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Two football playoff games. Two running clocks.

So what does Narbonne coach Manuel Douglas say this week to his heavily favored team preparing to face Garfield on Friday night for the City Section Open Division championship at El Camino College?

“We never, ever say that it’s a given we’re going to win the next game, but I don’t lie,” Douglas said. “I expect us to win and are the better team, but we’re talking about trying to win a state championship always.”

Narbonne is seeking its fifth consecutive City championship, but the Gauchos aren’t close to their truly elite team of 2012, when they went 14-1 and beat Santa Ana Mater Dei. The defense gave up 330 yards passing last week to Birmingham, so there’s plenty to work on.

“We treat this as a quarterfinal,” Douglas said. “We either win or turn our stuff in.”

Win or lose, the Gauchos will be going to a regional bowl game next week. A win then would send them to a state championship bowl game on either Dec. 14 or 15.

“This is where we expect to be,” Douglas said. “This is the culture we’ve been fortunate to develop here.”

Sophomore quarterback Jake Garcia has been throwing the ball accurately. The Gauchos have several productive running backs, led by sophomore Marceese Yetts. The defense has been led by lineman Jordan Barry.

It will be a 7 p.m. kickoff on Friday. The Division II game between Locke and Roosevelt is set for 3 p.m.

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George Hurley, who spent 39 years as a teacher and coach at Newbury Park High School and guided the 1993 football team to a 14-0 record, died on Monday after a bout with cancer, Newbury Park principal Steve Lepire announced. He was 70.

Hurley coached the football team from 1989 to 2007. He retired from teaching in 2010.

Newbury Park, led by quarterback Keith Smith, went unbeaten and won a section championship in 1993.

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  • Football

The CIF announced on Monday that it has changed the state championship Open Division bowl game to Dec. 8 at Cerritos College. It was originally scheduled to be played that night, then moved to Dec. 15 because of the wildfires in Northern California.

Now the Northern California representative, expected to be De La Salle, and the Southern California representative, the winner of the St. John Bosco-Mater Dei game, will not be off for more than two weeks. It will be the only championship game played on Dec. 8.

Another group of bowl games will be played Dec. 14-15 at Cerritos College.

  • Football

The year was 1993. The Southern Section Division 1 championship game featured Santa Ana Mater Dei against Eisenhower from Rialto. The final score was 56-3. Guess who won the game?

It was Eisenhower.

Fast forward 25 years later.

Members of Mater Dei's 2016 freshman offensive line.
Members of Mater Dei's 2016 freshman offensive line. (Eric Sondheimer)

In 2016, I went out to the freshman football game between Mater Dei and St. John Bosco, because both teams were unbeaten and everyone was saying how much talent was on the field.

It’s 2018. The players are now juniors and the schools are meeting for the Southern Section Division 1 championship. Some of the players who participated in the game have moved on to other schools, but many of the stars from that year have blossomed into varsity standouts.

Mater Dei won the game 28-21, and an assistant coach quipped, “We’re national champs.”

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HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” takes a look on Tuesday night at the booming youth sports business that could be having a detrimental effect on participation.

The segment is scheduled for 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

“The price of sports has gone so high that millions of American kids are being left behind,” according to the report.

Saturday’s City Section Division I championship football game at El Camino College features two schools with a long tradition of excellence: San Pedro vs. Dorsey at 7 p.m.

Both schools have won five City Section championships. Dorsey, under former coach Paul Knox, was known for producing lots of college and NFL players. San Pedro, under former coach Mike Walsh, was a perennial title contender.

This season, both teams have been surging at the end of the season. San Pedro is 7-6. Running back Josh Ward has rushed for more than 1,000 yards. Junior linebacker Miguel Lopez has more than 100 tackles.

David Serge, a former Oaks Christian basketball player who plays for Cal, honored the victims of Thousand Oaks’ Borderline Bar and Grill shootings while playing basketball in Shanghai on Nov. 9.

He wrote on his shoes “Borderline” and “T.O. Strong.” It was captured on the TV broadcast.

Here’s the link.

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  • Football

Quarterback Blake Archuleta of Bishop Amat has been selected the MVP of the Mission League by the coaches.

The MVP offensive player was running back Christian Grubb of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. The co-MVP defensive players were safety Deven Jarvis of Bishop Amat and linebacker Blake Antzoulatos of Chaminade.

The co-MVP linemen were Andrew Rowe of Bishop Amat and Dohnovan West of Alemany.

Richard Lear is in his first season as football coach at Palmdale Highland. He also coached at Lancaster Eastside, where UCLA running back Joshua Kelley was the star. Considering Kelley ran for 289 yards at the Rose Bowl on Saturday against USC as a former walk-on, you can believe college coaches are now returning Lear’s phone calls.

“We worked hard,” Lear remembered of the 2014 season when Kelley rushed for 1,469 yards but had an offer only from UC Davis. “We tried. A lot of colleges were looking at him but nobody wanted to pull the trigger.”

Lear inherited a strong senior class at Highland, which plays 13-0 Eisenhower on Saturday at Eisenhower for the Southern Section Division 10 championship. Highland has never won a football title.