Mira Costa High’s football team may have placed only third in the highly competitive Bay League but went on a 28-0 run to overcome a third quarter deficit and eliminate third seed North Torrance 35-21 in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs last Friday at Mira Costa in Manhattan Beach.
It was the second straight time that the Mustangs overcame a deficit to win. In the first round a week earlier at Ventura High, the Mustangs rallied from a 17-7 first half deficit to down the Cougars 34-24.
The Mustangs (10-2 overall) are one of three Bay teams that made the semifinals. Mira Costa will take on league rival Palos Verdes at San Pedro High Friday at 7 p.m. The Sea Kings, who won the Bay at 5-0 and is 9-3 overall, came off defeating host Pacifica High 20-3 last Friday in Oxnard. The Bay’s runner-up Redondo, also 10-2 overall, also advanced to the semis for the first time since 1997 by winning a defensive battle over Oxnard 7-0 Friday at Redondo. The Sea Hawks must visit top seed Calabasas, a 33-7 quarterfinal winner at Lawndale on Friday, this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The score was tied at seven at halftime, but the Saxons’ star player Mique Juarez exploded for an 86-yard touchdown run to give North, which ended its season at 9-3, a 14-7 lead with 8:23 left in the third period.
After that, though, the Mustangs dominated the rest of the game. They went 63 yards in six plays that was capped by a 3-yard TD run from Omar Morrison, who set up his score with his own 16-yard run. That tied the game at 14.
A strong kickoff, then, pinned the Saxons deep in their own territory. Juarez, then, fumbled away the ball into the hands of Cody Kallenbach, who skipped into the end zone to give Mira Costa the lead for good.
The Mustangs, then, cased in on another North turnover as Juarez’s pass was intercepted by Sean Walker who returned the ball to the Saxon 32-yard line. From there, junior quarterback David Arredondo threw a 29-yard pass to Brandon Espeso putting the ball at the three. From there, Arredondo scored giving Mira Costa a 28-14 advantage. It was the Mustangs’ third touchdown in less than five minutes.
Arredondo added a one-yard scoring run to give the Mustangs a 35-14 lead with 7:08 remaining in the game. Arredondo completed 16 of 24 passes for 210 yards and was intercepted once. He rushed for 70 yards and three TD’s.
Juarez finished the scoring with a 10-yard run late in the fourth quarter but Mira Costa already had the contest wrapped up. Juarez ran for 180 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries but his passing was not as good as usual completing just eight of 32 passes for 45 yards and one interception. The Saxons were Pioneer League co-champions with cross town rival West Torrance, which was eliminated in the first round by Redondo 35-28 on Nov. 13.
Mira Costa hopes to avenge its tough 9-7 league opening loss to host Palos Verdes to make the CIF championship game for the first time since 2009. The Mustangs won that game over now PAC Five school Mission Hills Alemany 24-21. The Sea Kings will be looking for their second consecutive section crown and third in last four seasons. Redondo has not even appeared in the Southern Section finals since 1942, when it won the title over Alhambra 21-14. The Sea Hawks, who have their first 10-win season in 73 years (10-1 in 1942.), won titles by a pair of Los Angeles Times prep sports writers polls in 1943 (defeating No. 2 and Bay League rival Santa Monica 21-7 in league play) and 1944, where they were co-champions with Alhambra Mark Keppel. There were no playoffs due to World War II. Redondo, the No. 4 seed, will be looking to upset a very talented and athletic Calabasas squad on Friday.
Mistakes put out Serra: Serra High’s football team was looking forward to hosting a storied Mater Dei squad from Santa Ana in the prestigious CIF-Southern Section PAC Five quarterfinals last Friday in Gardena.
The Cavaliers were leading much of the game but a pair of bad snaps, one on a field goal attempt and another on a punt, proved costly as the Monarchs pulled off a 28-27 victory. The loss ended fourth seeded Serra’s season at 9-3 after tying La Puente Bishop Amat for the Mission League crown.
The most pivotal of the mistakes came with 1:51 left in the game. With the Cavaliers ahead 27-20, a bad snap enabled a Mater Dei player to fall on the ball in the end zone cutting Serra’s lead to one point. The Monarchs made the two-point conversion on a run to take the lead. The Cavaliers were unable to score in the waning moments as three consecutive passes by quarterback Khalil Tate fell incomplete.
Serra also had a bad snap that occurred in the first quarter when kicker Eric Escamilla came in for a 23-yard field goal attempt. The kick was blocked as Mater Dei’s Chase Ault returned the ball 75 yards for a touchdown.
From there, Tate proved dominant with TD runs of 95 and 79 yards giving the Cavaliers a 13-7 lead. Serra led 20-10 at halftime shortly after Tate threw a 16-yard scoring pass to sophomore wide receiver Kobe Smith.
Despite the loss, Tate had 499 total offensive yards, including 356 yards and two touchdowns rushing and 143 yards and one TD passing. For the season, Tate recorded 4,166 total yards (2,130 yards and 26 touchdowns rushing and 2,036 yards and 17 TD’s passing.)
Job McGinty scored on a 30-yard run to give the Cavaliers a 27-20 lead early in the fourth period. A critical mistake, though, costed Serra as it failed to hold on to the lead.
Narbonne routs San Pedro: Narbonne High’s football team overcame an early 10-0 deficit as it routed San Pedro 55-24 in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I quarterfinals last Friday at Narbonne.
University of Arizona-bound senior running back Sean Riley proved dominant as he rushed for 245 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries. He also added a 90-yard kickoff return for a TD.
The upset minded Pirates led early but saw the Gauchos (10-2 overall) take the lead for good on an 80-yard interception return by Jamal Hicks Kameron Denmark ran four times for 83 yards and one TD.
San Pedro quarterback Jacob Miller completed 23 of 45 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted once. The Pirates ended their season at 7-5.
Narbonne hosts Dorsey High in the semifinals Friday at 7 p.m. The Gauchos are the top seed. If they win they will play in the championship on Dec. 6 at Cerritos College.
Calabasas proves too much for banged up Lawndale: Playing without key running back Zach Cooper and quarterback Chris Murray playing with a knee injury was no help for Lawndale High’s football team as it was eliminated in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division quarterfinals by top seed Calabasas 33-7 last Friday at Lawndale.
The Cardinals, who ended their season at 6-6 due to four forfeit losses but were 10-2 on the field, took a brief 7-6 first quarter lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Murray but the Coyotes (11-1 and Canyon League champions) quickly took the lead for good on an 85-yard kickoff return by Marquel Dismuke. Calabasas was led by junior quarterback Tristen Gebbia who completed 24 of 42 passes for 348 yards and three TD’s.
Cooper was also out with an injured knee. He was injured early in the contest and never returned.
Lawndale would have won the Ocean League title at 5-0 but, among its four forfeits, were league wins over Culver City (which ended up winning the league crown) and Santa Monica, which was 0-10 on the field but picked up the win that originally was a 62-0 defeat at the hands of the Cardinals. Lawndale also forfeited non-league wins against Encino Crespi and Torrance, due to the ineligible player because of a false address in his paper work. That player, sophomore Joshua Pittman, was a transfer from L.A. Fairfax, who had earlier transferred there from Santa Monica, where head Cardinal coach Travis Clark was head mentor at the previous four seasons.
Last Week’s Quarterfinal Results:
CIF-Los Angeles City Section:
Division I: Narbonne 55, San Pedro 24.
Division II: Fairfax 47, Gardena 14.
PAC Five: Mater Dei 28, Serra 27.
Western Division: Mira Costa 35, North Torrance 21; Redondo 7, Oxnard 0; Palos Verdes 20, Oxnard Pacifica 3; Calabasas 33, Lawndale 7.
This Week’s Semifinals:
Friday, Nov. 27:
CIF-L.A. City Section:
Division I: Dorsey at Narbonne, 7 p.m.
Western Division: Mira Costa vs. Palos Verdes at San Pedro High, 7 p.m.; Redondo at Calabasas, 7:30 p.m.