On the way to its City Section football playoff semifinal at Fremont High on Dec. 4, the Woodland Hills Taft football team made a stop at the Coliseum.
Taft Coach Troy Starr explained the purpose of the detour was to make the players aware of their ultimate destination--the City championship game.
The Coliseum was familiar territory for the Toreadors, who had advanced to the City final in 1996 and 1997 only to lose to San Pedro.
And after defeating Dorsey in the semifinals, Taft got its desired trip to the Coliseum and beat Wilmington Banning, 41-29, to claim its first City championship.
Senior tailback Marquis Brignac gained 182 yards and scored the decisive touchdown on a 76-yard run as Taft avenged a season-opening 41-13 defeat to Banning.
Brignac and Venice quarterback J.P. Losman were named co-players of the year to cap a noteworthy season in the City Section.
Among the highlights:
* Ten-time champion Banning, which finished 0-10 in 1996, reestablished itself as a power under second-year Coach Chris Gutierrez and is expected to challenge for the title next season with standout running back Chris Howard.
* Losman, who will attend UCLA, passed Venice to an undefeated regular season and a playoff victory before meeting up with Taft in the quarterfinals.
* After years of playing day games at home or night games on the road, Franklin and Verdugo Hills installed lights at their campus stadiums.
* Jordan Coach Doi Johnson's patience and hard work paid off in his third season as the Bulldogs, winless in 1996 and 1997, finished 5-4 and earned a spot in the Division playoffs for teams ranked 17-32 in the section.
* Hollywood Coach Tim Lenderman guided the Sheiks to a 6-4 regular season--the first time they finished .500 or above since 1978--and a Division playoff berth.
* Chatsworth won the Division title with a 34-7 victory over Reseda. Quarterback Matt Cassel passed for 243 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for two touchdowns for the Chancellors, who won their first title since 1979.