Football: Now a new season begins for Narbonne
After wrapping up the Marine League championship in convincing fashion Friday night, Harbor City Narbonne and Coach Manuel Douglas fully expected to be seeded No. 1 in th City Section Division I playoffs. That's exactly what happened on Saturday, but neither coach nor team is celebrating yet.
Narbonne's goal all season long has been to qualify for a CIF state championship bowl game and in order to do that the Gauchos must first win their section championship. That quest begins next week against 16th-seeded Locke and Douglas believes his team is ready.
"We probably could've lost in week 10 and still gotten the top seed based on our body of work and our strength of schedule, but we wanted to finish off league the right way," Douglas said. "We don't even talk about the league title. It's nice, but any coach or player would trade that for a ring any day."
Going unscathed through a brutal nonleague schedule that included games against Southern Section powers Long Beach Poly, Gardena Serra, Santa Ana Mater Dei and Lakewood makes the Gauchos the clear favorites to win City and one of the frontrunners for the CIF Open Division regional bowl game. However, Douglas isn't taking anyone lightly.
"To get to where we want to be we have to win the City title, so the motivation is there," he said. "I fully expect Carson to be in the semifinals and if we do meet again I believe our performance will be better. They gave us a great game the first time and that is a talented team. You can't go by records because they've been in every game but one."
Narbonne beat the Colts, 26-20, in the teams' Marine League meeting Oct. 5. Should seedings hold, the Gauchos would face No. 2 Crenshaw in the finals Dec. 1 at East L.A. College. Narbonne is No. 2 in the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings behind defending Open Division state bowl champion Concorde De La Salle.
-- Steve Galluzzo