Saturday, Nov. 15

Football playoff pairings

First round, Thursday; all games 7 p.m. unless noted

City Championship Division

#16 Gardena (Marine 4, 7-3) at #1 Venice (Western 1, 10-0); #9 San Pedro (Marine 2, 8-2) at #8 Crenshaw (Coliseum 2, 8-2), 2:15 p.m.; #12 Jefferson (Coliseum 3, 4-6) at #5 Sylmar (Valley Mission 1, 7-2-1); #13 Narbonne (Marine 3, 5-5) at #4 Birmingham (West Valley 1, 7-3); #14 Taft (West Valley T3, 5-5) at #3 Carson (Marine 1, 7-3); #11 Fairfax (Western 2, 5-4-1) at #6 Grant (Sunset Six 1, 7-3), 2 p.m.; #10 Granada Hills (West Valley 2, 8-2) at #7 Bell (Eastern T1, 6-3-1); #15 Westchester (Western 3, 4-6) at #2 Dorsey (Coliseum 1, 10-0).

Invitational division

#16 Cleveland (West Valley T5, 5-5) at #1 Fremont (Coliseum 4, 6-3-1), time TBA; #9 Wilmington Banning (Marine 5, 4-6) at #8 Roosevelt (Eastern T3, 6-4); #12 South Gate (Eastern T3, 6-4) at #5 Monroe (Valley Mission 2, 6-4); #13 Palisades (Western 5, 4-6) at #4 El Camino Real (West Valley T3, 6-4); #14 Locke (Coliseum 5, 2-8) at #3 North Hollywood (Sunset Six T2, 5-4-1); #11 L.A. Wilson (Northern 3, 6-3) at #6 L.A. University (Western 4, 6-3-1), 2 p.m.; #10 Verdugo Hills (Sunset Six T2, 5-5) at #7 Franklin (Northern T1, 6-4); #15 Canoga Park (Sunset Six T4, 6-4) at #2 Los Angeles (Northern T1, 8-2), time TBA.

Note: Quarterfinals, November 26; semifinals, December 5; championships, December 12 at L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

Venice earned the No. 1 overall seed in the City Section Championship division football playoffs for the first time but it also came with one of the toughest roads to the championship game as pairings were announced Saturday.

The Gondoliers (10-0) completed an undefeated regular season for the first time in five years. They will host Gardena (7-3), the fourth-place team in the Marine League, in the first round Thursday night.

If Venice gets past the Panthers, it will face either San Pedro or Los Angeles Crenshaw in the quarterfinals. Both teams finished with 8-2 records and were in second place in their respective leagues.

"We're honored to be the No. 1 seed," Venice Coach Angelo Gasca said. "All that means is you have to go out and prove it. To win championships, you have to beat the best teams."

Coliseum League champion L.A. Dorsey (10-0) was seeded second following a strong comeback season. Carson (7-3), the Marine League champ, was seeded third and Lake Balboa Birmingham (7-3), the West Valley League titlist, is fourth.

"I thought we had an argument for No. 1 but it would have been hard to overtake Venice," Dorsey Coach Paul Knox said. "They didn't do anything to stumble and they were ranked ahead of us [by publications] most of the year."

The first-round pairings took on a different format as league champions were to be seeded one through eight unless the seventh and eighth-ranked leagues opted to play in the Invitational division. Northern League champion Los Angeles (8-2) did just that and was seeded second in the Invitational.

"We're not the same team that we were earlier in the year," Los Angeles Coach Hardy Williams said. "We've lost four starters to grades. We want to give our kids the best chance of winning."

Because of the new format, Sylmar (7-2-1), Van Nuys Grant (7-3) and L.A. Bell (6-3-1) earned first-round home games by winning their leagues.

L.A. Fremont (6-3-1) was seeded first in the Invitational while North Hollywood (6-4) and Woodland Hills El Camino Real (6-4) were seeded third and fourth respectively.