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PACESETTERAfter a 25-0 defeat of Wilson on...

PACESETTER

After a 25-0 defeat of Wilson on Friday, Westchester completed nonconference play with a 3-0 record, but Coach Larry Wein is not impressed.

“We haven’t been playing that well,” Wein said. “We have an experienced quarterback, but we are a young team.”

According to Wein, the Comets were guilty of being overly aggressive against Wilson and were penalized for more than 100 yards, including penalties that cost them two touchdowns.

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“We need to learn when to be aggressive and when to restrain ourselves,” Wein said.

The Comets’ biggest surprise may be Kaaron Conwright, a 5-foot-7 flanker who rushed four times for 24 yards and had a touchdown called back on a punt return.

“We’re weaning him with the ball,” Wein said. “We pitch the ball to him. We use him for reverses. We’ll throw to him.

“He’s a kid with exceptional speed that’s just learning how to play.”

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With Conwright, quarterback Seka Edwards and running back Jermaine Lewis, the Comets are favored to repeat as Coastal Conference champion. Westchester plays host to Manual Arts at 7:30 p.m. Friday to open conference play.

“I see the conference shaping up as a lot stronger (than) last year,” Wein said. “I think our team, Venice and Fairfax are the teams to beat.”

STOPGAP MEASURES

Venice running back and free safety Larry Atkins will miss at least two games because of a sprained ankle suffered in the third quarter of Thursday’s 35-15 loss to San Pedro. Atkins, who is on crutches this week, will try to return for the Oct. 15 game with Palisades. The 6-foot-3, 196-pound senior had 17 carries for 137 yards and an 83-yard touchdown run before the injury.

Co-coach Tony Chretin said Atkins’ replacement would be Robert Hayes, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior transfer from Santa Monica, and that 5-foot-8, 140-pound junior Tony Gomez would play strong safety for the Coastal Conference opener with Hamilton on Friday.

END OF AN ERA

University’s 41-7 victory over Hollywood on Friday ended the Warriors’ 19-game losing streak.

“With the way we were playing, especially with our blocking, this was a win we deserved,” said sophomore running back Marco Pleas, who had 11 carries for 150 yards and scored touchdowns on runs of 49, 10 and two yards.

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Senior receiver Mike Lee scored touchdowns on receptions of 56 and seven yards from senior quarterback Lal Knight. Junior quarterback Carlos Campos passed 35 yards to senior Harold Moret for a TD. On defense, junior Joey Gabriel had 3 1/2 sacks and a fumble recovery, all in the first half.

“Our next goal is to win a league game,” said first-year Coach Marshall Jones, whose team will play a Coastal Conference game Friday at Fairfax. “This one meant a lot to the players who have been in the program for the past three years. I know they want a lot more.”

Hollywood Coach Bob O’Connor was impressed with University’s play.

“The coach from San Pedro, who played them in the season opener, said this was the best Uni team he’d ever seen,” O’Connor said. “They sure looked better than us.”

INTERNATIONAL GAME

When Hollywood senior quarterback Nelson Umana of El Salvador completed a 34-yard pass to sophomore receiver Ngurah Agung of Indonesia for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against University, it was the Sheiks’ first score of the season and one of many international exchanges for the squad.

The majority of Sheik players are Salvadorans, Armenians, Guatemalans and Mexicans with most having only a soccer background, according to O’Connor. “We have kids on the team who act as translators for me,” he said. “Just how close it is to exactly what I’m saying, I’m not quite sure.”

Hollywood (0-3) plays host to Verdugo Hills (0-3) in a Northern Conference opener Friday.

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SPEED TRAP

Hamilton has a knack for turning a simple pass play into a long touchdown. Last week against Gardena, Nikia Smith caught a 30-yard pass from quarterback Eric Perez and ran an additional 57 yards for a TD. The Yankees had two other opportunities to score, but fumbled twice inside the five-yard line in a 9-7 victory.

“Gardena’s defense was geared to stop our run, but we were still able to move the ball,” Hamilton Coach John Ausbon said. “Our big test will be against Venice.”

The Yankees kicking game has improved because of Malcolm Close, who is averaging more than 40 yards a punt and kicking the ball in the end zone on kickoffs. Close’s 39-yard field goal gave the Yankees the victory over Gardena.

HEADS UP

Despite a 49-7 loss to San Fernando, Palisades is not ready to give up on its season.

“They were a big, physical veteran team. We were fortunate to get out of there alive,” Palisades Coach Russ .oward said. “The scoreboard won’t show it, but we hung in there pretty tough. I didn’t see anybody hanging their heads or throwing helmets.”

The Dolphins open Coastal Conference play against Los Angeles, which played without running back Shena Onaolapo and lost to Franklin, 28-14. Onaolapo, who has 244 yards and two touchdowns in 14 carries, injured his right shoulder but is expected to play against Palisades.

GETTING DEFENSIVE

For the second consecutive week, quarterback Oscar Casillas, receiver Jason Jones and running back Kenny Jackson led St. Monica (2-1) in a 38-6 victory over Blair.

Casillas passed for 275 yards and two touchdowns, Jones had four receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown and Jackson had 139 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

But the Mariners’ defense deserves recognition after limiting Blair to 72 yards rushing and 27 yards passing. Mike Bailey, a returning All-Camino Real League middle linebacker, led the team with four solo tackles and 12 assists. Outside linebacker Mike Villa and defensive tackle Francisco Saloman each had 12 tackles.

SWITCH IN TIME

Despite playing eight-man football, having only 18 players can pose problems even for a top-ranked team such as Brentwood.

In last week’s game, Faith Baptist scored on its first drive against the Eagles and Brentwood Coach Pat Brown attributed that in part to his limited roster.

“We really weren’t able to adequately simulate their offense in practice during the week,” Brown said. “Their slant and hitch patterns were a lot quicker than we anticipated.”

With some adjustments and a ball-control ground game, Brentwood held Faith Baptist scoreless the rest of the game and won, 34-8. Senior outside linebacker Jamie Keston had a fumble recovery and an interception in the second quarter. Brad Conroy, a junior middle linebacker, led the Eagles with 7 1/2 tackles.

Brentwood (3-0) will play host to Campbell Hall (3-0) on Saturday at 2 p.m.

SETTING PRIORITIES

With defending Division IV champion Montclair Prep on the schedule next week, Murphy Coach Greg Dixon is finding it difficult to get the Nobles prepared for Friday’s game against winless Whittier Christian.

“It’s hard not to look forward to Montclair Prep since they’re the best team of its size in the area,” said junior quarterback Danny Ragsdale, who completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Scanlan with three minutes remaining in Friday’s 18-17 win over Pius X. “But we know we have to win this one first.”

In the Pius X game, Murphy had no turnovers for the first time this season.

“It was an error-free game only in terms of turnovers,” Dixon said. “We made plenty of mental mistakes.”

FILLING VOIDS

Santa Monica’s defense should be bolstered with the return of linebacker J’von Willis, who had a strained quadricep, and safety Josh Casillas, who was out because of a shoulder injury, for Friday’s game with Centennial, according to Coach Danny Escalera.

On Friday against Mira Costa, the Mustangs romped to a 31-0 victory over Santa Monica as junior fullback Phil Fonua rushed for 51 yards and three touchdowns in eight carries.

“I think we’ll be a lot stronger for this one,” Escalera said. “With J’von, we’ll go slow at first and see how he does.”

GIVING FITS

Culver City Coach Robert Moore thinks the Centaurs have gotten into a bad habit of turning over the football.

In a 45-14 loss to Peninsula, Culver City lost three fumbles and had three passes intercepted.

“We scored first, moved the ball up and down pretty well,” Moore said. “Then the turnovers hit. It’s just killing us.”

Culver City plays Hawthorne on Friday.

COMMUNITY COLLEGES

It’s an unexpected week off for the West L.A. football team.

West L.A. (0-2, 0-1 in Western State Conference play) was scheduled to play host to Harbor (1-1, 0-1) Saturday. But on Tuesday, Harbor officials decided to temporarily suspend the school’s football program after a brawl among Harbor and Pierce coaches, players and fans in a game Saturday in Wilmington.

Harbor receiver Dion Mills was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon in the aftermath of the brawl. Mills was released after posting $35,000 bail.

The fight left one Pierce coach hospitalized and two others injured.

Pat Swift, a Pierce offensive line coach, was knocked unconscious when he was allegedly struck over the head with an aluminum crutch by a Harbor player after the 23-0 Pierce victory.

Pierce Coach Bill Norton was treated for cuts and bruises and released. Assistant Phil Wijmer was treated for a chest bruise and released.

Findings from investigations and recommendations from Harbor and Pierce have been sent to Aviva Kamin, the WSC commissioner. She is expected to announce today whether to accept the self-imposed sanctions or recommend others.

West L.A. is coming off a 28-23 loss to Compton (1-1, 1-0) Saturday. Michael Black and Jerome Henderson rushed for 169 and 124 yards, but the Oilers were unable to hold on to a 23-16 fourth-quarter lead.

Santa Monica (0-2, 0-1) will also be searching for its first win at Glendale (1-1, 0-1) Saturday after a 34-21 defeat against Moorpark last week.


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