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PREP FOOTBALL SPOTLIGHT : FACTS, FIGURES AND COMMENTS FROM LAST WEEK’S PLAYOFF GAMES

COMPILED BY ROB FERNAS AND CAP CAREY

STAR STRUCK

Everyone, it seemed, was disappointed that Valley View tailback David Dotson, the state’s all-time leading rusher, was unable to play Friday night against Morningside because of an injured hamstring.

Without Dotson and backup tailback Kareem Booker, who did not play because of disciplinary reasons, Valley View lost to Morningside, 36-9, in the CIF Southern Section Division VIII quarterfinal game at Coleman Field.

“I wanted to see (Dotson) run a little bit,” Morningside quarterback Stais Boseman said. “I heard all the talk about him. I wanted to see him get the ball at least a half to see if he is that good.”

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Said Monarch Coach Ron Tatum: “We were looking forward to playing him. We prepared all week to play against a very good running back and he didn’t show up. But we were ready to play football tonight and the guys showed it.”

Morningside scored touchdowns on its first three possessions and on four of its first five to build a 28-7 halftime lead. Boseman capped the early scoring with an 83-yard kickoff return with 59 seconds left in the second quarter.

The junior, who rushed for 100 yards in 10 carries, also scored on a 32-yard run to give the Monarchs a 14-0 first-quarter lead.

“Stais Boseman is a fantastic athlete,” Valley View Coach Leo Brouhard said. “He’s a great player.”

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Asked what effect not having Dotson had, Brouhard said, “Whenever you’re missing a great player, it really hurts your team. It would hurt them if they didn’t have Stais Boseman.”

FAST COMPANY

In the absence of Dotson and Booker, Valley View turned to junior tailback David Mathis, who carried the ball 43 times for 145 yards and a touchdown but whose longest run of the game was only 15 yards. Without a breakaway threat, the Eagles had to grind out every yard.

Just the opposite was true for Morningside.

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Getting long runs from Boseman and tailback Montres Gords, the Monarchs scored quickly. Their most time-consuming touchdown drive took seven plays. Gords, who rushed for 127 yards and three TDs in 16 carries, had five runs of 12 yards or longer and scored the game’s final touchdown on a 44-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

“It was a good effort by the line,” Gords said. “Coach (Tatum) saw an opening and he kept going after it, (between) guard and tackle. I just did whatever was needed.”

Morningside’s defense and offensive line played well, but in the end the difference was speed.

“I want to commend Morningside, they did an excellent job,” Brouhard said. “They’re definitely the fastest team we’ve played.”

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The Monarchs (9-2) meet top-seeded Atascadero (12-0) in a semifinal game Saturday night at Coleman Field. Fourth-seeded Valley View finished 10-2.

GROUNDED

With strong winds blowing throughout the game, neither Morningside nor Valley View was able to complete a pass. Boseman attempted five passes and Valley View quarterback Ryan Eddy threw three.

Morningside rushed for 247 yards in 31 carries and Valley View rushed for 224 yards in 53 carries.

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LOOKING AHEAD

Redondo Coach Chris Hyduke, whose team lost to Atascadero, 29-13, Friday night in the Division VIII quarterfinals, said he favors Morningside over the Greyhounds in the semifinals. Redondo beat Morningside, 39-32, in Ocean League play.

“Morningside will stretch you and Atascadero is pretty conservative,” Hyduke said. “I think Morningside has a real good shot at beating them. That league up there doesn’t compare to the Ocean League. I have respect for Atascadero, but I’m putting my money on Morningside.”

After victories by Morningside and Beverly Hills, which beat Cabrillo of Lompoc, 31-21, the Ocean League has two of four teams remaining in the Division VIII playoffs.

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TURNING POINT

Hyduke said he was forced to change his strategy against Atascadero after a missed extra point late in the third quarter left Redondo trailing, 14-13.

“That changed the scenario,” Hyduke said. “We had to go on a fourth-and-four with six minutes left from their 45 and we didn’t make it. If we were tied, I would have punted. But I felt I had to make that call on fourth down.”

Atascadero then scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

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MISSED CHANCES

Poor execution inside the opponent’s 20-yard line hurt Hawthorne in a 20-14 double-overtime defeat by Los Alamitos in the quarterfinals of the Division III playoffs Friday night at Gahr High in Cerritos.

Trailing, 7-6, in the second quarter, Hawthorne moved to the Los Alamitos 19, but was stopped on fourth and five when Kenneth Henderson was tackled for a nine-yard loss on a reverse.

Early in the fourth quarter and trailing, 14-6, Hawthorne got to the Los Alamitos seven, but that threat fizzled when a fourth-and-seven pass from quarterback Ronnie Morrissette to Justin Stallings was caught beyond the end zone.

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The Cougars failed to score on both possessions in overtime. Each team was given the ball at the opponent’s 10-yard line with four plays to score. In the first overtime, Los Alamitos missed a 22-yard field goal attempt and Hawthorne, with a chance to win, had a 25-yard field goal attempt by William Robertson blocked.

On the first play of the second overtime, Hawthorne tailback Morell Ollis fumbled. Three plays later, Dylan Ridgel scored on a three-yard run to give Los Alamitos (10-2) the victory.

“It was hard, but it pleased me that the kids played with a lot of heart and a lot of pride,” Cougar Coach Dan Robbins said. “They all really believe in each other.”

RUSHING KING

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Ollis, the Hawthorne tailback, kept the Cougars in the game by rushing for 178 yards in 24 carries, including a 60-yard run to the Los Alamitos 14 with 2 minutes 43 seconds left. Five plays later, Ollis scored on a one-yard run and caught a Morrissette pass for a two-point conversion to tie the score, 14-14.

Ollis unofficially finished the season with 1,750 yards rushing, making him the South Bay leader. Bishop Montgomery tailback Koury Clark, who played in two less games than Ollis, had 1,612 yards.

PEOPLE MOVERS

The Banning offensive line dominated a good Carson defensive line Wednesday night in the Pilots’ 34-14 victory in a City Section 4-A Division quarterfinal game at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach.

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Banning rushed for 274 yards in 42 carries, led by tailback Shayzar Hawkins, who had 240 yards and three touchdowns in 29 carries.

“The offensive line did an exceptional job,” said Banning Coach Joe Dominguez, whose team will play at Kennedy in the semifinals Friday night.

Starters on the Pilot offensive line are tackles Fitu Toomalatai (6-foot-1, 221 pounds) and Ernie Gamboa (6-2, 270), guards Aaron Brice (5-10, 210) and Gary DeGuzman (5-9, 218) and center Anthony Barragan (5-7, 208). Dominguez considers seniors Toomalatai and Barragan, both two-year varsity starters, the best players.

AIRING IT OUT

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Banning, normally a running team, came out passing against Carson. Quarterback Andre Faavi-Tua’au attempted 11 passes in the first quarter, one more than he had thrown in any previous game this season. He finished the first half completing eight of 15 passes for 102 yards.

The junior attempted only one pass in the second half, when Banning had success running the ball.

“We thought there were some things we could do throwing the ball,” Dominguez said. “And we didn’t think (Carson) would be expecting it. Some teams run the ball to set up the pass. We like to throw the ball early to set up our run.

“To tell the truth, I think almost anything we tried to do the other night was successful on offense.”

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BAD PUBLICITY

Faavi-Tua’au, the Banning quarterback, said he was determined to play well Wednesday, partly because of a flyer that was circulated at Carson last week. The flyer included a photograph of Faavi-Tua’au celebrating the Pilots’ 21-20 victory over Carson on Nov. 15, accompanied by comments aimed at motivating Carson.

"(The flyer) said I said they were lucky in the first game, and that I said in this game we’d beat them by 40 points,” said Faavi-Tua’au, a junior who attended Carson last year and quarterbacked the Colt B team. “I’m just glad we won. I wanted to kick their (butt).”

Dominguez said he was angered by the flyer, which gave the impression that Faavi-Tua’au would be targeted by Carson.

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"(Faavi-Tua’au) was concerned,” Dominguez said. “Do you mark a kid? We don’t do that. There’s no place for that in high school football. If you have the better team, then you go out and there and play. You don’t need that hype.

“I think all it did was make him play better.”

STREAKS

When Carson lost to Banning, 34-14, in the City 4-A quarterfinals, it was the first time since 1980 that the Colts have been eliminated from the playoffs before the final round. Carson (6-5-1) lost five games in a season for the first time since 1965, the third year of the school’s existence.

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IN QUOTES

Banning defensive lineman Naeem Mills, a 6-4, 297-pound senior, on his 42-yard interception return that set up the Pilots’ final touchdown in a 34-14 victory over Carson: “It felt good. I was feeling like the Rocket.”

Banning Coach Joe Dominguez on beating Carson for the second time in two weeks after going 0-5 against the Colts the past three seasons: “It certainly feels nice to beat them, but our goal is to the win the City (4-A) championship and it won’t be a successful season unless we do that.”

Morningside Coach Ron Tatum on his team’s 36-9 victory over Valley View, during which the Monarchs scored touchdowns on their first three possessions: “We knew that we had to score to keep up with them. We went out this week and prepared to score every time we touched the ball. Once we got up on them, we felt a little comfortable.”

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Morningside tailback Montres Gords after Friday’s quarterfinal victory: “We don’t intend to stop right here. We intend to go to the CIF championship.”

Serra Coach Jon Dimalante on his team’s 20-17 loss to La Mirada in the Division VII playoffs: “We played kind of flat in the second half. Things happened that don’t usually happen to us. It’s a tough feeling. Mentally I think the (quarterfinals are) the toughest game.”

San Pedro Coach Mike Walsh, whose team lost to Crenshaw, 17-6, in Southern League play, on the Pirates’ rematch with the Cougars in the City 3-A semifinals Friday night at Gardena High: “We had a few turnovers and a few penalties that hurt us last time. We have to be a lot more controlled and avoid things like talking at the line of scrimmage, which hurt us last time.”

INJURIES

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Carson wingback Theron Hill, the Colts’ leading rusher and second-leading receiver, sat out a 34-14 loss to Banning because of a strained Achilles’ tendon and sprained ankle. Hill was injured Nov. 15 in Carson’s first game against Banning.


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