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High School Football Teams Focusing On Defense

khts_sportsThe start of the high school football season is right around the corner and it looks like defense is taking center stage on the Foothill League teams.

The Foothill League has had four different champions in the past four seasons. Valencia is the reigning Foothill League champion. Saugus won the league title in 2008, Hart in 2007 and Canyon in 2006.

The Valencia team has a couple seasoned players on offense returning, mainly quarterback Alex Bishop and running back Steven Manfro. The team’s defense is young though. Sophomore cornerback Tedric Thompson started seven games as a freshman and has the most varsity experience of any of the defensive backs.

 

Valencia opens the football season at home against Notre Dame on Sept. 10.

Hart, usually an offensive juggernaut, might have to rely on its defense more this year to be competitive.

The team has two of the top defensive players in the league in linebacker John Cornelius and defensive lineman Justyn Eddins. Cornelius, at 6-foot-3, had 102 tackles last season.

Hart opens on the road against El Camino Real on Sept. 3.

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The Dodgers surprisingly signed their top pick in the baseball draft. Pitcher Zack Lee, a two-sport athlete who was expected to play quarterback for the Louisiana State football team, agreed to terms with the Dodgers and received a reported $5.25 million signing bonus.

Lee, who passed for 2,565 yards as quarterback of the McKinney High football team in Texas, was taken in the first round and 28th overall by the Dodgers. He was already practicing with the LSU football team and has said he wanted to play football and baseball in college.

The Dodgers also signed their 11th round pick, outfielder Joc Pederson, and their 26th round pick, outfielder Scott Shebler.

On the field, the Dodgers keep finding interesting ways to lose ball games. This time, after taking a two-run lead in the eighth inning, the Dodgers coughed up three runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose, 4-3, to the Atlanta Braves.

Melky Cabrera delivered a two-out, bases-loaded, two-run single off Dodgers reliever Octavio Dotel to cap the ninth inning rally and give the Braves a come-from-behind win.

The usually reliable Hong-Chih Kuo was charged with all three runs in the ninth inning. He couldn’t hold the two-run lead, giving up two hits and walking one in 1 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers did get some good news. All-Star shortstop Rafael Furcal is expected to start a minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday, if his ailing back lets him.

He has been out since Aug. 2. Dodgers manager Joe Torre told ESPN that Furcal will most likely play a couple games with the single-A Inland Empire team before returning to the Dodgers. Maybe Furcal can jumpstart the Dodgers offense.

The Dodgers are 11 games out of first place in the National League West standings. They limp home to start a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies tonight.

It will be Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers against Jeff Francis for the Rockies. Pregame starts at 6:30 on AM 1220, KHTS.