Animo Jackie Robinson, coached by Derris Orange, will meet Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies in the L.A. City Section eight-man championship game at 6 p.m. Nov. 18 at Fairfax High School.
This game is a rematch of the past two City eight-man champions. Sherman Oaks is the defending champion; Animo Robinson won in 2015. The two teams met in the season opener on Aug. 31 with Animo Robinson winning 38-8, but both teams were destined to meet again.
Under Orange’s leadership, Animo Robinson (11-0) has shaped a successful tradition, which includes winning back-to-back City eight-man titles in 2014 and 2015.
The Monarchs are averaging 57 points a game, while posting five shutouts. One of the victories included a forfeit win over Blair (Pasadena), which canceled its season in early October due to low numbers and safety reasons.
Animo Robinson’s key players include Alexander Zaragoza, David Zaragoza, Cristobal Sanchez, Andrew Zapata and Brandon Villalpando, parts of a deep and talented 40-player roster that has only 10 seniors. It’s probably safe to say the future looks bright for the Monarchs.
Sherman Oaks, coached by Joseph Casale, has won nine consecutive games to finish at 9-2 overall. The Knights began the season with their only defeats — Animo Robinson and Flintridge Prep — before finding the right track.
Casale, in his sixth year at the school, has guided Sherman Oaks to wins over Bright Star (30-16), Blair (44-12), Rolling Hills Prep (48-35), North Valley Military Institute (44-20), East Valley (70-0), Sun Valley (56-18), Fulton (42-0), Discovery (48-14) and Bright Star (54-8) in the semifinals. He took over the job in 2012, when the Knights finished a dismal 2-7, and has built the program into a powerhouse.
The City Section championship chase will continue with the quarterfinal round playoff games for the remaining four divisions. All games are scheduled at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 unless otherwise noted.
In the Open Division, San Pedro (5-5) visits Narbonne (7-3) in yet another Marine League rematch, but the stakes are much higher. Narbonne, coached by Manuel Douglas, defeated San Pedro 57-7 Oct. 20, but that was then.
Narbonne averages 47 points a game, but San Pedro’s coaching staff, under head coach Corey Miller, is one of the best defensive-minded in prep football, has been together for many years. Miller learned under the legendary Mike Walsh, who helped put the successful San Pedro program on the map.
The remaining Open Division games are Banning (6-4) at Crenshaw (9-2), Birmingham (6-4) at Fairfax (8-2) and Venice (6-4) at Carson (7-3).
In Division I, Dorsey (5-6) travels to Palisades (8-3), Westchester (5-6) visits South Gate (8-3) and Garfield (6-5) travels to El Camino Real (6-5).
In Division II, Huntington Park (8-3) hosts Roosevelt (6-5) in a rematch from a previous Eastern League game, which resulted in a 28-18 Roosevelt victory Nov. 3.
In the other Division II game involving local teams, South East (4-7) visits Eagle Rock (10-1).
In Division III quarterfinal games, it will be Kennedy (3-8) at Marshall (8-3), Verdugo Hills (6-5) at Torres (7-4), Locke (9-2) at Wilson (6-5) and Monroe (4-7) at Santee (10-1).
There are several local teams that are still alive in various Southern Section football playoff contests. Games are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 17, unless otherwise noted.
In Division 5, Lawndale (11-0), coached by Travis Clark, is on a historic run. The power-running Cardinals host Moorpark (9-2) at 7 p.m.
Clark, in his third year at the school, has helped improve the program’s rapid rise from finishing a respectable 6-6 and 9-5 in his first two campaigns.
Lawndale’s high-performance offense is led by junior halfback Jordan Wilmore (2,000 yards rushing), quarterback Jalen Hamler (1,500 yards passing), fullback-linebacker Terence Simon Jr., and wide receiver Anthony Williams.
Lawndale’s offensive line, anchored by Keyahn Pinkston and Sione Tai, helped Wilmore and Hamler each score three touchdowns in last week’s first-round win over Los Osos. The Cardinals also feature a swarming, ball-hawking defense.
If Lawndale can earn a victory over a strong Moorpark team, it will meet the winner of the Paramount (10-1)-Chaparral (7-4) match, scheduled at 7:30 p.m. at Chaparral.
Here are additional Southern Section quarterfinal games involving local teams.
In Division I, St. John Bosco (9-2) at Rancho Cucamonga (10-1), 7 p.m.; in Division II, Cathedral (10-1) at Upland (11-0), 7:30 p.m.; in Division IV, Downey (9-2) at Corona Del Mar (10-1), 7:30 p.m.; in Division VI, Saugus (5-6) at St. Paul (5-6), 7:30 p.m.; in Division 10, Apple Valley (11-0) at Montebello (7-4), 7:30 p.m.; in Division 11, Culver City (10-1) at Coachella Valley (10-1), 7:30 p.m.; and in Division 12, Schurr (10-1) at Santa Maria (7-4), 7:30 p.m.