THIS WEEK’S TOP FOOTBALL GAMES
San Pedro (8-2) at L.A. Crenshaw (8-2), 7, tonight
Crenshaw’s only two losses have been by two points to La Mirada and one point to undefeated Dorsey. The eighth-seeded Cougars rely on their tried-and-true formula of a tough defense and a massive offensive line that opens holes for Aaron Huntley and Rickie Collins. Ninth-seeded San Pedro has won four in a row since losing its Marine League opener to Carson. Running backs Grant Thorne and Ronnie Barber, junior quarterback Dustin Garneau and receiver John Whitt have helped the Pirates develop a well-rounded offense. Senior tackle C.J. Torres is the Pirates’ featured player on defense.
-- Eric Stephens
Harbor City Narbonne (5-5) at Lake Balboa Birmingham (7-3), 7, tonight
Birmingham graduated 31 players from last year’s City Championship team and was supposedly a year away from challenging for another title, but the young Patriots won the West Valley League title and earned the No. 4 seeding in the playoffs. Junior Brian Stuart has 1,081 yards rushing and senior Brian Baylor has 928 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns. Narbonne, the third-place finisher in the Marine League, counters with Lamont Lang, who rushed for 114 yards against Carson, and Pat Smith, who had 100 yards.
-- Eric Sondheimer
Bellflower St. John Bosco (7-3) vs. Long Beach Poly (8-2) at Veterans Stadium, 7 p.m., Friday
Not many would have pegged Poly as the top-seeded team in Division I after the Jackrabbits started the season 2-2, but a six-game winning streak has Poly thinking about a sixth trip to the finals in seven years. Poly’s losses are to Mission Viejo and Clovis East, two of the top teams in the state. Anthony Torrell Baker has 825 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, and 32 catches for 530 yards and five touchdowns. St. John Bosco, which started 5-0, features a solid defense that gives up only 16 points per game. Poly averages 36.8 points.
-- Peter Yoon
Santa Margarita (7-3) vs. Los Alamitos (9-1) at Long Beach Wilson High, 7:30 p.m., Friday
Though unseeded, defending champion Los Alamitos (9-1) is a favorite to win the title. The Griffins, ranked No. 7 by The Times, are the second-place entry from the Sunset League even though they shared the league title with Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach Edison. Playing comparative scores: Santa Margarita beat Fountain Valley, 28-20, and the Barons are the team that beat Los Alamitos, 21-16. Santa Margarita, which is on a three-game losing streak, can’t rely on quarterback Michael Angelo if it hopes to spring the upset.
-- Martin Henderson
Valencia (7-3) at Claremont (6-4), 7:30 p.m., Friday
This game will feature a contrast in offensive styles because Valencia loves to throw the ball and Claremont prefers to run it. Valencia, the third-place team in the Foothill League behind Newhall Hart and Canyon Country Canyon, is led by quarterback Mike Herrick. The 6-foot-1, 165-pound sophomore has completed 246 of 374 passes for 2,766 yards and 18 touchdowns. He has rushed for 10 touchdowns. Jamaal Floyd, a 5-10, 190-pound senior, has rushed for 1,406 yards and scored 19 touchdowns for Claremont. The Wolfpack, winners of the Baseline League, had a 1-4 record in nonleague play but was undefeated in league. Valencia lost to Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, Canyon and Hart.
-- John Ortega
Diamond Bar (7-3) vs. Rancho Cucamonga (7-3) at Chaffey College, 7:30 p.m., Friday
Rancho Cucamonga, the No. 2 entry from the Baseline League, is led by Daniel Ashley, who rushed for 174 yards and scored a touchdown in a 17-14 victory over Upland last week, despite sitting out the team’s 35-14 loss to Alta Loma the previous week because of a strained quadriceps. Ashley has 1,393 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns this season. Diamond Bar finished third in the Sierra League after losing to Chino, 19-18, when Jeff Shubin’s two-point conversion pass was batted incomplete with 37 seconds left. Against their only common opponent, Rancho Cucamonga defeated La Verne Damien, 31-24, in the second week of the season, and Diamond Bar lost to the Spartans, 31-14, four weeks later.
-- Dan Arritt