Famous Oaks Christian Progeny Go For Title TomorrowS

Big game on Friday night in Westlake Village near Los Angeles, as Oaks Christian High (13-0) takes on visiting Gardena Serra (13-0) in the Northwest Division championship game.

Arrive early before the Montana, Gretzky and Smith families take all the good seats.

Pictured here are Nick Montana, Trevor Gretzky and Trey Smith, whose fathers you may know. Montana, a junior, has quarterbacked the varsity (Gretzky and Smith are sophomore receivers) to within one win of the school's sixth straight Section championship.

The Cavaliers are the one team in the division that can match the Lions' speed and skill-position prowess, but only one team has so much as stayed close to Oaks Christian in a title game. The Lions defeated Oak Park, 21-16, in the 2003 championship game, but have won their four other titles by an average of 37.5 points.

Oaks Christian, which also gave the world current Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen, is 98-8-1 at the varsity level since the school began playing football in 2001. But there's trouble in paradise. Because Oaks draws talented athletes from as far away as Canada, and regularly pounds its Tri-Valley League foes (they beat Carpinteria 56-0 in the game I attended in October), no one wants them in their league. Tri-Valley wants to kick them out, and other area leagues are reluctant to take them. I'm convinced that one reason is the occasional attendance of Tom Cruise at their games; the actor is good friends with Gretzky.

Poor, homeless Oaks Christian (annual tuition, about $22 grand). Hope they don't end up in the Pac-10.

Oh, and I saw Jerry Rice at a basketball tournament in Burlingame (Calif.) last night, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt as he watched his son, Jerry Rice Jr., score six points for Menlo School of Atherton.

Oaks Christian Has Outgrown Its Competition [Los Angeles Times]