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Davis, Nitros make noise

Football: Speedy receiver hauls in three scores to lead Glendale to semis of tourney.

June 29, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk,

VALENCIA — When Crescenta Valley High, Glendale and St. Francis' respective seven-on-seven squads began Wednesday afternoon, the three local teams were scattered across the Santa Clarita Valley.

But as the afternoon's proceedings were coming to a close, it was the surprising Nitros who were the last local standing at the College of the Canyons Passing Tournament.

With a little good fortune and some high drama, the Michael Davis-led Nitros climbed to the semifinal round of the tournament before falling to Moorpark, 24-12.


"The team is getting better," said Davis, who hauled in five touchdowns in two games for Glendale. "We still need to work on things, but we're a lot better than we were last year."

Davis hauled in three touchdowns, including a length-of-the-field 40-yarder on the second-to-last play of a 30-26 win over perennial power Palmdale in the second round to advance to the semifinals.

"The Palmdale win was a big win for us," said Bill Irace, Glendale's defensive coordinator, who took the helm of the Nitros with Coach Alan Eberhart dealing with family obligations.

Crescenta Valley fell a round earlier in a nailbiter to Hart, losing, 28-26, in triple overtime.

"It was an awesome game," said Falcons Coach Paul Schilling. "These passing leagues, most of them you don't care [about wins and losses], but you get into the tournament, there's eight teams left, it's us, it's Hart. … Then it's a little different than just a passing day. That's why we do so many of these."

St. Francis lost in the opening round of tournament play, 30-12, to eventual tournament winner Alemany, which defeated Hart in the semifinals and Moorpark in the finals.

The Golden Knights, who went 2-2 on Monday in pool play, began their day at Hart High and ended it there, as well.

As was the case with every St. Francis game in the tourney, the Golden Knights took a lead, jumping out to a 12-0 advantage, as Ryan McAleenan and Travis Talianko hauled in touchdown passes from quarterback Jared Lebowitz, a much-ballyhooed transfer from Vermont. Alemany rallied for 30 straight points, however.

Nonetheless, St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds was happy that his team rebounded to win its finale against Canyon Country Canyon, 14-8, behind a strong defensive effort led by defensive backs Billy McCreary and Parker Nieves.

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