Poly running back Jeremy Calhoun II finds plenty of running room against… (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles…)
Friday's top high school football games:
Santa Ana Mater Dei (10-2) vs. Long Beach Poly (11-1) at Veterans Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
(Fox Sports West)
This is a rematch of last year's Pac-5 final won by Poly, 35-17. There figures to be fewer points scored in this semifinal game between two powerful defenses. Mater Dei will try to run the ball with Justin Allen. Poly will try to run the ball by committee behind its big offensive line. Each team will seek to pull off a big play. Poly has John "Juju" Smith. Mater Dei has Jonathan Lockett. Turnovers and execution will decide this one.
The pick: Poly.
Venice (10-2) at Crenshaw (8-4), 7 p.m.
(Time Warner Cable, Channel 101)
All season, these City Section teams have been gearing up for a showdown. Venice lost to Crenshaw, 59-10, in a semifinal last year. Twenty starters are back and can't wait for a second chance. Quarterback Alexander Diamont will need to elude Crenshaw's powerful pass rush. Crenshaw quarterback Ajene Harris has been hurting teams with his feet and arm. It comes down to whether Venice's offensive and defensive lines can hold their own.
The pick: Crenshaw.