It Was a Week Full of Drama

Times Staff Writer

Last week was probably the most dramatic of the season. Games were played daily, a new venue was broken in, lights were turned on for the first time, and an All-American probably saw his high school career come to an inglorious end.

City Section powers Venice and Los Angeles Dorsey stayed undefeated ... barely.

Corona Centennial, which has one of the best offenses in the Southern Section, lost yet another game.

Huntington Beach Edison proved it's a genuine Division I title contender, as did Lakewood in defeat.

Newhall Hart shattered the Southern Section record book, and Mission Viejo inked a deal with Concord De La Salle, putting what probably will be two very long winning streaks -- 37 and 146 to date, respectively -- on the line in Week 5 next season.

And there's still one week left to play in the regular season.


It seemed as if the matchup for the City Section's Championship division title was a foregone conclusion: Venice vs. Dorsey.

However, suddenly each appears beatable.

Venice defeated L.A. Fairfax, 27-25, because Julio Dieguez hooked his 45-yard field-goal attempt three feet wide as time expired.

Dorsey survived L.A. Crenshaw, 13-12, thanks to the Cougars' missed two-point conversion attempt midway through the fourth quarter of the first night game in school history.

Crenshaw had averaged 6.7 yards per play in the second half Friday, so handing off to Rickie Collins or Aaron Huntley seemed reasonable when the Cougars needed a two-point conversion.

But the Cougars and their fans watched in agony as Marquis Curtis' pass went off the fingertips of tight end Brandon Sampay in the back of the end zone, and Dorsey held on for its first victory in the series since 1998.

"It was strategy," Crenshaw Coach Robert Garrett said of his decision to call a pass play. "Sometimes, coaches shoot themselves in the foot."


As a result of games rescheduled because of recent Southland fires, the first stunner of the week came Wednesday, when Norco upset then-No. 10 Corona Centennial, 31-28, in a Mountain View League game.

Shane Martin kicked a 21-yard field goal with three seconds left for the victory.

Norco's defense held the Southland's best running back, Terrell Jackson (1,669 yards, 28 touchdowns), to 71 yards in 15 carries. Norco's Toby Gerhart turned in a 37-carry, 324-yard, three-touchdown performance.

Centennial (5-3, 2-1 in league play) is the defending Division V champion, and the title game this season figured to be a rematch of last season's, which resulted in the Huskies' 57-55 overtime victory over Riverside North.

If Norco (7-1, 3-0) wins its final two games, tonight against Corona Santiago and Friday against Corona, it figures to be seeded second or third in the playoff pairings.

If Centennial finishes second in league, it would be on the same side of the playoff bracket as North (9-0, 4-0), which is ranked No. 2 by The Times.


The Home Depot Center made its debut as a prep football facility Thursday, when touchdowns by Philip Knight, Antwan Mahaley and Robert Miller helped Carson beat Wilmington Banning, 21-10, in a Marine League game in front of 7,190.

"It's going to be an outstanding venue. It was a nice dry run for us," said Thom Simmons, spokesman for the Southern Section, which will hold the Division I semifinals and four section championship games there.


There was much confusion Thursday surrounding Los Alamitos and its All-American safety, Randy Estes.

Estes was suspended from school earlier in the day and didn't play in the Griffins' 28-3 Sunset League victory over Anaheim Esperanza.

School officials still aren't commenting about the reason for his suspension, but it appears Los Alamitos could begin defense of its Division I championship without one of the top players in the nation.

After losing to Fountain Valley two weeks ago, Los Alamitos figured to go into the playoffs as the Sunset League's second-place team.

However, Edison dominated Fountain Valley, 22-8, on Friday at Edison Field to bring about a three-way tie among the teams atop the league. If they remain tied after this week's games, a coin flip will decide which goes into the playoffs as the first-, second- or third-place team.

Yes, Los Alamitos (8-1), which has the best record among Division I teams, could be the league's third-place representative.


Lakewood's near upset of then-No. 4 Long Beach Poly -- the Lancers lost, 14-10, after giving up a 33-yard touchdown pass play from Cruz Parsons to Derrick Jones with 1:45 left to play -- gave some credibility to its season. The Lancers (7-2, 4-1 in the Moore League) had beaten everyone they should have and lost to one team -- Downey Warren -- they shouldn't have.

Notable about Poly's game-winning play: Jones was wearing jersey No. 1 instead of his usual No. 4 when he scored.

But Jones didn't catch Lakewood by surprise.

"Our kids pointed it out to me during warmups," Lakewood Coach Mike Christensen said. "We just didn't cover on that last play, and they got us."


Hart won its 61st consecutive league game Monday to break a Southern Section record that had stood since 1957. The 40-0 victory over Burbank Burroughs in Foothill League play ended a tie with Carpinteria, which won 60 consecutive league games from 1947 to 1957.

However, after a game-by-game research, Cal-Hi Sports reported last week that the Carpinteria streak may have been only 55 games -- 54 in the regular season and one league playoff game.

No matter, Hart extended its streak to 62 on Friday with a 48-8 victory over Saugus.

Times staff writers Ben Bolch, Paul McLeod and Eric Stephens contributed to this report.

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