Brentwood has brains and brawn

Sondheimer is a Times staff writer.

Brentwood School is known for its strong academics, which helps explains why the children of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicholson and Oliver Stone attend the school.

But the football team has started to attract attention, thanks to two players in particular, safety Brett Pierce and kicker Charlie James.

Pierce made his eighth interception in eight games on Friday, tying him for most in the state. James kicked a 51-yard field goal, giving him 11 field goals in 14 attempts. Thirteen field goals is tops in the state.


“He just seems to be in the right place at the right time,” Brentwood Coach Patrick Brown said of Pierce, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior who also pitches for the baseball team.

Pierce didn’t play football last season. He’s also a member of Brentwood’s choir and will get to sing at Carnegie Hall in March.

Asked what’s more important, eight interceptions or singing at Carnegie Hall, Pierce said, “I don’t want to upset my teachers or coaches. I’m excited to do both.”

James, 6-3, 210 pounds, is a top soccer player, leading receiver and standout defensive player.

He didn’t want to attempt the 51-yard field goal, waving to Brown. But Brown refused to take the hint.

“I didn’t think I could make it,” James said. “I should have had more confidence in myself.”

Brentwood (7-1) is ranked No. 3 in the East Valley Division, where San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret’s (8-0) is king.


Mistake on ice

Calling a timeout to freeze a kicker is usually considered the correct strategy, but it backfired in a double-overtime game on Friday.

St. Francis had just scored a touchdown in the second overtime to pull within 14-13 against St. Paul. The Golden Knights’ kicker was ready to tie the score when St. Paul called a timeout.

That caused St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds to reconsider his decision.

He remembered how his team lost to Loyola last season, 21-20, on a missed extra point, so he decided to go for the win, and quarterback Justin Sciarra completed a two-point conversion pass to Dietrich Riley for a 15-14 victory.

“They couldn’t adjust to our new formation,” Bonds said. “It was pretty exciting.”


Keyshawn speaks

The Crenshaw-Dorsey game brought out alumni from both schools, and one of those standing on the field was former Dorsey, USC and NFL receiver Keyshawn Johnson. He wasn’t too happy about Dorsey’s 34-0 loss, and as always, he had something to say.

“You win some, you lose some,” he said. “Sometimes the bear eats you, sometimes you eat the bear.”

In other words, his Crenshaw friends are going to be talking smack to him for the next year.


Flynn shines bright

James Flynn, a senior receiver at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (8-0), deserves a major-college scholarship based on his play this season. He has caught 13 touchdown passes, tying a school record. He not only has magnificent hands but excellent speed.


Bowling for Redell

Bill Redell, coach of unbeaten Westlake Village Oaks Christian (8-0), has started his lobbying campaign to get the Lions a CIF state championship Division III bowl berth.

“You’re not going to believe this, but it’s the best team I’ve had, including Crespi in 1986,” Redell said.

Redell said the same thing when Oaks Christian went 14-0 in 2006.

The Lions get a chance to state their case on FSN Prime Ticket on Friday night when they match up against Oxnard Santa Clara (8-0) and Notre Dame-bound running back Cierre Wood.