1. It’s never a good idea to play Monday morning quarterback with high school football teams. But there were three plays in particular that cost Westlake a win against St. Bonaventure. The first two were plays that didn’t even happen. Westlake had a three-point lead, 24-21, in the fourth quarter. Twice Westlake drove inside the St. Bonaventure 5-yard line. Both times Westlake came away with no points. Give St. Bonaventure credit for stuffing Westlake twice on the goal line. But if Westlake kicks a field goal on one of those possessions inside the 5-yard line, there is no overtime, no two-point conversion, no upset win. Westlake goes up by six and forces St. Bonaventure to score a touchdown to win the game in regulation. Instead, St. Bonaventure kicks a last-second field goal to tie the score. Westlake might have escaped with its 23rd win in a row and sole possession of the Marmonte League championship if it kicks a field goal on either of those drives. Both coaches, Westlake’s Jim Benkert and St. Bonaventure’s Todd Therrien, said kicking a field goal to go up by six didn’t make much sense at that point of the game. Seems as if it would have been enough to win the game for Westlake. Now Westlake is in a three-way tie for first with St. Bonaventure and Oaks Christian. The other play that could have given Westlake the win came in the first overtime period. Kicker Alex Ball missed what was a chip shot field goal for him. The field goal would have given Westlake a 27-24 win because St. Bonaventure didn’t score on its first overtime possession. The football fates were definitely smiling on St. Bonaventure. The top seed in the CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs might come down to a coin flip. Now that’s a bad idea.
2. The Serra League is full of intrigue this week. The top two teams in league, Alemany and Bishop Amat, are undefeated and meet on Friday night. Crespi and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame are in a fight for the last playoff spot. Both teams are 1-2 in league play. The winner earns a trip to the Pac-5 Division playoffs. The loser starts preparing for the 2011 season. For Alemany, it’s becoming a venture into unexplored territory. No Alemany team has gone undefeated since no Alemany team has ever won a CIF championship. Whether or not an Alemany team has gone undefeated in the regular season is a bit in question. Many of the Alemany football records were destroyed in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. The coaches at Alemany have little documentation of the Alemany teams of yore. Bishop Amat, on the other hand, is full of yore. At the other end of the Serra League spectrum are Crespi and Notre Dame. Crespi is coming off a 41-7 win over Loyola, but it was Crespi’s first league win. Notre Dame has lost two games in a row, to Bishop Amat and Alemany. But at least Notre Dame has home-field advantage on Friday night.
3. The Foothill League standings are starting to settle. Valencia is alone in first place with a 4-0 league record after walloping Golden Valley, 49-17. Canyon is a solid second-place team at 3-1 after beating crosstown rival Hart, 36-29. West Ranch is all of a sudden in playoff contention after narrowly beating Saugus, 21-20. Valencia has shown its vulnerabilities in league play though. The Vikings trailed both Canyon and Hart before rallying in the second half. Canyon has a balanced offensive attack with quarterback Jonathan Jerozal, receiver Drew Wolitarsky and running back Darius Rudolph. West Ranch pulled off a stunning win over Saugus, but the Wildcats might be shorthanded in a big way for its season finale against Hart. West Ranch quarterback Connor Eichten was hit in the chin and had to be taken to a nearby hospital in Santa Clarita for stitches in the first quarter of the game against Saugus. Forced to go to a heavily dominated running game, West Ranch got its go-ahead scored from little-used fullback Trevin Manuel in the third quarter.
4. Those gutty, undefeated Reseda Regents have a 9-0 record after a 21-16 win over Canoga Park. Chris Bellard rushed for 226 yards and three touchdowns for Reseda in his team’s win over Canoga Park. The Reseda win coupled with Panorama’s 43-41 win over Granada Hills Kennedy sets up a Valley Mission League showdown on Friday night. Emilio Rodriguez rushed for 240 yards and three touchdowns for Panorama against Kennedy. Reseda and Panorama each have undefeated 5-0 league records. The two teams play on Friday night at Panorama High School for the league championship.
5. The CIF Southern Section girls volleyball playoff brackets are out. Harvard-Westlake (24-2) from Studio City has the top seed in the Division 1-AA playoffs. The Mission League champions play Agoura (11-13), the fourth-place team from the Marmonte League, in the first round of playoffs on Tuesday. Long Beach Poly (31-2) is the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and, for some reason, has a first-round bye. Los Alamitos (26-5) has the third seed and will play Ventura (18-12) in the first round. Newport Harbor (20-11), the reigning CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA champions, is the fourth seed and will play Dana Hills (16-9) in the first round. Other top seeds in the girls volleyball playoffs are Marymount in Division 1-A, La Canada in Division 2-AA, Troy in Division 2-A, undefeated Chadwick in Division 3-AA, Brentwood in Division 3-A, St. Margaret’s in Division 4-AA, Hemet in Division 4-A, Riverside Christian in Division 5-AA and Coast Union in Division 5-A.