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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Game Day

A Look at Today's Key Matchups

November 22, 2000

CITY CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTERFINALS

* SAN PEDRO (8-3) vs. SYLMAR (11-0)

At Sylmar High, 7 p.m.

San Pedro is not as strong as the team that won the City championship in 1996 and '97. But the Dons are formidable because of a strong defense and running back Alex Teems, who has 1,125 yards. San Pedro tied Carson for the Marine League title and was defeated by No. 1-seeded Crenshaw, Dorsey and Carson. Quarterback Robbie Reedy, a junior, likes to throw to tight end Justin Andrews. The Dons defeated Jefferson, 14-11, in the first round on a fumble recovery in the end zone with four minutes to play. Sylmar crushed Grant, 42-7, in the first round behind the running of 235-pound Isidro Medina. The Spartans are at full strength with the return of sophomore running back James Pringle and defensive back Donnell Livingston from injuries.

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* TAFT (9-2) vs. CRENSHAW (11-0))

At South Gate High, 7 p.m.

Top-seeded Crenshaw stands in the way of Taft trying to send away Coach Troy Starr, who has resigned, with a City Championship. This quarterfinal matchup could come down to which team commits the fewest turnovers. Crenshaw's defense is known for its aggressiveness and ability to produce turnovers. Quarterback Rick Clausen of Taft, who has had 14 passes intercepted, must avoid mistakes. Clausen has passed for a school-record 3,220 yards and 35 touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Steve Smith has caught a school-record 87 passes for 1,530 yards and 16 touchdowns. Running back Lee Marks left last week's victory over Marshall in the second half because of a sprained ankle but is expected to play tonight. Crenshaw's primary offensive weapons are running back Terrence Whitehead and quarterback Devin Hollins. The Cougars lost to Carson in last year's City final and won this year's Coliseum League championship.

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* BIRMINGHAM (10-1) vs. CARSON (8-3)

At Long Beach Veterans Stadium, 7 p.m.

Birmingham survived against Palisades, 53-47, in the first round. Carson defeated Dorsey, 3-0, on a 23-yard field goal by Eder Gonzalez. The Colts are defending city champions and have won the title 10 times. However, they are prone to mistakes. Carson, which employs a wing-T offense, had four turnovers against Dorsey and six against Gardena three weeks ago. James Robinson, a 5-9 senior, has rushed for more than 1,000 yards and had 148 in 23 carries against Dorsey. Birmingham must tighten its defense after allowing 81 points in its last two games. The Patriots have a potent and balanced offense behind Kevin McCleary, who has 1,260 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns, and Scott Jensen, who has 2,132 yards passing and 23 touchdowns.

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* GRANADA HILLS (8-3) vs. BANNING (5-6)

At Banning High, 7 p.m.

Both teams are coming off upsets. Granada Hills shocked third-seeded Westchester, 30-12, and Banning held off Kennedy, 27-22. The Highlanders benefited from the return of receiver Joey Rodriguez, who missed several games because of an injury. Rodriguez averages 24.1 yards a catch. Granada Hills has rushed for 1,836 yards and passed for 1,839. Fullback-safety Robert Ortega has rushed for 963 yards, caught 35 passes and is a punishing tackler. Running back A.J. Tuiteli has become increasingly productive for Banning, rushing for 140 yards against Carson in the regular-season finale and 233 yards against Kennedy. Quarterback Damian Satete, a running threat, must beware when he puts the ball in the air because Granada Hills has intercepted 17 passes, including six by Aaron Perez. Seven Highlanders have interceptions.

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* CITY INVITATIONAL QUARTERFINALS

7 p.m.--San Fernando at Gardena, Narbonne at Chatsworth, Canoga Park at Fremont.

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