USC’s Boogie Ellis electrifies crowd in victory over Utah

LOS ANGELES — Midway through the first half, the USC student section at the Galen Center began lifting their arms in anticipation every time guard Boogie Ellis went into his shooting motion.

And for the most part, the Memphis transfer obliged, with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting in a 93-73 victory over Utah in the Trojans’ Pac-12 opener on Wednesday night.

“When he gets hot, he gets hot,” guard Max Agbonkpolo said of Ellis. “When he gets hot, we try to give him the ball as much as we can because if we can keep on scoring off him, everything will work out.”

The game quickly got out of hand at the end of the first half as the Trojans closed on a 23-7 run before heading to the locker room, finishing 13 for 14 from the field. The Utes were short-handed upon arrival in L.A. with eight scholarship players available, and it only got worse when forward Branden Carlson left with a leg injury.

But fully healthy or not, it might not have mattered with the way No. 20 USC, and Ellis specifically, shot the ball on Wednesday.

As the Trojans (7-0 overall, 1-0 Pac-12) put some distance between themselves and the visitors, Ellis was in the middle of it all. He howled at the student section after a steal and one-handed dunk. That was soon followed by an Isaiah Mobley layup off the glass to push USC’s lead to eight and force a Utah timeout.

That did little to help the Utes (5-2, 0-1) regroup, and soon Ellis hit back-to-back 3-pointers and then stole a pass from Rollie Worster and took it the distance for another tomahawk dunk to push USC’s lead to 17 with 1:14 left in the half, the crowd of 3,754 rollicking with every bucket and steal.

“It’s extremely fun, especially after a year of (what) I call silence,” Mobley said. “Everyone’s happy and we’re trying to keep it that way and we’re trying to build on that momentum.”

Ellis finished the first half with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

It wasn’t entirely Ellis’ show. Mobley had an easy time scoring with post moves and hook shots to the tune of a team-high 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Drew Peterson had a couple of nice spin moves on drives to the paint to free himself up for easy layups. Joshua Morgan added four blocked shots off the bench.

And the Trojans did what they do best, namely defend and rebound. USC held Utah to a 1-for-7 start from the floor and the Utes went 11 for 37 in the first half.

Meanwhile, USC won the rebounding battle 51-32, Mobley leading the team with a career-high 13 for his second double-double in as many games. The junior forward also added two of USC’s nine blocked shots.

“He was a complete player tonight,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “It was great to see.”

When the Trojans went without a field goal for 4:08 in the second half and the Utes got within 16, Enfield inserted Ellis back into the game. Ellis promptly dribbled around a screen at the top of the arc and calmly sank a deep 3-pointer.

Still, USC was having trouble closing out the Utes as it missed 10 second-half free throws and allowed Utah guard Both Gach to score a career-high 28.

But Mobley put the game away with five straight points and a blocked shot to set up an Ellis lob to Agbonkpolo, who scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half to help close it out.

“We withstood it, and we shared the ball on offense and we did what we had to do,” Enfield said.

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Ravens film study: The most surprising part of QB Lamar Jackson’s struggles? Where they’re happening.

After the lowest-rated passing game of his career, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was asked for a common denominator. He had just thrown four interceptions. What, if anything, did the plays have in common?

“I mean, it’s one game that it happened,” Jackson said after a 16-10 win Sunday night over the Cleveland Browns in which he’d posted a 46.5 passer rating, his worst as a starter. “They just made great plays on those interceptions. It wasn’t like I was throwing it right to them; they were making diving interceptions. … They just made great plays.”

If the most worrisome part of Jackson’s midseason struggles is his skyrocketing interception total — he’s up to a career-high 12 now, tied for second most in the NFL — the most surprising part is where they’re mostly happening.

Over Jackson’s first two seasons as a starter, and even a month into his third, the middle of the field had been his safe space. There were few propositions in the NFL better than a between-the-numbers throw from Jackson. If he hit, and he often did, the Ravens’ offense would be in a good place. If he missed, the repercussions were often minimal.

That has changed over a seven-week span in which Jackson has faced blitz-heavy defenses, a mystery illness and heightened expectations. In the five games since his record-breaking passing performance against the Indianapolis Colts, the middle of the field has turned from Jackson’s breadbasket into his Bermuda Triangle, a place where would-be completions mysteriously disappear.

Consider: Over the season’s first five weeks, Jackson averaged 8.7 yards per attempt, threw five touchdowns and two interceptions and posted a 103.2 passer rating on middle-field throws, according to Sports Info Solutions. Over the past seven weeks, he’s averaged 6.5 yards per attempt, thrown four touchdowns and eight interceptions and posted a 63.7 passer rating on middle-field throws.

Jackson’s surprising struggles reached a new level Sunday. All four interceptions came on targets over the middle to Andrews, his most reliable receiver. All four came on throws from clean pockets. And all four appeared to be Jackson’s fault.

On the first, he didn’t seem to see rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman running a left-to-right shallow crossing route underneath tight end Mark Andrews’ right-to-left crossing route. Jackson’s fastball ricocheted off Bateman, then off Browns linebacker Malcolm Smith, and finally to cornerback Denzel Ward.

On the second, Jackson stared down Andrews over the middle and didn’t seem to account for Grant Delpit, who’d moved up from his presnap deep-safety alignment and into a shallower zone. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins was unmarked on another shallow crossing route, but Jackson tried to squeeze a pass through to Andrews. Delpit stepped in front of it for an easy pick.

On the third, Jackson had a misunderstanding with Andrews, who spun to the sideline as he turned around to present a target for Jackson in zone coverage. Jackson threw as if he expected Andrews to spin inside. Safety Ronnie Harrison Sr. came up with a diving interception. “That’s me,” Jackson said afterward, taking the blame. “I should’ve thrown it right to [Andrews].”

On the fourth, Jackson underthrew a deep pass to Andrews, allowing safety John Johnson III to turn his head just in time. The ball bounced off Andrews’ free right hand and into Johnson’s lap.

“I feel like those drives, when the interceptions came, we could’ve done something on those drives,” said Jackson, who finished 20-for-32 for 165 yards and a touchdown. “We could’ve put points on the board. I just told my team, ‘That’s me. I owe y’all.’”

Jackson won the Ravens’ starting job in 2018, NFL Most Valuable Player honors in 2019 and his first playoff game in 2020 partly because of his over-the-middle passing prowess. Over those three seasons, he completed 70.4% of his passes, threw 4.7 touchdowns for every one interception and posted a passer rating of 118.2 on targets between the numbers, according to SIS. His expected points added per such pass was 0.31, an All-Pro-worthy level of efficiency.

This year, however, Jackson has notably struggled with his accuracy. On middle-field throws even last season, Jackson had a completion rate of 70.7%, a catchable-ball rate of 85.7% and an on-target rate of 77.7%. Entering Week 13, those marks have fallen to 66.5%, 80.5% and 69.7%, respectively. Jackson’s EPA per pass for 2021 is just 0.02; since Week 6, it’s -0.25 per attempt, a bottom-of-the-barrel level of efficiency.

The swooning Steelers could be a panacea of sorts Sunday. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 68.1% of their passes over the middle against the Steelers this season, averaging a solid 7.7 yards per pass attempt and throwing twice as many touchdowns (six) as interceptions (three). Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow went 11-for-12 for 101 yards there Sunday in Cincinnati’s 41-10 rout.

This will also likely be the Ravens’ third go-around with Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Watkins and Bateman available at wide receiver. Through their first two games together with Jackson — a Week 10 loss to the Miami Dolphins and Sunday’s win over Cleveland — fireworks at the position were elusive. That could change against Pittsburgh’s pass defense, which ranks No. 26 in the NFL in efficiency, according to Football Outsiders, and might be without star outside linebacker T.J. Watt (reserve/COVID-19).

But a Ravens turnaround will have to start with their quarterback. On Monday, coach John Harbaugh said there was no “macro-adjustment” for Jackson to make with how he approached this week. He would just have to learn from his mistakes, same as any other week.

“It’s just a matter of keeping to the grind and embracing the grind of it, for all of our guys,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t care how well you play or don’t play or whatever … Lamar played a winning football game. He made so many plays for us, so you don’t want to lose sight of that.

“But he’ll be thinking about the interceptions. That’s what he’ll be thinking about; I know how he is. So you just kind of embrace that and go to work and try to get ready for the next game — put the game plan in, practice the game plan, understand your opponent as fully and completely as you can and go play football, and that’s what we’ll do. Every week is a different week.”

Week 13

RAVENS@STEELERS

Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

TV: Chs. 13, 9 Radio: 97.9 FM, 1090 AM

Line: Ravens by 4

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5 key developments coming out of the Chicago Bears mini-bye weekend as they wait for Justin Fields to heal — including Darnell Mooney’s focus, Kindle Vildor’s benching and Roquan Smith’s injury

After a mini-bye weekend, the Chicago Bears returned to Halas Hall on Monday to review film from their 16-14 win over the Detroit Lions and hold a short practice.

As he recovers from broken ribs, rookie quarterback Justin Fields worked to the side with other injured players during the portion of practice open to the media, and coach Matt Nagy said Bears medical staff still is working through whether Fields will be cleared this week.

Without Fields playing against the Lions, the Bears couldn’t assess the growth of their most important player. But there were still moments that mattered for the Bears future in the unconvincing win against the 0-10-1 Lions.

As the Bears move on from last week’s tumult around Nagy’s job status and focus on Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals at Soldier Field, here are five significant things to take from Thursday’s win.

1. Darnell Mooney topped 120 receiving yards for the second straight game and third time this season.

Mooney said after the game he wasn’t happy with his performance against the Baltimore Ravens a week earlier, when he was targeted 16 times and had five catches for 121 yards.

His focus amid the hubbub around Nagy was squarely on improving his own performance.

“I was pretty upset with my performance on Sunday, so I’ve been pretty locked in all week,” Mooney said. “A lot of people were asking me what’s wrong, and I mean, I’m cool, I’m cool. Just very locked in.”

With Allen Robinson still out with a hamstring injury, Mooney had five catches in eight targets for 123 yards Thursday. The biggest was a 52-yarder on which Mooney beat safety Will Harris to get down to the 17-yard line, and the Bears scored on the next play.

Mooney said he recognized the opportunity to show what he can do as the Bears’ top target with Robinson out. He has 694 receiving yards this year, already topping his rookie output of 631. He’s on pace for more than 1,000 yards, and he can help that quest if he can minimize the drops that bugged him so much in Week 11.

“Anytime the ball comes to me, I feel like I should catch it,” Mooney said. “Regardless if it’s one hand, the tip of my finger, I feel like I should catch it.”

To go with Mooney’s production, second-year tight end Cole Kmet had a career-high eight catches for 65 yards against the Lions.

2. The Bears benched cornerback Kindle Vildor for Artie Burns, but Matt Nagy said Vildor can ‘improve from this.’

After Vildor was at the center of a few big plays during the Ravens’ winning touchdown drive in Week 11, the Bears turned to fifth-year pro Burns on Thursday.

Lions wide receiver Josh Reynolds beat Burns on a 39-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, but Nagy said he thought Burns recovered and made some good plays.

That begs the question of whether the Bears will give any more opportunities to Vildor, a 2020 fifth-round pick whom the Bears opted to trust this season despite his minimal experience. Vildor has made 11 regular-season starts in two seasons.

“As long as he knows that we’re going to coach him as best as we can, that we support him and believe in him, that’s the only thing that matters,” Nagy said. “Then when he gets back out there and does his thing — because he works hard and he practices hard, he’s a good kid and he’s young — so you learn through these. And you understand that sometimes when you’re on the sideline, you’re able to see some things that maybe you weren’t able to see before. So he’ll improve from this.”

3. As Trevis Gipson continues his development, he combined with Robert Quinn for a big takeaway.

One of the best things the Bears defense had going for it early in the season was the combination of Quinn and Khalil Mack getting after quarterbacks, made possible by Quinn’s impressive comeback season.

Quinn’s production has continued: He now has 11 sacks. But the Bears put Mack on injured reserve two weeks ago to have season-ending foot surgery, and the absence of the six-time Pro Bowler left an enormous hole to fill.

Defensive coordinator Sean Desai said last week it’s still “a process” to get Gipson to where he and the Bears want him in his second season, noting Gipson continues to work on his hands at the point of attack and his conversions in the pass rush.

So it was a big moment when, as Quinn was taking down Lions quarterback Jared Goff, Gipson sprang forward to punch the ball out and then jumped on the fumble for a takeaway.

“I was just playing ball, was able to get free,” Quinn said. “I didn’t know it came out until I saw the replay. I told (Gipson) he was zeroed in on it. I don’t know how he got it out, but he locked in on it and was able to punch the ball out. I gave praise to him because he flipped the game just like that.

“He’s a young guy, but he’s doing a great job trying to fill in his role. As I tell him, I keep expecting more and more out of him. It looks like he’s rising to the occasion.”

4. After a rough patch, kicker Cairo Santos made the game-winner.

Before Santos lined up to kick the winning 28-yarder Thursday, he had missed a kick in each of his previous four games: an extra point against the San Francisco 49ers, the unlikely 65-yard attempt against the Pittsburgh Steelers that ended his franchise-record streak of made field goals, a 40-yarder wide left against the Ravens and a 53-yarder that was short against the Lions.

Santos said he “chunked” the turf on the third-quarter miss Thursday, leaving him without enough juice to make the kick. So to come through in the clutch later in the game was important for Santos, who said he selfishly was hoping for the chance to try the winner.

“Especially with me going through the last couple of weeks, and this week was an important week with everybody coming together and just believing in each other,” Santos said. “(I can) just keep going myself and get some of the dumb misses out of the way and just kind of catch fire again.”

5. Roquan Smith suffered a hamstring injury that had him working away from the team Monday.

With Mack lost for the season and Akiem Hicks still on the mend from an ankle injury, losing Smith for any amount of time would be another huge blow to the Bears defense.

Smith has 113 tackles, including eight for a loss, three sacks, three passes defended and a pick-six this season. His 17-tackle performance against the Ravens prompted Desai to say he was playing “a little out of this world.”

After suffering a hamstring injury in the first half Thursday, Smith was working to the side with Fields, Robinson and running back Damien Williams during team stretching Monday inside the Walter Payton Center. That was all media were allowed to watch, and the Bears don’t have to put out an injury report until Wednesday.

Nagy noted having a few extra days off over the weekend could help his players get healthy, but he said the Bears also will be monitoring practice reps to help with the wear on players’ bodies late in the year.

“Every year based off of how your team is and the team’s health is, that’s where like, in practice, you might pull back a little bit more and you might not have as many full-speed reps,” Nagy said. “But those full-speed reps are important, so there’s that balance. … Being able to come off of a bye, have a game, and then have a mini-bye here with Thursday, that’s good for our guys to get somewhat healthy.

“And so now as we head into this last stretch of games, we’ve got to make sure, and I’ve got to make sure, with the practices and the scripts in practice that the amount of plays (is right). Because typically we start off with X amount of plays, and by the time you get to the last regular-season game, you’ve chopped off sometimes up to 12 to 14 plays of practice that it can drop. So we just balance that.”

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Clippers fall to Pelicans again as Valanciunas enjoys career night

LOS ANGELES — Outrebounded and out-​​Valanciunas’d, the Clippers finally shot well but still came up short on Monday night in a deflating 123-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Jonas ​​Valanciunas, New Orleans’ bearded big man, scored 29 of his career-high 39 points in the first half, when he shot 7 for 7 from 3-point range.

“It’s always good,” the Lithuanian center said, “to see the shot going in.”

Later, ​​Valanciunas chased down an errant Clippers pass and went soaring in for a right-handed dunk that punctuated a memorable night – for him – and pushed the Pelicans’ lead to 107-92 with 4:10 left.

It was a performance the Clippers might rather forget. They lost despite shooting 51.4% (37 for 72) from the field – the fourth time all season they shot better than 51% and the first time since they defeated Minnesota on Nov. 13.

Paul George went 10 for 20 from the field (though just 3 for 10 from 3-point range) en route to 27 points. And Reggie Jackson (19), Serge Ibaka (13) and Eric Bledsoe (10) all scored in double figures.

But the Clippers were done in by a lopsided discrepancy in second-chance points (18-4), a residual of New Orleans’ 18-4 offensive rebounding advantage.

By himself, ​​Valanciunas had more success than the Clippers combined on the offensive glass, where he collected seven of his 15 boards – becoming the first NBA player to record seven 3-pointers and seven offensive boards in the same game.

L.A. didn’t secure an offensive rebound until the third quarter.

Said Coach Tyronn Lue: “We played big, they got offensive rebounds. We played small, we got offensive rebounds.”

“That’s obviously our kryptonite,” said George, with a nod to the Clippers’ 8.8 offensive rebounds-per-game average, which ranks 28th in the league.

“Every team goes towards that, sending guys to the glass and they just think that they can do that and there’s no penalty to it because we haven’t been a great transition team once we get rebounds.”

To his point, the Clippers were outscored in transition Monday, 22-6 – even fewer fast-break points than the 9.6 they’ve averaged over the past nine games, of which the Clippers (11-10) have lost six after starting the season 8-4.

“It’s not a time to panic,” said George, who was responsible for seven of the Clippers’ 15 turnovers against New Orleans. “It’s not a time to panic. We know we’re not playing well, but like I said, all of it is kind of self-inflicted with our turnovers, starting with me. So we clean that up, we give ourselves a chance.”

The Clippers coughed it up a season-high 25 times against Golden State on Sunday afternoon, and the Warriors turned those mistakes into 31 points in their 105-90 victory. George had a career-high-tying eight turnovers in that game – for the third time this season.

On Monday, the Clippers cleaned up their act some and managed to erase much of what had been a 21-point Pelicans lead, getting the deficit to fewer than 10 in the fourth quarter. It was 95-87 with 7:21 left after an official review flipped an offensive foul on George into a basket and-1.

But they just couldn’t stop New Orleans (6-17), not at the outset, and not down the stretch.

And former Clipper Willie Green led his squad past Tyronn Lue’s for the second time this month. The Clippers also met the Pelicans on the second game of a back-to-back set and lost, 94-81, on Nov. 19 in New Orleans.

In front of 15,691 fans at Staples Center, they fell behind by as many as 19 points in the first quarter – despite making their first five shots. They finished the period shooting 3 for 12.

And their usually dependable defense failed to account for Valanciunas, who finished the game 15 for 24 from the field and became the fourth player in NBA history to record at least 35 points, 15 rebounds and seven 3-pointers in a game.

The 6-foot-11 center’s seven 3-pointers in 16 first-half minutes tied a New Orleans franchise record for most 3-pointers in any half.

Valanciunas has come a long way after making just one 3-pointer in four attempts through his first five NBA seasons.

This season, his 10th in the NBA, he’s leading the league in 3-point shooting, hitting at a 51.7% clip on 2.5 attempts per game from deep. What’s more, he is on pace to become the first center in NBA history to shoot 45% or better from 3-point range on more than two attempts per contest.

His percentage might be even higher if he faced the Clippers more often. He’s 12 for 17 against Lue’s squad this season – and a still-quite-good 18 for 41 against New Orleans’ other opponents.

“I just feel like I’m shooting the ball, I’m not hot or cold – I’m just, you know, taking what’s out there,” Valanciunas said. “If I have an open shot, I’ll take it. If I’m making it, I’ll keep taking it. Simple as that.”

He missed his only attempt from long range in the second half on Monday, but together, he and Ingram combined for 66 points on 27-for-42 shooting.

And the Pelicans – who, by the way, are expecting star forward Zion Williamson soon to begin participating in all team activities after undergoing offseason surgery on his fractured right foot – have won four of seven games, with victories over the Clippers as bookends.

They were 2-14 the first time they faced the Clippers on Nov. 19, and New Orleans has gone 3-2 since, with victories over Utah and Dallas.

The Clippers’ busy week continues Wednesday, when they host the Sacramento Kings – who, for all of their issues this season, rank eighth in offensive rebounding, hauling down 10.7 per game.

Ty Lue on the loss to the Pelicans and Jonas Valanciunas’ unstoppable offense🎙#ClipperNation | @LAClippers pic.twitter.com/Ne4LhY3T4L

— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) November 30, 2021

39 PTS (career high)
15 REB
7-8 3PM (career high)@JValanciunas becomes the 4th player in @NBAHistory with 35+ points, 15+ rebounds and 7+ threes in a game! pic.twitter.com/LLxyuAk61C

— NBA (@NBA) November 30, 2021

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WATCH: Ravens TE Mark Andrews’ one-handed catch leads to incredible Lamar Jackson TD pass vs. Browns

After an ugly first half against the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens’ biggest stars shined bright.

Facing a third-and-4 with 11:34 left in the third quarter, quarterback Lamar Jackson rolled to his right, pointed downfield and launched a deep pass to tight end Mark Andrews, who was covered by Browns safety Ronnie Harrison. While Harrison pulled Andrews to the ground, the tight end caught the ball with one hand and secured it to his hip for a 39-yard completion, setting the Ravens up at the Browns’ 13-yard line.

Harrison was called for pass interference, but the Ravens declined the penalty in favor of the big play.

“Well, I knew it was a catch,” Andrew said. “So, I was like, ‘They better give me that dang catch, man.’”

But Jackson and Andrews weren’t done yet.

After a 4-yard run by Latavius Murray and a sack by Jordan Elliott and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, the Ravens faced a third-and-10 at the 13. Jackson dropped back to pass, avoided defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and drifted all the way back to the 35-yard line before launching a pass off his back foot just before getting hit by defensive end Myles Garrett. A wide-open Andrews made a sliding catch in the end zone for 13-yard touchdown catch, giving the Ravens a 13-3 lead. Jackson scrambled a total of 20 yards on the play.

“They went [Cover] 0 in the red zone,” Jackson said. “I dropped back. I was going to go to [Devin Duvernay], but [Denzel] Ward stopped back there, so I couldn’t throw it to Duvernay. I got back, and I saw Mark like right in the middle. I was going to try to drive it to him, but Myles Garrett was right there in my face when I was throwing the ball. So, I couldn’t really finish it. [Garrett] hit my arm, but Mark made a great play coming back to the ball and then catching it in the end zone for a touchdown.”

After the play, Garrett could only shake Jackson’s hand. Garrett said after the game that he received criticism for shaking Jackson’s hand.

“It got told to me that people had a problem with me dapping up a guy that made an extraordinary play when I was right there in his face,” Garrett said. “I almost made an extraordinary play. The guy is a baller. It’s a game, and he is one of the best at it. I appreciate greatness. I mean, he dapped me up, too. It wasn’t like I was patting him on the head and letting him go by. He appreciates my play; I appreciate his. We should do that more often instead of tearing each other down.”

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What the Puck? An Inside Scoop on the LA Hockey Season

“Whether you are new to hockey or a long-time fan, nothing replaces the live experience in-arena. Come to one game, and you are hooked,” said Los Angeles Kings broadcaster and former player Daryl Evans.

An L.A. Kings game is the best bet for Southern Californians interested in attending a hockey game. With the season schedule starting in October and ending in May, there is ample time to catch a game. Before purchasing tickets to a game, here is a quick guide to ice hockey and its history in the region.

Rules and Common Terms You Should Know When Watching Ice Hockey

Hockey is an exciting sport to watch. It’s fast-paced and aggressive. A game is divided into three 20-minute playing periods, each period having a 15-minute intermission. The total time is around 2.5 to 3 hours, making hockey an entertaining, speedy night out. The rules are also pretty simple when compared to other professional sports.

The National Hockey League (NHL) is responsible for influencing most of the hockey game rules. Aside from the basic rules, there are still a few terms that you should know before you tune in for the next game:

  • Icing is an infraction when a player shoots the puck over the center red line and the opposing team’s red goal line, and the puck remains untouched without scoring a goal.
  • High-sticking describes when a player purposely plays the puck with their stick above the height of their shoulders or above the crossbar of a hockey goal.
  • Power plays are when one team is permitted to have more players—usually a 5 vs. 4 playing structure—on the ice because one player on the other team is serving in the penalty box.
  • Penalty box is where players are sent after an infraction, resulting in a significant penalty; these infractions include spearing, fighting, butt-ending, charging, and boarding.

The History of Ice Hockey in Los Angeles 

California has a rich hockey history. The Kings first joined the NHL after being formed in 1967, after the League expanded from six teams. Over time the organization has provided L.A. with star athletes, great live entertainment, and a historical rivalry. 

Every sports team has its rivalries, and the Kings are no different. Their biggest rivals are another California team—the Anaheim Ducks. Dubbed the “Freeway Face-Off” because the cities of Los Angeles and Anaheim are separated by Interstate 5, this rivalry is something that any Los Angeles sports fan will understand. 

“The freeway face-off is the standard for Kings hockey. We’ve played [the Ducks] in the playoffs. We were fortunate to win, but the players definitely step up on those nights as games get a lot more physical for the guys,” says COO of AEG Sports and the Kings Kelly Cheeseman.

Fan Experience and Game Ticket Information

Hockey games have a lot of memorable and fun experiences to offer sports fans with various themed game nights. There are Hollywood-themed nights and themes to honor the cultural diversity of Los Angeles and the city’s close-knit sports community. 

There are a few options for purchasing tickets—single-game tickets and season ticket memberships—to accommodate any L.A. sports fan. The Kings have several season ticket packages available—full, half, and quarter season ticket memberships. Each membership option comes with unique benefits, including access to exclusive members-only events and member discounts at the TEAM LA store and at select L.A. Live restaurants and attractions with your Kings Membership Card. For a full list of season membership benefits, head to the Kings website.

If you can’t make it to a live game, don’t worry. Sports fanatics can catch a game on several streaming platforms, including Bally Sports West, the Kings iHeart Audio Network, and the Spanish radio station Tu Liga for select home games.

To get the entire hockey experience on and off the ice, be sure to follow L.A.’s team, the Kings, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok. These accounts are snarky and entertaining and keep hockey fans engaged on social media during the regular and off-seasons. Don’t forget about Bailey—the team’s audacious mascot has his own Twitter and Instagram accounts. 

For more information on tickets and the Los Angeles Kings organization, visit www.nhl.com/kings.

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USC comeback attempt falls short in loss to No. 13 BYU

  • Quarterback Jaxson Dart #2 of the USC Trojans celebrates with teammate wide receiver Kyle Ford #81 of the USC Trojans after running for a touchdown against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Lopini Katoa #4 of the Brigham Young Cougars runs for yardage against linebacker Ralen Goforth #10 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Puka Nacua #12 of the Brigham Young Cougars catches a pass for first down against cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart #6 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Jaren Hall #3 of the Brigham Young Cougars passes against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Brigham Young Cougars fans celebrate against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Tyler Allgeier #25 of the Brigham Young Cougar runs for s first down past linebacker Drake Jackson #99 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Tyler Allgeier #25 of the Brigham Young Cougar runs for s first down past linebacker Drake Jackson #99 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Vavae Malepeai #6 of the USC Trojans runs for yardage against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn reacts during a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Brigham Young Cougars at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Puka Nacua #12 of the Brigham Young Cougars catches a pass for touchdown past safety Isaiah Pola-Mao #21 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Puka Nacua #12 of the Brigham Young Cougars celebrates after catching a pass for touchdown against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Donte Williams of the USC Trojans walks past quarterback Jaxson Dart #2 of the USC Trojans against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Donte Williams of the USC Trojans reacts against Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Darwin Barlow #22 of the USC Trojans runs for yardage against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Jaxson Dart #2 of the USC Trojans is tackled by linebacker Max Tooley #31 of the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Jaxson Dart #2 of the USC Trojans passes against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Vavae Malepeai #6 of the USC Trojans runs for yardage against defensive back Kaleb Hayes #18 of the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Darwin Barlow #22 of the USC Trojans runs for yardage against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Jaxson Dart #2 of the USC Trojans scrambles for yardage against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. #1 of the USC Trojans catches a pass for first down against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. #1 of the USC Trojans runs a kick off back for yardage against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Safety Calen Bullock #27 of the USC Trojans breaks up a pass intended for tight end Isaac Rex #83 of the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. #1 of the USC Trojans runs a kick off back for yardage against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Tyler Allgeier #25 of the Brigham Young Cougar rests after running for a touchdown against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Tyler Allgeier #25 of the Brigham Young Cougarruns for a touchdown against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Tyler Allgeier #25 of the Brigham Young Cougarruns for a touchdown against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Jaxson Dart #2 of the USC Trojans celebrates with teammate wide receiver Kyle Ford #81 of the USC Trojans after running for a touchdown against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Jaxson Dart #2 of the USC Trojans runs for a touchdown against the Brigham Young Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • USC Trojans sports Information Director, Tim Tessalone, center, with his family is retiring after 43 years during a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Brigham Young Cougars at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • USC Trojans cheerleaders with the “V” for victory sign in the first half of a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Brigham Young Cougars at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

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LOS ANGELES — Home games have been short on feel-good stories this season for USC. But in their last game at the Coliseum, against their best opponent of the year, it seemed the Trojans had a surprise up their sleeve.

The freshmen tried to salvage senior day. QB Jaxson Dart found Gary Bryant Jr. for a 10-yard slant and the go-ahead touchdown with 11:03 to play, then waited patiently until freshman tight end Lake McRee got open for the two-point conversion to put USC up a field goal. When the Cougars tried to answer, freshman safety Calen Bullock intercepted the ball in the end zone.

But the Trojans’ good fortune wasn’t meant to last. BYU running back Jackson McChesney put the Cougars back up with a 7-yard touchdown run with 3:57 remaining. USC drove all the way to the red zone and faced fourth-and-6 with 44 seconds left.

The Trojans completed the pass, but Bryant’s in route was half a yard short, turning the ball over on downs and sealing BYU’s 35-31 victory, eliminating the Trojans from bowl contention.

USC had its moments in the first half, like a 62-yard Gary Bryant Jr. kickoff return to the open the game and some physicality on defense. But Bryant’s kickoff only resulted in a field goal, and the defense struggled to get off the field, allowing BYU to run 41 plays for 279 yards.

On one drive, the Trojans hit bingo for defensive ineptitude. First, a pass interference call on Steele, followed by a misdirection that sprung BYU quarterback Jaren Hall for a first-down run. Then a blown coverage resulting in a 36-yard pass and an illegal substitution penalty to give the Cougars a more-manageable first-and-goal.

There was only one fitting way for the drive to end, and that was with BYU running back Tyler Allgeier breaking two tackles on his way to a 5-yard touchdown run.

Despite these inane mistakes, USC was within striking distance at halftime. Quarterback Jaxson Dart picked up a fumbled snap and broke a tackle en route to a touchdown run. And a Hall pass ricocheted off corner Isaac Taylor-Stuart and was intercepted by linebacker Kana’i Mauga to set up a Parker Lewis field goal as the half ended to get USC within eight.

The Trojans kept shaking off momentum killers in the second half.

After a Steele interception was overturned by a questionable roughing-the-passer call, BYU turned around and found Keanu Hill for a 41-yard touchdown pass to extend the Cougar lead to 15. But several strong carries by Darwin Barlow set up a fourth-down touchdown run by Vavae Malepeai to get USC back within a possession.

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Mike Preston: Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is a superstar under constant scrutiny. It’s only natural. | COMMENTARY

There is always drama surrounding Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

It’s the nature of the position, especially when you’re the face of the organization and an NFL Most Valuable Player candidate. When he missed practices last week because he was battling chills and fatigue, the question was will Jackson play against the Chicago Bears?

He didn’t.

This week, the question is will Jackson be 100% Sunday night against the Cleveland Browns?

The scrutiny never stops.

“No, I don’t buy into it, to be honest with you,” Jackson said of being under the microscope. “I don’t buy into it all.”

Well, it’s not going to stop. Some of the drama is unwarranted and some Jackson has brought upon himself. There is also the added element of notoriety because he fits Baltimore’s personality of rooting for the overachiever or being the underdog.

That wasn’t the case with New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath in the late 1960s and 70s. He craved being in the spotlight wearing fur coats, doing pantyhose commercials and guaranteeing the biggest victory in NFL history. There have been other quarterbacks who have drawn national attention because they are weird and never grow up, like Green Bay’s Brett Favre and the Packers’ latest flake, Aaron Rodgers.

In contrast, Jackson is the opposite.

According to some team officials, he doesn’t read newspapers or watch ESPN. He does TV interviews, but mostly because he has to as a team representative. For the most part, Jackson is quiet, reserved, well-liked and respected by his teammates, but there is intrigue because he is so gifted and young.

Of course, he has also had the coronavirus twice.

Maybe if he had confirmed he had gotten vaccinated there wouldn’t be as much scrutiny over his recent cold-like symptoms, but that interest probably won’t end until the pandemic is over. Until then, there will be a constant drama when he misses practices.

“It happened, but I’m not worried about it, because I’ve been healthy all my life,” Jackson said earlier this week. “I’ve never had a problem being ill at all until I [came] here. So, I don’t really know what that is, but hopefully, that’s’ done with, if anything.”

Maybe. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal if he was Joe Smith, a third-string tight end from Nebraska. But he’s Lamar Jackson, the 2019 MVP, the only person more elusive than Houdini.

So that’s why there was talk about how Jackson curled up in a blanket on his flight to Chicago and about how he slept the night before the Bears game. And then there was video of Jackson walking slowly into the stadium, just like when the cameras caught him running to the locker room during the Cleveland game last year to take care of some cramp issues.

And remember how Jackson came out onto the field and delivered a go-ahead 44-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown and then helped set up Justin Tucker’s game-winning 55-yard field goal with two seconds remaining?

It was like someone had written a script to an old Hollywood western, and Jackson came out with guns blazing in that final showdown.

The drama never stops.

Look at Jackson’s contract situation. He doesn’t have an agent and negotiations have dragged on. There are some fans who want this resolved and his job with the Ravens secured well into the future.

But nah, that makes too much sense. Let’s call in a crew from “Entertainment Tonight” first.

Maybe we all just got used to former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who had two emotions: dull and dead. Now we get to see Jackson doing a flip into the end zone against the Kansas City Chiefs after watching Flacco struggle to slide his entire career. At least there were no complaints about a back injury several days later.

More drama.

With Jackson, there is more concern about what he does during the offseason than him getting smacked around by some 300-pound defensive lineman on game day. In March of 2019, he posted a video of himself driving 105 mph. In May of 2020, there was Jackson in a video scrambling during a beach football game and falling over a nearby Jet Ski.

During this offseason, there was footage of Jackson taking reps at wide receiver and defensive back on a basketball court while engaged in contract talks that could pay him more than $40 million a year.

That’s living on the edge. Call it what you want, but he fits the Baltimore psyche. Jackson, a Heisman Trophy winner, fell all the way to final pick of the first round in the 2018 draft. Coming out of Louisville, there was criticism about him being more of a runner than a thrower, and that his mechanics were poor.

While Jackson has proven a lot of people wrong, media members still harp on how Jackson has shown he can come from behind and win against quality opponents. In reality, it’s time to bury that “not bad for a quarterback” theme.

It’s all part of the Baltimore intrigue, but let’s not forget that Jackson is only 24 years old. He is expected to catch colds and do really, really dumb things. He has probably lived in a box for most of his life and he is going to step outside those borders.

And when he does, there is always going to be drama because he is of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Some of it is unnecessary, but some of it is brought upon himself.

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Whicker: Mater Dei satisfies its hunger for consuming quarterbacks in Division 1 win over Servite

LONG BEACH — It was like the old joke about the two pass rushers who played a Thanksgiving game against an outmatched line.

“Let’s meet at the quarterback,” they told each other. “And make a wish.”

Mater Dei’s Tanner Williams and David Bailey kept meeting Servite’s Noah Fifita almost as soon as the snapped football reached his hand. They brought a lot of traffic with them.

When the Division 1 Southern Section final was over, Servite had one 28-yard touchdown drive and not much else. Mater Dei was able to win, 27-7, without a passing touchdown until Elijah Brown found C.J. Williams in the corner of the end zone, late in the fourth quarter.

It was the Monarchs’ first CIF title since 2018 which, for them, constitutes the breaking of a famine.

But it also preserved their chances of winning a tangible state championship and a mythical national title. It was also a massive contrast to their previous meeting in the fall, a breathless 46-37 win on Oct. 23.

“I love our pass rush,” said cornerback Cameron Sidney. “Our D-line always steps up, our inside linebackers always take over. I think all phases of our defense are on the same platform. And the offense helped us a little bit, hanging on to the ball like they did.”


Servite tight end Keyan Burnett, right, can’t reach an overthrown pass as Mater Dei defensive back Zabien Brown covers in the CIF-SS Division 1 football championship in Long Beach on Friday, November 26, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

Williams, a sophomore, had two sacks, and Bailey, a senior playing with a bandaged-up wrist, had one-and-a-half. They had four solo tackles each. Fifita, so effective as a runner in Servite’s semifinal win at St. John Bosco, gained 25 yards but lost 44 while he was sacked four times, and he threw for only 86 yards.

Although Tetairoa McMillan had an interception for Servite and caught a 4-yard touchdown in the first quarter, he had to settle for eight catches and 68 yards. “Our job was to limit him to no catches,” Sidney said. “He got some, but we did a pretty good job limiting him, and that’s one of the reasons we won.”

In the Oct. 23 game that was so electric it briefly knocked out the lights at Santa Ana Stadium, McMillan snagged 15 balls for 163 yards, and Fifita hit 26 of 41 passes for 306 yards.

The Friars tried to plug the middle of the field against Brown and played “off” coverage to limit long strikes. The Monarchs were agreeable to that. Raleek Brown chugged 164 yards on 23 carries against the light defensive boxes, and Ajon Bryant clicked off a 27-yard touchdown run. Elijah Brown only passed 14 times and his only 20-yard completion was the 27-yarder to Williams at the end.

In the third quarter, Servite moved the ball 7 yards — backwards. Fifita did hit a remarkable pass to Michael Welsh in the third quarter, but the officials’ flags indicated how they did it. Welsh was out of bounds and came back in for the catch, an illegal touching penalty.

“We put in a few new stunts for this game,” Williams said, “and from that point it just was a matter of execution.”

“We did change some things, really tried to double T-Mac more, but mainly the kids just got after it,” said Eric Johnson, Mater Dei’s defensive coordinator. “I thought we really made it hard for them to drive.”

Still, Fifita’s bottomless spirit was not broken. In the fourth quarter he was getting body-slammed on every snap, and yet converted a third-and-10 and then a third-and-19. A touchdown would have cut Mater Dei’s lead to a touchdown with more than four-and-a-half minutes remaining. Instead, Jeilani Davis picked off Fifita’s pass on fourth-and-10.

Mater Dei last played in this game two years ago, led St. John Bosco 28-5 and lost 39-34. There was no chance for payback in 2020, with COVID-19. The two did play during the five-game spring schedule and the Monarchs won that. Still, their hands were itchy for trophies.

“I don’t even know how to explain how it feels,” Sidney said. “This is all we were thinking about, after 2019, my sophomore year. We did our thing during the five games, but we all felt like we needed to come back and get this.”

If the goal was to make this game as one-sided as the stadium they played it in, they did that, too.

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Fryer: Mater Dei victory puts smile on Rollinson’s face after upsetting week

LONG BEACH >> It was a question that had to be asked.

It was a question Bruce Rollinson expected.

Did he consider not coaching Mater Dei’s football team in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game Friday?

“I can’t talk about any of that,” Rollinson replied to the pregame question.

The Southern California News Group this week published a story about an alleged hazing incident in the football locker room at Mater Dei that, according to a medical report, left a player with a brain injury. SCNG viewed two videos of the altercation, which were included in the SCNG report.

Mater Dei said it is collaborating with the Diocese of Orange to look into the allegations. Rollinson remained committed to coaching the team.

He was asked after the game, which Mater Dei won 27-7, about the days leading up to the game and what his emotions were after Friday’s victory.

Rollinson paused, looked up, smiled and said, “I just won a CIF championship. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

NO ROOM TO RUN FOR SERVITE

Servite quarterback Noah Fifita last week rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns in the Friars’ 40-21 win over St. John Bosco.

Friars running back Houston Thomas rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown.

Mater Dei beat Servite 27-7 the Division 1 championship game at Veterans Stadium thanks mostly to a defense that held Servite to 47 yards rushing on 27 attempts.

Fifita had minus-19 yards on 11 carries. Thomas was limited to 1 yard on three carries.

Mater Dei senior linebacker David Bailey said adding sophomore linebacker Tanner Williams to the mix and moving Williams around from one side of the defensive line to the other created plenty of pressure on the edge. Williams had seven tackles including two sacks.

“He was a great addition to our defense,” said Bailey who had five tackles including a sack. “We felt that our D-line was better than their O-line so we just came in locked in.”

Rollinson said, “I thought (defensive coordinator Eric) Johnson did a great job of mixing our fronts, mixing our coverages and that turned out to our benefit.

“I’m not sure if Noah was 100 percent. I saw him run a little bit in that first quarter and all of a sudden they shut that down quick. And then we had a pass rush. We had constant pressure on him.”

Fifita, who committed to Arizona, completed 10 of 22 passes for 86 yards.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR?

Bailey wore a padded cast on his right wrist. He fractured the wrist in the Monarchs’ win last week over Centennial of Corona. The cast is legal for game use if it is covered by at least one inch of padding.

He upgraded his candidacy as Orange County defensive player of the year Friday.

Bailey is 6-foot-5, 225 pounds and has long arms and quick moves. He was the guy on the field most likely to play in the NFL some day.

In the first half he had a sack and in the final minute of the half caused a fumble that Quincy Craig recovered near the Mater Dei 20 to end a Servite possession that could have produced at least a field goal try.

NOTES

• Servite coach Troy Thomas traditionally on game nights wears a tie that belongs to a Servite senior football player, a tie that is part of the school’s “professional dress” attire. The player whose tie Thomas wore Friday belongs to his son, running back Houston Thomas.

• College football recruiters often attend a game to look at a player from Team A and come away impressed by a player from Team B. That happened last week at Servite’s win over St. John Bosco in the Division 1 semifinals. And so San Jose State made Houston Thomas, who rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown and had an interception, a preferred walk-on offer.

• A seven-member officiating crew worked the Mater Dei-Servite game. Most regular-season and playoff games have five-official crews. The seven officials were from a variety of Southern California football officials associations, none of which were Orange County officials.

• Attendance was announced as 9,879. The game sold out minutes after going on sale to the general public Tuesday; both schools received allocations of tickets for early sales and distribution. The CIF Southern Section provides 20 percent of net proceeds to each of the two teams.

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