When Crenshaw and Dorsey collide there are big hits and big plays. These kids are playing for bragging rights, pride, and lifelong memories. Photo by Jason Lewis
Two years ago Dorsey entered the final game of the season at 9-0, with Crenshaw 7-2. The Coliseum title was on the line, but not for long. Crenshaw led 35-0 at the end of the first quarter, and De’Anthony Thomas let everybody know who was really No. 1 as he scored a touchdown. Photo by Jason Lewis
Last year it was a “Great day to be a Don!” Dorsey ended Crenshaw’s five game winning streak in the series with a 7-6 victory. Photo by Jason Lewis
Crenshaw…. Dorsey…. Friday night…. 7 p.m…. Jackie Robinson Stadium. That is where you need to be!
Anybody getting stuck in a traffic jam near Rodeo and La Brea on Friday night should go ahead and park their car and follow the crowd, because Crenshaw and Dorsey will be adding another chapter to their decades old rivalry.
When it comes to City Section football, these two programs have won a number of City championships, and they have sent a number of players to college and the NFL.
The rivalry has been huge because this one game typically decides the Coliseum League championship. It is also huge because the two schools are only 2.6 miles apart, so it has become the biggest game in the community that the two schools share.
Former Dorsey and Crenshaw players will always talk about their days playing in the game, and Pop Warner kids are dreaming about the day they will have their chance to play for one of these schools and complete against the other one. Most of the players have been either teammates or competed against each other while playing for the Baldwin Hills Bruins, Wilshire Huskies, or in the Snoop League. And from an early age, many of the players know which school they want to play for.
For the communities that these schools serve, this is the biggest game of the year on any level of football. UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin, who graduated from Dorsey in 2008, was answering questions after UCLA’s victory over Utah this past Saturday. When asked about the Crenshaw/Dorsey game, his entire demeanor drastically changed from being calm to excited.
“Oh my!” Franklin said. “That is one of those games where you really can’t describe it in words. I remember I used to stay up all week looking forward to that game. I love it! All the passion, all the love. To me that game was bigger than UCLA vs. USC. That game was for the City where I grew up. We were playing for everything. It’s one of the greatest games that I ever played in in my life.”
When asked where Crenshaw compares as a rival to USC, it was a simple choice for Franklin. Crenshaw was and still is rival.
“Not even close,” Franklin said. “I grew up in the neighborhood. All my family went to Dorsey, and I still (jokingly) say “Coleslaw” and I still say DDP (Dorsey Dons Pride) for life. It’s in you. I bleed green and I love Dorsey.”
That sentiment is shared on the other side as well. Defensive tackle Brian Price, who graduated from Crenshaw in 2007, and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010 after playing at UCLA, views this game as the most memorable of his football career.
“This is bragging rights for the whole year,” Price said. “In the inner city, it’s like a religion. I think Jesus was betting on Crenshaw to beat Dorsey with his Disciples. That’s how far back it goes. If you’re from Crenshaw then you love Crenshaw, if you’re from Dorsey then you love Dorsey. You bleed those colors and you love your school. It’s bigger than USC/UCLA, or any NFL rivalry, because this is where the love for the game starts. No matter how old I am, I’ll always remember when I played Dorsey. It’s just something special about those games. This is where the word ‘rivalry’ came to my attention.”
As for the current teams, the favorite this year is Crenshaw. They are playing great football and they look like they will give Narbonne a run for their money if the two meet in the City championship game. They are 6-1, and they defeated some heavy hitters during non-league play, with the only loss coming after a last second field goal.
Dorsey on the other hand is 4-3, and they also played a tough non-league schedule. But they lost three games, and two of them were not close.
But with a game like this throw out the records because pride is going to play a part in this game.
Dorsey has struggled this year, but with athletes like Robert Jones and a host of others, they are a big play waiting to happen. Photo by Jason Lewis
Crenshaw does not have a lot of players on their roster, but with athletes like Mossi Johnson playing both ways, they do not need a big roster. Photo by Jason Lewis
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