Two football programs that have produced their share of outstanding running backs, Los Angeles Dorsey and Woodland Hills Taft, are set to meet Thursday night armed with two of the best quarterbacks in the City Section.
That means Joseph Gray from Dorsey and Michael Bercovici from Taft figure to be slinging the ball from start to finish in the 7 p.m. game at Jackie Robinson Stadium at Rancho Cienega Park.
Dorsey opened its season last week with a 41-0 win over North Hollywood. Taft will make its season debut, along with Bercovici, an Arizona State commit who had to sit out most of last season after transferring from Westlake Village Westlake.
This game will be likely decided by which secondary succeeds in covering the receivers best. And both schools have players capable of sacking the quarterback. Dorsey has defensive end Jeremiah Allison, who had 20 sacks last season. Taft has USC commit Antwaun Woods.
Dorsey has an imposing receiving duo in Marvin Hall and Jaydon Mickens. Hall's big-play ability was impressive against North Hollywood. He had three touchdowns. Mickens didn't play because of a groin injury but is expected back. Taft will turn to Anthony Nickerson and Mike Thomas.
Dorsey will be without running back Robert Gasaway, who suffered a hip pointer last week. Taft is trying to find a replacement at running back for Shaquille Shelton, who transferred to Crenshaw two weeks into the school year.
Dorsey Coach Paul Knox has been concerned about depth problems along the offensive line and at running back. But Gray, who passed for nearly 2,000 yards last season, is a dangerous quarterback when given time to throw.
Any defeat could be costly for schools with state bowl-game aspirations, and there are big-time matchups this weekend.
Long Beach Poly (1-0), ranked No. 5 by The Times, faces No. 7 Ventura St. Bonaventure on Friday night at Long Beach Veterans Stadium. St. Bonaventure was picked to finish fifth in the Marmonte League by the Ventura County Star, but Coach Todd Therrien likes his team. The Seraphs might be lacking in big-name players, but they aren't lacking in talent. Their linebacker group is outstanding, led by Cody Kurz and Jalen Jefferson.
Poly is coming off a 42-28 win over Bakersfield in which junior Chaiyse Hales passed for 314 yards and five touchdowns. Look for St. Bonaventure to put the pressure on Hales.
Another important game is No. 1 Mission Viejo (1-0) taking on No. 17 Los Angeles Loyola (1-0) at Los Angeles Valley College. The game should provide a good gauge where the two schools are at and where they might be going.
Another intriguing game has No. 4 Lakewood (1-0) playing at unranked Bellflower St. John Bosco (1-0). St. John Bosco plays in the tough Trinity League, and if the Braves expect to be competitive, they'll need to put up a fight against the talented Lancers.
Going for big yards
Two City Section Division II teams make their debuts Saturday, with Sun Valley Poly and top running back Kevin Ervin playing host to Los Angeles Franklin in a 12:30 p.m. game. Ervin scored 35 touchdowns last season and rushed for more than 2,000 yards. The Parrots have a big offensive line and hope to turn Ervin loose.
School of kickers
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame keeps turning out kickers. Eric Solis, a freshman at Oregon who joined the team this season as a walk-on, made three field goals and nine PATs in his collegiate debut last weekend.
Two other ex-Notre Dame kickers, Kai Forbath from UCLA and Erik Folk from Washington, also made field goals in college games last weekend.