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Around the division: Power at the top

Hart, Palmdale flex muscle, Wolitarsky sets record

Posted: October 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Drew Wolitarsky, left, is congratulated by Canyon quarterback Cade Apsay after Wolitarsky broke the California state receiving record.

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The two teams at the top of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division poll, Hart and Palmdale high schools, continued to separate themselves from the pack this week, as Hart defeated West Ranch 49-6 and Palmdale took care of Quartz Hill 41-3.

Those convincing victories kept them in the top two spots this week, but there were a few surprises among the rest of the top 10.

St. Joseph, a member of the Pac-7 League, jumped on 2011 Western Division champion Arroyo Grande in a 38-10 victory.

That sent the upstart Eagles shooting up the poll, moving from No. 8 to No. 3 this week to mark the division’s biggest jump of the week.

The upsets didn’t stop there, though, as No. 3 West Torrance also went down this week, 62-42 to Mira Costa in a game that saw West take a 21-7 lead before falling apart.

That victory sent Mira Costa to No. 4, the highest ranked Bay League entrant this week.

Valencia rounds out the top five, which features at least one team from each of the Northern Division’s four leagues — the Foothill, Golden, Bay and Pac-7.

Barring an upset, the rankings don’t figure to change much this week, as none of the week’s matchups pit two ranked teams against each other.

Here’s how the rest of the top 10 shook out.

No. 1 Hart (5-1): Last Friday: Beat West Ranch 49-6; Last week’s ranking: No. 1

The Indians held onto the top spot in the CIF-SS Northern Division poll by displaying about as complete an overall performance as possible in a dominant victory over West Ranch at College of the Canyons on Friday.

Hart scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions to open up a 49-0 lead, and sophomore quarterback Brady White finished the game by completing 15 straight passes before exiting in the third quarter.

The defense held West Ranch to just 17 yards through the air as it clogged passing lanes and swarmed to the ball when West Ranch would attempt to run.

Hart lifted its per-game scoring average to 42 points, and has outscored opponents by 30.9 points per game on its way to five straight victory since losing a season-opening contest, 10-7, to CIF-Pac-5 Division No. 3 Tesoro on Aug. 31.

The Indians will look to continue their roll on Friday against Golden Valley at Canyon High School at 7 p.m.

Hart is currently ranked by Maxpreps.com as the No. 7 team in the South Division II rankings for the CIF State Championship game.

No. 2 Palmdale (6-0); Last Friday: Beat Quartz Hill 41-3; LWR: No. 2

The Falcons had their way with Quartz Hill, the only team to defeat Canyon thus far in 2012.

Palmdale had another big game from sophomore running back Demario Richard, who had 269 yards and four touchdowns in the game.

He now has 1,119 rushing yards this season and is averaging 10.0 yards per carry to go along with 16 rushing touchdowns.

On top of the rushing performance against Quartz Hill, he also intercepted a pass on defense.

Palmdale gets 2-4 Knight on Friday.

The Falcons are ranked No. 10 in the Division II state title game rankings by MaxPreps.com.

No. 3 St. Joseph (5-1); Beat Arroyo Grande 38-10; LWR: No. 8

The Knights had the largest jump in this week’s rankings, moving up from No. 8 to No. 3 with an impressive 38-10 victory over previously No. 4-ranked Arroyo Grande, which won the 2011 CIF-Southern Section Western Division title last season.

The Knights’ victory was their fifth straight of the season and improved them to 2-0 in Pac-7 League play.

The win was spurred in large part by their 330 yards rushing, as running back Wesley Williams carried 19 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns.

St. Joseph showed off its one-two punch, as well, as speedy running back Scotty Cusack used 14 carries to rush for 106 yards.

In holding the Eagles to just 10 points, St. Joseph continued its run of dominant defensive performances, and currently ranks first in the Pac-7 league, allowing just 14.1 points per game on the season.

The Knights will look for their sixth straight win against Paso Robles on Friday at home at 7 p.m.


No. 4 Mira Costa (4-2); Last Friday: Beat West Torrance 62-42; LWR: No. 5

The Mustangs fell behind 21-7 against West Torrance before storming back to score 42 unanswered points in both teams’ Bay League opener.

Mira Costa running back Raphael Lawson-Gayle ran for 114 yards on 22 carries with four touchdowns to push the Mustangs, who rose one spot in this week’s poll, to the win.

The Mustangs took their first lead of the game after recovering a West fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half and scored on a 38-yard run by quarterback Khalil McClain.

They’ll be back on the field Friday in a game at Palos Verdes at 3 p.m.

No. 5 Valencia (3-3); Last Friday: Beat Saugus 38-0; LWR: No. 7

Valencia scored early and often in a victory over Saugus last Friday.

The Vikings held Saugus to just 89 yards rushing and stopped three fourth-down conversion attempts in their own territory in the first half.

Valencia quarterback Sean Murhpy went 21-of-35 for 327 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in the contest, and receiver Nick Jones continued his impressive season, hauling in nine catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns.

After tumbling three spots in last week’s rankings after a loss to Loyola, Valencia moved back up two spots and will look to continue its climb when it faces West Ranch at Valencia High on Friday at 7 p.m.

No. 6 West Torrance (5-1); Last Friday: Lost to Mira Costa 62-42; LWR: No. 3

West High of Torrance fell three spots after allowing 42 unanswered points to Mira Costa in a loss on Friday.

Despite the loss, there were plenty of impressive offense performances from West, including quarterback Joey Notch, who threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns on 21-of-39 attempts, but he threw three costly interceptions.

Running back Barry Thomas carried the ball 11 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Dane Silverlake caught five passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns and Brandon Mills ran eight times for 126 yards and two touchdowns.

West will look to rebound Friday when it faces Redondo on the road at 7 p.m.

No. 7 Arroyo Grande (4-2); Last Friday: Lost to St. Joseph 38-10; LWR: No. 4

The 2011 CIF-Western Division champion Eagles couldn’t handle emerging St. Joseph on Friday night, losing 38-10 and falling three spots in this week’s poll.

Quarterback Matt Willkomm did his best to keep Arroyo Grande in the game, completing 15-of-28 passes for 147 yards and rushing for 116 yards on the night, but it wasn’t enough, as the defense struggled to stop St. Joseph’s running attack, which combined for 330 yards on the ground.

Brennen Rivera hauled in a 19-yard pass for the Eagles’ only touchdown of the game.

They’ll take on Pioneer Valely this Friday at home at 7 p.m. as they try to rebound from the loss to the Knights.

No. 8 Antelope Valley (6-0); Last Friday: Beat Littlerock 50-6; LWR: Not ranked

The Antelopes re-enter the rankings this week after staying undefeated on the year with a 50-6 win over Littlerock on Friday.

The Antelope Valley defense held Littlerock quarterback Embrey Coffey to just 2-of-11 through the air for 36 yards, but struggled with running back Anthony Bryant, who rushed for 249 yards and a touchdown in the contest.

More importantly, though, the Antelopes held Littlerock to just six points while cruising to victory.

Antelope Valley is the second highest scoring team in the Golden League behind No. 2 Palmdale, averaging 38.6 points per game, and is allowing just 13.6 points per game.

The Antelopes will look to improve on those numbers this Friday when they host Eastside at 7 p.m.

No. 9 Canyon (4-1-1); Last Friday: Beat Golden Valley 49-7; LWR: No. 10

On a night when Canyon wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky hauled in nine passes for 149 yards and four touchdowns to take the top spot on the state’s all-time prep receiving yards list, little went wrong for Cowboys.

Canyon took charge early against the Grizzlies, as quarterback Cade Apsay picked apart the Golden Valley defense, throwing for 241 yards on 16-of-24 attempts with four touchdowns and a 1-yard touchdown run.

After tying Steele Canyon, 49-49, the week before, the Canyon defense allowed a season-low seven points, lowering its average to 33.1 points allowed per game, second only to Golden Valley for highest mark in the league.

The win moved Canyon up one spot in the rankings, and it will take on Saugus this week at College of the Canyons at 7:30 p.m.

No. 10 Quartz Hill (3-3); Last Friday: Lost to Palmdale 41-3; LWR: No. 6

In what was supposed to be a matchup of two of the Golden League’s strongest teams, quickly became a Palmdale rout.

Quartz Hill, which stood at No. 6 in last week’s rankings and owns a victory over No. 9 Canyon on the season, couldn’t corral Palmdale quarterback Jake Dashnaw and the Falcons’ offense.

The Rebels star running back, Osirius Burke, was held to just 63 yards on 19 carries, and field goal kicker Rey Rodriguez gave Quartz Hill its only points of the game with a 30-yard field goal.

The Rebels will look to turn things around this week, when they travel to Lancaster at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Information from Calpreps.com, Maxpreps.com, the Santa Maria Times, the Daily Breeze and theavtimes.com was used in this story.

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