Varsity Times Insider
High school sports across the Southland
Football: Anthony Barr begins his NFL career on Sunday

Former Loyola High and UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr begins his NFL career on Sunday for the Minnesota Vikings against the Rams.

It fulfills a lifelong dream for Barr, who was a standout running back for the Cubs, then switched to linebacker at UCLA and became a first-round draft pick for the Vikings.

Here's the link to a video story on Barr from the Vikings.




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Girls' basketball: Neah Odom transfers to Chaminade

Count on West Hills Chaminade making the Open Division in girls' basketball.

Chamiande Athletic Director Todd Borowski confirmed on Tuesday that Neah Odom, a 6-foot junior who transferred last season from Los Alamitos to Santa Ana Mater Dei, is now at Chaminade.

She averaged 14.3 points as a freshman at Los Alamitos. She joined Mater Dei last season as a sophomore after sitting out until January and became an important contributor for the Monarchs.




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Football: At Valencia, Coach Larry Muir highly recommends UCLA gear

The side wall of room 616 at Valencia High pays homage to UCLA athletics with posters of Bruin football and basketball teams.

Football Coach Larry Muir played for Coach Terry Donahue at UCLA and his wife, Pam, is director of basketball operations for the women's basketball team, so Muir has a standing edict: No USC gear is permitted in his classroom.

Unfortunately, his starting quarterback, Cole Parkinson, the son of former USC lineman Brent Parkinson, decided to show up for his history class wearing a USC T-shirt.

Alarm bells went off.

"He redeemed himself by turning it inside out," Muir said.

Yes, Parkinson took one for good ol' USC, or the rest of his classmates might have had some extra homework.

USC-UCLA week is always fun in the Muir classroom.

And he still welcomes USC recruiters on campus to recruit his players.

But you can't miss the Bruin love in his classroom.




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Football: Freshman Eli Doyle is the latest Valencia standout

Whenever Valencia Coach Larry Muir decides to start a freshman on varsity, people need to take notice.

Five years ago, it was defensive back Tedric Thompson starting as a freshman. Now he's a starter at Colorado.

Three years ago, it was defensive back Jay Jay Wilson starting as a freshman. Now he's the Vikings' four-year standout.

All eyes should be on 14-year-old freshman Eli Doyle, who's set to start at free safety on Friday against Palmdale.

He's 6 feet 1, 165 pounds, and Muir believes he'll be the Vikings' next outstanding defensive player.

Doyle's father, Karlos, played football at Granada Hills Kennedy in the early 1990s.




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Southern Section fall polls

In the latest Southern Section football rankings, St. John Bosco is No. 1, Mater Dei No. 2 and Alemany No. 3 in the Pac-5 Division.

Here's the link to complete rankings.

In preseason girls' volleyball, Los Alamitos is No. 1, Mater Dei No. 2 and Great Oak No. 3 in Division 1AA.

Here's the link to complete rankings.

Harvard-Westlake is No. 1, Mater Dei No. 2 and Loyola No. 3 in the Division 1 boys' water polo preseason rankings.

Here's the link to complete rankings.

Here's the link for boys' and girls' cross country rankings.





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Boys' basketball: Stephen Thompson Jr. commits to Oregon State

Standout senior guard Stephen Thompson Jr. of Torrance Bishop Montgomery has committed to Oregon State.

It comes as no surprise, since Thompson's father, Stephen Sr., was named an assistant coach with the Beavers after being head coach at Cal State Los Angeles. He's a former Crenshaw High star.

Thompson is expected to be one of the top guards in Southern California in the winter.




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Sitout transfers drop in Southern Section from last August

The number of athletes that schools submitted transfer paperwork for last month in the Southern Section was 1,266, down from 1,367 in August of 2013, according to Southern Section statistics.

The number of athletes that are part of the sitout period dropped from 500 last August to 314 last month.

The number of athletes changing residences rose from 535 in August of 2013 to 592 last month.

The numbers reflect only the paperwork submitted by athletic directors and mostly reflect athletes seeking eligibility in the fall sports.

About 15,000 transfers are submitted each year statewide.




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Football: It's double duty time for Salesian's Damion Wright

L.A. Salesian Coach Angelo Jackson said Damion Wright not only looked tired after his team's 27-3 win over Muir but he was tired, and for good reason.

Wright is playing quarterback and playing on defense in the secondary. Few teams ask their quarterback to play both ways, but that's what Salesian will be doing this season.

Wright is committed to Boise State as a defensive back. He has played quarterback for Jurupa Hills until transferring to Salesian.

Jackson expects Wright to pull it off, especially as he gets into shape and gets used to the double duty.

Meanwhile, Salesian unveiled a future standout at running back in sophomore Deommodo Lenoir, who rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns. He scored 50 touchdowns on the freshman team, Jackson said.

Salesian has a good chance to be 3-0 before a showdown game against Loyola on Sept. 19.




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Football: No pep talk needed when Long Beach Poly plays Narbonne

Long Beach Poly Coach Antonio Pierce won't need any pep talk for his team's game against Narbonne on Friday at Veterans Stadium.

In fact, he might need to calm his players down, because they figure to be extremely motivated. Many haven't forgotten what happened the last time the two teams played.

It was two years ago that Narbonne inflicted a 56-0 defeat on the Jackrabitts.

Poly recovered to win the Pac-5 championship. Narbonne won the City Division I championship.

Both schools are coming off season opening victories. Poly routed Crenshaw, 54-14. Narbonne rallied to defeat Palos Verdes, 49-28.

Both schools figure to benefit from an early clash of potential section championship teams.




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Football: Sophomore Keyshawn Johnson Jr. is leaving Mission Viejo

After catching one pass in Mission Viejo's season opener last week, sophomore Keyshawn Johnson Jr. announced via Twitter that he would be transferring for academic reasons.

Johnson's father served as an assistant coach last season for the Diablos.

He'd have to move to be eligible immediately at a new school.




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Football: Alemany is headed to Washington to complete two assignments

Former Alemany quarterback Vernon Adams is going to have a personal cheering section on Saturday when Eastern Washington plays at Washington.

More than 70 Alemany football players will be attending the game, because the Warriors are traveling to face Eastside Catholic of Sammamish, Wash., in a nonleague game on Friday night, then staying to watch Adams on Saturday.

“I told the kids, ‘Don’t cheer too loud, because Washington gave us the tickets,’’” Alemany Coach Dean Herrington said.

Alemany (1-0) should have quarterback Blake Green, who had to leave last week’s season opener against Los Osos after a hard hit.

Alemany players are flying to Seattle on Friday morning and returning on Sunday.

It will be a big challenge for the Warriors dealing with travel issues and a good Eastside Catholic team that has a top quarterback and top running back.

So the Warriors must complete two assignments this weekend: Win on Friday, root hard on Saturday.



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Boys' basketball: La Mirada's team from 2006-07 looking good

There were some who thought La Mirada's basketball victory over Artesia in January of 2007 was an upset. After all, Artesia, led by James Harden and Renardo Sidney, went on to finish 33-2 and won a state title.

La Mirada (21-8), it turns out, had some pretty good players, starting with the NBA's Derrick Williams. Also on that team was Keith McGill, who just made the Raiders' roster in the NFL.

Also on the team was Taylor Siemens, who went on to play minor league baseball;  Stephen Kaupang, a Division I baseball player at USD and Oregon, and Cameron Gillette, the state long jump champion who went on to Long Beach State.



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