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Loyola Knows What's Ahead


Top-seeded teams in all of the Southern Section and City Section divisions won their playoff openers over the weekend, setting up some marquee quarterfinals.

One of the most interesting is the Southern Section Division I game featuring two-time defending champion Long Beach Poly (9-1) against Los Angeles Loyola (7-2-1) in a rematch of last year's championship game.

Poly won the final, 16-13, in overtime at Edison Field for its third title in four years.

Poly defensive end Manuel Wright does not expect it to be as close this year.

"Their star attraction is gone," Wright said in reference to former Loyola quarterback and safety Matt Ware, a starter at UCLA. "I don't think we're going to need overtime."

Poly's only defeat this season was a 29-15 loss to Concord De La Salle, the top-ranked team in the nation. The Jackrabbits, who are 63-2-1 the last five seasons, are coming off a 61-23 victory over Fountain Valley.

Loyola defeated Rialto Eisenhower, 28-14.

"It will take a monumental effort by us to win, but it's a great opportunity to play the second-best team in the nation," Loyola Coach Steve Grady said. "They come at you in 55 different directions.

"They are as good or better than they were last year, and we are probably not as consistent. On paper, it's not a game, but we'll see what happens. We have to bring our A game and hope they bring their B."


End of an era: The loss to Loyola was Tom Hoak's final game as coach of Eisenhower, where he compiled a record of 152-69-2 in 19 seasons with the Eagles and won the Division I title in 1993.

"I had a great time, coached some outstanding young men and have nothing but good memories," Hoak said. "The first couple years were draining, but once we got a staff together and the players began to understand what was expected of them, we took off."

Hoak, 53, said the Eisenhower program turned the corner in 1986 when the Eagles defeated La Puente Bishop Amat in the Big Five Conference [Division I] quarterfinals. Eisenhower became a nationally recognized power in the 1990s and advanced to the Division I semifinals in 1999 and 2000.

"I've been a head coach or assistant for 28 years, so to say what it's going to be like not being a coach, I can't tell you," Hoak said. "Right now, I need a break, whether it's for one year or five years."

With a new high school set to open in the Rialto area in the next year or two, Hoak did not rule out the possibility of returning to high school coaching.

"Who knows what's going to happen?" he said.


Odds and ends: Underdogs fared well Saturday in coin flips to determine home teams for Southern Section quarterfinal games. Teams seeded among the top four in the section's 13 divisions went 13-16 in the game of heads or tails.


Making an impression: How much effect does the game between USC and UCLA have on local recruiting for the schools? Long Beach Poly's Wright was one of several Southland high school players attending Saturday's 27-0 Trojan victory at the Coliseum. He said it left a big impression.

"It shows how coaches and players prepare and play in big games," Wright said. "It seems like USC was ready. UCLA didn't look like it was ready to play that game."

Wright said he was looking at UCLA and USC before the game. Afterward?

"If I choose a school in Southern California, it will be USC," said Wright, who is also considering Miami and Florida State.


Booker watch: USC and UCLA are among the schools being considered by Lorenzo Booker of Ventura St. Bonaventure, who became the state's all-time leading rusher by gaining 186 yards in the Seraphs' 80-13 Division XI victory over Calabasas.

Booker broke the record of 7,761 yards set last year by Dominique Dorsey of Tulare. Booker has scheduled recruiting visits to Washington and Texas. He has already visited Florida State and said he remains interested in Notre Dame.


Easy as 1-2-3: Several teams wasted little time taking the lead in their playoff openers. Jermaine Moore of Los Angeles Dorsey raced 71 yards on the first play against Wilmington Banning, and the Dons went on to a 34-22 victory in the City Section first-round game.

Frederick Collins of La Quinta took a pitch from quarterback Sammy Chavez and completed a 69-yard touchdown pass play to receiver Ryan Burt on the first play of a 62-24 Southern Section Division VIII victory over Riverside Rubidoux.

Rialto wingback Dramayne McElroy scored on a 76-yard run on the first play in a 43-30 Division I loss to Santa Margarita.

Huntington Beach Edison waited all of two plays before scoring on a 76-yard touchdown pass play from Tommy Grady to Denny Flanagan en route to a 56-34 Division I victory over Bellflower St. John Bosco.

Then there was Compton Dominguez, which did not get on the scoreboard until the third play of the game, a 70-yard touchdown pass play from quarterback Justin Wyatt to receiver Jason President.


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