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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

GAME DAY / A Look at Today's Key Matchups

November 19, 1998

CITY CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS

* SAN PEDRO (6-4) vs. SYLMAR (7-2-1)

At Sylmar High, 7 p.m.

This game matches the southernmost City Section school, San Pedro, and the northernmost, Sylmar. The teams have won four of six 4-A Division titles, with San Pedro beating Taft in the last two finals. The Pirates struggled this season in the Southern Pacific Conference, facing tougher conference competition than fourth-seeded Sylmar, which won its seven Valley Pac-8 games by a combined score of 292-43. The Spartans' running game has flourished since Corey Neal became full-time tailback. Neal and fullback David Contreras have combined for 2,032 yards rushing. San Pedro, which recently scrapped its wing-T offense, relies on Chris Harrell, who has rushed for 863 yards in eight games. Quarterback Gustavo Navarro has completed 27 passes all season.

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* JEFFERSON (7-3) vs. GRANADA HILLS (10-0)

At Granada Hills High, 7 p.m.

Top-seeded Granada Hills will try to write another chapter in its success story against No. 16-seeded Jefferson. The Highlanders are averaging 227 yards passing per game, best among City teams in the region. Jason Winn has passed for 18 touchdowns, with only four interceptions. Peter Gunny has 47 catches for 787 yards and eight touchdowns. Tailback Bayon Harris of Jefferson, which tied for second in the Southeastern Conference, has rushed for 1,540 yards and leads the team in tackles at outside linebacker. The Democrats' other playmaker is DeJuan Ward, a receiver and cornerback.

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* CRENSHAW (6-4) vs. TAFT (8-2)

At Taft High, 7 p.m.

Taft is anything but overconfident, despite having beaten Crenshaw, 38-22, in the second game of the season. Crenshaw committed five turnovers in the first half and fell behind, 38-6. The Cougars have lost to powers Taft, Loyola, Banning and Dorsey. Quarterback Keenan Carter and receiver Markus Green are Crenshaw's big-play weapons. Green caught nine passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns in the first meeting. Taft's rushing attack sputtered last week against Granada Hills. Marquis Brignac, who has gained 1,324 yards and scored 14 touchdowns, will need to be at his best. Lawrence Wallace had three interceptions against Crenshaw the last time and is Taft's deep threat. The winner will likely play unbeaten Venice in the quarterfinals.

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* EL CAMINO REAL (5-4-1) vs. VENICE (10-0)

At Venice High, 7 p.m.

Led by UCLA-bound J.P. Losman, second-seeded Venice averages more than 400 yards per game. Losman has completed 139 of 225 passes for 3,009 yards and 44 touchdowns, with seven interceptions. He has passed for 300 yards or more six times this season, including two games of 400 or more. El Camino Real's defense faced a similar pass-oriented offense in week two, a 27-6 loss to Westlake. The Conquistadores, inconsistent all season, will try to control the ball with running backs DeAngelo Nedd, who has rushed for 814 yards, and Devontra Hargrove, who has rushed for 669 yards.

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* KENNEDY (7-3) vs. DORSEY (7-2-1)

At Jackie Robinson Stadium, 7 p.m.

All Kennedy needs to know about the Dons is they beat Banning, considered the City Section's most talented team, and shared the Southern Pacific title with the Pilots. The Dons are led by running backs Nevin McGee and Major Cobb and defensive lineman Asa Taylor. Kennedy is in a familiar role as underdog. The Golden Cougars exceeded expectations to finish third in the Northwest Valley Conference. Quarterback Ruben Zaragoza has been efficient, passing for 1,294 yards and seven touchdowns. Jason Jones is the top rusher with 708 yards and 10 touchdowns. Kennedy has a big-play defensive back, David Burney, who leads the region with eight interceptions.

CITY DIVISION PLAYOFFS

* SOUTH GATE (6-4) vs. CHATSWORTH (5-5)

At Chatsworth High, 7 p.m.

Matt Cassel of Chatsworth leads the region's City Section passers with 2,218 yards. He has completed 57% of his passes for 18 touchdowns, with six interceptions. Reggie Lee has 42 receptions for 785 yards and eight touchdowns for the Chancellors, and Mark Harris has 40 catches for 554 yards and four touchdowns. Lee has made four of six field-goal attempts. South Gate, which tied for fourth place in the Southeastern Conference, is led by linebacker Reggie Alcantar, who set a school record with more than 90 tackles. Jairo Garcia has rushed for 980 yards and quarterback Art Medina has played well in the last three games since becoming the starter. Ronald Johnson has 42 catches for 632 yards and nine touchdowns. Chatsworth defeated South Gate, 26-22, last season in a first-round playoff game.

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* L.A. JORDAN (5-4) vs. SAN FERNANDO (6-4)

At San Fernando, 7 p.m.

A traditional participant in the City's playoffs, San Fernando settled for a No. 4 seeding in the Division Championship. Major Caldwell leads City rushers in the region with 1,468 yards and has scored 12 touchdowns. Larry Brown has battled injuries to pass for 1,043 yards and seven touchdowns, and rush for 220 yards and 10 touchdowns. Gerardo Rubi is averaging 26.5 yards per catch for the Tigers, who are averaging 326 yards and allowing 314 yards per game. Jordan is enjoying a revival after two consecutive winless seasons. The Bulldogs are capable of the big play thanks to seniors Brandon Bullard, a fullback and linebacker; 6-4 quarterback David Jackson, a passing and running threat; and 6-3 receiver Tyrone Riley, Jackson's favorite target.

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* Other games today:

City Section, Division Championship, first round: Hollywood at Van Nuys, 7 p.m.; Reseda at Narbonne, 2 p.m.

Southern Section, Division XI, first round: Santa Paula vs. Orange Lutheran at Brea Olinda High, 7:30 p.m.

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