Serra cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is off to the races after intercepting a pass in the State Division II regional finals. Photo by William “Jaye” Johnson
For the third time in four years, Serra is playing for a State title.
For the third time in the past four years, Gardena Serra will be one of the Southern California representatives at the State Bowl this weekend at the Home Depot Center. They will play on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Serra made it to the State Bowl by knocking off Edison 27-10 in the regional finals. Defense combined with a good rushing attack was the difference in a game that Edison led 10-7 at halftime. But in the second half Serra pitched a shutout and they capitalized on three forced turnovers.
Junior defensive lineman Sam Akoteu forced a fumble, which he recovered, and Serra converted that into a field goal. Junior cornerback Adoree’ Jackson intercepted a pass, and senior linebacker Malachi Mageo returned an interception for a 41-yard touchdown.
Typically the team that wins the turnover battle goes on to win the game, and Serra won that battle 3-0. Offensively they protected the football, and junior quarterback Jalen Greene was efficient as a passer, completing 9-of-12 passes with one touchdown to pass to junior wide receiver Gregory Webb.
Serra was effective on the ground as they racked up 224 yards, 106 of them coming from Greene, who also had a rushing touchdown. Sophomore running back Malik Roberson added 82 rushing yards.
Also working in Serra’s favor was that senior kicker Ryan Dobson made all five of the kicks that he attempted. He was successful on two field goals and three PAT attempts.
Serra played fundamentally sound football on both sides of the ball, which is a how great team wins games, especially in the playoffs.
Serra won the State Bowl in 2009 with star players Robert Woods, George Farmer, Marqise Lee, and a host of others. In 2010 they were upset in a rain soaked State Bowl game. Last year they were shocked by Culver City in the first round of the playoffs, which helped them stay focused on the major goals this year. That was to win the Southern Section Division IV championship, which they did two weeks ago, and the Division II State championship, which they will have a shot at this Saturday afternoon.
Serra has been one of the best Southern California teams over the years. As a school they play for State titles in pretty much every sport, so it is no surprise that they will be playing at the Home Depot Center again.