Lake Balboa Birmingham was considered one of several teams capable of contending for the City Section title when the season began, but after its dismantling of San Pedro, 45-7, at the Coliseum on Friday night in the Championship Division final, the Patriots can say they are -- by far -- the best.
Birmingham (10-3) earned its third title in five years by dominating the Pirates (12-2) on both sides of the ball.
San Pedro was making its first appearance in a final since 1997. But the Pirates fans, who outnumbered those from Birmingham, sat in silence as quarterback James Beloff shredded their team's secondary for 288 yards passing and two touchdowns on 15-for-20 passing.
Wide receiver Will Chandler had seven catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
And when Beloff wasn't completing passes to six receivers, Milton Knox was running for 131 yards and three touchdowns in 29 carries.
San Pedro's dependable running game ultimately could not keep up with the Patriots' more balanced attack. J'vone Hibbler and Joseph Chavez rushed for 41 and 49 yards, respectively, but Pirates quarterback Jason Garneau completed only two of six passes for 20 yards.
Birmingham started fast, as Chandler took a 10-yard slant from Beloff for a 40-yard score and 7-0 lead with 6 minutes 19 seconds left in the first quarter.
San Pedro responded with a long drive, all on the ground. The Pirates returned the Birmingham kickoff to their own 43, then marched 57 yards in eight plays for the equalizer. Chavez scored from 10 yards.
Birmingham answered by scoring 17 unanswered points in the second quarter. Knox broke the tie with a two-yard run with 10:17 left in the half.