Serra of Gardena knocks off Mission League rival Chaminade of Mission Hills in game with some CIF bowl game implications down the line. Big-play weapons strike again for perhaps state’s most explosive team. Serra linebacker commits to USC.
Going into the Mission League showdown between Serra, ranked No. 4 in the Cal-Hi Sports State Top 25, and Chaminade, ranked No. 9, the visitors from the San Fernando Valley knew they had to limit the big play if they were to leave the South Bay with a victory.
It didn’t happen and the big play Cavaliers struck early to spark a 36-0 victory that kept Serra unbeaten in its last 17 outings. The shutout win was a statement for Serra’s aspirations for a SoCal open division bowl berth, but coach Scott Altenberg knows his team might meet Chaminade again in the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs and may have to play to Friday night’s level again.
“That’s a good team, but we were playing well today out here,” Altenberg said. “We know we might have to do this again. We still left a lot of points on the board and we have to stay focused. We didn’t play well the next week after the big win over Oceanside.”
On the game’s second play from scrimmage, Serra quarterback Jalen Greene hit senior WR Jordan Lasley in stride on a skinny post for a 76-yard touchdown and the play set the tone. Chaminade (5-2) knew it had to limit big plays, but the Eagles simply couldn’t slow down Greene nor all-purpose standout Adoree’ Jackson, arguably the state’s top recruit and a surefire Mr. Football candidate.
Greene accounted for 246 yards and four touchdowns. He completed 5-of-13 passes for 126 yards and two first half touchdowns. His second was a six-yarder to junior tight end Zeke Zindler that gave Serra a 21-0 lead with 8:58 remaining in the second quarter. Greene carried the ball 27 times for 126 yards and two second half touchdowns of eight yards and one yard. He did a lot of rolling out to his left and Chaminade never really made Greene pay. He escaped numerous tackles in the backfield and broke containment and his final touchdown scamper created a running clock situation midway through the final period.
Jackson did not hit pay dirt, but he was spectacular from his corner position making tackles, punted well (including one that ricocheted off a Chaminade player and was recovered by Serra’s Alphonso Lester in the second quarter) and also intercepted a pass late in the third quarter. Jackson finished with 97 yards rushing on 12 carries and caught two passes for 20 yards. Serra (7-0) was so dominant that Jackson had three touchdowns called back because of penalties (two short sweeps and a serpentine punt return) that Chaminade couldn’t gain any positive momentum from.
“No. 21 (Jackson) and 3 (Greene) are big-time athletes,” Chaminade coach Ed Croson said. “They’re special so it was tough for us. We also had a tough time up front and we couldn’t run the ball.”
Serra’s defense limited standout running back Donovan Lee to 35 yards on 12 carries. Chaminade QB Brad Kaaya completed 20-of-32 passes for 175 yards.
Olajuwon Tucker Headed To USC
Before the game, we spoke to long-time Serra basketball coach Dwan Hurt and he mentioned that linebacker Olajuwon Tucker would play basketball this season (as would Jackson) and that Tucker was likely to announce his college decision.
After the game, Tucker put on a USC hat on live television and announced his intentions to sign with the Men of Troy. When it’s all said and done, Serra will likely have double digit signers on national signing day in February and lead the state in that department.
“When I was at Birmingham, we played Long Beach Poly in 2006 and 2007 and they’re (Serra) a lot like those old Long Beach Poly teams,” Croson said. “This Serra team is a lot like those teams talent-wise.”
Tucker said he wanted to get the announcement out of the way and made it clear he was going to now become the recruiter and try to get some of his talented teammates to join him at USC. Altenberg was glad to see him finally get some deserved attention in the spotlight.
“He has always been kind of a tweener between defensive end and linebacker, but he has a great motor and we’ve been telling colleges for along time to watch for him,” Altenberg said. “It’s great to see him now getting these offers because he has a great motor and he’s a great kid.
“Olajuwon has been our best defensive player this year, he’s been amazing.”
The same can be said for the entire Serra team on Friday night.