Prep Rally: Even Dick Vitale has something to say about the Inglewood-Morningside game

The scoreboard after Inglewood's 106-0 win over Morningside on Friday night.
(Darwin Walker)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Prep Rally. My name is Eric Sondheimer. The Southern Section and City Section football playoff pairings have been released. Action begins this weekend. Let’s take a look at who did well and who didn’t.

Coaches back to work

Corona Centennial coach Matt Logan.
Corona Centennial coach Matt Logan was watching granddaughter at ballet practice on Saturday. By Sunday, it was time to prepare for Mission Viejo.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

It’s Saturday morning, and the high school football regular season is over. The head coaches at Corona Centennial and Mission Viejo know they will meet in the first round of the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs once the pairings are revealed Sunday.


Do you start studying video on your opponent? Do you start creating a game plan? Do you start calling other coaches for a scouting report?

Matt Logan of Centennial attended his granddaughter’s ballet workout. Chad Johnson of Mission Viejo spent the morning watching college football on television as his young daughter played with his phone. See, these two intense, dedicated coaches actually have a life outside of football.

Now it’s back to work after officially finding out Sunday that No. 5 Mission Viejo (9-1) will play at No. 4 Centennial (10-0) on Nov. 12.

Here’s a look at story lines in the Southern Section playoffs.

Here’s the complete Southern Section pairings.

Here’s a look at the City Section playoffs and pairings.

Inglewood 106, Morningside 0

The scoreboard after Inglewood's 106-0 win over Morningside on Friday night.
(Darwin Walker)

In final week of the 10-week regular season, a time in which coaches have sacrificed and overcome so much to keep their teams playing in a time of COVID-19 protocols, Inglewood decided it wanted to score and score and score against rival Morningside. The final score was Inglewood 106, Morningside 0. The Sentinels went for a two-point conversion when it was 104-0.

Morningside coach Brian Collins said it was a “classless move” by Inglewood’s coaching staff. Quarterback Justyn Martin passed for 13 touchdowns and played until the end.

Here’s a look at Collins’ comments and the ramifications. It provoked a national debate about sportsmanship and running up scores.

Dorsey defeats Crenshaw

 Crenshaw's Michael Wilson (54) and Jamouri Leonard (52) reach in to grab a fumble by Dorsey running back Harrison Allen.
Crenshaw’s Michael Wilson (54) and Jamouri Leonard (52) reach in to grab a fumble by Dorsey running back Harrison Allen.

(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

For the first time in two years, Crenshaw and Dorsey resumed their annual rivalry football game. Dorsey won 27-6 to win the Coliseum League championship.

Here’s the scene setter from the game held at Crenshaw.

Roosevelt wins East L.A. Classic

Roosevelt linebacker Carlos Velasquez celebrates after making a game-sealing interception.
Roosevelt linebacker Carlos Velasquez celebrates after making a game-sealing interception during a 22-19 victory over rival Garfield in the East L.A. Classic at East Los Angeles College on Oct. 29, 2021.
(Luca Evans / For The Times)

As the water cascaded down his back, the lid of the container smacked Roosevelt coach Aldo Parral.

The Rough Riders had just beaten their crosstown rival Garfield for the first time in a decade, and around Parral, the jubilant relief of breaking the streak erupted in chaos. Players sprinted in tearful loops across the field at East Los Angeles College. Hundreds of fans spilled over from the stands. , leaping down and charging the field like a horde of zombies.

With the 21-19 win, Roosevelt moved ahead of Garfield in the seeding for the City Section Open Division. The Rough Riders (7-3) will take on San Pedro (8-1) in the quarterfinal Nov. 12, while the Bulldogs (8-2) will face Wilmington Banning (7-1).

The game itself was about a celebration of life and healing. Here’s the story.

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Thomas Kensinger is player to watch

Venice defensive end/tight end Thomas Kensinger.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

There is nothing more misleading than seeing 6-foot-4 and 230-pound Thomas Kensinger walking the hallways at Venice High and assuming he fits the stereotype of a California surfer boy because of his long blond hair.

On the contrary, he’s a hiker and Boy Scout with a 4.27 grade-point average. He knows how to use a bow and arrow, can hit a target with a .22-caliber rifle, speaks fluent Russian and a little German, can hit a baseball, sack a quarterback and execute a cartwheel or handstand thanks to his days as a gymnast.

“He’s always been able to soak up what coaches tell him,” said his father, Cliff, a former football player at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Kensinger, a senior, took the ACT again hoping to score a 32 or 33 because one of his college options is MIT. If only the bigger schools could see his potential in football.

Here’s a profile on Kensinger.

Gardena Serra QB factory

Gardena Serra quarterback Maalik Murphy drops back to pass in the first half of Friday night’s game against Long Beach Poly.
Gardena Serra quarterback Maalik Murphy.
(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

During the 2019 football season, Gardena Serra had so much talent and depth at quarterback that coach Scott Altenberg knew he wasn’t going to be able to keep everyone happy. But injuries to each of the three quarterbacks made it clear you can never have enough good quarterbacks.

The starter that year was senior Doug Brumfield, now at UNLV. The backup was sophomore Maalik Murphy, who’s a senior at Serra and committed to Texas. No. 3 was sophomore Justyn Martin, now at Inglewood who committed to UCLA this past week.

“Without a doubt, I knew they were all good and knew it was going to be tough for Maalik and Justyn to stay,” Altenberg said. “Justyn was way too good to be a backup.”

All three took turns starting because of injuries.

LAUSD deadline for vaccinations

An Oct. 31 COVID-19 vaccine deadline could force thousands of high school athletes and musicians to the sidelines in the Los Angeles Unified School District, officials confirmed.

About 70% of students participating in sports, band and drill had submitted documentation of at least one vaccine dose as of last Monday. Those under 18 will need evidence of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by Oct. 31 and the doses must be three weeks apart. If they are 18, they could receive the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The school system released the 70% figure after The Times obtained more detailed documents, dated Oct. 20, indicating that 60% of affected students had met the requirement.

Using the six-day-old, more detailed documents, The Times reviewed vaccine rates for sport and sports-related activity in every high school, involving 21,295 students. Of these, 8,458 were at immediate risk on Oct. 20 of being cut from activities. In general, it appears that vaccine rates were lower in lower-income communities.

Here’s the report on the challenges ahead.

City title No. 28 for Palisades

Palisades’ domination in City Section girls’ tennis continued last week when the Dolphins won their 28th City title with a 5-2 victory over Granada Hills.

Coach Bud Kling, who was just voted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, built the Dolphins’ tennis dynasty.

Iris Berman is the No. 1 player and the reigning City singles champ. She won 6-0, 6-1. Jade Finestone earned the clinching point with a 6-0, 6-4 win at the No. 2 spot.

Water polo playoffs

Huntington Beach is seeded No. 1 for the Southern Section Open Division boys’ water polo playoffs.

Here’s a look at the pairings.

Girls’ volleyball

Marymount players converge during three-set sweep of Mira Costa in Division 1 semifinals.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The Southern Section Division 1 girls’ volleyball championship match is set for Saturday at 6 p.m. at Mira Costa. Santa Ana Mater Dei will take on unbeaten Marymount.

In the semifinals, Marymount improved to 30-0 with a sweep of Mira Costa. Here’s the report.

Here’s the link to semifinal results and final pairings.

Notes . . .

The sit-out date for when City Section basketball players are eligible to play after sitting out the first half of the season for transferring without moving is Dec. 24. For Southern Section, it’s Dec. 26. . . .

Long Beach Veterans Stadium will be the site for the Southern Section Division 1 championship football game on Nov. 26. Five CIF state championship bowl games will be played at Saddleback College Dec. 10-11, including the Open Division final. . . .

Defending City Section boys’ soccer champion Birmingham is ready to unveil two outstanding freshman starters this season. Remember the names Adrian Diaz and Steven Ramos. Diaz plays in the MLS-plus league. . . .

First baseman Alden Quintanilla from Granada Hills has committed to Chico State. . . .

Pitcher Wyatt Doty from Yucaipa has committed to Cal State San Bernardino. . . .

Offensive lineman Tyson Molio’o from St. John Bosco has committed to Boise State. . . .

Basketball player Buckley DeJardin from St. Francis has committed to Carnegie Mellon. . . .

From the archives: Raymond Lewis

Director/producer Ryan Polomski from the documentary, "Raymond Lewis: L.A. Legend."
(Courtesy Ryan Polomski)

Raymond Lewis is the baddest dude you’ve ever seen.”

That’s how the movie trailer begins for the documentary “Raymond Lewis: L.A. Legend.”

One of the 45 individuals interviewed for the film describes Lewis, who led Verbum Dei High to three Southern Section championships from 1969 to 1971, averaged 32.9 points in his only season playing college basketball at Cal State Los Angeles in 1972-73 and was a first-round draft choice of the Philadelphia 76ers at age 19 but never played a game in the NBA because of a contract dispute, that way.

Lewis died on Feb. 11, 2001, at age 48.

Ryan Polomski, the film’s director, said, “This documentary is meant to tell the long story of perhaps Los Angeles’ greatest high school basketball player ever. His story was an amazing, heartbreaking story that has lessons for people in all walks of life. His greatness needs to be remembered.”

There’s a young Bryant Gumbel interviewing Lewis. You can hear Ross Porter describing Lewis playing basketball for Verbum Dei during a game of the week on KNBC. Late Nevada Las Vegas coach Jerry Tarkanian spoke about Lewis in one of his last interviews.

“This is a guy who had incredible talent,” Polomski said. “Everybody has dreams and through choices of his own and beyond his control came up short on his dreams and a lot can relate to that and how you handle failures.”

Here’s more information about the documentary that debuts in Los Angeles on Nov. 6.


From, the story of a 15-year-old blind quarterback in Modesto.

From the San Jose Mercury News, a story on a private school coach saying public schools should have their own football playoffs.

From the San Diego Union Tribune, a story about why San Diego Lincoln decided to cancel its football game against Cathedral Catholic as a protest to what happened last spring.

From The Undefeated, a story on former Taft High basketball coach and standout Westchester guard Jason Hart.

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Until next time...

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