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High School Sports

Parity has come to City Section football playoffs

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Mason White, left, and Arlis Boardingham are top football players for Birmingham.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Parity has come to City Section football, just in time for the start of playoffs on Friday. That’s what happens when the most dominant team, Narbonne, is suddenly ineligible, opening the door for a number of teams to have realistic hopes of winning a title.

The eight-team Open Division playoffs begin Nov. 15, with the best opening game perhaps Garfield playing at Birmingham. Both teams won league championships and could make a run for it again. Also intriguing is Coliseum League champion Crenshaw at Valley Mission League champion San Fernando.

By removing Narbonne, Division I also becomes more wide open. Carson would have been the No. 1 seed, but the Colts moved up to the Open Division and will get a rematch with top-seeded San Pedro as the No. 8 seed.

Eagle Rock takes over as No. 1 seed in Division I. There’s some competitive Division I openers on Friday night. Arleta, the East Valley League champion, is at Westchester. Arleta likes to run the ball with James Ochoa, who has gained 1,514 yards and scored 23 touchdowns. Westchester has a speed advantage that must be overcome.

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Locke is at Granada Hills in a matchup of the Coliseum League vs. the West Valley League. Venice is hoping to turn loose quarterback Luca Diamont in its opener against Bell.

In Division II, Franklin is the No. 1 seed and isn’t likely to get challenged until facing No. 2 Canoga Park in the final. Manual Arts, at 9-1 and seeded No. 3, would like to crash the party.

In Division III, unbeaten Marquez (10-0) is a heavy favorite but there’s lots of potential obstacles ahead from teams that played against much tougher league foes.


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