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Division 2 football semifinals: Intrigue abounds in these matchups

Bishop Alemany running back Floyd Chalk evades a defender on a big gain.
Bishop Alemany running back Floyd Chalk has come on strong going into Friday’s Division 2 semifinals against Inglewood.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Get ready for an intense, everything-goes Final Four in Southern Section Division 2 football on Friday night. The matchups are intriguing: Bishop Alemany (7-3) vs. Inglewood (10-0) at Coleman Field, and Orange Lutheran (8-4) vs. Sierra Canyon (7-4) at Pierce College.

Bishop Alemany hasn’t lost since it switched from focusing on its passing attack to relying on its big, powerful offensive line to open holes for running backs Floyd Chalk and Jaylen Thompson following a 30-7 loss to Mission Viejo on Sept. 17. The Warriors are on a six-game winning streak that has featured dominating performances from junior offensive tackles Aitor Urionbarrenechea and Rhino Tapaatoutai.

Inglewood has pulled off consecutive victories over higher seeds St. Bonaventure and Edison. Against St. Bonaventure, the Sentinels shut down the running game. Against Edison, the Sentinels shut down the passing game, recording eight sacks. That kind of defensive versatility should make Bishop Alemany a little apprehensive. The Warriors also need to prepare for Inglewood’s bag of tricks on two-point conversions. It figures to be an entertaining matchup of big plays.

The Orange Lutheran-Sierra Canyon matchup should go down to the final minutes because both of the these teams have been playing Division 1 schools all season and are ready for a big-time clash in the trenches.

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The Lancers have made steady improvement under first-year coach Rod Sherman. Quarterback Logan Gonzalez (2,660 yards passing) and running back Desmin Jackson (825 yards rushing) are a formidable duo, along with an offensive line that has developed under former Mater Dei line coach Chris Ward.

Sierra Canyon had one of the toughest nonleague schedules to prepare for this moment, with games against Corona Centennial, Servite, Norco and Mission Viejo. Running back Jason Jones is heating up and has passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark. The key to whether the Trailblazers will advance is defense. The secondary has to be healthy, smart and ready to tackle.


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