Week 3 Prep Zone Roundup
The fourth week of CIF Southern Section football went nearly according to plan. The top-ranked teams played the way the top-ranked teams typically do, steamrolling over the opponents they were expected to steamroll. In the big-name matchups, Corona Centennial showed that it’s still the same powerhouse program that it always has been by beating a hot Alemany squad, and Oaks Christian was undaunted by the rushing efforts of Chaminade’s Terrell Newby. Here’s a look at the highlights from this week.
Finding a way
La Mirada fell victim to the injury bug as several players went down against St. Francis, forcing players that had never yet seen varsity playing time to be used. But the Matadores’ defense made no excuses and put up a fight that led to a 28-21 win.
“I give all the credit in the world to our defense and our defensive staff,” said head coach Mike Moschetti. “I thought our defense came up big in the second half.”
After La Mirada (3-1) opened up with a 14-0 start, St. Francis (2-1) rallied from behind to come back and take the lead. John Carroll caught a laser beam of a pass in the end zone from Jared Lebovitz with just 15 seconds left to play in the first half, making the score 15-14.
But the Golden Knights were shutout in the third quarter. With the game tied at 21-21 in the fourth, La Mirada’s Adam Carasco took the handoff and ran right around the block and into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
“It was one of those games where it wasn’t pretty and we made a ton of mistakes but this is what good teams have to do against a quality opponent,” Moschetti said. “You’ve got to find a way to win and we found a way to win.”
Both Chaminade and Oaks Christian carried perfect 3-0 records into Friday night’s game in West Hills. But when Oaks Christian opened up the game by putting up 21 points in just the first quarter, the Lions became too much for the Eagles to contain. Oaks Christian, ranked No. 5 in Scott Kennedy’s Top 20 Southern Section Rankings, won 44-30, handing Chaminade its first loss of the season.
In a game littered with Division I commits, there was no lack of scoring from either team. Oaks Christian ran a great fake field goal play that allowed Chris Davis to score on the run. However, the play of the game came from Chaminade. With just seconds left in the first half and the Eagles down 21-0, Donovan Lee caught a kick and went coast-to-coast for the 98-yard kick return touchdown.
Chaminade’s Terrell Newby ran for 178 yards on 41 carries and two touchdowns. Oaks Christian quarterback Brandon Dawkins had his struggles with three interceptions, but did complete 20 of 36 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns.
David and Goliath
The City Section’s Carson traveled to South Orange County to take on one of the nation’s top teams in Santa Margarita. An undermanned and humble Colts team came to Saddleback College with an 0-3 record, but determined to give Santa Margarita a battle.
Ryan Wolpin would have none of it. The senior running back ran for a school record six touchdowns in the 72-0 rout.
Carson is playing one of the most difficult schedules in the area with a brand new head coach. After making the CIF City Section finals last season, head coach Elijah Asante bolted to St. Paul, and several top players transferred to area rivals Narbonne and Harbor City.
Wolpin was too dominant for the Colts to handle. Just when they thought they could contain him, he took the option and ran straight up the middle through the pile, broke a few tackles and shimmied around his defenders for an amazing 50-yard touchdown run, his sixth and final of the night. A depleted and exhausted Carson team could only look on in amazement and frustration.
Santa Margarita set another school record with the aid of Wolpin, wracking up 610 yards. Quarterback Johnny Stanton surpassed Carson Palmer’s record for total yards, throwing for 181 with a touchdown.
Next week’s game for Santa Margarita will be a marquee matchup when a fast-rising St. Bonaventure team pays a visit to Saddleback College.
Tustin’s defense showed its prowess early in the game against Irvine Beckman. A botched snap rolled back into the end zone and a Tustin defender blew past the rest of the field to cover it up for a safety. And while the offense made big plays, the defense held solid in the Tillers’ 42-7 win.
Terence Martinez led the rout with four touchdowns. Staying within the theme of fast starts, Martinez dodged his way down field for a 63-yard touchdown late in the first quarter to put the Tillers up 14-0. He capped off his night by catching a deep ball over his shoulder in the end zone that extended the Tiller lead to 35-0.
The Tustin (4-0) defense did not give up a point until the fourth quarter. But Beckman’s Blake Crandal made it count. Taking the shovel pass, he then broke for the sidelines and spun around a defender, broke another tackle and burst free, beating three Tustin defenders to the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown. Crandall showed that the Patriots (0-3) wouldn’t go down without a fight.
Westlake was handed its first loss of the season, falling 39-8 to Whittier La Serna.
While Westlake’s offense has been somewhat inconsistent, the No. 11 Warriors were dealt a blow when the versatile Dashon Hunt was ruled out of the game with a high ankle sprain.
La Serna (4-0) played exceptionally tough, making a statement in the first quarter on an 80-yard drive that took six plays.
Westlake (3-1) will have to figure out how to do without Hunt should he not be available for the next two games, because the Warriors’ schedule gets no easier with Crespi and St. Bonaventure.
No. 15 Corona Centennial has effectively bounced back from its loss against St. Bonaventure having now won two straight, including Friday’s win over No. 4 Alemany. While many thought that Centennial (2-1) might be having a down year, the Huskies scored two late touchdowns to rally back from a 10-point deficit.
Alemany (3-1), a team known for its high-scoring offense, allowed 454 total yards. The Warriors fell victims to the traffic conditions in the area, arriving just before the kickoff and never quite getting into a groove. The Warriors found themselves with one last chance in the fourth quarter at the Centennial 25 yard line, but Devon Dunn failed to connect on fourth down.
Long Beach Poly (1-3) continued its puzzling season as the Jackrabbits were downed 22-6 by visiting Bakersfield. Earlier in the week, head coach Raul Lara talked about the difficulties of facing a Bakersfield team that is thought to be one of the top in the state and runs complex plays on both offense and defense. Last week, the Jackrabbits were shutout 56-0 by Narbonne. A game that was thought to be a fluke at the time could hold more meaning than once previously thought.
More Southern Section Scores
No. 2 Vista Murrieta 59, No. 20 Redlands East Valley 14
No. 8 Serra 43, Carson Banning 0
No. 3 Mission Viejo 63, La Quinta 14
No. 17 Crespi 70, Palisades 8
No. 18 San Clemente 21, La Costa Canyon 10
No. 19 Notre Dame 44, Lake Balboa Birmingham 0