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Quartz Hill Charged Up to Stop Sparks

Quartz Hill High will be making its first appearance in the Southern Section football semifinals in a Division I game tonight against Mater Dei at Orange Coast College, but there is added significance: The Rebels will meet a ghost from the area’s past in Mater Dei tailback Derek Sparks, the 1989 Times Valley back of the year who left Montclair Prep in September for the Orange County school.

Sparks, who has rushed for 1,515 yards for Mater Dei, will be tested by one of the area’s toughest defenses.

Quartz Hill has allowed just 90 rushing yards a game. The unit is anchored by senior linebacker Selves Smith, an NCAA Division I college prospect who likes the idea of facing a fellow blue-chipper.

“It gets me jacked up to face a back like that,” Smith said. “It jacks up all of us on defense. It’ll feel good to stop him. I think our defense is good enough to stop the running attack.”

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Smith also has rushed for 500 yards and 10 touchdowns in double duty as a running back.

Do-it-all Lampkin: Since Birmingham lost three starters to freak accidents and injuries two weeks ago, Vince Lampkin has become a jack-of-all-trades. Lampkin, who was moved from tailback to quarterback in midseason, played at least six positions last week against Gardena in the Braves’ 12-7 win in a first-round City Section 3-A Division game.

On offense, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior played quarterback, running back and wide receiver. He had one reception for 12 yards, completed seven of 16 passes for 55 yards, rushed for 96 yards in 22 carries and scored the winning touchdown on a 15-yard run. Lampkin also played linebacker and right and left safety.

In addition, he has stepped in to punt for a 32.4 average over the past two games after Noah Kirshbaum sustained a knee injury.

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Pre-playoff layoff: Taft quarterback Jesse Menchaca, sidelined almost two months since breaking his left ankle while serving as the holder on a point-after attempt against Cleveland, is scheduled to start in tonight’s City 4-A playoff game against Granada Hills.

Losing Menchaca set off a chain reaction. First, Lamar Lawson was moved from defensive back to quarterback. Backup tailback Vance Swendell was moved to Lawson’s position.

“Now everybody is back to where they were supposed to be,” Taft Coach Tom Stevenson said.

It could be quite a boon for Taft, which narrowly lost to the Highlanders without Menchaca in the regular season.

Menchaca passed for 338 yards and six touchdowns in Taft’s first 3 1/2 games.

Neutral site: St. Genevieve does not have a gym and neither does Pater Noster. St. Genevieve plays its home basketball games at Woodbury College in Burbank and Pater Noster plays at Cathedral High in Los Angeles.

The teams were scheduled to meet Wednesday at Cathedral, but both Cathedral and Woodbury are booked. As a result, the teams scheduled the game elsewhere--at the Sports Arena.

The game will be played at 4 p.m., before the Clippers face the Dallas Mavericks at 7:30 p.m.

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At first, an hour time limit was imposed, but it has been extended by 45 minutes. Each school must sell 150 tickets.

“I don’t think we’ll have a problem selling tickets,” St. Genevieve Coach Scott Smith said, “but if we go into overtime, we might have to go play outside.”

Staff writers Steve Elling, Kirby Lee, Paige A. Leech and Brian Murphy contributed to this notebook.


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