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Sylmar, Harvard-Westlake fielding promising young quarterbacks

Sylmar's Clarence Williams accounted for eight touchdowns in a victory last week. Marshal Cohen of Harvard-Westlake has been a surprise contributor in the Mission League. The teams meet Friday.

September 15, 2013|Eric Sondheimer

One is 15, the other 16. Both have been playing quarterback since early in their Pop Warner days.

On Friday night, sophomores Clarence Williams of Sylmar and Marshal Cohen of Studio City Harvard-Westlake face off in a matchup of two promising young quarterbacks on the verge of leading their respective teams to breakthrough seasons.

The 6-foot-1 Williams, who grew up as everyone's can't-miss prospect playing for the Mid Valley Titans, accounted for eight touchdowns last week when Sylmar (1-1) put up a school-record 83 points in a win over Verdugo Hills.

"It's a great feeling to know our team is capable of putting up points, especially the offense," he said.

He passed for 345 yards and seven touchdowns and ran for a touchdown. He has been Sylmar's starter since Coach Chris Richards pulled him up to varsity as a freshman in the middle of last season. Now he's being turned loose with a strong group of Sylmar sophomores in preparation for an Oct. 4 showdown game against rival San Fernando.

Cohen has been the surprise contributor among some very tough Mission League quarterbacks. He made his varsity debut in Harvard-Westlake's season-opening 27-21 upset victory over Los Angeles Loyola, passing for 128 yards and running for 121 yards. Last week against Granada Hills, he passed for 157 yards and rushed for 191 yards.

He was the junior varsity quarterback as a freshman last year at Brentwood until he transferred to Harvard-Westlake. "I feel I've picked up the offense pretty well," he said.

He's 6 feet, 195 pounds and doesn't go down easily. He also doesn't fear standing in the pocket until the last moment to get the ball to his receivers, a good sign for the coming years.

"I feel as a heavier dude, I'm able to sit in the pocket longer and not be afraid of guys coming for me, and I can run the ball," he said.

As passing and running threats, Cohen and Williams will be tough to stop over the next two seasons, and Friday's game at Sylmar should be fun to watch.

"You have two very good young quarterbacks," said Harvard-Westlake Coach Scot Ruggles.

Rivalry games

Orange Coast College is the site for two appealing Orange County rivalry games.

First up is Thursday's game between Huntington Beach Edison (2-0) and Anaheim Servite (2-1).

If you sleep at the stadium overnight, you'll be well-prepared for Friday night's Battle of the Bay featuring Corona del Mar (3-0) against Newport Harbor (1-1).

Servite owns a win over Long Beach Poly, which handed Corona Centennial a rare defeat last week. Edison always plays well in its rivalry games against Servite and Santa Ana Mater Dei.

Corona del Mar has won a school-record 13 consecutive games and is ranked No. 1 in the Southern Division. Quarterback Luke Napolitano passed for 213 yards last week in a win over El Toro.

Shootout coming

West Hills Chaminade (2-1) has scored 57, 55 and 56 points. Westlake Village Oaks Christian has scored 51, 57 and 49 points. The teams play Thursday at Oaks Christian.

"High school football has been arena football lately," said Chaminade Coach Ed Croson.

Quarterbacks Brad Kaaya (Chaminade, Miami commit) and Brandon Dawkins (Oaks Christian, Arizona) are good friends and ready to light up the scoreboard.

Twitter: LATSondheimer

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