Three weeks into the high school football season, it's clear that Marqise Lee from Gardena Serra deserves an award for taking the biggest risk of any player.
Call it self-confidence, courage or pure madness. He had the audacity to wear Serra's No. 2 jersey, vacated by the graduation of All-American Robert Woods.
"It was kind of crazy," Coach Scott Altenberg said. "He asked for No. 2. I said, 'OK, the guy before had a pretty good career.'"
Lee is having a pretty good career himself. He's a three-sport standout who has started his senior season with five touchdown receptions, plus an interception return for a touchdown. He has displayed so much speed and talent that USC and UCLA came forward this month with scholarship offers.
"Wow, he's an amazing player," Altenberg said.
And he was talking about Lee, not just Woods.
Lee is a receiver-defensive back.
"I knew he was good," Altenberg said. "He just didn't play much offense last year."
Serra went 15-0 and didn't need Lee on offense. Serra is 3-0 this season, and it has helped that the other receiver is George Farmer, perhaps the No. 1 college prospect for his position in California, so opponents have been focused on stopping him, only to discover how good Lee is.
"He's always been explosive," Altenberg said. "Marqise has had a great start."
Altenberg is beginning to wonder whether No. 2 has become the school's lucky number.
"Maybe it's the jersey," he said.
Rise of the beach boys
San Clemente doesn't just have one of the nicest beaches around. Its football team is 4-0 and showing off an intriguing junior quarterback prospect in 6-foot-6 Travis Wilson, who passed for 323 yards in the Tritons' latest victory over Carlsbad La Costa Canyon.
Wilson is also an outstanding volleyball player, meaning he has good athletic ability.
"He has a good burst of speed and moves around the pocket," Coach Eric Patton said.
San Clemente is in the same South Coast League as Mission Viejo, ranked No. 1 by The Times. The two schools play Oct. 29 at San Clemente.
"I'd be lying if I said we hadn't thought about Mission Viejo in the last few months," Patton said. "We feel we can compete with anybody, and we have some weapons.
Huntington Beach Edison (3-0) plays Anaheim Servite (3-0) on Friday night at Cerritos College in a rematch of last season's Pac-5 Division championship game.
Of course, the championship game last season was played at Angel Stadium in mud and rain. Edison players looked as though they could have used a surfboard during a 16-6 defeat. The good news for Edison is that it will get to play on a dry field this time. Now, if only Coach Dave White could borrow linebacker Jordan Zumwalt from UCLA and receiver Jeff Trojan from Stanford.
Woodland Hills Taft quarterback Michael Bercovici set a school record in his second game for the Toreadors, passing for 460 yards against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. "He's the real deal," said Mission Hills Alemany Coach Dean Herrington, whose team faces Bercovici on Friday. "He's got a cannon for an arm."
Upon further review
After his team rallied from a 19-0 third-quarter deficit, then had to score two touchdowns in the final 90 seconds of regulation and recover an onside kick to pull out a 33-32 overtime victory over Ventura St. Bonaventure, Westlake Village Oaks Christian Coach Bill Redell said, "Did we deserve to win it? Probably not, but we'll take it."