Dorsey running back Jaydon Mickens struggles to break free from Crenshaw… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Los Angeles Dorsey (8-3) at
Woodland Hills Taft (7-4), tonight, 7
Fourth-seeded Taft will turn to tailbacks Lucky Radley and Shaquille Shelton after USC-bound D.J. Morgan suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a partially torn meniscus in his knee last week against L.A. Garfield. "It's tough to replace a D.J. Morgan -- he's carried this team on his back for three seasons -- but Lucky and Shaq are two legitimate Division I talents too," Taft Coach Matt Kerstetter said. Quarterback Joseph Gray (233 yards passing) and defensive back Jabri Proby (two interceptions) had big games for 12th-seeded Dorsey in the Dons' 33-17 victory over San Pedro in the first round.
The pick: Taft.
Westchester (8-3) at
No. 1 L.A. Crenshaw (11-0), tonight, 7
The coach feeling the most pressure in the City Section playoffs this week might be Westchester defensive coordinator Kevin Yates, who must devise a scheme to stop a Crenshaw offense averaging nearly 51 points per game. But eighth-seeded Westchester allowed a league-low nine points per game during Western League play, and Yates said he "feels that anything can happen because our defense has been playing well." Comets linebackers Chass Glaspie, Darryn Armstrong and Darryn Walton must contain Crenshaw running back DeAnthony Thomas and quarterback Marquis Thompson for Westchester to have a chance against the top-seeded Cougars.
The pick: Crenshaw.
L.A. Locke (7-4) at
No. 17 Carson (9-2), tonight, 7
Seventh-seeded Locke is trying to knock off a second consecutive Marine League foe after defeating Wilmington Banning, 24-14, last week. The Saints are led by quarterback Omar Herrera and running back Tony Bell, who helped secure a second-place finish behind Crenshaw in the Coliseum League. Quarterback Justin Alo and running back Dion Willis are the offensive mainstays for second-seeded Carson, which has won seven consecutive games.
The pick: Carson.
Harbor City Narbonne (6-5) at
No. 22 Venice (10-1), tonight, 7
Narbonne is the defending City co-champion, but Gauchos Coach Manuel Douglas said his team's fate "depends on which Narbonne team shows up." Will it be the lackluster bunch that lost to Wilmington Banning or the inspired group that upset Orange Lutheran? The 11th-seeded Gauchos looked impressive last week in a 33-0 victory over L.A. Jordan. Third-seeded Venice is trying to advance to a City semifinal for the first time since 2003, when it reached the championship game. Quarterback Alfonso Medina has thrown 24 touchdown passes and had only six passes intercepted, but the Gondoliers are hardly a one-dimensional team. "We can run the ball and we play better defense than people realize," Coach Angelo Gasca said.
The pick: Narbonne.
-- Ben Bolch