Carson running back Dion Willis shakes off a Taft defender on the way to his second touchdown of the night. He rushed for 108 yards, and fellow running back Myles Johnson rushed for 109 yards. Photo by Jason Lewis
After a long season of battling every Friday night, it all comes down to one game for each team.
By Jason Lewis
High school football players and coaches have been working day in, day out, since early in the summer, practice after practice, game after game, to achieve one goal. For four local teams it all comes down to Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Win and they can put “Champions” on their lettermen jackets. Nobody is even thinking about losing.
The big match up is a battle between the two City Section powerhouse programs. No. 1 Carson vs. No. 2 Crenshaw will collide at the Coliseum on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the Division I title.
Collide may be an understatement when it comes to these two schools. Carson is rolling into the match up with 11 City titles. Crenshaw has won the title in 2005 and last year.
These are not finesse teams by any stretch of the imagination. These are drive em’ in the ground teams. These are hit em’ hard all day and all night teams. No gimmicks, just bust em’ in the mouth type football.
Carson may be the No. 1 seed, but Crenshaw is really the team to beat. No City school has played within 20 points of them the past two seasons, and their closest game verse a City opponent this season was 35 points. Carson head coach Elijah Asante compared Crenshaw to the Kraken, which is the large sea creature in the movie Clash of the Titans.
With the defense that Crenshaw brings, comparing them to the Kraken may be correct. In 13 games this season, Crenshaw has only given up 97 points. That’s only 7.4 points per game. Against City opponents they have only given up 35 points in nine games, which is a 3.8 points per game average.
Last Friday night Venice and their light up the scoreboard at a frantic pace offense were only able to produce 12 points against Crenshaw’s defense, while Crenshaw put up 62 points on the board.
Carson has a tough defense as well. In the semifinals they defeated Taft, who broke all kind of school offensive records this season. But Carson shut their passing game down and grinded out a 40-21 win by running down Taft’s throats.
Crenshaw is the team to beat in the City, but Carson is bringing a certain level of grit and toughness that might be able to change the balance of power in the City Section.
In the City Section’s Division II championship game, No. 9 Fairfax has fought their way to the title game on Friday night at East Los Angeles College against No. 6 Chatsworth.
Fairfax is fueled by the City Sections leading rusher, Matt Bowen, who has 2,180 yards and 24 touchdowns. At 5’6”, defenders can easily lose sight of Bowen, but when they do have a clear shot on him, good luck. Bowen is 210 pounds and extremely quick. With his low pad level he’s giving the blows, not taking them.
Fairfax also has Terrance Hall, who missed three games with a dislocated elbow, but still rushed for 997 yards. That one-two punch could lead Fairfax to the second Division II City Section championship title under head coach Shane Cox.
In the Southern Section, Gardena Serra has been dominant, and like Crenshaw, they are going for back-to-back championships. They will face Arroyo Grande at Serra on Friday night at 7 p.m.
Serra is riding a 28 game winning streak, and they have won 41 out of their last 42 games, with many of the wins being blowouts.
Wide receivers George Farmer and Marqise Lee and running back Shaquille Richard has led their offense to a 42 points per game average, while their speedy defense has only given up 12.6 points per game.
A win for Serra should land them back in the State Bowl champion game, where they will be going for a second consecutive State title.
Last Week’s Scores
Carson 41, Taft 20
Crenshaw 62, Venice 12
Fairfax 36, Arleta 12
Chatsworth 35, Palisades 28 (OT)
View Park 28, Amino South Los Angeles 18 *championship game
Western Division (IV)
Gardena Serra 41, Paso Robles 23
CITY SECTION FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
Division I, Saturday, 1 p.m. at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
#1 Carson (11-2) vs. #2 Crenshaw (11-2)
Division II, Friday, 7 p.m. at East Los Angeles College
#9 Fairfax (9-3-1) vs. #6 Chatsworth (11-2)
SOUTHERN SECTION FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Western Division (IV), Friday, 7 p.m.
Arroyo Grande (11-2) at #1 Serra (13-0), 7 p.m.
1. Serra Cavaliers (13-0)
2. Crenshaw (11-2)
3. Carson (11-2)
4. Dominguez Dons (10-2)*
5. Lakewood Lancers (10-2)*
6. Venice (8-5)*
7. Long Beach Poly (8-3)*
8. Dorsey Dons (10-2)*
9. Fairfax (9-3-1)
10. Inglewood Sentinels (9-3)*