Franklin High #74, Carlos Graciano, a senior, and #71, Sebastian Pascuzzo, a sophomore, line up against Norbonne. | Photo by Monique Muniz

High school sports: A week of strong performances in NELA

2021 Business Editions Featured September Sports

By Dave Abbott

The past week saw a dominant performance by the Franklin football team, continued strength in girls volleyball and standout times in cross country. 

The Franklin Panthers of Highland Park defeated the Narbonne Gauchos of Harbor City, 63-6, in a home game on Sept. 17. The Panthers notched 283 total yards (185 yards passing and 98 yards rushing), while holding the Gauchos to 47 total yards (87 yards passing and -40 yards rushing).

Franklin QB, Isaiah Diaz, a senior, completed 18 of 25 passes for five touchdowns, two of which were made by senior Aaron Gonzalez. Junior Nathan Mateo rushed for 42 yards and two touchdowns.

Narbonne, once a City Section powerhouse, is rebuilding its football program after being hit in 2019 with sanctions for rules violations. The sanctions included vacating the team’s 2018 City Section championship and a playoff ban in 2019 and 2020. Coaches and administration from that time are long gone and key players transferred to other schools.

In other high school football games on Sept. 17, three local teams were victorious and two went down to defeat.

The victors: The Lincoln High Tigers of Lincoln Heights beat the Jaguars of Mendez, 57-8; the Wilson Mules of El Sereno beat the Maywood Wolfpack, 53-20; and the Wolves of Sotomayor in Glassell Park beat the Fulton Jaguars of Van Nuys,, 38-0.

The defeated: The Eagles of Eagle Rock High lost to the Granada Hills Highlanders, 13-16, and the Cathedral Phantoms lost to the Lawndale Cardinals, 6-16.

Upcoming football games

On Friday, Sept. 24, Sotomayor will host Animo Robinson of downtown L.A. and Cathedral will play the Muir Mustangs in Pasadena.

Other NELA teams – Eagle Rock, Franklin, Lincoln and Wilson – all have byes this week. They will return to action on Friday, Oct. 1, with Eagle Rock celebrating its homecoming that night at 7 p.m.  

In the Northern League, Eagle Rock and Franklin are off to strong starts. Eagle Rock beat Lincoln, 3-0, on Sept. 17, while Franklin beat Sotomayor, 3-0. It was the second victory in a row for both teams following victories in the first league matchups the week before. 

Coming up: On Sept. 24, Lincoln will play at home against Sotomayor and Franklin will play at home against Wilson.

In the Horizon League, the Sacred Heart Comets of Lincoln Heights beat the Holy Family Gaels of Glendale , 3-0, on Sept. 16. Sacred Heart beat the Wildcats of Bishop Conaty-Loretto, 3-0, on Sept. 21. Coming up: Sacred Heart will play the San Gabriel Mission Pioneers on Sept. 23. 

Three local schools competed in 3-mile races at the 40th Annual Woodbridge Cross Country Classic on Sept. 18 in Norco: Eagle Rock High (boys and girls), Cathedral boys and Sacred Heart girls.

The Cathedral boys team placed first in their race with a time of 1:19:49.7 and 58th overall out of 255 teams in Division IV. The top individual on the Cathedral team was sophomore Emmanuel Hernandez, who placed first in his race with a time of 15:09.1 and 97th overall in the top 100 of all runners in the tournament. Hernandez is a runner to watch: He also had Cathedral’s best individual time (15:11.1) in the 3-mile Cool Breeze Evening Invitational at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 3, for a 23rd place finish overall out of 1,684 boys.

The Eagle Rock boys team ran in Division II, placing 28th in their race with a time of 1:34:22.3. (The time was not fast enough to rank in the top 100.)  

Eagle Rock girls team ran 1:44:07.6 for 21st place in Division II.

The Sacred Heart Comets ran a 1:50:36.1 in Division IV, placing 14th in their race.


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