Birmingham's march to a West Valley League title and possible No. 2 seeding behind Narbonne for the City Section Division I playoffs faces a surprising obstacle on Friday night at El Camino Real (5-4, 3-1).
El Camino Real is coming on strong under first-year Coach Jeff Falgien.
"We might be rolling at the right time," he said.
Last week, the Conquistadores pulled out a 41-36 victory over Chatsworth on a last-second touchdown pass from Wes Crocket to Ladell Atkins.
Atkins has been the surprise standout in the league. A junior transfer from Ventura St. Bonaventure, he has rushed for 1,214 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. In league play, he has 194 yards rushing against Granada Hills, 395 yards against Taft, 218 yards against Cleveland and 212 yards against Chatsworth.
Of course, Birmingham has its own standout tailback in Sterling Salguero.
It's going to come down to which defense can best tackle two likely All-City running backs.
El Camino Real has another rising young player in sophomore defensive back Tyjai Fulford, who has eight interceptions.