Locals seek grid glory; Rams aren’t

CASE KEENUM, the beleaguered Rams' quarterback, has the worst QB rating in the NFL (Rams  photo).

CASE KEENUM, the beleaguered Rams’ quarterback, has the worst QB rating in the NFL (Rams photo).

The CIF-SS football playoffs start this week, and seven teams serving the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach area are in the post-season tournament. That’s about half the teams we have, which is pretty good.

There are a bunch of interesting story lines here, and here are just a few.

mm-coach-logoWho’s the most exciting local player in this tournament? Our money is on Ben Jefferson, the quarterback for Pacifica (6-4), which will open Division 10 action Friday with a road game against Pasadena Polytechnic.

Jefferson, just a junior, passed for 1693 yards this year and 22 touchdowns. But add to that his 936 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, and you have a very dangerous player to defend. He is quick and agile and often drives linebackers to teeth-gnashing as they try to track him down.

Pacifica, under Vinny Lopez, is a good team and program on the rebound. The Mariners play in the tough Empire League, and despite that, own victories over several CIF-bound squads such as Cypress and Garden Grove. They could be the sleeper tea, in Division 10, this year and maybe the next.

THE OTHER story line to follow is the victory lap year for Edison (9-1) head coach Dave White, who is finishing his 14th year in coaching, eight of them for the Chargers, who won the Sunset League this year.

Edison is good enough to play tough with the Mater Dei’s and Servite’s of the world, and has won the SL title under White in 2015, 2012, 2011 and while finishing second to Los Alamitos three times.

The green-and-gold went in the CIF finals twice, and in 2009 were ranked sixth-best in the nation and second in California.

Edison is ranked second in its division, just behind La Mirada. The Matadores (8-2) in the upper bracket of D-3, so would not face the Chargers until the final on Dec. 2. Don’t bet on the EHS team to not send their coach off with a CIF crown as a parting gift.

TWO TRUTHS. First, we are pretty darn glad to see the Rams back in Los Angeles. Second, we are pretty darn fed up with the team’s offense and its four-game losing streak.

The Rams lost 13-10 to the Carolina Panthers Sunday, which is a very respectable performance for the defense, but another whiff for the other half of the team. This is the fourth time they have scored 10 points or fewer in a game, and at 3-5 appear to be headed nowhere fast. The disappointing 7-9 finish of last year in Missouri looks like a goal to shoot for now.

Quarterback Case Keenum is looking like not much more than a place-holder; he’s thrown more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (8) and returning offensive rookie of the year Todd Gurley is looking more than more like a one-hit wonder, averaging just three yards a carry.

It’s tough to know where to put the blame. Coach Jeff Fisher wants to stick with Keenum because – reportedly – first round draft choice Jared Goff in struggling to master the business of audibles. Keenum is not entirely to blame, as he was sacked four times and had had more than one pass batted down at the line of scrimmage. On the other hand, has the lowest quarterback rating in the NFL.

Fans don’t expect a Super Bowl run in the team’s first season back in Southern California, but they didn’t think the Coliseum would become the Boo Bowl so early in the first act of the prodigal Rams.

The Monday Morning Coach appears on Monday mornings, usually. Go figure.




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