Rodrick Pleasant and Nico Iamaleava competed as rivals, then were friends again
Tennessee-bound Nico Iamaleava of Downey Warren High completed just one pass in the second half on Friday night against Gardena Serra. He finished eight for 21 passing for 162 yards. He also suffered a cut on his ear after a late hit. He was intercepted twice by Serra’s Rodrick Pleasant.
And yet, there was the 6-foot-6 Iamaleava putting his arm around Pleasant after the 16-13 defeat. It was a good lesson that once the game is over, players who were friends before can be friends again afterward, especially when you’re among the top athletes in the nation.
Serra is 2-2 after playing three top 25 teams — Orange Lutheran, Long Beach Poly and Warren. The Cavaliers have an outstanding defense and a powerful ground game. The key for them continuing to progress will be figuring out what to do at quarterback, where they had to overcome three interceptions and a lost fumble.
Imagine if coach Scott Altenberg made Pleasant, with his 10.14-second speed at 100 meters, a wildcat quarterback?
“It’s a matter of how much fuel is in that tank,” Altenberg said.
When starting quarterback Dieter Barr of Downey St. Pius X-St. Matthias suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter against La Cañada St. Francis, backup quarterback Brady Shaffer, a 6-4 junior, was put in. Talk about delivering when called upon — Shaffer completed 15 of 18 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns in a 47-22 victory.
The Warriors are 4-0 and host Santa Barbara Bishop Diego next week.
Cousins Dijon and Darrell Stanley continue to star for Granada Hills (3-0). Dijon, the reigning City Section 400-meter champion, rushed for 140 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 62-18 win over Granada Hills Kennedy. Darrell had 229 yards and five touchdowns.
It was the toughest test yet for Newbury Park freshman quarterback Brady Smigiel, but he came through again, completing 27 of 38 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns with one interception in a 31-21 win over Santa Maria St. Joseph. Newbury Park is 4-0.
Long Beach Poly’s Jason Robinson had 11 receptions for 103 yards in a 24-14 win over Lawndale Leuzinger. Poly is 4-0.
Newport Harbor’s Kashton Henjum made 10 catches for 214 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-25 win over Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley.
Kory Hall of Reseda Cleveland caught six passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-7 win over Canoga Park. Cleveland plays host to Palisades (3-0) next Friday.
Game of the week
It’s not too early to get excited about Thursday’s nonleague game between Santa Margarita (3-0) and Los Alamitos (2-2) at Veterans Stadium. Both are potential Division 1 playoff teams in an eight-team bracket.
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