist, has stumbled to an 0-4 start with a tough matchup against Calabasas tonight. Birmingham is 1-3 but has scheduled good opponents and held them close, hopefully lending to better football down the stretch. The surprise has been San Fernando, though. Sitting at 2-2, the Tigers have waxed LA City rivals but stumbled against the two private school opponents.
Is Huntington Park For Real?
The Spartans have started the year 4-0, outscoring their opponents 223-28 during that stretch. They've launched into our Top 10 and appear to have staying power, but a big matchup against Palisades awaits them tonight. Should they take down the Dolphins, an early Top 3 team, Huntington Park should be taken as seriously as anyone else.
LA CITY SECTION FOOTBALL QUCIK HITS - WEEK 3
BY Alex Scarr
City Stumbles Against Southern Through Two Weeks
Several big games opened the first two weeks of the season, pitting Southern Section powers against the best of the LA City Section. Narbonne held things down against Gardena Serra in Week One but stumbled against Long Beach Poly a week later. Dorsey dropped the season opener to Calabasas, and El Camino stumbled against St. Bonaventure in Week 1. Birmingham dropped back-to-back games against Harvard Westlake and Notre Dame. Most schools begin City Section play heading into Week 3.
Gauchos To Run City?
Speaking of Narbonne, the Gauchos offense didn't necessarily click against either Serra or Long Beach Poly, but their defense played incredibly well. If quarterback Jalen Chatman can find his weapons in the offense, they look like they could roll through LA City Section play.
Pedro Powerhouse -- Pirates Start Strong
San Pedro High School looked solid in their victory against South Gate in Week 1, and later demolished Grant 44-7 in Week 2. They've jumped to #2 in our Top 10 and appear like they might stay, as they look faster and better prepared than both teams they've faced to begin the year. The Pirates are a real threat in the LA City Section.
Beach Schools Are Quietly Real
Both Venice and Palisades high schools worked their way into our Top 10 and will have plenty of opportunities to stay. Venice got a last-second goal line stand to defeat El Camino Real in Week 2, and wide receiver Brycen Tremayne emerged as a top-flight scoring threat. For Pali, they've taken down Valley schools Cleveland and Sylmar in back-to-back weeks with Granada Hills waiting. A 3-0 start for the Dolphins looks likely.
Cloudy Skies Ahead For Banning Pilots
The next two weeks for Banning will test the mettle of a newly minted Top 10 squad. A solid Millikan team awaits them in Week 3, followed by a very good Los Alamitos group after that. It gets easier with Hawkins and then George Washington Prep, but an October 13 matchup with Narbonne looms large.
Scarr's Six Things to Watch: Week 1 in LA City Section
by Alex Scarr
Non-Conference Openers To Test Mettle Of Top Teams
The 2017 football season begins with a pair of huge non-conference openers for the two favorites to take home the city title. Dorsey heads out to the San Fernando Valley to take on the Division-5 defending champion Calabasas Coyotes. Narbonne faces a loaded Gardena Serra team ranked #7 in the LA Times poll.
A Football Program Gutted
How will Hawkins High School rebound? The Hawks have a long way to go in rebuilding what was an LA powerhouse after an ineligible players' scandal left the team searching for new footing. Rookie head coach Richard Dax Sanchies is quickly establishing a rapport with his young team, though, so new roots could be growing.
SFV Up For Grabs
With El Camino Real rebuilding after losing several key seniors, it looks like bragging rights in the San Fernando Valley are there for the taking. Birmingham had a down year by their own standards last year at 5-6, but they're reloading with returning starters and could return to their former status. Don't sleep on San Fernando, either. The 10-1 team last year is returning a boatload of weapons.
LA City's Best QB Is?
Should we just hand Jalen Chatman the LA City QB of the Year award? The Narbonne signal-caller looked sharp in a scrimmage against Chaminade last Friday, but Los Angeles transfer QB Isaiah Johnson has a new home in a high-flying offense at Crenshaw. A quick recovery wished to Venice QB Luca Diamont, too, who will no doubt be in the conversation when he returns from injury.
Pirates Look To Plunder Title
We left San Pedro off our original Top 10 preseason rankings and could be regretting it fairly soon. The default Narbonne-Dorsey slate in the LA City Finals could be upended by the Pirates, who haven't had a losing season since 2001. Pedro hopes to avenge their defeat against Dorsey in the LA City Section semis last year.
Rams Helping In The Classroom
The Los Angeles Rams have paired up with LAUSD to help boost football players' GPAs and give them a head start on the college process. The Rams are offering a $2,500 equipment grant, plus tickets to a Rams game, to the program with the highest cumulative GPA by the end of the semester. Crenshaw, Eagle Rock, Fairfax, and San Fernando high schools will compete in the pilot year of the prog