11:17 PM PDT, October 19, 2012
Good luck to quarterbacks who test the best cornerback tandem in the City Section. Crenshaw High's Dominique Hatfield and Mossi Johnson back down from nobody.
On Friday night, in a neighborhood Coliseum League showdown against rival Dorsey, they combined for interceptions on three consecutive passes in the second quarter of Crenshaw's 34-14 victory.
"I think they can play with anybody in the country," Crenshaw Coach Robert Garrett said.
Hatfield finished with two interceptions, returning one 32 yards for a touchdown.
When the season began, neither player had a Pac-12 scholarship offer. But because of what they've accomplished game after game, Johnson has committed to UCLA and Hatfield is committed to Utah.
"I think we're the best defensive backs in the City," Hatfield said.
Crenshaw (7-1, 3-0) took charge of the league race and pretty much wrapped up a No. 2 seeding behind unbeaten Narbonne in the City Section Division I playoffs.
The Cougars had four interceptions off Dorsey quarterback Reginald Bell and opened a 21-0 halftime lead.
Ajene Harris continued his solid play at quarterback for the Cougars, completing eight of 15 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 57 yards. Corey Walker rushed for 92 yards and scored on a 22-yard run.
Max Lyons, a former Dorsey player, caught a 24-yard scoring pass for Crenshaw.
There were 30 LAPD officers, 20 school police officers and 40 private security personnel assigned to a game that produces passionate emotions on and off the field for schools separated by just 2.6 miles.
Where else do you see supporters of the team that's ahead pull out cellphones at halftime and call up friends in the bleachers on the other side of the stadium to yell, "Scoreboard"?
Dorsey did well at times stopping Crenshaw's running game, but Bell was running for his life most of the night in the face of a strong pass rush.
The Cougars have only 32 players, and with each victory, they become even more giddy proving to skeptics that heart and determination can be more important than the size of the roster.
"It's amazing," Hatfield said."I love my guys. They pull it out all the time. I wouldn't trade them for anybody."
The versatility of Hatfield and Johnson ignites the Cougars. Besides playing defense, Hatfield caught four passes for 79 yards.
Bell was limited to 38 yards passing until the fourth quarter. He scored on a four-yard run and passed 39 yards to Joshua Hill for a touchdown.
Big game for Newby
Senior running back Terrell Newby of West Hills Chaminade rushed for 360 yards in 16 carries and scored a school-record eight touchdowns in a 78-34 victory over Studio City Harvard-Westlake.
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