Venice’s hopes for its first LA City Section football championship in school history came to an end Wednesday night in a second playoff round 48-31 loss to Narbonne.
The game was played at Venice because the Gondoliers were the higher seed — No. 3 compared to Narbonne’s No. 11, but if the outcome was an upset it wasn’t a shocker.
Narbonne was co-city champion last season when it tied San Pedro in the championship game, 21-21 and was prominent again this season until losing its last two regular season games.
Narbonne’s motivation was to meet league rival Carson in the semi-finals on December 4.
Venice finished its season with a 10-2 record, the only other loss coming against Oaks Christian, a team ranked No. 5 in America. The Gondoliers were undefeated in the Western League for the second straight year.
Nonetheless, falling short again was disappointing for the Gondoliers.
After the game some Narbonne players taunted Venice, and Gondolier coach Angelo Gasca probably made a wise decision in refusing the traditional exchange of player handshakes.
There was a potential for trouble and he prevented it.
Venice’s deficit was only 27-24 with eight minutes remaining after Connor Gil kicked a field goal. But Narbonne scored three more touchdowns, the final one on a 73-yard interception return by Sean Parker.
Venice quarterback Alfonso Medina completed 17 of 30 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Aaron Jones gained 116 yards on 23 carries and receiver Teandry Caldwell caught six passes.
Crenshaw Hugh, top-seeded and heavily favored, will play Dorsey in the other semi-final. Crenshaw shut out Westchester, the Western League’s second place team, 55-0 on Wednesday night.