After West Torrance High's football team defeated Beaumont, 31-30, in its first-round playoff game Nov. 20, Warrior Coach Kerry Crabb called a friend, Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson, for advice.
"I called Bruce that Sunday and said, 'Hey, I made it past the first round, what do I do now?' " Crabb said.
Rollinson reminded Crabb, who was an assistant at Mater Dei in Santa Ana from 1988-90, of the 1990 Monarch team that upset top-seeded and previously unbeaten Eisenhower of Rialto, 34-20, in the second round of the Southern Section Division I playoffs. Mater Dei carried a 6-5 record into the game.
Crabb showed he learned from that experience Friday, when West upset top-seeded St. Joseph of Santa Maria, 38-28, in the second round of the Division IX playoffs. West (9-3) will play host to Bishop Diego of Santa Barbara (8-3-1) in the semifinals at 7:30 Friday night.
Crabb, who uses a variety of offensive packages, has a 13-10 record in two seasons at West. But the Warriors have made steady improvement under Crabb, winning 12 of their last 17 games since starting 1-5 in 1991.
"We should have won a few of those games, but the biggest thing was we came away with a real solid foundation," Crabb said. "Now I've got kids who have been doing this for two years and they are able to draw from experience."
Bishop Diego, champion of the Tri-Valley League, upset fourth-seeded North Torrance, 31-14, last week. The Cardinals have not allowed more than 14 points in a game since losing to St. Joseph, 27-8, the second week of the season.
Bishop Diego's defense features end Thor Smith (6-foot-3, 200 pounds), who knocked North quarterback Frank Ramirez out of last week's game with a tackle that resulted in Ramirez suffering a broken collarbone and two broken ribs.
"West seems a lot like North, but they are bigger," Bishop Diego Coach Norris Fletcher said. "I know St. Joseph was good, and they took it to them."
West quarterback Ryan Marshall has led the Warriors to both of their playoff victories, passing for 537 yards and eight touchdowns. Wide receiver Ryan Bustos has 10 catches for 291 yards and six TDs in the postseason.
Following is a rundown of other Southern Section and City Section semifinal playoff games involving South Bay teams. All games start at 7:30 p.m. Friday:
SAN MARCOS (10-2) at HAWTHORNE (10-2)--Like their neighbors at Bishop Diego, the Royals of Santa Barbara rely on a strong defense. The Channel League champions have held their opponents to 14 points or less in eight games.
"They are very big on defense," Hawthorne Coach Dan Robbins said. "We might be faster in terms of some individuals, but in terms of team speed we are equal."
Hawthorne rallied from a 14-0 deficit to defeat Simi Valley, 18-14, last week, scoring three touchdowns in the last six minutes after Robbins substituted Ronnie Morrissette at quarterback to run the option. Robbins said junior Kenji Tatum will return as starter against San Marcos.
Cougar linebacker Tevita Moala, who has played with an injured shoulder during the last part of the season, has 38 tackles in the playoffs and 137 for the season, three short of the school record he set last year.
San Marcos, which upset Hawthorne in the first round of the Division II playoffs in 1989, is led offensively by running back Steve Guzman, who has rushed for more than 1,900 yards and 18 TDs.
CITY SECTION, 3-A DIVISION
SAN PEDRO (10-1-1) at PALISADES (9-2)--The Pirates, despite being the second seed in the 3-A playoffs, must travel to Palisades because the Dolphins had a better conference record than San Pedro.
San Pedro went 4-1-1 in the Southern Pacific Conference, while Palisades was 6-1 in the weaker Coastal Conference. While Southern Pacific Conference teams had a 15-7-1 nonconference record, Coastal Conference teams were 4-16-1 against nonconference foes.
"It does seem unfair," San Pedro Coach Mike Walsh said of his team's road game. "Hopefully, the travel will have a positive effect. We haven't lost a road game this year."
Palisades advanced to the semifinals by defeating South Gate, 6-3, last week. Quarterback Chris Kasteler hit Ray Abdelkader with a 41-yard touchdown pass with 3:12 remaining.
San Pedro running backs Jeff Williams and Ambrose Russo combined for 191 yards rushing in last week's 39-15 victory over Hamilton.
VAN NUYS (8-4) vs. CARSON (8-3-1) at Gardena High--Both of Van Nuys' playoff victories were decided in the final 10 seconds. The Wolves upset third-seeded Westchester, 28-27, in the first round when Comet receiver Tony Griffin dropped a two-point conversion pass with seven seconds left, and last week Van Nuys fullback Bill Calhoun scored on a one-yard run with no time remaining to pull out a 36-30 victory over Locke.
"It's an honor just to be out on the same field with Carson," Van Nuys Coach George Engbrecht said. "The way I see it, we could very easily be blown out big-time. We just hope to stay competitive."
In last week's 27-7 victory over Jefferson, Carson limited the Democrats to minus-90 yards rushing. Defensive leaders for the Colts include linebackers James Pepe, Don Moala and Aaron Jackson and linemen Sipo'u Mareko and Lomitui Fa'avae.
Coach Marty Blankenship's team has rebounded from an 0-2-1 start to win eight of its last nine games.
South Bay's Football Top 10 Selected by Times Sportswriters Rank, School, League: Record
1 San Pedro (Southern): 10-1-1
2 Hawthorne (Bay): 10-2
3 Carson (Pacific): 8-3-1
4 North Torrance (Pioneer): 10-2
5 Peninsula (Bay): 9-3
6 West Torrance (Pioneer): 9-3
7 Banning (Pacific): 7-4
8 South Torrance (Pioneer): 8-4
9 Leuzinger (Bay): 6-5
10 Serra (Camino Real): 6-3-2