The City Section rules committee will meet today to review the incidents that led to a brawl near the end of last week's Marine League game between Harbor City Narbonne and Washington. Several players were ejected in a game that was called with 48 seconds left and Narbonne leading, 41-12. Section rules require ejected players to sit out the next game.
Barbara Fiege, director of athletics for the section, said additional players could be suspended if they left the bench to take part in a fight. Fiege also said there is a possibility that one or both teams could be forced to forfeit their next game. Narbonne is scheduled to play Wilmington Banning and Washington is scheduled to play San Pedro on Friday.
Westchester's game against University also was called by officials with 5:36 left because they feared rough play might lead to a brawl.
"It's very disappointing in regard to our push for pursuing victory with honor," Fiege said of the incidents. "It lets us know we still have a lot of work to do."
Western showdown: Venice and the rest of the Western League have not had much success against perennial power Westchester. Venice last beat the Comets in 1998 behind quarterback J.P Losman, who passed for 3,512 yards and 48 touchdowns that season, then graduated a semester early and made a quick stop at UCLA before transferring to Tulane.
The Gondoliers are hoping to pin another loss on Westchester when the teams meet Friday at Venice in a game that will go a long way in determining the league championship. A quarterback once again leads Venice with sparkling statistics. Junior Eddie Miller has completed 73 of 108 passes for 1,686 yards and 21 touchdowns with four interceptions.
Junior receiver B.J. Vickers has 56 receptions, eight touchdowns and is averaging 26 yards a catch. Senior Anthony Soto has four touchdowns among his 26 receptions and is averaging 21 yards a catch. Senior running backs Lionel Gentry, a transfer from Palisades who is averaging 14 yards a carry, and senior Walle Forrester, who is averaging 10, form one of the best running tandems in recent Gondolier history.
"We feel that we are one of the best teams in the City and this is our chance to prove it," Venice Coach Angelo Gasca said. "We know that saying it is one thing and going out and doing it is another.."
Westchester has not lost since a 37-0 season-opening defeat to top-ranked Long Beach Poly. The Comets are led by quarterback Brian Johnson and also feature game-breaking talents such as Michael Sanford, Kenny Franklin and Sam Calhoun.
""Venice throws the ball well and runs the ball well," Westchester Coach Larry Wein said. "It's going to be a game of 'Who's more physical?"'
Panthers on prowl: The Marine League standings might look a bit odd without Carson, Banning or San Pedro in first place, but Gardena is sure enjoying the view from the top.
Gardena, last season's Invitational champion, is the only unbeaten team in league play. The Panthers improved to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in league with a 14-0 victory over Banning on Friday, and were elevated to the top when Carson lost at home to San Pedro. Gardena plays Friday at Carson.
"We've played hard for four weeks in a row," Gardena Coach Marshall Jones said. "I've always felt that we had perhaps more athletes than other teams but we didn't have the size to complement that. Now our defensive line is a big as everybody else's.... Our secondary doesn't have to make as many tackles."
City top 10: 1. Crenshaw (5-0); 2. Van Nuys Birmingham (6-0); 3. Fremont (6-0); 4. Westchester (5-1); 5. Carson (5-1); 6. Harbor City Narbonne (3-3); 7. Granada Hills (5-1); 8. Woodland Hills Taft (4-2); 9. Gardena (4-2); 10. Roosevelt (6-0).
Staff writer Eric Stephens contributed to this report.