ON THE RIGHT TRACK
After two consecutive victories, Westchester has reasserted itself as the team to beat when Coastal Conference play begins Friday.
The Comets displayed their talent and athleticism Friday in a 20-14 victory over Inglewood.
Sophomore quarterback Brennan Crooks and receiver Tony Griffin connected on touchdown passes of 57 and six yards.
The Comets (2-1) open conference play against Hamilton (0-3).
"On paper, they have the best athletes in the conference," said co-coach Tony Chretin, whose Venice team shared the best record in conference with the Comets last season. "In the past, the Comets have started off slowly and by the second or third game, they jelled."
Venice (2-1) played its best game of the season despite suffering a 30-0 loss to San Pedro. Gerardo Gomez had 15 unassisted tackles and was "in the Pirates' backfield all night long," according to Chretin.
"I felt better about this loss than our win against Hollywood," Chretin said. "I think our chances are a lot better than I expected."
Chretin, however, was upset with San Pedro demeanor.
"We're taking San Pedro off our schedule," said Chretin, who in the past has complained about San Pedro's trash talking. "The players were OK, but I'm not too happy with their fans. They were spitting on our sign and making vulgar comments toward our players."
The Gondoliers open conference play against Fairfax (1-2).
According to Fairfax Coach Terrel Ray, the City Section will go through with its plan to wait until the end of the season to determine seedings for the 4-A and 3-A playoffs.
As it stands now, only the conference champion is guaranteed a 4-A berth and there are five conferences in the City. The remaining 11 playoff berths will be selected by a committee. Sixteen at-large teams will be selected for the 3-A playoffs.
Westchester and Manual Arts are the early favorites from the Coastal Conference to make the playoffs. Two weeks ago, the Comets scored a 28-9 victory over San Fernando, a traditional San Fernando Valley power, and Manual Arts beat 4-A finalist Dorsey, 14-13. Either team could make a good argument to receive an at-large bid.
In the 3-A, the situation is more complicated. Consider Gardena.
Last week, the Mohicans beat Palisades, 13-0, and two weeks ago defeated Hamilton, 19-0. If a playoff berth came down between Gardena and one of those two Westside schools, the Mohicans would deserve a playoff spot. However, Gardena competes in the Southern Pacific Conference and could finish with a losing record. Would the selection committee pick a team with a 2-8 record over a .500 team?
"Losing to Gardena could hurt us," said Coach Russ Howard, whose Palisades team went 0-2 in nonconference games.
Look for Venice and Fairfax (1-2) to make the 3-A playoffs. University (1-2), Hamilton and Palisades are longshots until proven otherwise.
BACK ON TRACK
After opening with two consecutive losses, Beverly Hills went to the ground to beat West Torrance, 38-14, for its first win. Norman running back Davis Kim rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns, Aaron Kogan had 108 yards and Miguel Marco had two touchdowns.
"Our biggest task was to keep our kids' heads up," Beverly Hills Coach Carter Paysinger said. "We still believe our team is as good as we thought we were at the beginning of the season."
It is tough to win on someone else's home court and even tougher to beat the tournament host, but there stood Michael Harrington of Van Nuys playing host Chris Schoop.
Harrington defeated Schoop, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, during the Pacific Palisades Fall Tennis Championships Sunday at Pacific Palisades Park.
Schoop, who organized the tournament, is the head tennis professional and runs Schoop's tennis shop at the park.
James Gray, a former Santa Monica College and Westchester High standout, never made it to Georgia to play basketball because of academic reasons, but that hasn't stop the Bulldogs from recruiting another Comet.
The Bulldogs are pursuing Comet guard Ben Sanders, but they're not alone.
Also in the hunt for Sanders are Arizona State, Nevada Las Vegas, Washington State, Tennessee and Long Beach State.
Westchester Coach Ed Azzam said he believes Sanders will commit during the early signing period in November.
Fairfax point guard Duane Davis is being recruited by Arizona State, Oregon State, Long Beach State, University of San Francisco, Santa Clara and UC Santa Barbara.
In other basketball news, Westchester's 5-foot-10 point guard, Jan Thomas, transferred to Inglewood because, as Azzam puts it, he could start there. Thomas was a backup guard to junior Danny Walker.
Bud Kling of Palisades, the most successful tennis coach in City Section history, has an impressive lineup of returning girls' players.
But the strength of the team may be found in newcomers.
Sophomore Shana Miller, senior Carolyn Lee and Brenna Moore are the top returning singles' players. Seniors Alison Fischer and Jennie Wilson, and Christin Cho and Diana Varat formed two of the Dolphins' top doubles teams.
Junior Lindsay Alpert appears to be the team's top singles player and freshmen Lucy Zatloukal, Rebecca Ebin, Elisa Miller, Emily Zehr and Stephanie Krauss also may break the starting lineup.
"It's easy to enforce discipline and good work habits in practice," Kling said. "If they don't concentrate and put in 100%, someone will take their place."
The Dolphins have won eight consecutive City titles in the first eight seasons under Kling. In 10 seasons, they have compiled a 128-2 record against City opponents, suffering their only loss to Taft during the last two City championship finals.
Tony Tropin of Mar Vista helped lead Lonesome Pine of Southern California to the gold medal in men's volleyball during the California State Senior Games Championships in San Diego.
About 6,000 senior men and women participated in 27 sporting events throughout California.
Information: (800) 246-9077 or (619) 543-9046.