Wednesday Night Highlights

Twas the night before Thanksgiving and all through the city there were shouts of joy and cries of despair. The CIF L.A. City Section football playoffs moved into the quarterfinal round and top-seeded Birmingham did not advance. Similar reactions took place in the CIF Northern Section championships as Lassen and Sutter wrapped up perfect seasons.

He's only a junior but Taft High of Woodland Hills' Steve Smith would get a lot of votes for being the state's best receiver and defensive back for the 2001 season. The Toreadors knocked off Carson, which came into the game with a 9-1 record, 17-14, on Wedneday in the CIF L.A. City Section football playoffs and Smith came up big on both sides of the ball.

After missing last week's first-round game with an injury, Smith led Taft with nine catches for 169 yards. With 1:20 left, Carson was driving for a potential game-winning touchdown and it was Smith who came up with the interception to seal the victory for Taft. It was his 12th interception of the season.

Also advancing in the L.A. City championship bracket on Wednesday were Dorsey, Fremont and Crenshaw. Dorsey defeated Westchester, 20-14, and handed the Comets their first loss since a season-opening defeat at the hands of Long Beach Poly. Fremont downed top-seed Birmingham of Van Nuys, 24-21, while Crenshaw took care of Sylmar, 39-17.

Scores from the L.A. City invitational bracket Wednesday were: Kennedy 42, Belmont 6; Narbonne 20, Bell 14; San Fernando 28, Fairfax 21; and Venice 49, Manual Arts 35. Arthur Giddens completed 13 of 33 passes for 340 yards and five TDs for Manual Arts in its loss to Venice. James Finley of the Toilers caught eight passes for 113 yards and three TDs. Junior Eddie Miller, one of the state's top passing leaders, was 11 of 18 for 223 yards and four TDs for Venice. All stat totals according to the L.A. Times.

In the CIF Northern Section championships, Lassen of Susanville won the Division I title and Sutter took the Division II crown. Despite the classifications and despite both teams finishing with perfect records, you'd have to say that Sutter was probably the section's top overall team.

Lassen defeated Enterprise of Redding, 20-17, and finished 12-0. The key to the win was a 15-play scoring drive that ate up much of the clock in the second half. E.J. Persons capped that drive with a four-yard run.

Sutter defeated Corning, 34-6, and finished 11-0. Earlier this year, Corning played Lassen and lost by a much closer score. Sutter quarterback Brandon Lee led the offense with 14 carries for 145 yards and one TD, reported the Redding Record-Searchlight. Sutter is ranked No. 6 in the Division IV state rankings and normally would be a contender for State Team of the Year honors. But the Division IV state-ranked teams this year have been impressive, led by St. Bonaventure of Ventura, which has a chance to go down as the best small school team in California history. Sutter still should finish in the top five for the final rankings.

Other reported Northern Section finals were Rio Vista 22, Mount Shasta 6 in Division IV and Weed 8, Hayfork 0 in Division V.

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