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Venice's Fourth-Quarter Flood of Points Drowns El Camino Real, 42-14


VENICE — For three quarters, it looked like it might be time for the glass slippers and carriage ride.

But when the fourth quarter clock was set to 12:00, it might just have well been midnight, as No. 2-seeded Venice High scored 28 fourth-quarter points and spoiled the would-be Cinderella run by El Camino Real with a 42-14 victory in the first round of the City Championship playoffs Thursday at Venice High.

J.P. Losman, the highly touted quarterback for the Gondoliers (11-0) who has committed to UCLA, struggled in the first half, had two passes intercepted. However, in the second half he had two touchdown passes, including a 50-yard play to Paul Thomas that gave Venice a 28-14 lead with less than six minutes left.

Losman, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns, also ran for a score that gave Venice the lead for good, 21-14, with 10:58 to play.

"We had to pull some things together in the second half," Losman said. "We weren't executing in the first half. We had dropped passes, bad passes, but in the end the score was what it was supposed to be like."

El Camino Real (5-5-1) was plagued by five turnovers, the most costly an interception thrown by quarterback Jonathan Graham with 5:11 to play and the Conquistadores trailing, 28-14.

George Soto of Venice picked the ball off at the El Camino Real 28 and ran it for a touchdown and a 35-14 Venice lead. The Gondoliers scored 28 points off El Camino Real turnovers.

"[Turnovers] have been the story of our year," El Camino Real Coach Rick Hayashida said. "It's why we lost against Kennedy, it's why we lost against Granada Hills, it's not something new."

The Conquistadores were able to run the ball effectively. Angelo Nedd had 160 yards in 16 carries and Devontra Hargrove had 125 yards in 14 carries.

Hayashida said that his team was not intimidated by Venice's record or No. 2 seeding.

"Not to take anything away from Venice, but we felt we had a good shot," he said. "We were in every single game we played this season except the Taft game, so we weren't in awe. We felt we matched up real well if we could get a pass rush."

Early on, El Camino Real posed a serious threat.

Nedd tied the score, 7-7, with a 37-yard run with 4:38 left in the first quarter and El Camino Real took a 14-7 halftime lead on a 10-yard touchdown run by Hargrove early in the second quarter.

Venice drove to the El Camino Real 18 with a minute left in the half, but Hargrove intercepted a pass.

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