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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOLS

Alemany makes a statement with a smashing victory over Narbonne

The No. 8-ranked Alemany High Warriors defeat Narbonne, the defending City Section Division I champion, 42-14. Four touchdowns in the third quarter seal the deal.

September 13, 2013|Eric Sondheimer
  • Brandon Pierce attempts to go between defenders Kristian Hanley and Aaron Corbin during Alemany's victory over Narbonne, 42-14, on Friday.
Brandon Pierce attempts to go between defenders Kristian Hanley and Aaron… (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)

With showdown games looming against Corona Centennial and Ventura St. Bonaventure in the coming weeks, No. 8-ranked Mission Hills Alemany needed to show on Friday night that it belonged among Southern California's elite football teams.

The Warriors put together a four-touchdown barrage in the third quarter to leave defending City Section Division I champion Harbor City Narbonne down for the count. Alemany (3-0) came away with a 42-14 victory on its home field, giving Coach Dean Herrington renewed confidence his team is headed in the right direction.

Quarterback Alif Grayes completed 13 of 16 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Okalani Taufahema-Langi, a transfer from Encino Crespi, finished with four touchdowns, including a 92-yard interception return and two short scoring runs. Brandon Boyd, who quit the team in August, then changed his mind, had a 47-yard punt return and provided a boost in the secondary.

It was Alemany's speed, combined with Narbonne's inconsistent play at quarterback, that was decisive. The Gauchos (2-1) could get back senior quarterback Eban Jackson (broken wrist) next week, and combining him with Johnell Jackson (179 yards rushing in 25 carries) might solve Narbonne's offensive problems.

When it comes to offense, the Warriors have plenty. Taufahema-Langi is a 195-pound human bowling ball. Herrington puts him in on short-yardage situations in a power rushing attack, and he picks up tough yardage.

"We've been running that short-yardage offense for 30 years, and he's the best we've had," Herrington said. "And I'm glad Boyd came back."

Boyd, who had eight interceptions last season, has a basketball scholarship offer from Navy; for a time, he decided to focus on basketball. Then he watched Alemany scrimmage Hart and changed his mind.

"I felt I needed to be out here," Boyd said.

It was City Section vs. Southern Section challenge week, and the City teams struggled. Dorsey lost to Santa Margarita, 24-6. Venice lost to Westlake Village Oaks Christian, 49-39. Carson lost to Santa Ana Mater Dei, 33-0.

The top teams in the City Section usually find ways to respond when adversity strikes. That's due both to coaching and the tradition established in programs with veteran coaches.

Narbonne had a miserable start, falling behind, 14-0. There was no panic in the Gauchos, who turned to their All-City running back, Jackson. He scored touchdowns on runs of four and 15 yards while shredding Alemany's defense for 144 first-half yards. At halftime, it was 14-14. But the Warriors dominated the third quarter.

"Our goal is to win the City championship every year," Narbonne Coach Manuel Douglas said. "We got beat, but this will help us develop into a City title contender."

Next up for Alemany is No. 2-ranked Corona Centennial and its high-powered offense.

"I'm having nightmares about them," said one Alemany assistant coach.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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