SPORTS BRIEFS: Downey, Warren look to improve off last season

DOWNEY − The Downey High School football team will unofficially begin their 2015 football season with a scrimmage against Orange Lutheran tonight at Downey High. 

The Vikings look to fine tune a few things before they officially start their season next Friday at home against San Pedro.

Downey lost several starters on defense from last season so there will be new names and new faces to fill in the ranks. Senior linebackers Darrian Franklin and Kiefer Enslin return as do junior defensive back Jalen Thompson and senior defensive back Hinckley Ropati. Franklin had 88 tackles and 8 sacks a season ago and Thompson had 19 passes defended. All four returners look to lead a Viking defense poised to make a mark. 

Newcomers to the defense include sophomore Noah Lopez and juniors Ricky Hickson, Ryder Hawkins and Emari Demercado. These additions, combined with the returning talent, look to make this Viking defense a lot more athletic than last year’s team. Coach Jack Williams is excited to see how well his defense gels together and improves each week.

Coach Williams, his staff and players are looking forward to the start of the 2015 football season and getting back to the C.I.F. Southeast Division championship game where they fell short against Crescenta Valley 21-14 on a controversial call. 

Downey is the defending 2014 S.G.V.L. champion (10-4, 5-0) and was a tri-champion for three years before that (2011-13) with Dominguez and Paramount, respectively.

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The Warren High School football team will have a scrimmage against Burroughs next Friday night at Warren before they officially start their season against St. Paul at Warren on Sept. 4. 

The Bears have been busy preparing for the fall season as head coach Raul Lara starts his second year at the helm.

Warren will depend heavily on senior quarterback Jordan Yancy and Coach Lara has surrounded Yancy with an aresenal of weapons on offense. Darnay Harris will play receiver this year as opposed to running back from a year ago. Harris also played safety and linebacker on defense in addition to playing receiver and tight end on offense. 

Junior Jordan Mays returns and will also make a change from running back to receiver. Mays will play receiver opposite Harris and create matchup problems for opposing defenses by stretching the field.

Offensive lineman Ron Flores returns and will have some size and strength beside him to run and pass block. Coach Lara really likes three tight ends he has incorporated into the offense as well. Bedeiah Togafau, Kainoa Fuiava and Jonathan Ferrin can all catch the football to move the chains and can block well to create holes to run through.

Coach Lara, his staff and players are looking to improve on a 5-5 season from a year ago. If Warren wants to earn a playoff berth, the Bears must defeat cross-town rival Downey, Paramount or Dominguez. The road to the C.I.F Southeast Division playoffs will go through those schools.

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The Sweetwater Valley Little League from Bonita, near San Diego, advanced to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania with a 12-10 win against Hawaii state champion Waipio Little League on Saturday night.

S.V.L.L. is the fifth San Diego area team to win the western region tournament in the last 15 years. Oceanside American won in 2001, Ranco Buena Vista won in 2005, Park View won in 2009 and Eastlake won in 2013.

S.V.L.L. has won all four of their qualifying tournaments while compiling a perfect 16-0 record. Sweetwater Valley has not lost a game yet and has stayed in the winner’s bracket in each tournament. S.V.L.L. has hit 72 home runs in 16 games and have outscored their opponents by 172 runs. Sweetwater Valley scored runs in 18 of 22 innings at the western region tournament in San Bernardino.

S.V.L.L. opened their Little League World Series against Great Lakes champion Bowling Green Eastern Little League yesterday (score unavailable at press time). 

There are eight teams from the United States and eight teams from around the world who will compete in the Little League World Series. The winner of the United States’ bracket will face the winner of the international bracket in the little league championship game. 

The championship game will be played on Sunday, Aug. 30, at 3 p.m. on ABC at Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The consolation third place game will also be played on Sunday, at 10 a.m., at Lamade Stadium.

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The 2015 Little League World Series brackets have been filled out and games started yesterday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. There are a total of 16 teams competing for the Little League World Series championship. Eight teams are representing the United States and eight teams are representing the rest of the world.

The Great Lakes region is represented by Bowling Green Eastern Little League of Kentucky, the Mid-Atlantic region is represented by Red Land Little Little League of Pennsylvania, the Midwest region is represented by Webb City Little League of Missouri and the New England region is represented by Cranston Western Little League of Rhode Island.

The Northwest region is represented by Wilshire-Riverside Little League of Oregon, the Southeast region is represented by Northwood Little League of South Carolina, the Southwest region is represented by Pearland West Little League of Texas and the West region is represented by Sweetwater Valley Little League of California.

Seguro Social Little League of Baja is representing Mexico, Cardenales Little League of Venezuela is representing Latin America, Tokyo Kitasuna Little League is representing Japan and AVRS Secondary School Little League of Uganda is representing Europe-Africa.

Los Bravos de Pontezuela Little League of the Dominican Republc is representing the Caribbean, White Rock South Surrey of British Columbia is representing Canada, Cronulla Little League of Sydney is representing Australia and Tung Luan Little League of Chinese Taipei is representing Asia-Pacific.

Games began yesterday at 1 p.m. when the Caribbean played Europe-Africa. California played the Great Lakes at 7 p.m. (scores unavailable at press time).