By Aaron Blevins, 11/08/2012
Fairfax High faces tough opponent in playoff opener
The good news: The Fairfax High School football team has made the Division I playoffs after fears that the team would end its season early. The bad news: The Lions will face San Pedro High School, which beat Fairfax 29-0 earlier this year, on Friday.
The playoff game follows a tough loss to Venice High School that would have given Fairfax (6-4, 3-2) a share of the Western League title along with Venice (8-2, 6-0) and Palisades High School (6-4, 4-1). The Lions trailed 14-7 going into the fourth quarter, but lost 30-7 on the Gondoliers’ home field.
“We invested a lot in the Venice game. We were extremely competitive [but] it kind of got away from us,” coach Shane Cox said, adding that the squad didn’t appear focused in practice on Monday. On Tuesday, Cox and his assistants were trying to get the players fired up.
No. 11 Fairfax will have its hands full against No. 6 San Pedro. Cox said the first game at San Pedro “was not competitive at all.” The Pirates had a 26-0 lead going into halftime, and had success offensively and defensively.
“We got beat really badly,” Cox added.
He said San Pedro has been able to run the ball effectively this season, with 85 percent of the team’s play staying on the ground. Cox said the Pirates’ ability to run may warrant some defensive adjustments.
“We’re just going to devote more people to the line of scrimmage,” he said.
However, the Lions’ offense must also keep the potent San Pedro offense on the sidelines, Cox said.
“When you don’t have so many three and outs and don’t give the other opposing team so many opportunities, that really helps too,” he said. “So, I’m hoping our offense will perform better and keep our defense off the field.”
The Lions, who moved to Division I this year, are trying to return to championship form. Under Cox, Fairfax has won the Division II championship twice, but the team has struggled against some stronger DI squads this year.
“We had some bright spots, but we’re not nearly where we want to be yet,” he added.
Cox said the Lions have been bitten “by the injury bug this year,” and Fairfax has been playing without its starting running back, Marquis Brown, the last two weeks. Backup Jenabu Edwards initially performed well in Brown’s absence, but the running game has not produced as much as of late.
“We’re going to do our best,” Cox said. “We’re going to have to do some things differently than we did last time over there.”
He encouraged Lions fans to attend.
“We’ll just pretty much be out there on our own,” Cox added.
Fairfax will try to avenge last year’s first-round playoff loss to Dorsey High School at 7 p.m. on Friday. If the team wins, they will play the winner of No. 3 Venice and No. 14 Sylmar High School (7-3, 5-1) next week.
Elsewhere, Hollywood High School (6-4, 3-2) ended its season with a 23-14 win over Torres High School. The team’s record did not qualify them for the DII playoffs.