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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL NOTES : Once 0-7, Birmingham now has a real shot

November 08, 2009|Ben Bolch

Two weeks ago, Lake Balboa Birmingham High's football team had just lost its best player and was facing the possibility of a winless season.

Now the Patriots are one victory away from a potential berth in the City Section playoffs.

That's how radically things have changed after Birmingham's 44-32 victory over Woodland Hills Taft on Friday. Thanks to a strong nonleague schedule and a late surge, the Patriots (2-7 overall, 2-2 West Valley League) could make a compelling case for playoff inclusion with a triumph over Granada Hills (2-7, 0-4) in their regular-season finale.

"If we get in at 16, it doesn't bother us at all," Birmingham Coach Jim Rose said Saturday of his team's potential playoff seeding. "We don't care who we play."

The Patriots have bounced back from the loss of USC-bound running back Trajuan Briggs, who played in only two games because of an ankle injury. Junior tailback Tashawn White and senior quarterback Max Smith, who has 20 touchdown passes and only two interceptions, have keyed the resurgence of a team that came into the season with only two returning starters.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 60 words Type of Material: Correction
High school football: A notebook in Sunday's Sports section said that Camarillo High quarterback Jeff Mathews had established a Southern Section record by passing for 594 yards during a win over Oxnard Hueneme last week. The record for passing yards in a game is held by San Bernardino High's Robert Fuller, who threw for 604 yards in a 2006 game.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, November 15, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
High school football: A Sports notebook item Nov. 8 said that Camarillo High quarterback Jeff Mathews set a Southern Section record for passing yards in a game last week. His 594 yards fell short of the 604-yard record set in 2006.

"I've been keeping my sanity by telling myself we've been playing a lot of young guys and it's going to get better," Rose said. "Maybe we're starting to grow a little early."

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Playoff possibilities

Encino Crespi's 38-25 upset of No. 10 La Puente Bishop Amat sets up a few intriguing scenarios going into the final week of Serra League play.

Here's one Crespi is hoping to avoid: If the Celts lose to Los Angeles Loyola and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame beats Bishop Amat, there would be a three-way tie for second place among Crespi, Loyola and Bishop Amat, with coin flips deciding the league's second guaranteed playoff entrant.

Even if Crespi beats Loyola, the Celts could be left out of the playoffs if Bishop Amat defeats Notre Dame, forcing a three-way tie for the league title. Because there are only two guaranteed playoff spots from the four-team league, one of the league champions could be left out, barring a wild-card berth.

"We could go 2-1 in league and lose to Notre Dame on a 52-yard field goal with no time left and miss the playoffs," Crespi Coach Jeremiah Ross lamented.

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Quick hits

Reseda Sherman Oaks CES defeated Los Angeles Community Harvest, 100-54, in a Valley League eight-man game that is believed to have set a record for points between California teams. The game was called with about eight minutes to play. . . . Pasadena Poly forfeited its Prep League game against Arcadia Rio Hondo Prep on Saturday because Panthers players were still struggling to deal with the serious head injury suffered by teammate Jackson Allan the week before. Allan had to go undergo emergency surgery to relieve swelling in his brain after being hurt during Poly's game against Palos Verdes Peninsula Chadwick. Allan's breathing tube was recently removed, but he is expected to remain in intensive care for a few more days. . . . Camarillo quarterback Jeff Mathews set a Southern Section record with 594 yards passing during the Scorpions' 69-20 win over Oxnard Hueneme, surpassing Garden Grove Bolsa Grande quarterback Doug Baughman's mark of 564 yards in 1996.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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