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scene in the Southland | CITY SECTION REPORT

Banning's Struggles Could Pay Dividends

September 21, 2000|GARY KLEIN

The Wilmington Banning football team is 0-2--and it does not get any easier for the Pilots.

Banning, which won the Invitational division title last season and is playing one of the toughest nonleague schedules in the state, lost its opener against Woodland Hills Taft and was shut out, 42-0, by defending Southern Section Division I co-champion Long Beach Poly last week.

On Friday, the Pilots visit Crenshaw (2-0), which has outscored opponents, 86-0. Banning concludes its nonleague schedule with games against Southern Section powers Santa Fe Springs St. Paul and Santa Ana Mater Dei.

"As long as we're taking positives out of the losses, it's going to benefit us in the long run," Banning Coach Ed Lalau said. "Right now, teams are exploiting our weaknesses, which is a good thing for us because then we know what we need to improve.

"Other city teams that are not playing schedules as tough as ours are not going to know where their real weaknesses are. That will help us come playoff time."

Tough schedules are nothing new for Banning, which struggled through nonleague play in 1999 before contending for the Marine League championship.

"Our kids are accustomed to it," Lalau said. "The only thing we try to remind them about is to play to their potential.

"Right now we're making a lot of minor mistakes that are turning into big plays for the other teams. Once we eliminate those mistakes, we will be right in the hunt because the city title is up for grabs this year."

*

Several schools from the City Section will send their football players, cheerleaders, coaches, administrators and parents to the Rose Bowl Saturday night for a special screening of the film "Remember the Titans."

The Disney film, starring Denzel Washington and Will Patton, is about a football team at a high school in Virginia that is forced to integrate in 1971.

Students from 97 Southland schools have been invited to attend the event. The film will be shown on four screens.

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