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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Oaks Christian, Serra to meet in championship game

Other Southern Section matchups include Chaparral at Vista Murrieta and Moorpark vs. Westlake. Los Angeles Hamilton and Woodland Hills El Camino Real will face off in a City Section championship.

December 11, 2009
  • Last season, Malcolm Jones (32) and Oaks Christian defeated Serra, 56-21, in the Northwest Division championship game.
Last season, Malcolm Jones (32) and Oaks Christian defeated Serra, 56-21,… (Los Angeles Times )

SOUTHERN SECTION

Northwest Division: Westlake Village Oaks Christian (13-0) at Gardena Serra (13-0), 7:30 --Serra has added to its already impressive stable of skill-position players since Oaks Christian routed the Cavaliers, 56-21, in last season's championship game. Quarterback Conner Preston, a transfer from Palisades, considers himself 2-0 against Oaks Christian -- in middle school flag football while playing for St. Matthews Parish School. Stopping UCLA-bound tailback Malcolm Jones, the Gatorade national player of the year, might be a stiffer challenge for Preston and the Cavaliers, but they won't be intimidated. "I think we've got a real chance here," Serra Coach Scott Altenberg said. The pick: Serra.

Inland Division: Temecula Chaparral (10-3) at Vista Murrieta (13-0), 7:30 -- One of these rivals will win its first section title in a rematch of a Southwestern League game won by Vista Murrieta, 32-13, in October. Chaparral Coach Tommy Leach was suspended for that game after instructing his players to point at the scoreboard the previous week in response to what he felt were questionable hits on his players. The Pumas have already avenged a loss to Corona Centennial in the playoffs and have pulled out three victories in the final minute. "We're just flying by the seat of our pants trying to get it done," Leach said. A victory could propel Vista Murrieta into a state championship bowl game. The pick: Chaparral.

Northern Division: Moorpark (12-1) vs. Westlake Village Westlake (13-0) at Simi Valley High, 7 -- Westlake has arrived a year earlier than expected with junior quarterback Nick Isham and junior running back Tavior Mowry. The Warriors already thumped Moorpark, 38-14, in a Marmonte League game last month and knocked off second-seeded Ventura St. Bonaventure, 14-7, last week in a semifinal. Moorpark is coming off a 40-14 victory over top-seeded Valencia and is seeking its first section title since 1997. The pick: Westlake.

Western Division: Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (11-2) vs. Mission Hills Alemany (10-3) at College of the Canyons, 7:30 -- Led by running back Malcolm Marable, Alemany is making its first trip to a section title game. Mira Costa is back in the championship game after suffering a 14-0 defeat last season against Quartz Hill. The pick: Mira Costa.

Southern Division: Garden Grove (13-0) vs. La Mirada (12-1) at Orange Coast College, 7:30 -- Garden Grove wants to win its first section title as a tribute to Kevin Telles, the fullback-linebacker who died in September after collapsing during a game. La Mirada is 1-7 in section championship games, with the victory coming in 1992. The pick: Garden Grove.

Central Division: Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos (9-4) vs. Upland (11-2) at Citrus College, 7:30 -- Los Osos has won seven consecutive games since Upland shut out the Grizzlies, 17-0, in a Baseline League opener. While Upland is seeking its third section title and first since 2000, Los Osos is playing in its first championship game. The pick: Upland.

Southeast Division: Covina Charter Oak (12-1) vs. Pomona Diamond Ranch (7-6) at Chino Hills Ayala High, 7:30 -- Diamond Ranch has reached its second consecutive title game -- quite a feat considering the Panthers were 1-6 following a 12-0 loss to Charter Oak in October. Charter Oak also defeated Diamond Ranch in last year's Southeast Division championship game, 30-14. The pick: Charter Oak.

CITY SECTION

Division II: Los Angeles Hamilton (10-3) vs. Woodland Hills El Camino Real (12-1) at East Los Angeles College, 7 -- Hamilton, a program that produced NFL players Warren Moon, Rod Martin and Stephen Baker, is seeking its first City title since the school opened in 1931. El Camino Real won a 3-A title in 1997. The pick: El Camino Real.

-- Ben Bolch

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