Six area high school football teams have reached the championship games in the Los Angeles City Section and the Southern Section.
In the Los Angeles City Section, Crenshaw High (10-2) will face Narbonne (9-3) at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at El Camino College.
This matchup was expected with high anticipation. Crenshaw, coached by Robert Garrett, worked, battled and navigated its way through a challenging non-league schedule to reach the finals. The Cougars’ top players include Isaiah Johnson, James Day, Dennis Patrick, Solomon Hassen, Jared Greenfield and Rayshawn Williams.
Narbonne, coached by Manuel Douglas, has a healthy team ready to try and repeat as City champion, making its ninth appearance in the championship game in the past 10 years. Quarterback Jalen Chatman, Jermar Jefferson, Aaron Magee and Raymond Scott are among the key players for Narbonne.
In the Division I championship game, Dorsey (7-6) will play San Fernando (11-2), at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at El Camino College.
Dorsey, coached by Charles Mincy Sr., discovered the path to the finals the hard way. Literally. Sure enough, non-league games against Calabasas, St, John Bosco, Serra, San Diego Lincoln and Culver City resulted in defeats, but it helped the Dons mature into a serious contender.
Dorsey’s key players include Dion Bascom Jr., Charles Mincy Jr., Isaiah Smalls, Mekhi Ellis, Timothy Mosley, Jojuan Collins, Jordan Wood, Makai Polk, Isaiah Williams and Tyrace Richardson.
San Fernando, coached by Robert Garcia, also made sure it was prepared to make a deep postseason run – with a running attack that has piled up more than 4,000 yards. The Tigers are led by Joshua Garcia, Andrew Frias, Kyle Bryant, Trevor Gill, Nehemiah Thompson and Andrew Hernandez.
In the Division II title game, Huntington Park (10-3) will face Cleveland (8-5) at 3 p.m. Dec. 2 at El Camino College.
Huntington Park, coached by Anthony Vega, gets lots of production from its ground game, complemented by a passing attack led by two quarterbacks, Victor Molina and Anthony Parhms. Other Huntington Park standouts include Bey’Jon Lee, James Russom, Joseph Kensey and Julio Velasquez.
Cleveland, coached by Matt Gentle, shocked favored Eagle Rock in the semifinals last week to reach the championship game. The Cavaliers, who are productive either by running (1,800 total yards) or passing (2,300) the ball, are led Drayton, Jakobe Harvey, Isaac Garcia, Isiah Adams, Mario Magana Jr., Taj Johnson and Jalyne McFall.
In the Division III championship game, Marshall (10-3) will face Verdugo Hills (8-5) at 11 a.m. Dec. 2 at El Camino College.
Marshall, coached by Clay Johnston, managed to endure a tough Northern League schedule and an even tougher playoff bracket to reach the finals. This is Johnston’s third year at Marshall, but his first trip to the championship game.
Marshall is led by quarterback Daniel Soto, Johnny Hernandez, Brian Cuevas, Rynee Rangel, Mattthew Reyes, Gary Chew and Christopher Pereda.
Verdugo Hills is coached by Sean Jackson, who previously coached Fulton College Prep (Van Nuys) to three City Section eight-man championships prior to arriving at Verdugo Hills in 2015. The Dons are led by Alex Moreno, Nick Watkins, Teddy Ibarra and Diego Robles.
In the Southern Section, the big game is the Division I championship game between St. John Bosco (11-2) and Mater Dei (13-0), at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at Cerritos College.
After a regular season full of comeback victories, high-scoring shootouts and close games, these two teams have earned their way into a prime-time high-profile game that will determine a possible Open Division state regional bowl berth.
St. John Bosco, coached by Jason Negro, survived one of the toughest playoff brackets in the nation. The Braves are led by D.J. Uiagalelei, Jaiden Woodbey, Devon Cooley, Sal Spina and Demetrious Flowers.
Mater Dei’s key players include J.T. Daniels, Amon-Ra St. Brown, C.J. Parks, Solomon Tuliaupupu and Nikko Remegio. Mater Dei, perhaps the nation’s top prep football team, is coached by Bruce Rollinson.
MaxPreps has Mater Dei ranked as the top team in the country. St. John Bosco is ranked fifth.
In Division IV, Downey (11-2) will host Cajon (12-1) at 7 p.m. Dec. 2.
Downey, coached by Jack Williams, has to feel like one of the luckiest teams in the world, hosting a championship game in its own backyard.
However, Downey, led by Kijjon Foots, Baraq Ross and Christopher Atkins, can’t afford to be too comfortable. The Vikings face a hungry and powerful Cajon unit that is visiting from the San Bernardino area. Cajon, coached by Nick Rogers, is loaded with quality talent, led by junior quarterback Jayden Daniels and 6-foot-8 wide receiver Darren Jones.