St. John Bosco High quarterback Josh Rosen, left, and center Elijah Zabludoff. (Christina House / For The…)
It still seems a little strange when the starting quarterback at a Catholic high school is Jewish, but in reality, it has been happening so often that it's no longer considered a big deal.
Last season, Logan Scott and Jared Lebowitz were the starting quarterbacks at West Hills Chaminade and La Cañada St. Francis, respectively.
This season, sophomore Josh Rosen has taken over as the starting quarterback at Bellflower St. John Bosco, and his center, Elijah Zabludoff, is also Jewish.
Catholic schools have earned strong reputations for academic and sports excellence, so it's no surprise that Jewish families have become comfortable in the Catholic campus environment.
The best offensive lineman at Encino Crespi is Ricky Wolff, who has a 4.4 GPA. The standout kicker at Chaminade is sophomore Ben Kreitenberg. Both are Jewish.
"I just think it's not Jewish students ending up at Catholic schools," Rosen said. "It's great football players."
St. John Bosco Coach Jason Negro said there's no singling out individuals of different religions, and everyone goes to Mass.
"They stand when they're supposed to stand," he said. "They sit when they're supposed to sit. They're welcomed and fit right in. We're not trying to convert anybody."
When St. John Bosco traveled to Utah last week for a game against Sandy (Utah) Jordan, the team made a visit to a Mormon temple.
Religious tolerance is in, and good football players always seem to be welcomed to any Catholic school campus.
Excitement in Palmdale
If you're looking for a player college recruiters will be excited about from the class of 2014, junior running back Demario Richard of Palmdale fits the criteria.
He has rushed for 850 yards and scored 12 touchdowns for the 5-0 Falcons.
"He's one of those kids who can do it all," Coach Jeff Williams said. "He's big enough to run over opponents, he can run around them and he has great vision."
Freshman to watch
Running back Leo Lambert III is playing on the Sherman Oaks Notre Dame freshman team and earning rave reviews.
He's averaging 12 yards a carry and has rushed for 727 yards and scored 15 touchdowns in five games for the Knights (5-0).
John Barnes, the football coach at Los Alamitos since 1979, was trying to win his 300th coaching victory on Thursday against Huntington Beach Marina. He'd become the fourth coach in state history with 300 or more victories, joining Bob Ladouceur of Concord De La Salle, Marijon Ancich of Santa Fe Springs St. Paul and Herb Meyer of Oceanside.
City Section showdowns
League races could be decided by the results of three league showdowns on Friday.
In the Eastern League, it's South East (5-1, 2-0) taking on L.A. Roosevelt (5-0, 2-0).
In the West Valley League, it's Woodland Hills Taft (2-3) facing Lake Balboa Birmingham (3-2). In the Northern League, it's Franklin (6-0) taking on Lincoln (5-1).
Making principal smile
One of the best players on the Newhall Hart freshman football team is kicker Andrew Nielsen, the son of Principal Collyn Nielsen. He had a 34-yard field goal last week. "I've never seen a freshman boot the ball into the end zone like he has," varsity Coach Mike Herrington said.
Hart's freshman and junior varsity team are unbeaten, but the varsity team is only 4-1. "It boils down to the head man. I'll take all the blame," Herrington said.