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SPORTS DIGEST: Playoffs get underway for area high school teams

Like college basketball, the regular season for high school football has become almost meaningless.

In college basketball, blame it on the conference tournaments.

In high school football, it is the amount of teams that make the playoffs.

With three main division in the Los Angeles City Section and 13 in the Southern Section, 256 teams make the playoffs. That generates a lot of ticket revenue for the two sections, but it doesn’t make for much interest from this viewpoint in the regular season.

Now that the playoffs are beginning, though, it’s time to wake up and see what we’ve missed.

In the Southern Section this year, a new system that ranks schools by how they have performed the past two years has confused the situation even more.

For example, in the Del Rio League, which covers the five high schools in the Whittier Union High School District and El Rancho High School in neighboring Pico Rivera, the three teams that made the playoffs will compete in three different divisions. La Serna is in Division 3, El Rancho is in Division 9 and Santa Fe is in Division 10.

The same thing is true in the Almont League, which combines schools in the Alhambra and Montebello school districts. League champion Montebello is in Division 11, Schurr is in Division 12 and Alhambra is in Division 13.

All six teams in the Trinity League, which is the high school equivalent of college football’s Southeast Conference, made the Division 1 playoffs.

So event though it doesn’t seem to matter what has happened the last 11 weeks, the high school football playoffs open up Nov. 11.

In the L.A. City Section, Narbonne is the number one seed in Division I and faces Arleta this week. In other Division I action involving local schools, Venice hosts Crenshaw, Hamilton faces El Camino Real, Banning hosts Sylmar, Palisades hosts Carson, San Fernando hosts Garfield and number two seed Dorsey hosts South East.

In Division II, top seed Hawkins hosts Cleveland, Lincoln hosts Canoga Park Jefferson hosts View Park, Grants hosts Washington Prep, Westchester hosts Granada Hills Charter, Huntington Park hosts University, Fairfax hosts Bell and second seed Los Angeles hosts Chatsworth.

In Division III, top seed Franklin hosts Monroe, Manual Arts hosts Wilson, Chavez hosts Marquez, Torres hosts Angelou and West Adams Prep hosts North Hollywood.

In the Southern Section, third seed St. John Bosco hosts Upland and Gardena Serra hosts Santa Margarita in Division 1.

In Division 3, La Serna hosts Serrano and Cathedral hosts Hart.

In Division 4, Downey hosts Damien and in Division 5, Bishop Diego hosts Salesian.

In Division 6 Mira Costa hosts Paramount, in Division 7, Monrovia hosts St. Paul and in Division 9, Norwalk hosts El Rancho.

In Division 10, Beckman hosts Santa Fe and Leuzinger hosts Apple Valley, and in Division 11, Montebello hosts Coachella Valley and second seed Culver City Second hosts Valley View.

In Division 12, Arroyo hosts Verbum Dei and Fillmore hosts Schurr and in Division 13, Santa Ana hosts Alhambra.

Rams quarterback Case Keenum looks for an open receiver against the Carolina Panthers Nov. 6. The Rams scored only 10 points in losing to the Panthers, 13-10, their fourth consecutive loss. (Los Angeles Rams courtesy photo)
Rams quarterback Case Keenum looks for an open receiver against the Carolina Panthers Nov. 6. The Rams scored only 10 points in losing to the Panthers, 13-10, their fourth consecutive loss. (Los Angeles Rams courtesy photo)

TIME FOR A CHANGE: The Rams have only been back in Los Angeles for half a season and already things are just as they used to be. One constant for the Rams during their previous stint in Los Angeles was a quarterback controversy.

In the 1950s, it was Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin and later Van Brocklin and Bill Wade. In the 1960s it was Wade versus Frank Ryan (who both won NFL championships after they were traded) and later Roman Gabriel and Bill Munson.

In the 1970s it was John Hadl and James Harris and later Ron Jaworski and Pat Haden and then Haden and Vince Ferragamo.

The new Rams also have a quarterback controversy. The coaching staff wants to play Case Keenum. The fans want to see number one draft pick Jared Goff.

While the Rams were losing their fourth straight game Nov. 6 to the Carolina Panthers, the fans made their wishes vocally known to head coach Jeff Fisher.

They began chanting “We want Goff” in the second quarter of a 13-10 loss. And the fans have a point.

The front office gave the Tennessee Titans four draft choices this past draft and two more next year to move up and draft Goff first overall in April.

If Goff was good enough to relinquish six draft choices to get him, he should be playing, especially with the Rams 3-5 on the season mostly because of an offense that can’t score points.

If Goff isn’t good enough to play after a month of training camp, four exhibition games and nine weeks of the season (the Rams already had their bye week), then the Rams’ talent evaluators should all be fired for drafting him number one in the first place.

Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys was picked 134 players after Goff and he has led the Cowboys to a 7-1 record. Granted, he has a better offense surrounding him than Keenum has with the Rams, which also rests on the front office.

The Rams had too many holes to fill on their roster to give up six draft choices for someone who hasn’t stepped on the playing field yet.

If the season doesn’t turn around soon — and it doesn’t look like it will — general manager Ed Snead and Fisher will probably pay for it with their jobs. Which means the Rams will be starting over next year.

USC running back Ronald Jones breaks out of a tackle Nov. 5 against Oregon. Jones had 171 yards in 20 carries and scored four times to lead the Trojans to a 45-20 victory. (Photo by Mario Villegas)
USC running back Ronald Jones breaks out of a tackle Nov. 5 against Oregon. Jones had 171 yards in 20 carries and scored four times to lead the Trojans to a 45-20 victory. (Photo by Mario Villegas)

A BIG GAME: After starting 1-3, USC didn’t figure to be playing too many big games the remainder of the season.

Oh, the rivalry games with Notre Dame and UCLA are at the end of the schedule, but neither the Fighting Irish or the Bruins are playing very well this season. All of a sudden USC is and the Nov. 12 game versus Washington will probably be the most anticipated college game this weekend. ESPN thinks so because it is sending its pre-game Game Day crew to Seattle for the game.

The Trojans have now won five games in a row after scoring a 45-20 victory over Oregon Nov. 5. The Trojans are firing on all cylinders now with Sam Darnold at quarterback and Ronald Jones running the ball.

The defense also is playing well.

All will have to continue to play well to defeat the fifth-ranked Huskies, who are 9-0. Coach Chris Peterson, who Pat Haden tried to lure to USC a couple of times when he was coaching at Boise State, has turned around the Huskies in his third year on the job.

If the season ended now, Washington would probably be in the four-team playoff.

USC still needs help to win the Pac 12 South Division, but a win over Washington would put the Trojans back in the top 25 rankings and solidify head coach Clay Helton’s hold on his job. The only criticism I have of Helton’s work this year is his choice of Max Browne to open the season at quarterback when it is obvious Darnold is more dynamic.

Julius Randle goes up for a dunk against the Phoenix Suns Nov. 6 at Staples Center. The Lakers won, 119-108, for their third consecutive win. (Los Angeles Lakers courtesy photo)
Julius Randle goes up for a dunk against the Phoenix Suns Nov. 6 at Staples Center. The Lakers won, 119-108, for their third consecutive win. (Los Angeles Lakers courtesy photo)

POOR CLIPPERS: The Los Angeles Clippers are off to a 6-1 start in the NBA, leading the Pacific Division and tied for first in the Western Conference with Oklahoma City.

And all everyone in Los Angeles is talking about is the young Lakers, who are now 4-3 after winning their third in a row Nov. 6 against the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers have now won three straight, including a surprising upset of the Golden State Warriors Nov. 4.

The Clippers still have a better shot at the playoffs than the Lakers do, but the Lakers are young and exciting and Luke Walton has them playing better than most people, myself included, imagined.

I was surprised when Walton started Nick Young at shooting guard opening night. Young is still starting and playing better than he did his first two years with the Lakers, when he couldn’t get out of Byron Scott’s doghouse.

Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson were relegated to the second unit with Young starting, but they have taken the demotion in stride and now provide firepower off the bench, along with rookie Brandon Ingram and second-year man Larry Nance Jr.

The Lakers didn’t win their fourth game last season until Dec. 15. They might have 10 wins by that date this season.