The Los Angeles City Section hasn't had back-to-back City Champs from the San Fernando Valley since the mid-70's. The last team to do so was the Charlie White led San Fernando Tigers. After his brilliant career for the Tigers White ended up going to USC and went on to win a Heisman Trophy for USC.
Lake Balboa (Calif.) Birmingham just won their third title in five years. The first two teams were led by excellent senior leadership. The 2002 team were led by City Player of the Year Dennis Keyes is now the starting safety for the UCLA Bruins and the 2004 team was led by City Player of Year Luke Laolagi.
The 2006 Birmingham Championship team was by a junior who was selected City Player of the Year, running back Milton Knox Jr. (5-8, 205, 4.55).
Knox has been a known commodity since his freshman season when he helped Birmingham to the City Championship in 2004 while sharing the football with a senior.
As a sophomore, Knox rushed for 1,700 yards and scored 28 touchdowns. He is also very nifty out of the backfield racking up 500 receiving yards and scored six more touchdowns through the air.
For his Player of the Year season, Knox rushed for 2,374 yards and scored 29 touchdowns while averaging 7.24 yards per carry. What makes his junior season even more special is Knox was a marked man all season. He also accounted for 14 receptions for 96 yards for an average of 6.9 yards per catch.
According to Knox, he has early offers from UCLA and Ole Miss. Other schools that have shown early interest in Knox are Florida State, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Washington and USC.
"Milton was a star the first day he was here as a freshman," Croson said in an earlier interview with Rivals.com. "There is no doubt he'll be one of the best players we've ever had here."
It will take more than a very talented running back to repeat. What gives Birmingham such a great chance is they will return three D-I talents on the defensive side to go with their awesome running game.
Linebacker Donovan Carter (6-2, 222, 4.6) led the team in tackles with 128 and earned first-team all-city honors for his efforts.
Carter makes plays sideline to sideline and has a non-stop motor. He's extremely tough and is a sure tackler who can put heat on a quarterback.
The talented linebacker had six quarterback hurries, 5.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, one pass deflection and one interception that he brought back 68 yards for a touchdown.
Carter is already getting looks from Pac 10, WAC, and the Mountain Wes. He could end up being a national recruit when the word spreads about his playmaking ability.
For Croson the Jackson twins are double the pleasure for opposing offensive coordinator they are double the pain. Both are bookend defensive ends that make life miserable for offenses.
Malik Jackson (6-4, 215, 4.6) led the team in sacks with 12.5. He also had 54 tackles, eight quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one pick.
Marquis Jackson (6-3, 220, 4.6) accounted for 39 tackles, six quarterback hurries, five sacks, five pass deflections and on fumble recovery.
In an earlier interview with Croson, he had the following to say about his two defensive end prospect.
"Marquis is probably the better every down player at this point because he supports the run so well, but Malik is also right there with him and has an even bigger upside," Croson said. "Malik has scooped up two fumbles and taken them in for touchdowns, and he's just learning how to be a great pass rusher. He's got the body that you want from a defensive end. Both of those guys will get stronger and bigger. I can see both of them easily being around 230, 240 by their senior years."
Also keep your eyes on junior to be wide receiver De'von Flournoy (6-1, 180, 4.45). This guy is a major playmaker. He can make a short throw into a long play with his running ability.
As a sophomore, Flournoy caught 22 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 28.3 yards per catch.
Birmingham will definitely be a recruiting hot spot this spring.