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Oaks Christian Kayvon Thibodeaux’s stock steadily shooting up

TORRANCE, CA - DECEMBER 1, 2017: Narbonne running back Jermar Jefferson (1) scores on a 31-yard run
Narbonne running back Jermar Jefferson scores on a 31-yard run with Crenshaw linebacker Patrick Willis, Jr trailing behind in the fist half of the City Section Open Division football championship game.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Kayvon Thibodeaux, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound junior defensive end at Westlake Village Oaks Christian, had been considered one of the top players for his class before this season. As 2017 winds down, his reputation is growing.

On Friday night, he had four sacks, giving him 20 on the season, as Oaks Christian won the Southern Section Division 2 championship, 20-19 over Valencia.

“Oh my gosh, he’s electric,” Coach Jim Benkert said.

Thibodeaux came to Oaks Christian this season from Dorsey. He has a 3.8 grade-point average and seems to be flourishing.

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“He’s been great on the field,” Benkert said. “He’s been great off the field. He’s been a great teammate.”

A City Section infusion has helped the Lions. Defensive coordinator Seka Edwards is a former West-chester head coach and defensive assistant Kelvin Moore came from Hamilton. “They’ve done a great job changing the attitude on defense,” Benkert said.

Oaks Christian (12-2) is expected to receive the second-best bowl game bid Sunday when regional bowl pairings are announced. The Lions started only two seniors on offense and none on defense. If players stick around, they should be a top Division 1 team in 2018.

Flags flying

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By week 14, you would think officials would be tired of throwing penalty flags and players would be well aware of what a penalty is. But that doesn’t work in the City Section.

In Friday’s Open Division final, Crenshaw had 14 penalties for 152 yards and Narbonne had 14 for 130. Hey, at least both sides were treated equally.

Narbonne Coach Manuel Douglas said when facing Southern Section teams early in the season with Southern Section officials, his team picked up far fewer penalties.

“In game 14, the theory is you’re better and not making the same mistakes,” he said.

The rules are the same, so there shouldn’t be a major difference between City Section and Southern Section officials, but that doesn’t appear to be the case if you speak to City Section coaches.

Etc.

Friday’s Open Division final won by Narbonne 48-7 drew a crowd of 2,000 to El Camino College. ... Jared Greenfield, Crenshaw’s standout sophomore safety, hasn’t played baseball since he was in seventh grade. His brother, Aaron, is an outfielder at the University of North Carolina. Now Greenfield is ready to return to baseball. He plans to be a second baseman this spring. And he’ll use his speed to steal lots of bases. ... Don’t look for the City Section to drop the Open Division after only one year. Commissioner John Aguirre said things will be evaluated, though several coaches have grumbled after playing only three playoff games instead of four because it’s an eight-team tournament. One change under consideration could be moving the bye to after the championship game instead of before the first round.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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Twitter: @latsondheimer


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