As much as Rodrick Pleasant of Gardena Serra High was celebrated last spring for running the fastest 100 meters in state history at 10.14 seconds, what he has been doing this fall in football only adds to his growing legacy as one of the greatest athletes in school history from a program that has already produced the likes of NFL stars Robert Woods and Adoree’ Jackson.
“I try to tell everybody, ‘This guy is a football player who runs track,’” coach Scott Altenberg said. “He’s so tough.”
Pleasant, a senior cornerback, helped the Cavaliers defense rise to the occasion Friday night in a 13-7 victory over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in a Mission League opener. Serra has won four consecutive games since starting the season with close losses to Orange Lutheran and Long Beach Poly.
Serra continues to struggle with its passing game, but running backs Cincere Rhaney and Kai Honda deliver when asked, and the defense has lots of speed, led by Pleasant.
“This year he’s healthy and playing amazing,” Altenberg said.
At times, Altenberg wants to use Pleasant on offense but must be careful. “We try to use him anywhere from eight to 12 plays on offense,” he said. “As an offensive player, there’s so much I want to do with him. It’s like using a Ferrari. You want to let it go. I have to force myself not to put him in.”
Serra hosts La Puente Bishop Amat on Friday.
No head coaches: Bishop Amat and La Verne Damien were without their head coaches Friday following last week’s after-the-game antics, but each won with assistants taking over. Bishop Amat defeated Chatsworth Sierra Canyon in double overtime. Damien defeated Upland.
Vikings rise: North Hollywood Campbell Hall lost two of its top players to Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Westlake Village Westlake via transfers before the season. It hasn’t stopped coach Dennis Keyes and his players from coming together as a team. Campbell Hall improved to 7-0 with a 7-0 defeat of Long Beach St. Anthony.
“It was a defensive slugfest,” said Keyes, who was a star athlete at Lake Balboa Birmingham and UCLA.
Keyes credited sophomore punter Lenny Miller for having a huge impact in keeping St. Anthony pinned deep in its territory. Campbell Hall has three former UCLA players on its coaching staff, with Marcus Everett the offensive coordinator and Jared Page the defensive coordinator. Keyes taped the UCLA-Washington game on Friday night and was planning to enjoy it at home, but someone told him the halftime score. “I was pissed,” he said.
Cathedral impact: L.A. Cathedral could be the team to beat the Angelus League. The Phantoms (5-1) have some big-time weapons and have a showdown with La Canada St. Francis on Friday.
In a win over Encino Crespi, quarterback Aidan Moss completed 23 of 29 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns. Junior receiver Xavier Jordan caught six passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Ashton Sanders had two sacks.
Wilson returns: After missing last week’s loss to Citrus Valley, Chino Hills Ayala quarterback Bryan Wilson returned this week against Glendora to complete 12 of 15 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns. He’s 20-1 as a starting quarterback.