Our research partners over at jimmychitwood.com are dedicated to capturing the essence of high school and college athletics, especially during a time when amateur athletics was pure and not so commercial, and celebrating its great teams and players. We collaborated with the editor of the website to create a 18-team all-time CIF Los Angeles City Section football tournament. The results of the simulated games have played out, and the winner is the 2009 L.A. Crenshaw Cougars. For complete results of the L.A. City Section all-time greats football tournament, CLICK HERE.
Perhaps in a good omen to this year’s Crenshaw of Los Angeles football team, the 2009 L.A. City Division I champions won the simulated all-time CIF Los Angeles City Section football tournament presented by jimmychitwood.com.
Crenshaw, which finished the actual 2009 season 14-1 with its only loss coming against vaunted De La Salle of Concord in the CIF Open Division bowl game, defeated 1976 Banning of Wilmington, 28-27, in overtime. Banning trailed 21-0 before staging a frantic comeback in the fourth quarter behind the running of Freeman McNeil and the play of dual threat QB Joey Montijo.
The Pilots scored the game-tying touchdown on a Hail Mary from Montijo to Jimmy Gaso. Coach Chris Ferragamo opted for the extra point to send it to overtime rather than go for the win with a two-point conversion. It may have backfired, as the Pilots eventually lost the game on a missed extra-point.
In the semifinals, ’09 Crenshaw defeated ’94 Sylmar, 28-22, while ’76 Banning upset top seed ’71 Carson (our selection as the greatest team ever from the section) in double overtime, 34-28.
The most outstanding player in the tournament was two-way standout De’Anthony Thomas of Crenshaw, who is now an all-purpose back at Oregon. Thomas was an electric runner and hard-hitting safety at Crenshaw and he made big plays throughout. The L.A. City Section has produced great passers over the years (including the state’s first 4,000 yard passer in 1989), but this simulated tournament seemed to be dominated by teams with great backs. Perhaps the best individual performance was ’94 Sylmar Durrell Price’s 258-yard performance against ’09 Crenshaw in the semifinals. Price, a two-time first team all-state choice, later played at UCLA.
The other program opposite Crenshaw in this year’s final, Narbonne of Harbor City, also had an entrant in the all-time tournament. Last year’s 14-1 SoCal Open Division bowl game participant drew a tough opening draw and lost to ’88 Carson 34-20.
State No. 25 Crenshaw (9-4) will play No. 20 Narbonne (11-2) in Friday night’s L.A. City Section Div I title game.
For complete results, starting lineups and all-tournament team CLICK HERE.
Note: There were slight bracket changes to create regional matchups and there were two play-in games to create a 18-team field. Seeds for the tournament were as follows — 1. 1971 Carson, 2. 1980 Banning, 3. 1974 San Fernando, 4. 1963 Birmingham, 5. 1976 Banning, 6. 1947 Washington, 7. 2007 Birmingham, 8. 1988 Carson, 9. 2012 Narbonne, 10. 2009 Crenshaw, 11. 1961 Manual Arts, 12. 1990 Carson, 13. 1970 Granada Hills, 14. 1994 Sylmar, 15. 1991 Dorsey, 16. 1977 L.A. Wilson.
The next simulated game jimmychitwood.com will execute involving California teams will be a matchup between the legendary 1958 Fresno High baseball team and the 2004 Chatsworth club, the L.A. City Section Division I champ that season.