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Narbonne ends Birmingham run

staff reports

There will be a new football champion in the City Section.

Harbor City Narbonne built a four-touchdown lead and then held off a furious rally by two-time defending champion Lake Balboa Birmingham for a 45-35 victory on Wednesday night in a Championship Division quarterfinal at Narbonne.

The top-seeded Gauchos (11-1) will play host to fourth-seeded Los Angeles Crenshaw (9-2) in a semifinal on Dec. 5. The Cougars defeated Narbonne in the quarterfinals the last two years.

“Going to the Coliseum, that’s our goal,” said Narbonne running back Melvin Davis, who rushed for 109 yards and three touchdowns in nine carries.

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A 44-yard touchdown run by Davis on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Gauchos a 42-27 lead.

“Their running back is bigger than our linemen,” Birmingham Coach Ed Croson said of Davis, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior.

The Patriots (6-6), who had trailed, 28-0, early in the second quarter, closed to within 42-35 on Dominique Flowers’ one-yard touchdown run and Tashawn White’s two-point conversion run with 9:21 remaining. But Narbonne tacked on a 27-yard field goal by Diego Montoya and recovered the ensuing onside kick.

Tajuan Briggs had 116 yards and three touchdowns in 22 carries for Birmingham.

-- Ben Bolch

Taft wins, 40-17

USC-bound junior running back D.J. Morgan rushed for 176 yards and four touchdowns in 25 carries as third-seeded host Taft (11-1) relied on a second-half scoring surge to defeat sixth-seeded San Fernando (8-4) in a muddy quarterfinal.

As usual, Morgan was the difference for the Toreadors, scoring a couple of first-half touchdowns before scoring on runs of four and 50 yards in the second half.

“D.J. once again got the job done for us,” Taft Coach Matt Kerstetter said. “It’s such a good feeling to know that we’ll be moving on and to get the chance to prove what this team can do.”

Taft will play at second-seeded San Pedro (11-1), which beat Venice on Wednesday, in the semifinals Dec. 5.

Morgan wasn’t the only Taft standout. Senior Kalan Booker opened the second half with an 80-yard kickoff return and also had a fourth-quarter interception. Quarterback Bam Goodall completed six of nine passes for 123 yards.

San Fernando managed to keep things close in the first half, but, except for its last possession, couldn’t get anything going in the second half. Quarterback Rashaad Reynolds completed six of 15 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown. He also scored on an 11-yard run in the final minute.

Tigers running back Daniel Lopez was held to 94 yards in 15 carries after rushing for more than 200 yards in the last two games.

For the first time in school history, the Tigers had a single-season 1,000-yard passer (Reynolds), rusher (Lopez) and receiver (Leon Jones).

-- Austin Knoblauch

San Pedro advances

Fullback Ryan Stanovich ran for two touchdowns and tailback Joseph Deguchi had 29 carries for 139 yards and a 72-yard touchdown reception to lead No. 2-seeded San Pedro to a 31-0 victory over Venice.

The Pirates (11-1) held the Gondoliers (6-6) without a first down after the first quarter, sacked quarterback Alfonso Medina six times and limited him to six-for-19 passing for 86 yards and an interception.

-- Mark Medina


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