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This Week's Top Football Games

September 12, 2003

SOUTHERN SECTION

Los Alamitos (1-0) vs. Newhall Hart (0-0) at College of the Canyons, 7, tonight

It's Los Alamitos, ranked No. 1 by The Times, and its talent-laden secondary taking on third-ranked Hart and its passing tradition. The Griffins opened play last week with a 49-0 victory over Culver City. The secondary, led by All-American Randy Estes, will face a tougher challenge from Hart quarterback Sean Norton, who passed for 245 yards last season in a 21-21 tie with Los Alamitos. Crucial to Hart's chances will be the performance of its offensive line. Norton was tackled eight times for losses in last year's game. Quarterback Jimmy Barnes of Los Alamitos, in his second varsity start, figures to face lots of blitzes and changing coverages.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Claremont (0-0) vs. Covina South Hills (0-0) at Covina District Stadium, 7, tonight

South Hills, defending Division VII champion and No. 1 in the division's preseason poll, averaged nearly 27 points last season but must replace four offensive linemen. The new line is charged with providing quarterback Philip Guerrero enough time to get the ball to twin receivers Bryan and Jeremy Payton. If Claremont, ranked No. 16 by The Times and No. 6 in Division II, tries to pass against South Hills, it will be taking its chances. South Hills had 30 interceptions last season, with the Paytons combining for 19. Claremont may not need to pass because tailback Jamaal Floyd, fullback Lyle Wise and quarterback Isaiah Cook are serious running threats.

-- Martin Henderson

Orange Lutheran (0-0) vs. Santa Ana Mater Dei (0-0) at Santa Ana Stadium, 7, Saturday

Orange Lutheran hopes to one day be considered in the same class as Mater Dei, No. 4 in The Times' rankings and No. 2 in the Division I preseason poll. The Lancers could make a case with a victory this weekend. Orange Lutheran nearly turned the corner last year, outgaining Mater Dei in total yards, 390-266, but losing, 21-20, when a two-point conversion pass was broken up in the closing seconds at Santa Ana Stadium. The Lancers, who moved into the Empire League and Division VI last season, are ranked No. 19 by The Times and No. 3 in Division VI. They are led by wide receiver/linebacker Anthony Vernaglia, who committed to Notre Dame. The Monarchs are anchored by another future Notre Dame player, offensive and defensive lineman Brandon Nicolas.

-- Dan Arritt

**

CITY SECTION

Carson (0-0) at Venice (0-0), 7, tonight

Emotions figure to run high. Venice quarterback Beau Davis played at Carson last year but quit the team the first week of the section playoffs. Davis split time with current Colt starter Bo Napoleon. Both teams, at least publicly, are downplaying that aspect of the matchup. The Gondoliers consider the game a litmus test. "We want to see where we're at," Venice Coach Angelo Gasca said. "We look at this game as us playing against a good team."

-- Eric Stephens

Sylmar (0-0) at Los Angeles Dorsey (0-0), 7, tonight

Dorsey spent last year in a rebuilding mode but appears ready for a big season. The Dons will be powered by their talented backfield of junior Jeremiah Johnson and sophomore Stafon Johnson. Sylmar no longer has All-City running back Ryen Carew, who transferred to Tujunga Verdugo Hills. Longtime Coach Jeff Engilman, however, is high on Chris Green and a top-notch offensive line led by Raul Suarez. Dorsey won, 24-17, last year but forfeited the victory because of an ineligible player.

-- Eric Stephens

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