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Football: A wide-open Western League begins on Friday

Anybody have a coin to flip? That might be the best way to predict which team wins the Western League this season in football.

League play begins on Friday night, and it's expected to be a wide-open race. The opening week games, though, will reveal plenty.

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Two pick 'em games have Fairfax (5-0) at Venice (2-3) and Hamilton (2-3) at Westchester (4-1). The other game is University (2-3) at Palisades (4-1). CalPreps.com predicts Fairfax, 21-20, and Hamilton, 27-26.

Fairfax has been led by one of the most versatile players in the City Section, senior quarterback Markell White. He has passed for 480 yards and seven touchdowns and run for 576 yards and 10 touchdowns.

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What makes the league difficult to predict is that some teams have played much tougher nonleague schedules, making their record not that impressive.

Venice is an example. The Gondoliers have losses to El Camino Real, Newbury Park and Paramount. They have been led by freshman quarterback Luca Diamont, who has 10 touchdown passes but also eight interceptions.

Venice Coach Angelo Gasca, whose team has dominated in the Western League in years past, said, "Don't write us off."

Hamilton has lost to Hawkins and Los Angeles, so the Yankees will be well prepared to take on an improved Westchester team. But the Comets have been very good on offense behind quarterback Jonathan Murphy, who has passed for 1,083 yards and 14 touchdowns.

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Palisades has won four consecutive games since a 36-0 loss to unbeaten Sierra Canyon. Innocent Okoh, a 5-foot-5 running back, has rushed for 108 yards against Sylmar; 161 yards against Granada Hills; 175 yards against Huntington Park, and 200 yards against Chatsworth.

For the latest on high school sports, follow @LATSondheimer on Twitter

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