By Aaron Blevins, 10/18/2012
Hollywood High Sheiks are also in contention
Following a one-point loss at Palisades last week, the Fairfax High School football team (4-3, 1-1) is still eyeing a playoff spot with three games left in the regular season.
The Lions lost on the final play of last week’s game, as Palisades successfully went for two after a touchdown to beat Fairfax, 29-28. The loss could put a damper on Fairfax’s playoff hopes.
“It’s a little bit tougher now that we lost that game,” coach Shane Cox said.
He said the Fairfax squad has struggled with injuries this year, and against Palisades, which was celebrating its homecoming, the team had four starters out.
“They had everything going in their favor that night,” Cox said. “Our kids played hard, though.”
The Lions opened the season with a 24-14 loss against Dorsey at Rancho Cienega Park. In Fairfax’s first game on its new home field, the team beat Canoga Park, 35-20. The following week, the Lions beat Reseda, 28-14, at home.
They traveled to San Pedro High School on Sept. 21 and lost 29-0. However, Fairfax bounced back with two consecutive wins against Wilson (42-0) and University (38-14) before falling to Palisades last week.
Cox said, despite the injuries, the team has had several bright spots this year. He mentioned senior offensive lineman Jose Castellanos and inside receiver Robby Floyd, a senior. The running game has also produced.
“It’s been solid. We’ve been kind of running back by committee,” Cox said, adding that, with the starter out last week, sophomore back-up Jenabu Edwards rushed for more than 100 yards.
He said the defense has been “phenomenal” against the pass, only giving up one passing touchdown. The Lions have struggled stopping the run, which was on display against San Pedro and Palisades, two pre-dominantly running teams.
“Above and beyond that, we’ve been really stingy,” Cox said.
While there is a question mark stamped on the future of the 2012 team, the Lions are relatively young, and Cox, who is in his 14th year, is optimistic about the years ahead.
“I feel great,” he said. “We have a phenomenal facility now. We have a really talented JV team. We’re going to turn the corner here and continue to build it and get a little better every year.”
During his tenure, Fairfax has won the Division II championship twice. Cox said the team is looking to make the transition to Division I by taking on traditional DI powers such as Dorsey and San Pedro.
“We’ve had success, but now we want to take the team to the next level,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot, and we realized where we need to get better.”
While the team is enjoying the new field and locker rooms, it’s been a little quiet at the stadium without the school band in attendance. That may change soon, though, as the school recently hired a new band director, Robin Holguin, to replace Ray Vizcarra.
“It was wonderful when our band was here,” Cox said. “They were so good; that was the other thing.”
Fairfax will travel to Hamilton on Oct. 19. A home game against Westchester and a game at Venice will round out its regular season.
Elsewhere, Hollywood High School’s football team is also 4-3 with a 1-1 league record. The team opened the season with a 24-20 win against Panorama, but lost to Canoga Park, 42-0, the following week. The Shieks lost to Rancho Dominguez Prep, 19-8, before winning three straight against Chavez, Angelou and Roybal. Hollywood lost to Contreras, 23-21, last week.
The team will complete its regular season with three consecutive road games against Belmont, Bernstein and Torres. Attempts to reach coach Jim McElroy were unsuccessful by deadline.