Under head coach Guy Gardner, it has been a norm that the Palos Verdes High football team finds a way to get to the CIF Southern Section championship game.
The Sea Kings already won Southern Section football crowns in two of the past three seasons, defeating Bay League rival West Torrance 35-14 in 2012 and a very good Ventura team 32-24 last year. Now, P.V. will be tested on the road against top seed Calabasas, which is very athletic with good speed and the Coyotes showed that in last Friday’s semifinal at home against Redondo in a 41-17 win. The game is Saturday at 7 p.m.
Calabasas has an outstanding junior quarterback in Tristan Gebbia and a speedy running back in Darnay Holmes. Holmes scored three touchdowns, including on a 70-yard blocked field goal attempt, and he rushed for 143 yards on 20 carries. Holmes also has run as fast as 10.72 seconds in the 100-meter dash in track and field as a sophomore last spring. Wide receivers Brian Hightower and Marquel Dismuke are also very good players.
In the semifinals last Friday at San Pedro High, Palos Verdes punched its ticket to the finals for the third time in the past four seasons by eliminating Bay League rival Manhattan Beach Mira Costa 25-10.
The difference proved to be by the Sea Kings’ special teams in the second quarter. It started when Nick Alessi gave P.V. (10-3) a 9-0 lead on a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the period. The Mustangs came back to cut the Sea Kings’ lead to 9-7 when junior quarterback David Arredondo tossed a 20-yard TD pass to Ta’utino Sione but Anthony Messori returned the ensuring kickoff 75 yards for a score to increase Palos Verdes’ lead to 16-7. The Sea Kings led 16-10 at halftime.
From there the Sea King defense took over. Palos Verdes constantly pressured Arredondo, sacking him three times and intercepting him twice more. P.V.’s final touchdown was set up by Adison Umrarong’s pick. The Sea Kings cashed it in on a one-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Jake Nolls.
Mira Costa had a few chances to score but Palos Verdes’ defense, each time, rose to the occasion. The Mustangs had some very good passes by Arredondo from 70 and 25 yards to Casey Bonner but each time, the Sea Kings held the Mustangs, who ended their season at 10-3 after finishing third behind champion Palos Verdes and runner-up Redondo in Bay action.
Narbonne blows out Dorsey: So far, it has been a breeze for the Narbonne High football team from Harbor City in the CIF-Los Angeles City Division I playoffs. The top seed Gauchos made quick work out of No. 4 seed Dorsey 42-0 in the semifinals Friday at Narbonne.
It is on to Cerritos College where the Gauchos, who improved to 11-2 overall, will face Crenshaw for the championship Saturday at 7 p.m. The Cougars defeated third seed Arleta 35-27 in their semifinal last Friday at Arleta. It will be Narbonne’s fifth consecutive time in the City finals as they seek not just to win it, but advance to the California State Open Division or Division I Bowl Series that starts on Dec. 12.
Perhaps the big play was made by third year starting quarterback Arnold Ale who threw his 40th career touchdown pass for a school record that passed up Troy Williams. His TD pass went to Cerdric Byrd from 74 yards that gave the Gauchos a 34-0 lead shortly before halftime.
Narbonne built a 20-0 first quarter lead behind touchdowns by Tyrone Marshall (19-yard pass from Ale), Kameron Denmark (8-yard run) and Sean Riley (1-yard run). Riley also added a 3-yard TD run that started the second period for a 27-0 bulge.
Ale completed eight of 10 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Riley, bound for University of Arizona, rushed for 79 yards on eight carries.
Calabasas wipes out Redondo hopes: The last time Redondo High’s football team even advanced to the CIF Southern Section finals was when World War II was going on back in 1944. The Sea Hawks ended up winning their third straight title, although they shared it with Mark Keppel High from Alhambra after a tie. Redondo won CIF championships in 1942 over Alhambra and 1943 against Bay League rival Santa Monica.
In the CIF-Southern Section Western Division semifinals last Friday, Redondo was pitted on the road against top seed Calabasas that was loaded with talented transfers that included junior quarterback Tristan Gabbia who came in to the game passing for more than 3,500 yards and junior running back Darnay Holmes.
Those two did a lot of damage to the Sea Hawks that helped send them home with a 41-17 loss in Redondo’s first semifinal appearance since 1997. In the Sea Hawks’ previous semifinal appearance, Redondo lost to Ocean League rival Mira Costa 18-6. The Mustangs went on to win the Southern Section Division IX title over Monrovia.
Gabbia, who averaged more than 300 yards passing per game, was 23-for-33 for 226 yards and two touchdowns and Holmes rushed for 143 yards and two TD’s on 20 carries. He also added a 70-yard blocked field goal return for a score with 6:34 left in the third quarter that gave the Coyotes (12-1) a 35-10 lead.
Perhaps the key play happened at the end of the first half. After Calabasas drove to the Redondo 5-yard line, Ryan Armalin intercepted his pass at the end zone then raced 100 yards to the other end zone in what appeared to be a TD that would have cut the Coyotes’ lead from 19-10 to19-17. The score, however, was nullified as the Sea Hawks, who ended their season at 10-3, were called for a block in the back penalty. “It was a big play,” Redondo head coach Matt Ballard said. “It would have made a difference.”
The Sea Hawks went on to have a bad third quarter that saw Calabasas add two touchdowns and two two-point conversions, including Holmes’ blocked field goal attempt by junior kicker Trevor Bowens and a 36-yard pass from Gebbia to sophomore wide receiver Brian Hightower. Hightower caught six passes for 81 yards.
Despite not getting much offense that included just 55 total yards through the first three quarters, Redondo managed to cut the Coyotes’ lead to 13-10 when Dallas Branch returned a kickoff, following Gebbia’s 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marquel Dismuke, 85 yards for the score with 9:45 remaining in the second period.
The Sea Hawks’ other TD came on a 4-yard pass from quarterback Jacob Silvera to wide receiver Preston Faecher with 7:41 to go in the game. Bowens kicked a 33-yard field goal with 2:47 remaining in the first quarter.
Silvera completed 15 of 32 passes for 104 yards and one touchdown. He had no interceptions. In fact, the positive part for Redondo was that it had no turnovers. Defensive end Cedric Muzick had two sacks on Gebbia. The Sea Hawks’ 10 victories was the most since 1943.