Over the past four seasons, Serra High's football team captured the California State Division III and II championships and with 17 returning starters from last year's Division II crown squad, players and coaches felt confident that they had a good shot at a berth in the State Open Bowl Series that includes the top overall teams in the state for this season.
The Cavaliers made a big step to that after an impressive 36-0 blowout win over Chaminade in a match-up between two CIF-Southern Section Western Division finalist of 2012 that was won by Serra, 30-28, last Friday at Serra. This year, Serra is ranked No. 1 in the Western Division, while the Eagles are second.
The win also increased the Cavaliers overall record to 7-0 against a mostly very rigid schedule and 2-0 in the Mission League, while Chaminade fell to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in league.
In Friday's showdown, Serra wasted little time on the Eagles as it scored on just its second play from scrimmage when quarterback Jalen Greene connected with UCLA-bound wide receiver Jordan Lasley for a 76-yard touchdown with 40 seconds into the contest.
With 6:43 left in the first quarter, the Cavaliers bursted out to a 14-0 lead on a 1-yard TD run by junior running back Darrion Naylor.
Serra already went up 21-0 with 8:58 remaining in the second period when Greene hit junior tight end Zeke Zindler for a 6-yard score.
Greene added two fourth quarter touchdowns on runs of nine and one yards.
Olajuwon Tucker, who right before the game committed to playing football at University of Southern California, added a two-point conversion and made several big defensive plays as a defensive end.
"Tucker's been amazing," Serra head coach Scott Altenberg said. "I've been telling that for awhile. Lasley played well. He stepped it up."
Serra used a very good ground game, rushing for more than 300 yards. Adoree Jackson rushed for 117 yards on 13 carries. He would have had three touchdowns but they were all nullified by penalties.
Greene ran for 125 yards and two TD's on 26 carries. He completed just four of 12 passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
Naylor ran for 116 yards and one TD on 13 carries.
On defense, Serra held Chaminade's standout running back Donovan Lee to only 34 yards rushing and held him twice on fourth down and one plays.
Eagle quarterback Brad Kaaya completed 19 of 31 passes for 175 yards, including his first nine of the game, but the Cavalier defense was able to contain him most of the contest.
Also on Monday, Jackson, an NCAA Division I college five-star recruit, will play in the Under Armour All-American All-Star Football Classic on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersberg, Fla.
He is expected to receive his jersey at a ceremony on Wednesday at the school's gymnasium.
Serra will also have linebacker Dwight Williams play in the U.S. Army Bowl in January.
The Cavaliers will host Cathedral High from Los Angeles in their homecoming game Friday at 7 p.m.
Palos Verdes blanks Mira Costa: Palos Verdes High's football team, which won the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division crown over Bay League rival West Torrance last season, showed that it has potential at its second straight CIF title and, possibly, even perform well enough for a spot in a California State Bowl Championship Series, with an impressive 35-0 shutout at Mira Costa last Friday.
The Sea Kings, who improved to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the Bay League, had outstanding performances by Stanton Gilbertson and quarterback Dan Di Rocco.
Leading only 7-0 in the third quarter, Gilbertson took a Mustang punt and sprinted 65 yards for a touchdown and that was the start of P.V. turning the game in to a rout.
Early in the fourth period, Gilbertson had a 46-yard run that set up Tyler Moore's 1-yard TD run that gave the Sea Kings a 21-0 advantage.
Shortly after, Mira Costa quarterback Greg Briskin fumbled away the ball and P.V. took advantage of that when Di Rocco found Joey Chenoweth for a 21-yard score.
The Sea Kings added their fifth TD on Moore's 12-yard run that was set up by an 11-yard run from Di Rocco.
Palos Verdes' defense thoroughly held the Mustangs (4-3, 1-1) in check, especially ace running back Sebastian Franck-Love who ended his string of six straight games where he rushed for 100 yards or more. Franck-Love finished with 86 yards on 18 carries.
Overall, the Sea Kings held Mira Costa to just 135 total yards on offense; 94 rushing and 41 passing.
The win sets stage for Palos Verdes' second consecutive Bay showdown at West Torrance High Friday at 7 p.m.
After rallying from a 21-0 deficit only to lose to host Mira Costa, 28-21 in overtime on Oct. 11, the Warriors came out with a very impressive 37-7 rout of Redondo last Friday in West's homecoming game. West has outstanding depth all around as it, like Serra did to Chaminade and P.V. did to Mira Costa, dominated the Sea Hawks, who saw their overall record fall to 5-2 and league mark to 1-1. The Warriors are 6-1 overall and 1-1 in Bay action. It was also West's first win over Redondo since 2006, the year the Warriors won their last Bay title and made the Western Division final only to fall short of Compton Dominguez, 28-21.
Mira Costa will visit an improved Peninsula High squad in Rolling Hills Estates Friday at 3 p.m. The Panthers are coming off a 38-0 shutout of host and lowly Leuzinger last Friday in Lawndale.
Narbonne holds off San Pedro: Narbonne High's two-time defending CIF-Los Angeles City Division I champion football team received a scare from host San Pedro but was able to hold on for a 12-11 victory last Friday.
Leading 12-9 late in the game, the Gauchos were able to hold the Pirates at the Narbonne 5-yard line.
Shortly after, though, San Pedro sacked quarterback Eban Jackson in his own end zone for a safety to cut the Gauchos' lead to one point.
Narbonne, though, was able to hold the Pirates in their final two plays before the final gun went off to end the game.
The Gauchos scored their first touchdown shortly after Aaron Corbin intercepted a pass by San Pedro quarterback Jacob Miller who ran it 62 yards to the Pirate 23-yard line. Jackson, then, ran the ball into the end zone from there.
Narbonne (5-2, 2-0) took a 12-0 third quarter lead on another 23-yard TD run by Jackson, who rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries.
San Pedro rallied back behind a 6-yard third period scoring run by Antoine Brown and a safety when Gaucho running back Johnell Jackson was tackled in his own end zone.
Narbonne will host Washington Prep High, while the Pirates (4-3, 0-2) visit an improved Banning squad in Wilmington Friday at 7 p.m. In other Marine games, Carson routed the host Generals, 51-6, and the host Pilots rolled over Gardena, 41-8.
Last Week's Prep Football Results:
Friday, Oct. 18:
Bay League: Palos Verdes 35, Mira Costa 0; West Torrance 37, Redondo 7; Peninsula 38, Leuzinger 0.
Del Rey League: La Salle 51, Mary Star 20; Verbum Dei 48, St. Bernard 12.
Mission League: Serra 36, Chaminade 0.
Ocean League: Morningside 42, Hawthorne 21; Culver City 16, Inglewood 7; Santa Monica 76, Beverly Hills 0.
Pioneer League: El Segundo 31, Torrance 24; South Torrance 8, Centennial 6; North Torrance 42, Lawndale 21.
Eight-Man: Pacific Lutheran 43, Upland Christian 26.
CIF-L.A. City Section:
Marine League: Narbonne 12, San Pedro 11; Banning 41, Gardena 8; Carson 51, Washington 6.
Western League: Palisades 37, Westchester 14.
This Week's Schedule:
Bay League: Leuzinger at Redondo, 7 p.m.; Mira Costa at Peninsula, 3 p.m.; Palos Verdes at West Torrance, 7 p.m.
Del Rey League: Bishop Montgomery at La Salle, 7 p.m.; Mary Star at St. Bernard, 7 p.m.
Mission League: Cathedral at Serra, 7 p.m.
Ocean League: Morningside at Beverly Hills, 7 p.m.; Santa Monica at Culver City, 7 p.m.; Hawthorne vs. Inglewood at Coleman Field, 7 p.m.
Pioneer League: El Segundo at North Torrance, 7 p.m.; South Torrance at Lawndale, 7 p.m.; Torrance at Centennial, 6 p.m.
Eight Man: La Verne Lutheran at Pacific Lutheran (Daniels Field, San Pedro), 6 p.m.
CIF-L.A. City Section:
Marine League: San Pedro at Banning, 7 p.m.; Gardena at Carson, 7 p.m.; Washington at Narbonne, 7 p.m.
Western League: Fairfax at Westchester, 7 p.m.
Snyder's South Bay Top 10: 1. Serra (7-0); 2. Narbonne (4-3); 3. Palos Verdes (5-2); 4. Mira Costa (4-3); 5. West Torrance (6-1); 6. Carson (3-4); 7. Redondo (5-2); 8. San Pedro (4-3); 9. El Segundo (4-3); 10. Peninsula (4-3).