For the first time in two years, Crenshaw, dressed in his classic yellow and blue uniforms, played Dorsey dressed in his antique white and green jerseys on Friday night, a sequel to a high school football rivalry in which some from Los Angeles appear every year. ‘the best athletes.
Both schools dug deep to get to this point amid declining enrollment, problems with COVID-19, and bureaucratic hurdles that caused hurdle after hurdle.
Dorsey (8-2, 5-0) won the League Coliseum with a 27-6 win at Crenshaw (4-3, 3-1). Even though it was week 10, the teams played like it was August.
They combined nine strokes and 30 penalties (18 on Dorsey). It’s hard to play football without mistakes when you have to endure constant personnel changes and practice schedules.
Remember, this season started with no team being allowed to play the opening games. Dorsey was unable to obtain enough players declared eligible due to a lack of nurses to perform testing on COVID-19. Crenshaw had only 14 players on his football list.
First-year coach Stafon Johnson at Dorsey and veteran coach Robert Garrett at Crenshaw, despite repeated challenges, did not turn away from the deterrent. Only the first half was not exactly the best football performance for two proud programs.
There were 18 penalties (nine on each) and eight shots. Dorsey took the lead at halftime 14-6 after Dewayne Byrdsong scored 1:11 with 15 yards.
Harrison Allen started the goal with a one-yard touchdown for the Dons. In the second quarter, Zion Bennett caught a great seven-yard touchdown and pulled Crenshaw to 7-6.
“I’ve been here for four years and I’ve seen my team grow,” Bennett said.
Bennett, 6-foot-3 senior, did his best to encourage the Cougars. He also had a sack in defense and a long comeback in the shot before losing the ball to the fumble.
Dorsey’s Javuan Lewis scored a goal in 10 yards, leaving 9:38 left to provide the Dons with a 14-point cushion. Mychai Williams contributed his ninth interception of the season.
The fact that the match was played at all was a victory in itself. Crenshaw had to miss a game and practice all last week after his opponent, View Park Prep, tested positive for a player at COVID-19.
There is now uncertainty as to whether Crenshaw will have enough vaccinated players to participate in the playoffs next week. Schools have until Saturday by noon to notify the City Section if they will cancel the playoffs. At least 18 vaccinated players are needed on the list. As of 12:30 p.m. Friday, 13 Crenshaw players have uploaded their vaccination status to the LAUSD portal, school athletic director Chris Burgess said. The deadline for full vaccination to continue playing in sports teams in LAUSD is Sunday.
On Friday around 4.30pm, the principal, assistant principal and sports director of the school entered the football office. The noise coming from the office sounded as if an intense encounter with Garrett was taking place behind closed doors. At 4.45 the sitting closed. Garrett did not want to discuss the details except that some sort of problem had been solved. In a season she never lacked, there was more drama.