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San Pedro, Narbonne, Dorsey atop City Section playoff bracket

Marine League receives three of top five seedings in Division I football. South East is the No. 1-seeded team in Division II.

November 12, 2011|By Ben Bolch
  • Dons quarterback Reginald Bell delivers a pass against the Cougars in the second quarter Thursday night at Crenshaw High
Dons quarterback Reginald Bell delivers a pass against the Cougars in the… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Coaches are out, computers are in.

That didn't mean everyone liked what was spit out Saturday when the City Section Division I playoff brackets were released.

In seedings that largely stuck to the team rankings, Dorsey received the No. 3 seeding despite finishing with a 9-1 record that included a victory over Southern Section power Mission Hills Alemany.

That was a mild surprise even to Harbor City Narbonne Coach Manuel Douglas, whose Gauchos received the No. 2 seeding.

"I knew we had a legitimate argument," Douglas said, "but I didn't necessarily think we were going to get it."

The Gauchos' resume featured three losses, including a narrow defeat against top-seeded San Pedro, as well as a victory over Southern Section stalwart Gardena Serra.

"The committee felt their body of work was stronger than Dorsey's," said John Aguirre, the City Section assistant commissioner who presided over the selection meeting.

Douglas couldn't make his case for a favorable seeding in person because coaches were banished from the playoff selection meeting. Under a new format, a seeding committee leaned heavily on computer rankings; teams that received the top eight seedings were ranked in the same order by Calpreps.

"This process was tremendously better than it was before," Aguirre said. "There wasn't any grandstanding, there was nobody looking out for their own" interests.

The Marine League received three of the top five seedings, for San Pedro, Narbonne and fifth-seeded Carson, causing some head-scratching among rival coaches.

"You have three Marine League teams in the top five? I mean, holy mackerel," said Lake Balboa Birmingham Coach Jim Rose, whose team received the No. 6 seeding. "It is what it is. You still have to win four games to win it all."

Birmingham's road to the championship starts Friday with a home game against 11th-seeded Arleta, which will be making its debut in the Division I playoffs. Mustangs running back De'Jon Coleman, who has 46 touchdowns, needs one more score to break a City single-season record.

San Pedro's route could quickly get difficult. Awaiting the Pirates in a quarterfinal could be eighth-seeded Crenshaw, the two-time defending City champion that was stunned by West Adams in its regular-season finale.

That's assuming, of course, that host Crenshaw can get past ninth-seeded Woodland Hills El Camino Real. Conquistadores running back Kawan Rally is from Crenshaw's area and will be seeking his own special homecoming.

Undefeated South Gate South East was the top-seeded team in Division II, which featured two teams — University and Manual Arts — that made the bracket despite going winless in their respective leagues.

"It's a totality of their work," Aguirre said.

Farewell again?

In what could have been his final game, Marijon Ancich on Friday did what he has done for most of his 46 years on the sideline: guide a team to victory.

Santa Fe Springs St. Paul defeated Studio City Harvard-Westlake, 41-28, giving Ancich his 360th career coaching victory. That puts him No. 2 on California's all-time list, behind only Concord De La Salle's Bob Ladouceur, who has 380 victories.

The Swordsmen (7-3, 2-3 Mission League) are not expected to receive a playoff berth, and Ancich has said he would retire at the end of the season.

Of course, he's said that before. This would conclude his third stint with the Swordsmen.

Times staff writer Eric Sondheimer contributed to this report.

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