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SPORTS DIGEST: Josh Rosen sparkles in UCLA season opener

His teammates call him “Chosen Rosen.” He’s 18-year-old UCLA freshman quarterback Josh Rosen, who looked more like a savvy veteran than a freshman starting his first collegiate game Sept. 5, when the Bruins opened their season with a 34-16 win over Virginia at the Rose Bowl.

All Rosen did was complete 28 of 35 passes (an 80 percent completion rate) for 351 yards and three touchdowns. That’s more than a pretty good debut for someone who was playing for St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower a year ago.

Yes, Rosen is the real deal and his presence makes UCLA a top contender in the Pac 12 Conference.

The best thing is that Rosen won’t have to do it by himself. He has Paul Perkins next to him in the backfield, the man who led the conference in rushing last year. He has returning receivers like Devin Fuller, Jordan Payton, Kenny Walker and Thomas Duarte to catch his passes and an experienced offensive line to protect him.

Defensively, the Bruins have most of last year’s starters back with enough depth to survive the early-season suspension of cornerback Ishmael Adams and the season-ending injury to defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes, who was hurt against Virginia.

The learning process continues this week for Rosen when the Bruins travel to Las Vegas to play UNLV at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12. The competition gets stiffer Sept. 19 when the Bruins host BYU at the Rose Bowl.

Something tells me Rosen will be up to the challenge.

USC's Kenny Bigelow (95) drags down Arkansas St. quarterback Fredi Knighten with an assist from Su'a Cravens (21) during the Trojans’ season-opening win Sept. 5, 55-6. (Photo by Mario Villegas)
USC’s Kenny Bigelow (95) drags down Arkansas St. quarterback Fredi Knighten with an assist from Su’a Cravens (21) during the Trojans’ season-opening win Sept. 5, 55-6. (Photo by Mario Villegas)

TROJANS LOOK SOLID: Arkansas State didn’t scare the USC Trojans in their season opener Sept. 5. The Sun Belt Conference foe was easily handled by the Trojans in a 55-6 victory.

Cody Kessler began his campaign for the Heisman Trophy by throwing four touchdown passes, including a 61-yard play to sophomore wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on the fourth play of the game that got the Trojans going early.

Tailback Tre Madden, who missed all of last season, bounced back with 106 yards rushing, including a 65-yard touchdown run, and the Trojans lived up to their Top 10 billing in as easy a season opener as they will ever have.

The only bad news for the Trojans was a hip injury that sidelined multipurpose sophomore Adoreé Jackson. Jackson, who started the last seven games at cornerback last year and spent time at wide receiver and running back kicks, left the game in the first quarter and never returned.

He figures prominently in the Trojans’ plans this year both offensively and defensively, provided he stays healthy.

With the University of Idaho in town Sept. 12, the Trojans would be wise to rest Jackson this week and make sure his hip is at full strength for the Pac 12 Conference opener Sept. 19 against Stanford.

BRAVES ROLLING: The St. John Bosco Braves don’t seem to miss Josh Rosen at all. They would be overwhelming favorites to win the Suburban League if they played in that league after opening the season with a 76-8 win over La Mirada, last year’s Suburban League champion; and following that up with a 67-7 win over Norwalk, another Suburban League foe, last week.

This week, the Braves travel out of state to face Portland Central Catholic at 7 p.m. Sept. 11. Central Catholic lost its opener to Portland Jesuit, so it’s hard to predict what they will do against St. John Bosco, which is ranked fifth in the CIF Southern Section, 25th in the state and 42nd in the nation by MaxPreps.

The Braves will face much stronger competition once the Trinity League schedule starts Oct. 9.

INTRA-CITY RIVALRY: Lynwood and Firebaugh high schools square off Sept. 11 in the third annual Wood Bowl, a game that marks supremacy in the city of Lynwood. This year’s game has even more significance because it marks the opening of the renovated Lynwood High School District Stadium.

The Lynwood Unified School District spent $2.5 million renovating the football field and the track that surrounds the field. The stadium has a new, all-weather synthetic turf that will save 40,000 gallons of water a week since it won’t have to be watered. The stadium serves as home field for both teams.

In another intra-city rivalry this week, Dominguez faces Compton.

Other games include Crenshaw versus Hamilton, South Gate at Jefferson, Roosevelt at Arleta, Carson at Gardena Serra, Santa Fe Springs St. Paul at South Gate South East, Santa Margarita at Dorsey, Garfield at Westlake, Whittier La Serna versus Mira Costa, Downey Warren at Buena Park, Culver City at Peninsula, Santa Fe at Bonita, Rancho Alamitos at Pioneer, Newport Harbor at El Rancho, Arroyo at Montebello, Schurr at San Marino, El Cajon Christian versus Salesian, Alemany versus Downey, Norwalk versus Bell Gardens, Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary versus El Segundo and West Torrance versus Inglewood.

ANOTHER NEW STADIUM: Compton College cut the ribbon on its renovated football stadium and track Sept. 8. The stadium has a new synthetic turf field and new lighting as part of a $2.5 million project. The Compton College soccer teams also will use the field.

The field will be used for the first time Sept. 12 when Compton hosts Los Angeles Valley College with a 6 p.m. kickoff.

“The new football field means everything to the Tartar football team,” said Michael Miranda, associated student body commissioner of athletics and a running back on the team. “The upgraded football stadium and track are amazing, and having a new field signals a new beginning for the teams that use these facilities.”

Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker was selected the WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week for Aug. 31 through Sept. 6. In two games, Parker scored 59 points and added 19 rebounds in two games. (Photo by Nick Koza)
Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker was selected the WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week for Aug. 31 through Sept. 6. In two games, Parker scored 59 points and added 19 rebounds in two games. (Photo by Nick Koza)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Aug. 31 through Sept. 6, the WNBA has announced.

The player of the week honor is Parker’s second this season, and 15th of her career.

For the week, she led Los Angeles to a 2-0 record while pacing the league in scoring (29.5 points per game). She also tied for third among Western Conference players in rebounding (9.5 per game) and assists (5.5 per game), and was seventh in field goal percentage (.636, 21-of-33) and three-point shooting (.545, 6-of-11). Los Angeles is 11-5 (.688) since Parker joined the team July 29 after a 3-13 start (.188).

Parker began the week with her 12th double-double in 15 games, recording game highs of 26 points and 11 rebounds to go with six assists in a 93-91 home win over the Washington Mystics Sept. 3. Three days later, she again led all scorers with a season-high 33 points, including a career-high five three-pointers, and added eight rebounds and five assists to help Los Angeles clinch a playoff berth with a 92-73 win over the Tulsa Shock.

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