Amat Watch: After facing QBs Neuheisel, Kasdorf, Bennett and Wittek, Lakewood has the best of them all, USC-Bound Jesse Scroggins

“In my opinion, he’s the best quarterback in the country. He’s got a great arm, makes great decisions and he really understands what we want to do.” Lakewood coach Thadd MacNeal on QB Jesse Scroggins

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
For the past month the Bishop Amat football team has dealt with some of the best quarterbacks in the Southland, including Loyola’s Jerry Neuheisel, Crespi’s Bryan Bennett, Notre Dame’s Ryan Kasdorf and Mater Dei’s Matt Wittek. But none of them compare to the test the Lancers (10-1) will get on Friday in their Pac-5 Division quarterfinal against No. 4 Lakewood (10-1) at 7 p.m. As far as Lakewood coach Thadd MacNeal is concerned, third-year starting quarterback, Jesse Scroggins, who chose USC over other high- profile schools such as Florida and Tennessee, is among the best anywhere. (To continue, click thread)

AMAT TICKET UPDATE: Bishop Amat has sold out of their allotted tickets for Friday’s game at Lakewood. Anyone wanting a ticket should show up early to Lakewood and buy from the box office before they sell out and close the gates. Otherwise, follow it with us on COVERITLIVE with my cousin Mike (an Amat alum).

Don’t want to alarm you Amat fan, but this is some impressive stuff

The Long Beach Press Telegram has a thread on the Bishop Amat-Lakewood game. They point out that Bishop Amat is 8-1 all-time against the other Lancers, which includes Bishop Amat’s infamous 1970 championship, when they were led by future USC and Rams quarterback Pat Haden.

Bishop Amat leads playoff series, 8-1
1970: Amat 18-17 in 4A championship.
1982: Lakewood 31-amat 12 in first round
1983: Amat 14-7 in OT in the second round.
1985: Amat 27-10 in first round
1987: Amat 35-7 in first round
1990: Amat 31-13 in first round
1993: Amat 37-6 in first round
1997: Amat 13-3 in first round
2003: Amat 35-18 in first round

Scroggins has completed 63 percent of his passes in throwing for 2,043 yards and 29 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

MacNeal, who’s coached several other quarterbacks who have gone on to play Division I football, met Scroggins in a football camp in seventh grade and has groomed him ever since.

“Each year I have had him he gets better and better,” MacNeal said. “In my opinion, he’s the best quarterback in the country. He’s got a great arm, makes great decisions and he really understands what we want to do.”

In Friday’s 41-17 victory over Newport Harbor, Scroggins was his usual efficient self in going 16 of 20 for 238 yards and a touchdown.

The 6-foot-2, 189-pounder has a strong right arm and is 27-7 as a starter. He’s also been sacked just eight times in 11 games, which could pose big problems for the Lancers, whose pass defense has been shaky when they don’t put enough pressure on the quarterback.

“We always tell our guys, protecting the quarterback and taking care of the football are our two main goals,” MacNeal said. “If we do that, we have a quarterback and receivers that can do some damage.”

MacNeal has been doing his homework on Bishop Amat and singled out Lancers quarterback Jerry McClanahan and its gutty defense.

“They kind of flew under the radar, but not anymore,” he said. “They have beaten some fantastic programs. You have to give their players and coach (Steve) Hagerty a lot of credit. Their quarterback scrambles around and makes plays; I really like him.

“Defensively, they’re very disciplined, their kids always play hard.”

Lancers win coin flip

If the Lancers beat Lakewood and advance to the semifinals, they’ll be at home a week from Saturday against either Dana Hills or top- ranked and undefeated Edison.

They would have had an automatic home game against Edison and won a pregame coin flip to get the home game over Dana Hills.

(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2161

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