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CIF State Football Championship Bowl Set

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Corona Centennial Returns to Championship Game against familiar rival

By Gary Montgomery
BVN Staff

The California State Football Championship matchups are set and local powerhouse, Corona Centennial (14-1) is back in the mix after a brief one respite. The Huskies punched their ticket to the big game by beating City Section champion Harbor City Narbonne (13-2) at Cerritos College on Friday night.

The Huskies 41-34 victory propelled the Inland power to its fourth appearance in the Championship game. Centennial will face the dreaded nemesis from the north, Concord De La Salle (14-0) on Saturday in the Open division game.

De La Salle, a near permanent fixture as the northern champion earned its return trip by beating Folsom 49-15 in Friday’s north Regional finals. Corona and Concord will square off for the fourth time in the Championship game since it return at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

Friday’s games include the Division 4 clash between Modesto Central Catholic (13-2) against Solana Beach Santé Fe Christian (11-3) at 4 p.m.

Long Beach Poly (12-3) takes the field at 8 p.m. against Granite Bay in a battle for the Division 1 title.

On Saturday, Kentfield Marin Catholic (14-1) takes on San Diego Madison (13-1) for the Division 3 title at noon.

At 4p.m., Oakdale (14-1) and Gardena Serra (13-2) tangle for the Division 2 title.

The marquee matchup between the state’s two best teams Corona Centennial and Concord De La Salle begins at 8 p.m.

Tickets are available online or at the Home Depot Center box office.

G. Montgomery can be reached at sports@blackvoicenews.com

McDowell Answers Tiger's Challenge

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Graeme McDowell breaks a 2-year drought with a win at Tiger’s World Challenge

By Gary Montgomery
BVN Staff

Thousand Oaks – For the 14th consecutive year, Tiger Woods assembled 18 of the world’s top golfers to help raise money for his foundation, the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Woods and his father Earl launched the first tournament back in 1999 at the Grayhawk Country Club in Scottsdale Arizona. After that, play was moved to its current home at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks.

The course nestled in the Santa Monica mountains winds through the pristine canyons, bordered by lavish estate homes.

Tiger won the Challenge in 2011 with birdies on the final two holes chasing down leader Zach Johnson. Trailing Johnson by 1 at the 17th, Tiger birdied to tie heading to 18 where he sank a 10 foot birdie putt to beat Johnson by a stroke and win his fifth World Challenge victory─ adding to his previous victories in 2001, 04, 06, and 07.

Tiger’s 2011 win also marked the beginning of his comeback (although many believe he never left) to prominence. After winning last December, Tiger scored three victories in a season for the first time since his shortened 2008 season when he won four times.

Those three wins propelled Tiger back to no. 2 in the world in the World Golf Ranking, moving all the way from 23rd the previous year.

Although, much maligned by the American media, Tiger remains the only American player in the top 5 World golf rankings for 2012. Currently at No. 2, Tiger will be chasing a red hot Rory Mcllroy to reclaim his No 1 spot in 2013.

But this year, it was all McDowell. His second round 66 gave him the sole lead and he never relinquished it. “He likes it here. The golf course suits his game, and he keeps the ball in front of him, and he’s a beautiful putter,” said Tiger when asked about McDowell’s dominance. “His ball flight is, I think, perfect for how the conditions are. He hits it flat and loves to draw it, and it’s going to take a lot of the spin off it, which is great,” Tiger continued.

Although nobody likes winning golf tournaments as much as Tiger, without winning, he was no doubt elated at the successful turnout. Thousands of fans roamed the rained soaked course to get a glimpse of their favorite golfer. There were dozens of young men dressed like Rickie Fowler in bright orange attire and sideways tilted hats.

The Tiger Woods foundation’s mission is to provide resources to young people through innovative programs and support so that these youth can attend college and are prepared to properly to succeed.

One of the primary vehicles is the five-year old Earl Woods scholarship offered through the foundation. To date, the World Challenge has also raised more than $25 million for the community. In 2012, the Tiger Woods Learning center in Anaheim is expected to serve more than 15,000 students.

The new Earl Woods scholars program will welcome 17 new students this year. To date, 100 percent of Earl Woods Scholars graduate with their bachelors degrees. The program celebrates its second graduating class this year.

The five year old Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim has become an educational inspiration to many. So successful that TWLC’s have been expanded in Washington, Pennsylvania, and Tiger’s resident state of Florida.

Woods foundation has 25 fulltime employees working on a variety fun raising events, including seven annual tournaments and the very popular Tiger Jam held in Las Vegas. Tiger seldom touts his philanthropic successes and the media doesn’t talk much about them but Tiger Woods Learning Centers are making a difference in a huge way.

Like his foundations, Tiger’s game is on the rise too. Sitting comfortably in the World’s No. 2 spot behind Rory, Tiger has to be excited about his chances to regain his former No. 1 status.

At this point, Tiger’s swing change is nearly complete. The major piece of his game holding him back now is his putting. Tiger missed short birdie putts on multiple holes on Sunday to stop potential rallies but I wouldn’t count Tiger out in 2013.

G. Montgomery can be reached at sports@blackvoicenews.com

Fighting Irish Makes Defensive Case Against the Trojans

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By Dennis J. Freeman
Special to the BVN

LOS ANGELES -- Eventually the USC and Notre Dame football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Stadium was going to come down to some sort of defensive stand by the Irish. It was just a matter of time. You knew it was coming, but when it would come was a different story.

Notre Dame put the finishing touches on an undefeated 12-0 record and No. 1 ranking with a 22-13 win in front of a raucous sellout crowd.

The signature point of the game came late in the fourth quarter with USC standing at Notre Dame’s goal-line, six inches standing in the way of a sure touchdown. USC had four shots at piercing through the seemly impenetrable armor of Notre Dame’s defense. Notre Dame’s vaunted defense rebuked the Trojans on four consecutive plays, effectively dismissing any lingering doubts about the heart of the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame would likely move on to play in the BCS national championship game, while USC scrambles to earn a bowl bid and self-respectability. The climax ending for USC is a far different view that fell unceremoniously to earth since quarterback Matt Barkley was picked as the nation’s Heisman Trophy frontrunner, and the Trojans was ranked No.1 in just about every poll during the summer. So much for predictions, and so much for USC’s dream season.

This is the first time that Notre Dame has reached the top of the college football world in 19 years.

Notre Dame, which has put teams as Oklahoma, Michigan and Michigan State on their backs enroute to its undefeated season, laid it all on the line with a redshirt freshman in Everett Golson and a tough-as-nails defense, led by hard-hitting linebacker Manti Te’o. Te’o said Notre Dame’s defensive unit wasn’t too worried about that last series mounted by USC. They knew they had to stop the Trojans-and they did.

“It doesn’t matter,” Te’o said. I kept telling my guys it doesn’t matter. When they were on the one-yard line it doesn’t matter. As long as they don’t cross that white line, it doesn’t matter. Our guys folded up, and they just came out fought for every inch. I’m just proud of the way my guys came out and played.”

Te’o said the Trojans weren’t able to punch in the touchdown because the Fighting Irish’s defense prides itself on getting stops with a big physical presence.

“We’re physical,” Te’o said. “We don’t like being scored on. Although it happened, we come back and we bounce back to insure that it doesn’t happen again. We demonstrated that tonight.”

What was also on display was the strong arm of Golson, who threw for 217 yards, and led Notre Dame on scoring drives on the Fighting Irish’s first three possessions of the game. Notre Dame running back Theo Riddick kept the Trojans off-balanced all night, rushing for 146 yards and a touchdown.

On the flip side of the ball, USC, without the services of the injured Barkley, couldn’t muster any real sustained drives and challenge to the Irish. USC coach Lane Kiffin went with Max Wittek at quarterback for the game. Wittek threw for 186 yards and two interceptions. The drop-off for the Trojans was they usually, come-to-expect a spectacular game by Heisman Trophy contender Marqise Lee.

Although he caught five passes for 75 yards, Lee couldn’t really shake free from Notre Dame defenders to have a big night, which the Trojans badly needed him to do if they had any chance of upsetting their visitors.

UCLA Faces Stanford in Round Two

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By Steve Finley
Special to the BVN

Pasadena - The UCLA Bruins Football team will travel north to Palo Alto to battle Stanford for the second week in a row this Friday for a 5 p.m. kick off. This time the stakes are higher and a possible Rose Bowl invitation is on the line. This time they will be playing for the Pacific-12 Championship on channel 11.

Bruins hope the outcome will be much different than last Saturdays’ 35-17 loss to Stanford. “We came out a little flat but we will adjust,” said senior running back Johnathan Franklin. Stanford’s defense held Franklin, UCLA’s all-time rushing leader to 65 yards on 21 carries. Franklin has rushed for 4,175 yards in four years. That’s good enough for fifth place in Pacific-12 history.

If UCLA expects to upset the No. 8 ranked Cardinals they will have to open holes for the hard running Franklin. That’s easier said than done against a Stanford team that plays hard nose football and makes very few mistakes. “They are a very physical team,” said UCLA head coach Jim Mora. “They have experience and they have been doing this for a long time. They have been running the same offenses and defenses and they are consistent. They have had the same coaches in their system for the last few years. They run the ball well, they tackle well and they block well.”

UCLA will also have to do a better job of protecting red-shirt quarterback Brett Hundley. For the first time this season the Stanford defense seemed to confuse Hundley. Hundley was sacked seven times Saturday. At times it appeared that Hundley had running room but he decided to throw into tight coverage. “To be honest I tried to sit in the pocket as long as I can and try to make the throws I need to make,” said Hundley. “I probably should have run a little more but I just have to play my game and try to help my team win the games.”

Stanford head coach David Shaw expects to see a different Bruin team on Friday. “I expect them to give us everything they have,” said Shaw. “It’s going to be a real tough physical game. It’s going to be 10 times harder to beat UCLA again. It’s really hard to beat a team twice in one season not to mention twice in one week. They are going to come back with a chip on the shoulders.”

On defense the Bruins could not stop Stanford’s running attack led by senior Stepfan Taylor.

Two of UCLA’s top defensive players, linebackers Anthony Barr and tackle Datone Jones said they knew what was coming but they still could not stop the Cardinal. “It’s tough to prepare for something and you still can’t stop it,” said Barr. “We will go back to the drawing board and fix what we need to fix.”

Jones, who is one of the best defensive linemen in the Pacific-12 got Stanford’s attention from the beginning of the game to the end. The Cardinals double teamed him all day. “They did the same thing over and over again,” said Jones, “but we left a lot out on the field.”

Time will tell if the Bruins coaches and players can make the necessary adjustments that they need to make to win the Pacific-12 Conference game.

Steve Finley can be reached at sfinley50@aol.com

UCLA Takes advantage of Trojans' Slide

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UCLA supplants USC as the top football power in Los Angeles and Pac 12 South Champions.

UCLA 38 | USC 28

By Gary Montgomery
BVN Staff

Pasadena – What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago the UCLA Bruins football team limped out of the Coliseum after a 50-0 shellacking at the hands of the Trojans. UCLA, dressed in their new all white uniforms couldn’t get into the end zone and were further humiliated by having to represent the Pac-12 south divisions a week later against the relentless Oregon Ducks, receiving more of the same punishment.

Fast forward one year and preseason No.1 USC (7-4;5-4 Pac 12) can’t seem to stop the slide from top dog to complete conference irrelevance to a Bowl game in San Diego, Las Vegas or El Paso. UCLA (9-2; 7-2 Pac 12) romped over around and through the Trojans on their way to a 38-28 victory.

Prior to Saturday’s win, the Bruins had only one win in the last 14 tries against their cross-town rival. In 2006, Carl Dorrell’s defense was able to squeeze out a 13–9 victory over the Trojans.

“This is a wonderful feeling, I’ve been around here going on four years and this is the first time we have ever beaten them. It’s a real special moment. It’s a new day in Los Angeles and things are not going to be the same anymore,” said former Corona Centennial star Ricky Marvray.

Saturday’s beat down at the hands of the Bruins marks USC’s third loss in its last 4 games. On the first play from scrimmage, Aaron Hester intercepted Matt Barkley’s pass on the 31 yard line and returned it 14-yards setting up a four play scoring drive culminating in a 1-yard TD run by Brett Hundley and a UCLA 7-0 lead that they would build on and not relinquish for the rest of the afternoon.

UCLA first year head coach Jim Mora was all smiles as he opened his post game press conference. “I’m especially happy for our seniors that finally got a chance to win their last one against USC,” said Mora. The Bruins certainly have a new attitude under Mora but the fuel that makes the Bruins’ engine go is red shirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley. The Bruins, long hampered by poor quarterback play. It’s difficult to remember their last successful winning streak against USC.

Hundley was 22 of 30 for 234-yards, 1 passing touchdown and 2 running TD’s. “I told the seniors (before the game) that I would not let them go without (beating USC), and I’m going to give them my best effort to get it,” said Hundley.

Hundley’s pinpoint passing in the first quarter put the USC defense on its heels and running back Johnathan Franklin finished bowling them over.

Franklin rushed for 171-yards and two touchdowns including a 29-yard scamper with 4:02 remaining that put the game in the refrigerator for the Bruins.

With Saturdays win, UCLA locked up the Pac-12 south division championship and a date, with the north division champion which they also have a say in deciding. If UCLA beats Stanford at home on Saturday they will play Oregon for the Pac-12 Championship. If Stanford wins, they will play Stanford again on Nov. 30 for the Pac-12 Championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl.

As for USC, it’s not over by a long shot. Knocking off the newly crowned BCS No. 1 team on Saturday and becoming this seasons’ BCS wrecking ball will go a long way toward healing the wounds of a miserably disappointing season. The Fighting Irish come to the Coliseum of Saturday sporting an 11-0 record and the inside track to the BCS title game.

But, USC will have to do it without their senior leader. Adding major salt to an already ugly wound, UCLA linebacker, Anthony Barr zeroed in on Matt Barkley number 7 and flattened him on a blitz with less than two minutes left in Saturday’s game. Barkley lay on the turf for a full 8 count before going to a neutral corner and letting red shirt freshman Max Wittek finish the game. Barkley sustained a shoulder sprain and is scheduled to sit on Saturday. The Trojans will turn to Wittek on Saturday and hope he can out maneuver a very good Irish defense.

Wittek has appeared in six games so far this season, including the final minutes of Saturday’s loss to UCLA where he completed three passes for 45-yards.

I wouldn’t bet against the Trojans, stranger things have happened to college football teams in November.

G. Montgomery can be reached at sports@blackvoicenews.com

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BVN National News Wire