When Torrance fell behind by three touchdowns in the first half against Redondo, quarterback Tony Brown wasn't worried.
"The way our offense is based on the pass, being behind 21 points isn't much," Brown said.
The senior proved his point by passing for 351 yards and five touchdowns Friday night to rally Torrance to a 34-28 victory at Redondo. The Tartars, who trailed, 21-0, late in the first half and, 28-13, at the end of the third quarter, scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to improve to 2-0.
Torrance scored the game-winning touchdown with 1 minute 14 seconds left on an eight-yard pass from Brown to wide receiver Carlos Bryant, breaking a 28-28 tie. The Tartars' other fourth-quarter touchdowns came on Brown passes covering three yards to wide receiver Daymon Felis with 7:37 left and 42 yards to running back Andre Hilliard with 4:58 left.
"Brown was composed and showed good leadership," Torrance Coach Bill Bynum said. "At the half, we told them that there are two halves to the game, and that we had to win the second half."
Redondo won the first half behind tailback Nigel Greer, who scored on runs of 55, 57 and eight yards to make the score 21-0 with 3:57 left in the second quarter. Torrance pulled within 21-7 before halftime on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Hilliard.
Bynum said the Tartars tried but failed to establish a running game.
"We have to have some balance," said Bynum, whose previous teams were heavily pass-oriented but had losing records. "We may come out and run one of these games and scare somebody, but I wouldn't bet on it."
The way Leuzinger played, it's no surprise that Coach Fred Boehm said it felt like he aged a few years Friday night.
"I think I had a few brown hairs before the game," said the silver-haired Boehm. "I don't have have any now. No chance."
Leuzinger defeated West Torrance, 9-8, but the mistake-plagued Olympians made things tough on themselves. They were penalized 18 times for 165 yards and nearly fumbled the game away late in the fourth quarter, hanging on when West's Jim Yates missed a 32-yard field goal attempt with 1:03 left.
Instead of learning from its mistakes, Leuzinger seemed to become more undisciplined as the game wore on. The Olympians were penalized five times for 60 yards in the fourth quarter, when they had a touchdown called back because of two embarrassing infractions.
Leading, 9-8, early in the fourth quarter, Leuzinger quarterback Jason Simmons completed a short pass to tight end Aaron Williams, who broke a tackle and raced along the sideline for an apparent 79-yard touchdown.
As he approached the end zone, though, Williams taunted West's defenders by holding the ball out with one hand. He was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. To make matters worse, lineman Enga Usu was called for clipping in the open field, some 30 yards behind Williams.
So, instead of having a touchdown and bigger lead, Leuzinger got two 15-yard penalties and had the ball back at its 30-yard line, where the drive stalled.
In the second quarter, a holding penalty nullified an eight-yard scoring run by Olympian running back Don Williams.
"We had to overcome a lot, needless to say," Boehm said. "We're young and we're still learning. That's all there is to it."
Marco Vallado accounted for the winning points and capped the scoring with a 25-yard field goal with five seconds left in the first half.
It was also a rough night for West Coach Kerry Crabb, whose team squandered several scoring chances.
The Warriors twice failed to score after driving inside the Leuzinger five, and blew a chance to win the game after Yates, West's free safety, recovered a Simmons fumble at the Leuzinger 13 with 2:14 left.
Running back Tito Powell swept around right end for a touchdown on the first play after the fumble, but it was nullified by a holding penalty. Three plays later, Yates barely missed to the right on his second field-goal attempt of the game. He was also wide right on a 19-yard attempt in the second quarter, after Leuzinger stopped West on three consecutive running plays from the six, three and two.
"My biggest disappointment is that we're on the two-yard line and we can't put the ball in (the end zone)," Crabb said. "They stuffed us three times in a row."
West reached the Leuzinger three later in the game, but on second and goal, backup quarterback Corey DeVry dropped the ball while preparing to pass and Vallado recovered for Leuzinger at the nine with 7:10 left. It was the only series of the game for DeVry, who was subbing for starter Kirk Bolling.
Jaimi Torres has a lonely job. He kicks for Banning, and in two games he has kicked the ball three times--all kickoffs. His one extra-point try in last week's 16-6 loss to Muir never made it to the holder's hands because of a bad snap.
Torres' plight is a symptom of Banning's problems. Friday night's 15-0 loss to Long Beach Poly at Veterans Stadium was the first time the Pilots had been shut out since Carson blanked them, 41-0, in 1989.
In the first half against Poly, Banning was plagued by mistakes and disorganization. The Pilots were penalized twice for having 12 men on the field, they had 10 players on the field before calling time out on a punt return and they were penalized a total of 55 yards. Meanwhile, the offense gained only 29 yards in the first half and finished with 73.
Banning Coach Ed Paculba was at a loss for an explanation.
"The kids are not in the game, they're back there doing I don't know what," Paculba said. "It's just a breakdown, but I can't degrade my team until I see the film. I'm not worried. Our kids will regroup."
Banning and Carson both played different quarterbacks Friday than the ones who started last week's openers.
Banning went with senior London McBride over sophomore Ira McKenna, and junior Ramon Rogers started in place of senior Tony Harvey in Carson's 15-7 loss to San Diego Morse.
Carson Coach David Williams said Rogers, who completed eight of 16 passes for 104 yards, has won the starting job for the time being. Harvey returned to wide receiver, the position he played last season, and will back up Rogers.
"Tony is a much more talented athlete than Ramon, but the quarterback has to have leadership and poise," Williams said. "Tony was not willing to stay in the pocket (last week) against Bishop Amat and see the whole field. Poise is the thing. Ramon is not as talented in terms of passing ability or running ability, but Ramon is more effective."
Rogers also took over at punter Friday night after a snap went through the hands of regular punter Rafael Mares, setting up Morse's first touchdown in the second quarter.
McBride, who had been Banning's tight end, made up in toughness what he lacked in experience in his first start at quarterback. The left-hander carried the ball 10 times for 46 yards and took several hard shots, but always returned to the huddle.
South Torrance co-coach Joe Austin said the Spartans' 25-20 victory over Culver City was a good tune-up for Thursday night's game against Hawthorne.
"It's good for us to see that kind of speed," Austin said of Culver City. "I know (Hawthorne) has plenty of team speed and they're just a great team, period. We still have a lot to improve, but I hope we're ready to play them."
--Carson suffered its third consecutive loss dating to last season in a 15-7 defeat against San Diego Morse. The last time the Colts lost three in a row was during the 1975-76 seasons.
--Mary Star's losing streak was extended to 18 games in a 33-0 loss to St. Francis.
IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT
Before Friday's game against Hesperia Christian, Chadwick Coach Sid Grant said the contest would be like construction work--tough and physical. But after the Dolphins' 36-20 victory, the game might be better described as an auto race, with Chadwick running back Scooter Atkins (37 carries, 237 yards, three touchdowns) getting the checkered flag.
As in any race, you need support, and Grant said it came from "the pit crew" or offensive line. Center Wesley Shibe, guards Sean Lucy and Robbie Barens, and tight ends Sean Kennedy and Deven Crest "turned on the juice in the fourth quarter and got it done," Grant said.
Leading, 28-20, with six minutes to go, the offensive line helped Chadwick control the ball for five minutes and put the game out of reach on a five-yard scoring run by Atkins.
Chadwick, ranked No. 4 in the Eight-Man Large Division, should move up in the poll after beating No. 2-ranked Hesperia Christian.
Banning quarterback London McBride after a 15-0 loss to Long Beach Poly dropped the Pilots to 0-2: "I guarantee this is the last loss of the season. This team has a lot of heart (and) our offensive line played great. If I could, I would take them all out to dinner."
Redondo Coach Chris Hyduke after his team squandered leads of 21-0 and 28-13 in a 34-28 loss to Torrance: "We (gave) it away. We didn't play bad, but we'll have to make some adjustments."
Torrance quarterback Tony Brown on receiver Daymon Felis, who had 11 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns against Redondo: "We've had the connection since we started playing together in the eighth grade."
Carson Coach David Williams after the Colt offense was shut out for the second consecutive game in a 15-7 loss to San Diego Morse: "There's still a tendency for this team not to put enough into a series to get into the end zone."
El Segundo Coach Craig Cousins on beating Laguna Beach, 34-10, after losing last week's opener against Mira Costa, 21-2: "What a difference a week makes. (Chris) Burke played an exceptional game at quarterback. He ran the offense really well."
West Coach Kerry Crabb after a 9-8 loss to Leuzinger dropped the Warriors to 0-2: "In the (nonleague) season, you can kind of take the edge off a loss because it doesn't matter. We can go 5-0 right now, but if you go 0-5 in league it doesn't help you."
--Peninsula tailback James Durroh sat out a 34-24 victory over Centennial because of a sprained ankle but is expected to play Friday against Culver City.
--Carson center-linebacker Sonny Thompson suffered a knee injury in the second half against Morse and did not return. Carson wingback Shadeed Muhammad missed his second game because of strained knee ligaments and is not expected to play until Oct. 1.