Crenshaw’s De’Anthony Thomas, who has committed to USC, is the star of the City Section and he will be looking to lead his team to back-to-back City titles. (Photo by Jason Lewis)
Fairfax and San Pedro squared off in a scrimmage this past Monday. Fairfax running back Matt Bowen is extremely hard to bring down. He’s built like a fire hydrant and has a V8 engine. Any defender taking him on high will get run over. (Photo by Jason Lewis)
By David Earley
Sentinel Contributing Writer
September has returned and if you are a high school football fan in the Los Angeles area, this is your time of year. There have been many changes made since the conclusion of the 2009 season. Players move up to varsity, graduate, go to college, or change schools. Sometimes the changes involve coaching.
In the Coliseum league, Crenshaw still appears to be the Goliath of the city and the team to beat, returning senior standouts, quarterbacks Marquis Thompson and all-purpose back De’Anthony Thomas. Dorsey is looking very strong with many returning skill players including quarterback Joseph Gray who threw for over 2000 yards last year, and they will have all season to prepare as they play Crenshaw in game 10, seeking revenge for a blowout loss in the playoffs last year. Jefferson is out and West Adams Prep has come in ready to play a very strong schedule. They were eliminated from last year’s playoffs early, due to lack of competition in the Southern league, which left them unprepared for the size and strength they would face, opting for the championship bracket. Manual Arts has an overhauled coaching staff led by new head coach Thomas Brady and is planning on being a Coliseum league contender.
In the Western league Venice is still the team to beat. The Invitational City Champion Hamilton Yankees and coach Kelvin Martin will try and dethrone Venice and make a true name for themselves. At Westchester coach Ruffin Patterson will try to better the 8-4 season the Comets had last year, their best season since the departure of the legendary Head Coach Larry Wein. Fairfax will be tough to deal with because of running back Matt Bowen, who was an instrumental part in all their wins last year. University will feature a new QB transfer from University (Irvine) but they have been struggling since the retirement of coach EC Robinson.
In other places around the City, Jordan will have to try to reach the playoffs without the services of coach Elijah Asante, who is now the head coach at Carson, which will be led by quarterback Justin Alo. It will be interesting to see what type of offense the Colts run this year since Asante used several offensive sets while at Jordan last year. Narbonne will return an outstanding lineup with hopes of returning to the championship game for the third straight year. It would not be wise to forget about San Pedro or Banning who always make the Marine league unpredictable. Banning has been the spoiler since the return of legendary head coach Chris Ferragamo, but has not been able to light a real fire and San Pedro has been lacking that 1-2 punch of run and pass since the great tie with Narbonne in the 2008 championship game. Gardena and Washington will continue to trade places at the bottom until they do something to give a new life to their respective programs.
In the Southern Section, Long Beach Poly appears to be much stronger than last year with a rejuvenated offense and a very physical defense. They have national ranking and say they are ready to back it up. But Lakewood, the Moore league defending champions from last year, is returning enough players to repeat, even with the loss of quarterback Jess Scoggins. With Poly’s additions the question is, will Lakewood be able to hand them? Compton will also be in the mix, but they may slide in under the radar.
Division III Champion Serra has been moved to a true Division III status and will try to prove that they can play as good as last year, in a season filled with tougher competition mixed with many losses to graduation. They will have their work cut out for them.
Culver City and Leuzinger are still running the spread offense and Inglewood has some good-looking athletes that appear ready to play.