Venice’s speed on defense stopped St. Francis early in the game, but St. Francis’ size took the smaller and quicker Venice defenders for a ride in the second half. Photo by Jason Lewis
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Writer
Venice gets worn down by St. Francis
Venice High School’s speed looked like it would be too much for St. Francis this past Friday night, but turnovers kept the game close in the first half, and St. Francis wore Venice down in the second.
The Venice Gondoliers are known for their speed and a high scoring offense, but it was their speed on defense in the first half that dominated, as St. Francis’ only score came after a Venice fumble.
Venice opened the game with a 10-play touchdown drive, but in the second quarter their three drives ended with a missed field goal, an interception, and a fumble.
Even though Venice’s offense was unable to finish off a drive, their undersized and speedy defense was too fast for St. Francis, and Venice led 7-3 at halftime.
The second half was drastically different, as both teams lit up the scoreboard in the third quarter.
Venice sophomore running back Alijah Lee had a 69-yard run, setting Venice up at the seven yard line, but they had to settle for a short field goal, making the score 10-3.
On the ensuing kickoff St. Francis wide receiver Christian Hess ran back the kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, making the score 10-9 in favor of Venice.
Venice wide receiver Gabriel Marks had a 49-yard run before catching an eight-yard touchdown pass, giving Venice a 17-9 lead. But from that point on the wheels fell off, or the Gondolier lost his stick, as big plays and a grind it out running game by St. Francis buried Venice.
St. Francis’ Hess got behind the Venice defensive backfield and was wide open for a deep pass, and he raced to the endzone for a 68-yard touchdown, which tied the game at 17-17.
After a Venice punt, their smallish defensive line, which played very fast in the first half, was no match for the much bigger St. Francis offensive line.
St. Francis marched down the field on the ground with ease, ending their drive with a field goal, giving them a 20-17 lead.
After another Venice fumble, St. Francis was set up on the Venice 27 yard line, and they kept it on the ground for another touchdown, giving them a 27-17 lead.
Another Venice fumble wrapped up the game.
Mistakes on offense and a lack of size on the defensive front seven derailed Venice’s chances of winning the game.
Serra not challenged by Banning
Serra quarterback Jalen Green threw three touchdowns against Banning. Photo by Ken Brooks.
By Ken Brooks
Sentinel Contributing Writer
Gardena Serra sophomore quarterback Jalen Green was rather calm about the best performance of his brief career. After throwing for three touchdowns to senior wide receiver Ricardo Rijo, he modestly said, “I don’t know what to say, I just threw my first touchdown pass last week.”
What the slinging southpaw did know is how and when to hit the fastest targets on field. Rijo and fellow receiver Marques Rodgers, who also had a touchdown catch in the 27-7 win over Wilmington Banning, were just too quick for Banning’s secondary.
Balance to the Serra offense was provided by the inspired rushing of back up running back Ronnie Vaughn.
Green, who moved up from the freshman/sophomore team, acknowledged the questioning of Serra’s return to championship form on the heels of its big loss to Notre Dame a few weeks ago and the loss of key talent to the college ranks. He has big shoes to fill as the successor to Conner Preston, now at Southern Methodist University.
“My goal is to help us get to the playoffs first, then go for a championship” Green said.
Friday, Banning will host Chatsworth while Serra visits Harbor City Narbonne.
Last week’s results
Washington 48, Los Angeles Jordan 34
Westchester 41, Locke 20
South East 50, Los Angeles 0
Manual Arts 25, Grant 7
Redlands East Valley 14, Dorsey 12
Rubidoux 35, View Park 34
West Adams 27, Cathedral 7
Fairfax 14, Reseda 7
St. Francis 27, Venice 17
Crespi 40, Palisades 0
San Pedro 48, North Torrance 19
Santa Margarita 39, Carson 21
Sandy (Utah) Alta 56, Taft 0
Corona Roosevelt 28, Compton 20
Culver City 40, Redondo 23
Dominguez 25, Long Beach Jordan 8
Hawthorne 20, Torrance 10
Lakewood 55, Leuzinger 0
Lynwood 28, Lancaster 21
Mission Viejo 17, Long Beach Poly 12
St. Bernard 39, Lawndale 14
Gardena Serra 27, Banning 7
Morningside 28, San Fernando 14
Verbum Dei 54, Blair 14
This week’s games
All games are Friday at 7 p.m. unless noted
Bell at Los Angeles Jordan, 3 p.m.
Hollywood at Los Angeles, 3 p.m.
Jefferson at Bernstein
Cleveland at Hamilton 3 p.m.
Gardena at Crenshaw
Fairfax at Marshall 3 p.m.
University at Eagle Rock, 3 p.m.
Manual Arts at Lincoln
Palisades at Granada Hills
Washington at Fremont
Cantwell-Sacred Heart at St. Bernard
Lakewood at Long Beach Wilson
Long Beach Poly at Compton
Compton Centennial at Morningside
Firebaugh at Hawthorne
Lawndale at Peninsula, 3 p.m.
Leuzinger at Culver City
Dominguez at San Diego Lincoln, 6 p.m.
Dorsey at Alemany
Gardena Serra at Narbonne
Inglewood at San Pedro
La Mesa Helix at Venice
Mission Viejo at Carson, 7:30 p.m.
Taft at Saugus
View Park at St. Margaret’s
Bishop Montgomery vs. Verbum Dei at Los Angeles Southwest College, Saturday, 7 p.m.
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