It's The 'Pepper Spray' Rematch Between SPHS Football & Venice

Friday, November 26, 2010 will forever be known to San Pedro and Venice High football fans as: "The Pepper Spray Incident".

A simple postgame handshake gone terribly wrong when trash talking between the two schools ensued, then escalated into a scuffle that ended with school police getting involved, and 13 Pirate players along with a Venice ball boy getting maced in an attempt to restore order following the Gondoliers' 35-10 win in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I quarterfinals at Venice High.

Nearly two years later, these two perennial City Section powers will once again get it on in the 2012 CIF-LACS Division I quarterfinals at the place that spawned this infamous scene, on Friday at 7pm.

San Pedro (8-3 overall) comes into this quarterfinal by eliminating Fairfax of Los Angeles, 35-10 in their first round game, and Fairfax is one of Venice's rivals in the Western League. The Gondoliers (9-2), seeded No.3 in the tournament, are coming off a 56-14 rout of Sylmar.

Head coach Angelo Gasca has a history of producing high-powered offenses, and Venice averages 27 points a game in the first half all season, and 40.9 points overall. Junior quarterback Alexander Diamont, junior RB/CB Dajuan Parham and senior wide receiver Nicholas Ivy are top players for the Gondoliers, who in the past have problems dealing with Marine League teams in the quarterfinals.

Back in 2006, San Pedro stunned Venice, 27-26 in a game where the Gondoliers blew a 20-7 second quarter lead. In 2008, the Pirates blanked Venice, 31-0 at San Pedro High. Back in 2009, Narbonne of Harbor City eliminated Venice with a 48-32 win, and last year, Carson ran for nearly 500 yards in a 47-34 win over the Gondoliers.

Venice also lost a nonleague game, 21-19 to Banning of Wilmington, another Marine League school, in 2007.

All of that, along with 'The Incident', will be more than enough to motivate San Pedro.

San Pedro will be led by the senior running back trio of Darrell Santiago, Gregory Thomas and Devon Mitchell, but heady quarterback play from senior Jimmy Bryant will also be crucial. Defensively, San Pedro will be paced by senior linebackers Pete Palacios and Joseph Stanovich, who both forced turnovers against Fairfax last week. Palacios' interception, and Stanovich's fumble recovery, both led to Pirate touchdowns in the second half.

Keep a close eye though on junior linebacker Rudy Alvidrez and senior defensive ends Rayvonn Gaines and Trevor Thorp as they will all look to do some major damage, and senior WR/CB Josh Marshall has stepped it up on both sides in the last couple of weeks.

Expect sparks to fly in this encounter... and bring your goggles and gas masks while you're at it.

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