Crenshaw has hoisted the City championship trophy the last two years in a row. Carson, Dorsey, Narbonne and a couple other teams will try to take it from them. Photo by Jason Lewis
Fairfax took home the Division II City championship last season. They lost their top two rushers, so they will count on Eric Pugh (above) to carry more of the load this season. Photo by Jason Lewis
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
Friday night lights are back as the City Section and Southern Section of high school football takes numerous fields over the weekend.
Crenshaw and Serra high schools have dominated the landscape of high school football for the past two seasons, but with players leaving to big time universities, there are various teams looking to knock off the two giants.
In the City Section, Crenshaw still looks like they are the team to beat, even with the losses of key players that helped them win the past two City championships.
Crenshaw has become a football factory, and they have a number of younger players who are ready to become high school stars.
In the Coliseum League, Crenshaw’s main competition will be Dorsey, as usual. The Coliseum League always comes down to those two teams.
If Crenshaw wants to hold off Dorsey, among other City teams, than quarterback Jerry McConico will have to make it happen without the likes of All City running back De’Anthony Thomas or All City wide receiver Marquis Thompson, and Crenshaw graduated a number of key linemen last year.
Crenshaw always proves themselves with tough non-league schedules, and this year is no different. After opening on Saturday night against Alta of Sandy, Utah (game will be played at Mission Viejo), they will travel to Norco a week later.
Dorsey has had a quarterback competition going on during training camp, and the winner will have a lot of opportunities in the spread offense, especially throwing the ball to Jaydon Mickens, an USC recruit.
Defensively, Jeremiah Allison has terrorized quarterbacks for the past two seasons, racking up 40 sacks. He is being recruited by a number of big time colleges. This year he will move from defensive end to outside linebacker, where he is projected to play in college.
Dorsey will not be the only team looking to bump off Crenshaw. The toughest league in the City is by far the Marine League, where Carson, Narbonne, and San Pedro battle it out each year, and usually send a team to the City title game.
Carson looks like they are the team that will have the best chance to knock Crenshaw off of their thrown, and they are using tough non-league games to prepare them for that. Carson opens the season against Mater Dei, and then they play Mission Viejo, Long Beach Poly, and Santa Margarita.
If Carson can get through that schedule in good shape heading into league play, it would be hard to believe that any City school would be able to beat them.
Crenshaw used that same approach two seasons ago, when they played some of the top schools in Southern California on their non-league schedule. That Crenshaw team went undefeated during the regular season and made it all the way to the State Bowl game.
Carson All City receiver Darreus Rogers, a USC commit, looks to improve on his 1,400 receiving yard season from a year ago.
Narbonne looks to pass their way past Carson and other Marine League challengers, as they may have the best quarterback in the City in junior Troy Williams. As a sophomore he passed for 2,800 yards and 25 touchdowns with just nine interceptions.
San Pedro may have the most experience in the Marine League, as they only lose two starters to graduation from last year’s team.
In the Western League, it looks like it has every year since 2003. It’s all about Venice, who has won the title or shared it every year since then.
Wide receiver Gabriel Marks dominated Western League opponents a year a go, and chances are that he will do more of the same this year.
Fairfax will try to give Venice a run for their money, but they lost both of their running backs from one of the City’s best rushing attacks from a year ago. Fairfax also graduated a number of players from their Division II City championship team, especially on defense.
Even with the losses, Fairfax has a good system in place that keeps them competitive. Venice has been a step ahead of them, but at some point Fairfax, or another Western League team, will end Venice’s run.
Westchester will also factor into the Western League race. They have one of the City’s best offensive linemen in senior Anthony Kyles.
In the Valley, Taft will be in the mix, once again.
In the Southern Section, Serra has had their way the past two years, racking up a 29-1 record. But their top wide receivers over that time are playing at USC now, and they have lost talented players across the board.
Serra may have to replace star players, but they have star players just fighting to get on the field. Last year Serra’s JV and Frosh teams both went undefeated, just like their varsity team. So there is talent coming up through the pipeline.
Running back Anterio Bateman rushed for 783 yards as a sophomore in back up duties last season, and he looks to be the featured back this year.
Inglewood looks to improve on their 9-3 record from a year ago, and having receivers/defensive backs Derrick Woods and Devian Shelton will help. Both are highly recruited prospects.
Defensive end/tight end Darien Barrett has committed to San Diego State.
This week’s games
7 p.m. kickoffs unless noted
Friday, Sept. 2
Jordan vs. Dorsey at Rancho Cienega Park
Los Angeles at Banning
Torres at Manual Arts
West Adams Prep at Birmingham, 7:30 p.m.
Bishop’s (La Jolla) vs. View Park at La Jolla
Inglewood at Westchester
Lakewood at Locke, 3 p.m.
Mater Dei at Carson
Venice at Harvard-Westlake
Centennial (Compton) at Compton, 5 p.m.
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) at Serra
Crespi at Dominguez
St. Bernard at El Segundo
Inglewood at Westchester
Saturday, Sept. 3
Alta (Sandy, Utah) vs. Crenshaw at Mission Viejo, 2:30 p.m.
Animo South Los Angeles vs. Verbum Dei at Locke, 3:30 p.m.
Long Beach Poly at Grant (Sacramento)
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