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Ringing True in His Taft Debut

September 14, 2002|Eric Stephens; John Klima; Mayar Zokaei

Woodland Hills Taft is nowhere as good as it can be, according to Coach Troy Starr. But if the Toreadors are much better than they showed Friday afternoon against Crenshaw, that could be an ominous sign for the rest of their opponents.

Running back Ian Bell rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns in his first game for Taft, and quarterback Cary Dove threw for 237 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-26 nonleague victory over the Cougars in a season opener at Crenshaw.

Taft, No. 10 in The Times' preseason rankings, took the lead in the second quarter and kept a solid advantage throughout the second half in a rematch of last season's City Section semifinal. But the victory was about the only thing that pleased Starr.

"We're light years away from what we can be," Starr said. "We're so far away from being a good football team. But we'll take the win. They're a tough team."

Bell, who transferred from Pasadena Muir in late July, had a strong debut. The junior gave Taft a 21-8 lead with a one-yard scoring run midway through the third quarter. He then ran up the right sideline for a 40-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

It wasn't a perfect debut, however, as he lost a fumble in the third quarter that Crenshaw cashed in for six points to stay in the game. But Bell provided what the Toreadors hoped for--another threat in an already prolific offensive attack.

"There were a few times where he was an eyelash away from popping one," Starr said. "He's just going to keep getting better."

Crenshaw took an 8-0 lead on quarterback Bryant Thompson's 31-yard option keeper and Daymeion Hughes' conversion.

Taft came back on a 37-yard scoring pass play from Dove to Steve Smith and pulled ahead before halftime when the quarterback beat a linebacker blitz and connected with Paul Pratt on a 35-yard scoring play.

Dove's third scoring pass, an eight-yarder to Noah Smith, followed a 44-yard touchdown pass play from Thompson to Hughes that cut Taft's lead to 21-14.

"We knew they were going to try to get to us," Dove said of Crenshaw's aggressiveness. "We kept our composure and played our game."

Steve Smith caught six passes for 124 yards and also had an interception on defense. Hughes ran for 59 yards and caught 11 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns, but the Cougars ultimately fell short.

Eric Stephens


L.A. Dorsey 24, Sylmar 17--Ryen Carew of Sylmar rushed for 217 yards and a 76-yard touchdown in 27 carries for the host Spartans, but two fourth-quarter drives ended at the 40-yard line and the defending City champion Dons held on for a nonleague victory.

Jody Rucks of Dorsey rushed for 182 yards in 17 carries and scored on a 59-yard run on the Dons' first play from scrimmage.

Dorsey scored 18 points in the second quarter, highlighted by a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown by George Harris. Joey Rucks returned a blocked field-goal attempt 90 yards as time expired in the first half to give Dorsey a 24-14 lead.

Dorsey quarterback Donald Prince completed five of eight passes for 93 yards and a 25-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

John Klima


Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 24, Lake Balboa Birmingham 20--Collin Morgan scored on a 10-yard run with 44 seconds to play, and Cary Harris intercepted Ryan Lombardo's desperation pass as time expired to give the host Knights the intersectional victory in a season opener for both teams.

Dennis Keyes scored on a 60-yard run with 6:55 left in the third quarter to give the No. 22 Patriots a 20-9 lead.

Quarterback Marcel Marquez scored on a five-yard run three minutes later, and Mike Allen kicked a 37-yard field goal to pull Notre Dame to within 20-18.

Lombardo completed 17 of 27 passes for 321 yards with two interceptions. Chad Green caught five passes for 116 yards and one touchdown for Birmingham.

Mayar Zokaei

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