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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOLS

Freshman Zach Hickman puts it on the line for Tesoro

West Hills Chaminade is piling up the miles in the playoffs.

November 27, 2011|Eric Sondheimer
  • Chaminade players during a summer scrimmage game at school's football field.
Chaminade players during a summer scrimmage game at school's football… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

It's Week 13 of the high school football season, and the story lines keep developing.

A freshman is starting at offensive guard in the Pac-5 Division at Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro. Does everyone know how rare that is? Freshmen have started at quarterback, running back, defensive back, receiver and kicker, but the physicality of the Pac-5 usually causes coaches to shy away from using freshmen in the trenches.

That decision by Tesoro Coach Brian Barnes to put 6-foot-3, 255-pound Zach Hickman in the starting lineup back in September look brilliant. Hickman has started all 12 games. He helped open the holes in the fourth quarter that enabled the Titans to eliminate top-seeded Anaheim Servite, 24-20, on Friday night.

"If he keeps maturing and growing, he'll be able to pick his [college]," Barnes said.

Road trip

West Hills Chaminade players are investigating if Greyhound offers a frequent-flyer program for buses. The Eagles traveled to San Luis Obispo last week in the Western Division playoffs and must travel to Arroyo Grande on Friday. Last year, they lost after a trip to Arroyo Grande.

"We know how long it takes to get there and when to leave," Coach Ed Croson said of the 150-mile, three-hour trip. "We can't get to the final without getting through these guys."

It's important Chaminade players remember what time the bus leaves. Last week, a player missed the bus to San Luis Obispo.

Passing guru

There was a time in Manuel Douglas' coaching career at Harbor City Narbonne that he ran the Delaware Wing-T offense and didn't know what a pass looked like.

Now the Gauchos turn loose quarterback Troy Williams, who passed for four touchdowns and ran for two scores during a 59-20 win over West Adams in which the offense gained 624 yards.

"It took lots of work, but I can't fathom doing anything but throw the ball," Douglas said. "It's a lot of fun."

Sack master

One reason Santa Monica has reached the Western Division semifinals is linebacker Chris Collins, who has at least 15 sacks.

"He's just a special football player," Coach Travis Clark said. "He can run, he can play in space. He's 6-2, 200 pounds and athletic. He's a havoc starter."

Mr. Versatility

If there were a punt, pass and kick competition for high school students, Garrett Owens of Arroyo Grande might win hands down.

Against St. Francis, he had field goals of 51 and 27 yards. He caught five passes for 60 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown. He returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown.

Owens is committed to Air Force, so when his coach asks, "Can you make a 60-yard field goal?" he responds, "Yes, sir."

He has a 57-yard field goal this season.

Superman

Junior Su'a Cravens of Vista Murrieta is a freak of nature.

"Somebody needs to get that kid a cape," Riverside North Coach Mark Paredes told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Cravens had touchdown runs of 34, 50 and 39 yards while gaining 201 yards in nine carries during a 58-14 win over North.

Next up is a showdown game Friday against unbeaten Upland. Don't be surprised if Vista Murrieta students show up wearing Superman T-shirts in honor of Cravens.

L.A. talent

When all those people from the Southeastern Conference shout about having the best prep players in the nation, tell them about Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, the Gardena Serra products at USC. One's a sophomore receiver, the other a freshman. In 2009, they helped Serra go 15-0.

"We were that good," Coach Scott Altenberg said. "They are amazing kids and they are very humble and they want each other to do well."

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

twitter.com/latsondheimer

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