Narbonne High's football team played its CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I semifinal without ace running back Johnell Jackson but senior power running back Larry Suega filled in very well.
Suega rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries to key the Gauchos into their third straight L.A. City Division I final with a 40-12 victory over Marine League rival Carson in the semifinals last Friday at Narbonne.
The Gauchos, who improved to 11-2, will face Crenshaw, which defeated Venice in its semifinal, for an attempt of their third consecutive championship Friday at 7 p.m. at East L.A. College's Weingart Stadium.
Suega helped Narbonne get off to a big start with TD runs of seven and 13 yards as the Gauchos surged to a 25-6 halftime lead.
He added a 2-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Eban Jackson, who transferred to Narbonne from last year's CIF-Southern Section PAC Five champion and California State Division I finalist Long Beach Poly, continued his strong performance with a 21-yard touchdown run in the first period and a 37-yard TD pass to Dallas Lopez in the fourth quarter.
Angel Garcia added a 20-yard field goal for the Gauchos.
Gardena Serra High transfer Ricky Powell had two fumble recoveries.
For Carson, which ended its season at 7-6, quarterback Kiki Flores passeds for 232 yards and one touchdown and had a 1-yard scoring run. He was intercepted twice.
El Segundo gets first final in school history: For the first time since the school opened its doors in 1927, El Segundo High's football team made the CIF-Southern Section championship for the first time as the Eagles stunned No. 1 seed Oak Park 59-40 in the Northwest Division semifinals last Friday at El Segundo.
The Eagles will travel to Nordhoff High in Ojai to face the defending champion Rangers Friday at 7:30 p.m. Nordhoff is coming off defeating Santa Barbara Bishop Diego 24-21 in their semifinal last Friday.
It was the strong passing combination of quarterback Lars Nootbar and wide receiver Nick Kareseboom that sparked El Segundo, which improved to 10-3. They connected for three touchdowns. Kareseboom had four receptions for 219 yards.
Nootbar completed eight of 17 passes for 268 yards and three TD's.
Leading 17-14 after the first quarter, the Eagles proceeded to outscore Oak Park 21-6 in the second quarter for a 38-26 halftime lead.
El Segundo continued to pull away in the second half.
Running back Ryan Kelly added two touchdown runs of 15 and one yards.
Despite the loss, Oak Park quarterback Chandler Whitbord completed 23 of 44 passes for 444 yards and four TD's. He also ran for two more and had 91 yards on 17 carries. Wide receiver Matt Byer had 14 catches for 282 yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles' victory also avenged their 49-35 loss to host Oak Park in non-league play from late September.
Serra rallies past St. Francis, again: It was back on Nov. 1 that Serra High's football team, behind quarterback Jalen Greene, rallied from a 21-7 second quarter deficit to top visiting St. Francis 35-21 in a key Mission League game.
The two teams met, again, in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division semifinals last Friday at St. Francis in La Canada. The Golden Knights held a 7-0 halftime lead but it was, again, Greene that led the Cavaliers' rally to a 22-14 victory.
That puts Serra into its fourth Southern Section finals in the past five seasons as, for the second straight season, will host Mission League rival Chaminade from West Hills for the crown Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Eagles are coming off a 49-14 home victory over Lompoc in their semifinal last Friday.
Greene and the Cavaliers struggled in the first half as Greene threw for three interceptions. St. Francis, which finished its season at 10-3 after an 8-0 start, scored early in the first quarter on a 6-yard quarterback keeper by Ty Gangi.
Greene, though, came alive. On Serra's first possession of the second half, Greene had a 60-yard run that set up his 1-yard touchdown run to tie the game at seven with 9:59 left in the third period.
The Cavaliers took their first lead at 14-7 when Greene scored his second TD from three yards out.
Serra's defense came through early in the fourth quarter as safety Glen Ihenacho sacked Gangi in the end zone for a safety to increase its lead to 16-7.
The pesky Knights bounced back to get within two points when they marched 69 yards that was culminated by an 8-yard scoring pass from Gangi to tight end John Carroll.
Serra came back with a 59-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard touchdown run by junior running back Darrion Naylor. Kicker Sifa Maama, however, missed the point after touchdown that left the Cavaliers still with a one-possession lead.
Behind Gangi, St. Francis drove to the Cavalier 20-yard line but was stopped there as he threw three straight incomplete passes.
"We came into the game wanting to execute our game plan," Greene said. "We're going back to the drawing board for next week (against Chaminade)."
In their league meeting on Oct. 18 at Serra, the Cavaliers rolled over the Eagles 36-0, but head coach Scott Altenberg and his players know that it will be a lot tougher.
Also, the Cavaliers could play without five-star all-American Adoree Jackson, who has a sprained knee. He only played very little against the Knights.
Last Week's Semifinal Results:
CIF-L.A. City Section:
Division I: Narbonne 40, Carson 12.
Northern Division: Hart 42, West Torrance 7.
Northwest Division: El Segundo 59, Oak Park 40.
Western Division: Serra 22, St. Francis 14.
This Week's Championships:
CIF-L.A. City Section:
Division I: Narbonne vs. Crenshaw at East L.A. College, 7 p.m.
Northwest Division: El Segundo at Nordhoff, 7:30 p.m.
Western Division: Chaminade at Serra, 7:30 p.m.