Should there be an ambulance at games?

In case you missed it….

A scary moment in the final minutes of La Canada High School’s 21-17 nonleague loss to Alhambra last Friday fortunately turned for the better.

Joe Hughes, a 5-foot-9, 260- pound senior lineman, suffered a concussion after a hard tackle. He did not attend school Monday but is expected to be OK.

La Canada High School principal Damon Dragos confirmed Hughes did suffer a concussion but did not know the grade of its severity.

Because there wasn’t an ambulance on site, the game was delayed 30 minutes while paramedics arrived to transport Hughes to a hospital.

Thom Simmons, the CIF-Southern Section spokesman, said the only thing the section requires of the host school is to have current physical examination paperwork on file.

“Having an ambulance on site is a school-district issue,” Simmons said. “What happens on their property is their responsibility.”

School districts who require an ambulance on site, like many in Orange County, will delay the start of the game if there is none present.

La Canada, however, does follow its guideline of having a doctor on site for its football games.

There have been a few times when I’ve gone to cover a game in Orange County and the referees would not allow the game to start until an ambulance arrived. Now, that’s a school-district rule.

I can’t imagine what the parents of Hughes were going through during that moment as his son lay motionless on the field, the moment intensifying more because of the long day for an ambulance to arrive.

Fortunately Hughes will be OK.

But that got me thinking, should schools be required to have an ambulance present at football games like many schools in Orange County?

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McConnell: Moors football rich in tradition

This story comes from longtime staffer Jim McConnell, the man we call, “The King” around the office. He writes a weekly Then & Now column. McConnell, a journalist for over 30 years, began his career with the now-defunct Pomona Progress-Bulletin and currently works for the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group, which includes the Pasadena Star-News, Whittier Daily News, and San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Along the way, McConnell has garnered numerous awards from The Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the Society for American Baseball Research, and the Los Angeles Press Club. This week he writes Alhambra’s rich tradition in football. Enjoy.


When you talk about prep football dynasties, old or new, you have to include Alhambra High’s remarkable streak of sustained excellence.

From 1927 to 1947, under the guidance of George Hobbs, the Moors were a true CIF-Southern Section powerhouse. Alhambra had four undefeated seasons during that span and won CIF-SS Large Schools titles in 1928, 1939 and 1946. The list of Moor alums who went on to play major college football is indeed a long one.

Hobbs was named Alhambra football coach for the 1927 season. The school had fielded a football team since 1912 but had not experienced any real success until Hobbs arrived on campus.

Hobbs brought home a winner in his first season, with Alhambra compiling a 4-3-2 record in 1927 while competing in the rugged Coast League. The Coast League, featuring athletic powerhouses San Diego, Pasadena and Long Beach Poly, easily was the toughest prep football league in the state.
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….Celebrating the Big 25….

Shout out to my boy Jaime Cardenas formerly of The Times but now one of the PR honchos for the L.A. Galaxy. My boy took me out for a nice steak dinner in downtown Fullerton at Stubriks Steakhouse for my 25th birthday, which of course is today. Had myself a tasty broccoli soup and then a juicy 12 oz. steak with garlic mashed potatoes with gravy and vegetables.

And for dessert, this:

It’s called the Banana Foster. Bananas flambed in a rum and brandy caramel over vanilla bean ice cream. It was awesome and possibly the best dinner I’ve ever had (that’s probably because I didn’t have to foot the $120 tab; good looking out).

Good times. Coming up later today, my mamma’s spaghetti and sweet flan for dessert.

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….Star Picks….All football, all the time (updated)

Star-News preps writer Keith Lair and I will be going head-to-head throughout the season, and I will update our records each Monday on the “Star Picks” thread.

Melendez: Last week: 11-5; Overall: 37-20
Lair: Last week: 12-4; Overall: 40-17

Sorry it took a while to put up this first post. Everything technical-related is down in Pasadena, which means I’m relegated to work from the Tribune office in West Covina where I’m forced to listen to how much Bishop Amat fans cry about not being ranked No. 1 for a whole week. Ugh.

Anyway, here are this week’s games with predictions. Note there are no Thursday games.

There are some pretty games this week. I’m still deciding on which game to go. My top two in no particular order is Rosemead at Temple City and Monrovia at La Salle. San Marino should get a pretty good test when they play host to Cantwell; Hoover was way too easy last week. Both the Panthers and Rams are coming off losses while the Lancers and Wildcats are coming off victories. I wonder if the Rams D will be able to stop Tra Sumlar, one of the best running backs in the area. Sumlar didn’t play last week against Harvard-Westlake so that Rosemead team was not the same Panthers team you got used to seeing the first few games.

Lair and I have almost identical picks with the exception of the SM-Cantwell and Marshall-Godinez games. He picked Cantwell and Godinez while I picked SM and Marshall. Godinez, if you don’t know, is a new high school in the heart of Santa Ana. This is their first year of varsity competition.

Friday’s Games
Rosemead at Temple City, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Rosemead); Lair (Rosemead)
Monrovia at La Salle, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Monrovia); Lair (Monrovia)
Cantwell Sacred Heart at San Marino, 7 p.m. — Melendez (San Marino); Lair (Cantwell)
Muir at Glendale, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Muir); Lair (Muir)
Alhambra at South Pasadena, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Alhambra); Lair (Alhambra)
Burbank vs. Pasadena at PCC, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Burbank); Lair (Burbank)
Hoover at Arcadia, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Arcadia); Lair (Arcadia)
Mojave at Maranatha, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Maranatha); Lair (Maranatha)
Duarte at Sierra Vista, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Duarte); Lair (Duarte)
Flintridge Prep at Webb, 3:30 p.m. — Melendez (Flintridge Prep); Lair (Flintridge Prep)
Pomona at Gabrielino, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Pomona); Lair (Pomona)
Bosco Tech at Salesian, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Salesian); Lair (Bosco Tech)
St. Francis at Rio Mesa, 7:30 p.m. — Melendez (St. Francis); Lair (St. Francis)
Firebaugh at La Canada, 7 p.m. — Melendez (La Canada); Lair (La Canada)
Godinez vs. Marshall at Muir, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Marshall); Lair (Godinez)
Blair at Brawley (San Diego), 7 p.m. –Melendez (Brawley); Lair (Brawley)

Saturday’s Game
Pasadena Poly at Brentwood, 3 p.m. — Melendez (Brentwood); Lair (Brentwood)

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Saturday Morning Quarterback Postgame: La Salle wins, Monrovia impressive, Temple City succumbs. Time to talk your smack or cry me your wimpy river!


San Marino came away with a 52-6 victory but that is no surprise. The Titans (3-0) had six penalties and helped Hoover (0-3) move the ball in its favor with a few chances to score.

Credit to Emmanuel Sells who recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter after the Indians penetrated into Titans territory. Unfortunately, it was a Sells blown coverage that led to Hoover’s scoring.

All in all, San Marino showed it can throw the ball, albeit it came against a weak team. Still, Hoover needs to find a way to give the ball to backup quarterback Aj Pule. The kid can really throw the ball and is very accurate. He’s mobile and not afraid to take a hit down the field. He helped Hoover record a few first downs in the fourth. If he can get some players to step up Hoover might be decent next year.

Here’s an interesting note. I was wearing a new suit today (celebrating my b-day after I leave the office here) so I decided to cover the game from the press box to avoid getting it sweaty or dirty. When I sat in the press box, two Hoover coaches walked into my side of the box to send signals to the coaches on the field. It got crowded but it didn’t last fast.

After Dooley’s 55-yard run with 3:37 left in the first quarter, both coaches slammed the table, got up off their seats and left. It was as if they threw the white flag.

I found that kinda strange but a bit comical.

Tonight’s Scores with my thoughts
San Marino 52, Hoover 6 – Dooley looked great, Wright looked good but there were six Titans penalties. Yikes.

San Gabriel 28, Temple City 21 — I’m not gonna say I told you so. I’m not gonna say it. The Matadors needed a final 90-yard drive in the final minutes to get the victory. How does that happen? The score was 7-7 at the half. Joey Stewart had 18 carries in the first half but he was used sparingly in the second half. He had only seven carries for 44 yards. TC had a fourth and 2 at about midfield but Stewart was stuffed on his last carry for a no gain that pretty much ended the game.

Alhambra 21, La Canada 17 — Moors come from behind again to win.

Lynwood 27, Arcadia 7 — No Golper, no win. Can’t say I’m surprised. I should have known but at least the Apaches didn’t get blown out like some thought.

Glendale 48, South Pasadena 7 — Nitros coming out of nowhere.

Monrovia 32, Beckman 7 — Beckman looked terrible but it’s a credit to the Wildcats D. I said it earlier this week: It’s only a matter of time until they all click with the Wing-T.

Jefferson 27, Blair 6 — Neither team could do anything but Jefferson’s ground attack proved to be too much. Jefferson threw only four passes.

South Hills 48, Duarte 6 — Gutsy for the Falcons to even play Huskies.

La Salle 19, Bosco Tech 14 — Lancers offense still staggering but at least they came out on top, finally.

Mountain View 28, Keppel 8 — What else is there to say, really.

Village Christian 14, Gabrielino 6 — Gabrielino offense an enigma.
Rio Hondo Prep at Sage Hill, 7 p.m. — Waiting….

Flintridge Prep vs. Campbell Hall at Occidental College, 7 p.m. — Waiting….

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Todd Golper sits out tonight

Talked to Coach Jon D yesterday and said Todd Golper will not play tonight. Despite the news I’m sticking with my Arcadia pick.

Golper has a broken big right toe and has not received clearance to practice or play. It’s looking like he’ll sit out against Hoover, too, and hopefully be ready to play against Glendale.

Golper has been swimming to keep himself in shape.

Brian Rambeau, who was also injured against St. Francis, has been doing well and had a good week of practice. He’s going to play tailback and safety. With Golper out and Rambeau taking the load at tailback, I’m expecting QB Garrett Tuck to step up and have a good passing game.

“We’ve been banged up,” Dimalante said. “We’ve had to tailor back and simplify the offense more. Garrett will be ready to throw the ball.”

By the way, check out this story about the nation’s No. 1 linebacker Manti Te’o, from Honolulu. He took his official trip to UCLA last week and mentions Golper in the story. (I didn’t post the link because it’s a fee-access story on their site)

Scout Recruiting
Te’o Talks About First Official Visit

By Brandon Huffman Sep 23, 2008

The #1 linebacker in the nation, Manti Te’o, from Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou, took his first official visit last weekend, to UCLA, and he talks with about the visit and the timeline of his other four trips…

Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou linebacker Manti Te’o (6-2,225) went on the first of his five official visits this past weekend, taking in a trip to UCLA.

“It was a great experience and I got to spend some time with the coaches and the players,” said Te’o. “And getting to see California and UCLA was great. I’ve been to California twice before but this was the first time I ever really got to see UCLA. I saw it from the outside a few years ago.”

Te’o was greeted by UCLA’s offensive coordinator, and Punahou alum, Norm Chow.

“Coach Chow picked me up from the airport so I mainly talked with him when I got there. We started to get to know each other from then on,” said Te’o. “The host I had was (UCLA freshman quarterback) Kevin Prince. He and I talked about the mission process (Prince and Te’o are both LDS), and he said he was still thinking about taking his mission. We had some good talks.”

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No. 1 USC shocked by Oregon State, 27-21!!!

I feel the same as my boy Freddy Robledo. I feel bad, I really do =)P

Ha, at least I’ll have something to cheer about Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

I covered the Sanchez at Mission Viejo High so I feel for him. A little. Especially after reading Sanchez’s story written by my good friend Jorge Arangure Jr. over at ESPN The Magazine.

Above: Manny Ramirez celebrates with a bottle of champagne. I got to cover a few of these celebrations, drenched in champagne. Good times.

What a day: USC loses, Dodgers clinch … can it get any better? Oh yeah, b-day weekend celebration coming up. Thanks for the early present Beavers.

Above: The Oregon St. football team probably trying to send their b-day wishes and maybe handing me the game ball?

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Thursday Night Recap: St. Francis the real deal

LA CAADA — “Bring ‘em out, bring ‘em out, bring ‘em out”

That’s the beginning of the T.I. song that was blaring from the speakers before the start of the St. Francis High School football game against Burroughs.

Well, there was some truth to it.

I spotted a caravan of Muir players and coaches leaving the game late in the fourth quarter when the Golden Knights all but had it wrapped up, followed by a slew of Burbank players who for whatever reason were wearing their white jerseys.

The crowd on hand witnessed a defense-dominating St. Francis team that rolled to a 30-5 victory over the visiting Indians on Thursday night in nonleague action at St. Francis High.

Our very own Keith Lair covered the game for the paper but after work around 5 p.m. I decided to head out to the game and take my video camera and shoot some of the action. After I finish this blog I’ll head to the video room and try to put it all together. If you don’t see it up in a day or two then for sure by Monday, I hope.

It’s been a long 14-hour day but alas I got to see the top-ranked team. St. Francis proved its worth.

Let me say this: Dietrich Riley hands down is the best player in the San Gabriel Valley.


(Lair thinks Riley was much better last year but added he came away impressed with Riley on defense. I obviously didn’t see Riley play last year but fair enough.)

The junior returned punts, made some hard-hitting tackles at DB and rushed for close to 100 yards on 18 carries. It’s far away from his performance against Crescenta Valley where he rushed for 213 yards and three touchdowns. But his impact definitely was felt.

With all this talk about Riley people are forgetting about the other guys on the team. Justin sciarra is solid. Malik Speed is a great speedy back that can give you some very good plays and Evan King can push as many as three defenders like when he scored from about 6 yards out. Rian Younker had a pretty good game, too.

It was a close game in the first half, St. Francis (3-0) leading, 10-3. But in less than a minute the Golden Knights scored 14 points. Before you knew it, Burroughs found itself trailing big in the second half as St. Francis went up big. The Indians got their final two points after St. Francis muffed a long snap in its end zone that gave Burroughs a safety.

Burroughs for some reason went for it twice on fourth down, once on fourth and 5 and then again on fourth and 2, both times they gave St. Francis good field position to work with.

To the Indians credit, they did run the ball well especially down the middle. Their line is big and can make good pushes and create holes, but a stingy Golden Knights defense kept the running game on check.

Unfortunately, the Indians (2-1) lost star running back Dalton Williams to a severe ankle sprain on their second play of the second drive. As if that wasn’t enough, they then lost their backup running back Eddie Lopez to almost the same injury.

Before the game, Burroughs was doing drills and warm-ups. After finishing they went back into the locker room but two coaches stayed and watched St. Francis’ warm-ups, perhaps to get an edge.

It didn’t work.

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Casual Fridays on Thursday: St. Francis proving worth

Click here for quarter-by-quarter updates!

Tonight’s Showdown with predictions
Burroughs (2-0) at St. Francis (2-0), 7:30 p.m. — Melendez (St. Francis); Lair (St. Francis)

Tonight’s game Burroughs-St. Francis game promises to be a good one. So good I might head over after I leave the office and check it out myself.

The top-ranked Golden Knights had a tough time last season battling injuries that ultimately put halt on their playoff hopes.

St. Francis is healthy and have arguably the area’s best running back in Dietrich Riley who of course is only a junior. Rian Younker is a strong force on the D-Line. There are lots of reasons the Golden Knights will be scary-good this season and having a balanced team is the big reason. A potent ground attack and an air assault when needed by Justin Sciarra. The offense against Crescenta Valley last week had 315 total yards led by Riley’s 213 on the ground. Malik Speed is a player not to be overlooked. His speed compliments the offense well. And lets not forget a defensive unit that has an offensive mind, too.

It should be noted that Burroughs is 2-0 and are coming off a 30-7 victory over South Torrance. The Indians have a big line up front on both sides of the ball, can spread their receivers and have lots of motion which potentially can be confusing. With such a good pass-rush from the Golden Knights expect Burroughs to be in shotgun formation almost the entire game.

I will be covering Hoover at San Marino. I know Hoover has a big line up front but the reality is the Titans will prove to be too much with a powerful running back tandem in Scott Dooley and Benny Hung. To be honest, the Temple City-San Gabriel game is much more intriguing but I won’t be there because I’m thinking of covering the Rams when they visit Rosemead next week.

The TC-SG game has all the makings of an offensive showdown. The Rams did not play to their potential against the Moors last week. Morgan Hatch can wreak havoc in the air for opposing defenses so I expect him to bounce back strong against the Matadors. Joey Stewart is very underrated and I came away impressed with how strong he is, gaining most of his yards running up the middle and breaking blocks.

This could be a close game and I see the Matadors pulling away, though I’m not as convinced as many people think.

Isaac Valdez, a junior, will prove his worth. The Rams defense, led by Nick Conora, will have to contain receiver Isaac Villalobos who’ll probably be Valdez’s favorite target. Arthur Brown is a speedy back who can make big plays like when he broke off a 52-yard touchdown run before it was called back for a holding penalty. True, the 54-14 victory came against a down South Pasadena team, which is why I don’t see either team blowing each other out. No matter what you think, Serra and Cathedral are two tough teams. The kid from Cathedral is going to USC for a reason. There’s a reason why it went from Heisman-U to Tailback-U. There were no moral victories for the Matadors and not once did I say they were. But they were losses San Gabriel learned from and can see where they stand against the rest. This game is much more important for the Matadors because it is their first true test against an area team. TC has proven itself with a shutout win and a game they should have won against Alhambra.

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….High School Heisman Watch 2008….

The Heisman Trophy is the most prestigious award in college football. Florida QB Tim Tebow last season became the first sophomore ever to win the coveted award.

The award is named after the great John W. Heisman who made countless contributions to the game, including the forward pass which became legal in 1906 after three years of writing and pestering Walter Camp and the rules committee. Much of the official rule book in the day adopted Heisman’s suggestions word for word, according to the Heisman Trophy’s website.

The equivalent of our Heisman is the Area Player of the Year. For football purposes we’ll call it our High School Heisman.

I will have a top 5 list every Wednesday with my “High School Heisman Watch”. The list of player is in no particular order and you’ll note some players will jump in and out depending on their performance.

Without further adieu, The List:

1. Dietrich Riley, St. Francis, RB, Jr.

2. Matt Schilz, Maranatha, QB, Sr.

3. Joey Stewart, Temple City, RB, Sr.

4. Marcus Graves, Muir, WR, Sr.

5. Mitchell Crockom, Alhambra, WR, Jr.

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