Birmingham shows its power with rout of Lincoln

Birmingham receiver Arlis Boardingham makes a touchdown catch against Lincoln.
Birmingham receiver Arlis Boardingham makes a touchdown catch against Lincoln during a City Section Open Division football playoff game Friday night.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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In this era of CIF administrators using computer rankings to determine playoff seedings, the truth is the final four in the City Section Open Division were known three months ago. San Pedro, Wilmington Banning, Palisades and Lake Balboa Birmingham have been dominant for weeks. The only question has been how large their margins of victory would be.

While rankings had Lincoln seeded No. 4 and Birmingham No. 5, the Patriots left little doubt how superior they are, opening a 32-0 halftime lead en route to a 52-0 victory Friday night. They will face No. 1-
seeded Banning in next Friday’s semifinals. The other semifinal will have Palisades at San Pedro.

Birmingham, the defending Open Division champion, started the season 0-5 while playing five Southern Section opponents. Some actually believed the Patriots were going nowhere. It was as misleading as Lincoln’s 10-0 record. Birmingham has twice the number of players as 26-man Lincoln and four-year starters in receiver Arlis Boardingham, linebacker Delamonte Barnes and lineman Carlos Rivera.

Boardingham caught three touchdown passes and passed for a touchdown. Barnes was making his usual impact on defense and also rushed for 195 yards in 18 carries and scored two touchdowns. Rivera led the line on both sides of the ball as they toyed with the Tigers.


Birmingham coach Jim Rose offered no apology for the Patriots losing all of their nonleague games. They’ve outscored their six City Section opponents 304-13.

“We don’t schedule for rankings,” he said. “We schedule to get better. Playing Chaminade and Oaks Christian makes us better.”

Said Barnes: “We had a slow start to the season. I let my team down. We came back. We’re showing everyone who we are.”

Patrick Robinson and Tim Jackson each had two interceptions for Birmingham. Peter Cortes ran for two touchdowns. Lincoln played without two defensive starters who had not been fully vaccinated as required by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Friday was time to experiment with watching a tripleheader in the City Section. My day started with a 6 a.m. drive to Santa Ana Mater Dei for the Trinity League basketball media day. Then came a 90-minute afternoon drive back to Los Angeles for a 2 p.m. Division I game at Arleta, where Kayden Collins pulled off touchdown runs of 98 and 67 yards in Canoga Park’s 27-6 win.

Then it was off to Reseda for a 4 p.m. start. Reseda defeated Eagle Rock 20-13 behind three touchdown passes by Anthony Morris. Finally there was the one-hour drive to Lincoln Heights, where the unbeaten Tigers were heavy underdogs even though they were seeded higher than Birmingham in the Open Division thanks to the computer rankings. The last time there were playoffs, Lincoln was a Division III team.

“We all want to see who’s behind the curtain and what’s behind the algorithm,” said former Lincoln coach Chris Rattay, the game announcer.

It was a strange night in the City Section that included a Division I thriller as Dorsey rallied from a 21-0 deficit to beat Reseda Cleveland 34-28 in double overtime.