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Division Iii

September 11, 2002|Mike Bresnahan

2001 champion: Newhall Hart (has moved to Division II).

League favorites: Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (Bay), Antelope Valley (Golden), Santa Fe Springs St. Paul (Mission), Pasadena Muir (Pacific), Compton Dominguez (San Gabriel Valley).

Contenders: Lawndale Leuzinger (Bay), Palmdale (Golden), La Canada St. Francis, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (Mission), Arcadia (Pacific), Downey (San Gabriel Valley).

Key dates: Oct. 25, Muir at Arcadia; Nov. 1, Crescenta Valley at Arcadia; Nov. 8, Leuzinger at Mira Costa, Dominguez at Downey; Nov. 15, St. Francis at St. Paul, Antelope Valley at Palmdale.

The scoop: With four-time champion Hart and the Foothill League moved to Division II, the Bay and Pacific leagues should produce the dominant teams. Mira Costa has been a division semifinalist and finalist the last two seasons behind Michael Okwo, a powerful runner and standout linebacker. With an improved passing game courtesy of quarterback Peter Dobush, Mira Costa is the team to beat in the Bay League. Muir has transfer Richard Irvin to fill the spot vacated by quarterback Ryan O'Hara (Arizona). St. Paul drops down from Division I and is a slight favorite in the Mission League. Dominguez features quarterback/defensive back Anthony Wheat.

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