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These are uncertain times for City Section football teams hoping to have more than just a varsity team this season.

Practice began on Monday, and with school not starting until Aug. 14, there’s a shortage of players for the freshman-sophomore teams.

Take perennial power Crenshaw. Coach Robert Garrett said he has a total of 33 players out for football for his two teams, including nine freshmen. If he had to play tomorrow, there would be no freshman-sophomore team.

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Former Santa Margarita quarterback K.J. Costello takes over as starter at Stanford.
Former Santa Margarita quarterback K.J. Costello takes over as starter at Stanford. (Getty Images)

USC and UCLA are loaded with their usual group of former Southern California high school football standouts, but let’s take a look at other players from the Southland who could produce big seasons at schools across the country.

David Long (Loyola) should be one of the best defensive backs in the Big Ten playing for Michigan.

Greg Gaines (La Habra) is a key senior defensive lineman at Washington. Myles Bryant (Loyola) and JoJo McIntosh (Chaminade) will be important players in the secondary for the Huskies.

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Junior quarterback Bryce Young of Mater Dei committed to USC on Wednesday.
Junior quarterback Bryce Young of Mater Dei committed to USC on Wednesday. (Patrick T. Fallon)

USC has been having success with quarterbacks from Santa Ana Mater Dei, so why not keep the connection going? The Trojans received another strong endorsement on Wednesday when junior quarterback Bryce Young announced he has committed to the Trojans.

Young transferred to Mater Dei in January from L.A. Cathedral after quarterback J.T. Daniels announced he was leaving Mater Dei a year early to enroll at USC. Now Young will probably join Daniels on the Trojans’ roster in 2020.

Matt Barkley and Matt Leinart are former Mater Dei quarterbacks who enjoyed great success at USC.

  • Football

Which school has won the most City Section football championships? Most would say Carson or Banning. Maybe even Narbonne.

The correct answer is Manual Arts with 17. But the Toilers haven’t won a title since 1984, when Jeff Engilman was head coach.

Now there’s new hope for Manual Arts, which has left the Coliseum League and joined the Exposition League that includes Angelou, Washington Prep, Jefferson, Rivera, Santee and West Adams. Manual Arts also plays in Division III.

The 27th annual Commissioner’s Cup in the Southern Section has been completed, with Santa Ana Mater Dei emerging as the top sports programs for boys and girls during the 2017-18 school year.

The Southern Section previously announced this week that Oaks Christian and Culver City had finished first in boys and girls but revised its standings on Wednesday following a miscalculation in point totals.

The winners are determined by a point system that provides: five points for a divisional championship; three points for a divisional runner-up finish; two points for advancing to the semifinal round or a third-place finish in a team-place finish sport (i.e. cross country, golf, swimming and diving, track and field); and one point for a fourth-place finish in a team-place finish sport.

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  • Football
Linebacker Giancarlo Tarifa (left) and quarterback Jason Artiga hope to lead Birmingham to prominence in the West Valley League.
Linebacker Giancarlo Tarifa (left) and quarterback Jason Artiga hope to lead Birmingham to prominence in the West Valley League. (Eric Sondheimer)

High school football practice starts officially on Monday for the City Section and also lots of Southern Section teams. Zero week games are scheduled for Aug. 17 with scrimmages scheduled for Aug. 9-10.

In the City Section, Narbonne is heavily favored to repeat as Open Division champion. But which teams will challenge to be in the Open Division and maybe even get a shot at Narbonne?

San Fernando, the defending Division I champion, seems ready to take a shot at making the Open Division. The Tigers return numerous starters and play Alemany and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in nonleague games.

It’s summer break, so I’m looking back at some of my favorite stories, videos and moments covering high school sports. Let me take you back to April 2012. I got to see the impact of community service through the efforts of Loyola High athletes.

Kicker Conrad Ukropina joined classmate Eamon McOsker in offering an economics lesson to a group of youths who had been abused or needed special attention.

Community service is part of the requirement for graduating from Loyola. The key is whether it really makes an impact on the student himself and those receiving attention.

Former Mater Dei baseball coach Burt Call has been hired as the head coach at Villa Park.

Call spent 19 years at Mater Dei. His contract was not renewed.

Call is highly regarded among his fellow coaches and Mater Dei alumni.

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Legacy volleyball, made up of players from West Ranch, Hart, Saugus and Valencia, won the Junior National Championship.
Legacy volleyball, made up of players from West Ranch, Hart, Saugus and Valencia, won the Junior National Championship. (USA Volleyball)

The Santa Clarita Valley has been well known for producing outstanding football and baseball players. Now you can add volleyball to the list.

Legacy volleyball, a club team made up of 16-year-old players from West Ranch, Saugus, Valencia and Hart, won the Junior National Championship in Phoenix on July 7.

Zack Drake from West Ranch was named tournament MVP. Johnny Buchanan (West Ranch), Gavin Leising (Hart) and Daniel Compton (Saugus) were named to the all-tournament team.

  • Baseball

A group of Southern California high school baseball players have been selected to play in the Area Code Games at Blair Field in Long Beach. The Area Code Games bring together mostly seniors who are considered possible pro prospects.

The players will play for the team representing the Milwaukee Brewers beginning Aug. 2. The only juniors on the team are the Harvard-Westlake duo of Pete Crow-Armstrong and Drew Bowser.

Here’s the link to the complete team.