With no NFL teams in Los Angeles — a rather remarkable omission —
Dominguez (Compton, Calif.)
High School football coach Keith Donerson has split his loyalties.
Twenty-five percent go to the Dolphins, 25 percent to the Bears and 50 percent to the Seahawks.
He's a 100 percent Seattle backer this weekend.
That's because two of his former standouts – cornerback Richard Sherman
and strong safety Jeron Johnson
— are defenders for the Seahawks, who travel to Atlanta Sunday for a NFC playoff semifinal showdown.
The duo were seniors on the 2005 squad
that went 13-1 and won a CIF Southern Section championship.
Two other of Donerson's former players are in the NFL, Dolphins linebacker
and Bears guard Chilo Rachal
Sherman, listed at 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds as a senior, was a three-way star for the Dons, most notably as a wide receiver where he had 48 catches for 895 yards and 14 touchdowns his senior campaign. He accounted for 1,030 all-purpose yards, returned three punts for touchdowns and recorded 45 tackles and had eight pass deflections as well.
He really showed his athleticism on the track, where he won the state triple jump record with a mark of 50 feet, 8 inches. He also had impressive bests in the long jump (23-8), 100-meter sprint (10.77) and the 110 hurdles (13.99).
Also a scholar – he had a 4.5 grade point average and scored 1,200 on his SAT — Sherman earned a scholarship to Stanford, where he switched positions from offense to defense his junior year. He was a fifth round pick of the Seahawks in 2011 draft.
"When he came us he was 5-9 and 125 pounds and he hated the weight room," Donerson said by phone Friday with a chuckle. "He got serious as a sophomore, put on some weight and started to play."
Johnson, a backup for the Seahawks, was a three-year starting middle linebacker for Dominguez before earning a full ride to Boise State.
At only 5-11, 170, Johnson was selected as the Southern Section Division III defensive MVP after recording 148 tackles five sacks and forcing five fumbles his senior year. He had 118 tackles as a junior.
"Real good kid but more laid back than Richard," Donerson said. "He was a team leader but he led by example."
"Laid back," is a relative term around Compton and the Dominguez program. Never blessed with big rosters – 25-35 — Donerson and his dad Willie, a longtime head coach and now co-head coach with his son, encouraged highly competitive play on the practice field.
That led to loads of talk and heated play. Donerson's two stars often got into it.
"Those were two very intense competitors," Donerson said with a laugh. "We preached competitive not combative."
That came into light last week when Sherman was pushed in the face by Washington's Trent Williams after the game. Sherman was micced during the game and heard talking plenty to the Redskins during the game.
Williams approached Sherman during post-game handshakes and told him he was going to punch him in the face, and pushed him hard with his open hand. Sherman never hit the ground, threw up his hands and didn't retaliate.
"All I can say is Richard is a real good and smart kid," Donerson said. "Every chance he gets he comes back here and talks to the players about life and how football after high school is a job. He tells the kids to have fun in high school and reminds them if they're lucky enough to make it all the way to the NFL, that it's a short-lived career and to plan for the long term.
"He's all about helping kids." NFL playoff high school fun facts
Sherman, now 6-3 and 195, is having a terrific year with 64 regular season tackles – fourth on the team – and eight interceptions. He was considered one of the biggest snubs for the Pro Bowl but that might be because the league tried to suspend him four games for reportedly violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
Sherman, however, said the drug test was flawed, won an appeal and didn't miss any time.
Johnson, now 5-11 and 212 pounds, had just seven tackles this season in limited duty.
"Of course we'll be rooting on the Seahawks this weekend," Donerson said. "We'll be rooting them from here on out."