Saturday Morning Quarterback Postgame Thread: Alhambra rallies, St. Francis solid, Maranatha and Rosemead romp! Talk your smack or cry me a river!

Above: Vailele Peko, only a sophomore, showed some flashes in Alhambra’s 14-10, victory over Temple City on Friday night at Moor Field.

Where to begin.

This was a game Temple City should have come away with a victory. But Alhambra ruined those plans as it initiated a six-play, 64-yard drive that was capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Darrian Cazarin to Daniel Imaa to give the Moors a 14-10 victory over the Rams.

It was Imaa’s only catch of the game.

Temple City (1-1) had a chance to make a long drive of their own but on the first play — with the ball on the Moors 28 — Temple City quarterback Morgan Hatch was intercepted by Mitchell Crockom to put the game away.

Crockom was at the center of attention of just about every key play. Crockom made an amazing 32-yard completion to put the ball at the Rams 2. Many thought Joey Stewart came away with the interception but it was Crockom who lifted the ball in the air to complete the pass, much to the dismay of the visiting Temple City crowd.

Crockom also made a huge 47-yard catch that highlighted that 64-yard drive. And it was Crockom who came up with the interception that sent the Moors crowd into a frenzy.

I remember telling myself before Crockom made that 47-yard catch: I am not impressed with him at all. At that point, Crockom had made completions of 29, 32, 8, 16, 14, and 2.

Decent night, I thought, but still not impressed given Crockom has enough talent to carry the Moors this season.

Then he made that big catch and of course the interception. I stand corrected.

The Rams passing game suffered big against the Moors, who really weren’t doing anything fancy to hinder Temple City’s passing game. The key was that a lot of Hatch’s passes were dropped.

Stewart had a big night rushing for 143 yards on 24 carries. He made some big plays and was the key player who kept a 16-play drive alive in the second quarter.

Stewart rushed for a 2-yard score on that drive but it was called back after an illegal formation penalty moved the ball back to the Alhambra 7. The Rams couldn’t come up with anything at that point except for a safety after the Moors were forced to punt from their end zone.

Temple City took a 10-7 lead after Stewart’s score from 4 yards out. Quarterback Morgan Hatch connected with Kenny Werner for the two-point conversion.

The Rams had the lead for 10 minutes before the Moors initiated the rally with 3:04 left in the game and Alhambra sitting on its 36.

What a turn of events. Alhambra coach Gil Ruedaflores and Temple City coach Randy Backus were laughing it up and joking around when they greeted each other at the 50-yard line with 12 minutes before the game started.

When both coaches met again at the 50-yard line to shake hands, Backus’ mood was more somber for obvious reasons. Backus was visibly upset and not even Ruedaflores saying “We were lucky to win it” cheered him up.

How could it?

Temple City had this game in the bag. Despite some big yardage plays in the first half, Crockom was kept on check especially in the first half.

“We didn’t handle success very well the entire week,” Backus said. “We had a poor week for preparation for Alhambra and it was reflected tonight.

“Too many blown assignments and too many missed assignments. Not taking the opportunities that were presented to us to win this game.”

Despite the offense getting off to a slow start in the first half, it was a clean game. There were not turnovers and the penalties were minimal, except (ahem) for that illegal formation penalty on the Rams.

Backus didn’t want to get into that penalty which he noted was called well into Stewart’s rush into the end zone.

“The guy’s in the end zone and the flag comes five seconds after the guy’s in the end zone, saying we didn’t have enough guys in the line of scrimmage,” Backus said. “I’m not gonna say anything about the officiating.”

The Rams visit San Gabriel next week but Backus is more concerned about his team than he is of the Matadors.

“It’s not about San Gabriel,” he said. “It’s about us getting better. Like I said we had a poor poor week. We were horrible in practice and it reflected in the game.”

Ruedaflores had nothing but praise for his young defensive line.

“When you teach adversity and you tell these boys not to look back it’s hard because they’re young,” Ruedaflores said. “It’s hard to swallow that (loss last week) but they fought through it, and they came back and I’m proud of them.”

Vailele Peko provided a great highlight-reel for the Moors after he returned a punt 42 yards and into the Rams 28 but the ball was moved way back after Alhambra was called for a holding penalty.

Those are the little things the Moors need to overcome if they are to contend for the Almont League title.

They can’t have those kinds of little mistakes that negates long plays like the one Peko had in the fourth quarter.

That play got the home crowd fired up but the penalty knocked the wind out of the momentum.

But Crockom went on to make a big play followed by Imaa’s touchdown reception from 17 yards out.

The holding penalty at that point became a long forgotten footnote.

Above: Joey Stewart carried Temple City almost the entire game.

If you attended a Friday night game send us your thoughts. Who did you see and what’d you think of the teams you saw?

Here are Friday’s scores with my thoughts

Alhambra 14, Temple City 10 — The Moors make late rally for the win. Backus isn’t so happy for obvious reasons. The passing game just wasn’t there for the Rams on Friday night.

Long Beach Jordan 36, Pasadena 0 — Who’d a thought the Bulldogs would enter Pacific League play depleted at 0-4? Kevin Mills lost some key players from last year’s team but with the kind of depth he’s got a 36-0 loss is almost unbelievable.

Glendale 36, La Canada 21 — This is not the Glendale team of the past. This could be a much longer season than I thought for the Spartans.

San Marino 31, La Salle 16 — Remember the Titans? They’re baaaAAAAAaaaaack!!!!

St. Francis 27, Crescenta Valley 13 — I really wanna go see my No. 1 team.

Muir 33, Venice 14 — As I predict, Mustangs go. Oh wait…D-Ranch. Muir is 2-1 heading into league. That’s a great start on my books. Interesting to read that Reuben Thomas played just receiver. TWO GOOD QBS???? Nice.

Rosemead 42, Monrovia 21 — Who knew the Wildcats would be rebuilding this season? The Panthers have a pretty good offense. I really wanna go see them against Temple City in two weeks. But then again ….

Gabrielino 28, Keppel 0 — Eagles finally put up some points. Aztecs will be hurting by season’s end.

Serra 53, San Gabriel 0 — I saw this coming.

Maranatha 45, Capo Valley Christian 0 — I saw this coming, too.

Bosco Tech 20, Gladstone 0 — This will boost the Tigers’ morale fo sho, right Shockley?

Brentwood 28, Rio Hondo Prep 26 — Ouch! Tough one. If there ever was a moral victory, it is this one. Two-point loss against a tough Brentwood team is not bad at all.

Villanova Prep 32, Flintridge Prep 6 — Rebels having a hard time getting their offense going.

Click here for all the area’s games including Tribune and Whittier areas.

Saturday’s Game

Marshall at Pasadena Poly, 2 p.m. — Melendez (Pasadena Poly); Lair (Pasadena Poly)

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Thursday Night Recap: South Pas wins, Duarte loses

Above: South Pasadena’s Ricky Venegas fights for yardage during the game against Hoover at Glendale. South Pas won, 29-14.(Larry Goren/Correspondent)

South Pasadena had the spotlight all to itself Thursday night as the Tigers defeated Hoover, 29-14.

From what I’ve read, Hoover practically handed South Pasadena the game. Not to say the Tigers didn’t fight hard because they certainly deserved to win.

South Pasadena (1-1) did not score all their points off the miscues, but they certainly helped. One, a bouncing snap by Hoover long-snapper Alan Palafox, rolled out of the end zone to break a 14-14 tie.

“We were calm,” South Pasadena coach Ed Smith said of his halftime speech. “We didn’t yell at them. We just said, `Hey, look, this is what we got to do.’ We should have made some plays in the first half, but one or two guys broke down a little bit. I told them to go out there, have fun and play football. Take care of your job and have fun.”

The Tigers, who had only 18 yards rushing in the first half, marched down the field on their first series of the second half. Kevin Lee, who finished with 104 yards on 23 carries, had the bulk of the yardage. Quarterback Conor Bednarski hit Steven Colliau, who had seven catches for 68 yards and two scores, in the back of the end zone on a 26-yarder to tie the game.

Click here to read the entire story by staff writer Keith Lair.

*I searched and searched but to no avail. Last night in the sports segment on KNBC-4 there was video from the South Pas-Hoover game.

After getting a headache browsing through the KNBC site I decided to stop. But I tried.


I don’t know how I missed the Duarte-Pomona game. I thought it was being played on Friday night. That is so my bad.

Our Nathan Cambridge reports:

Pomona High School’s Siddiq Frazier scored four rushing touchdowns to lead the Red Devils to a 34-12 nonleague victory over host Duarte on Thursday night.

The Falcons (0-3) got on the board in the final quarter. Two Duarte sophomore quarterbacks each threw a touchdown pass.

The first was by starter Demetrius Jackson on a 53-yard screen pass. Jackson finished 5-for-15 for 64 yards, one interception and one touchdown. The second touchdown was thrown by Tyler Hayes in the game’s final minute.

*It’s going to be a long season for Duarte. The Falcons are having a hard time putting up points and they’re having to do it mostly without its star running back, Jordan Canada.

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Finding a common bond

In case you guys missed it here it is. Thanks for the nice comments in other posts.


Hatch, Corona mesh personalities to Temple City’s benefit

By Miguel A. Melendez
Staff Writer

TEMPLE CITY – During practice and Friday nights under the lights, after every victory and defeat, it’s amazing how the boisterous Temple City High School football crowd probably can’t tell the dissimilarities within the team.

They see 11 players on the field wearing the Rams green and gold coming together as a team with one common goal: Victory.

But there are players who are so different, their views and likes so extreme they likely wouldn’t be friends or, even less, acquaintances if not for football.

Take seniors Morgan Hatch and Nick Conora.

Hatch is the signal-caller directing the offense and dissecting the defense’s every move.

Conora is an unassuming presence at linebacker but a brutal force anchoring the defense with immense knowledge, respect and love for the game.

Together they are the perfect 1-2 punch on each side of the line of scrimmage. That much was evident after Hatch led Temple City (1-0) to a 34-0 victory over Arroyo last week to open the season.

Hatch completed 10 of 14 passes for 190 yards and four touchdowns.

There’s no question both can co-exist. That much was evident minutes before the clock expired.

“One thing that really opened my eyes about how different we are and yet how much we respect each other was last week when with two minutes left (Conora) came over and talked to me saying great job,” Hatch said. “(Conora) said, `I’m loving that offense. I’m the captain of the `D’, you’re the captain of the `O’. Just keep running that offense and I’ll take care of my defense’.

“That was like, dang, because we don’t really talk that much or hang out that much but we speak the same football language.”
Continue reading “Finding a common bond” »

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Casual Fridays on Thursday: Game of the Week, etc…

Above: Temple City and Alhambra square off at Moor Field on Friday night at 7.

If you’re Temple City (1-0) what team poses a bigger threat: a team that heads into the game also 1-0, riding with confidence, or a team that is 0-1 and has a sense of urgency and desperation in hopes of not looking from the bottom up?

That’s the question I posed Rams coach Randy Backus and he had some interesting stuff to say. More on that in Friday’s paper on page 2.

Every time I talk to Alhambra coach Gil Ruedaflores he mentions another coach either coached as a player or has had on his staff.

Backus at one point was an assistant under Ruedaflores. I think Backus left Alhambra in 2000.

Back to the game … One thing that worries Backus he said was Alhambra’s ability to score quickly like the Moors did in the fourth quarter against Glendale last week. Alhambra scored three touchdowns and were led by sophomore Vailele Peko who caught three of those passes for touchdowns in the 44-28 loss.

Despite the 34-0 rout over Arroyo last week, Backus said he thought there were area for the Rams to improve such as blown assignments, not picking up blitzes; little things like not having 11 guys on a punt.

Darrian Cazarin, the junior quarterback for the Moors, completed 18 of 33 passes for 300 yards and had four touchdowns. He threw three interceptions and two of them were returned for touchdowns.

“We turned the ball over too many times,” Ruedaflores said. “You can’t give another team 30 points, ask UCLA.”

Friday’s Game of the Week: Temple City vs. Alhambra at Moor Field

Back by popular demand is the Star-News’ Football Scoreboard.

Click here for quarter-by-quarter updates!

Tonight’s Game with predictions

South Pasadena vs. Hoover at Glendale, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Hoover); Lair (South Pasadena)

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Golper: Minor break in right toe, sprained

Arcadia’s Todd Golper has a minor crack in his right big toe and the MRI showed it is also sprained.

He’ll be able to play again this season but the question is when. The doctor doesn’t think Todd will hurt the big toe but it’s a matter of how much pain Todd can handle while playing.

There’s no doubt Todd will want to play against Lynwood a week from Friday but it’s uncertain at this point if the coaches will let him play.

Todd, who is wearing a boot, got e-mails from both UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel and linebackers coach Chuck Bullough and also Neuheisel and DeWayne Walker called Monday to inquire on his status.

At the very minimum Todd might sit out against Glendale and play against the bigger teams like Muir and others.

But then again, we’re talking about the same Todd who thought was playing the final three games of the season with a sprained wrist, only to come and find out after X-rays he had actually been playing with a broken wrist.

During the St. Francis game Todd wouldn’t take off his shoe at halftime because he thought maybe they would take him out of the game. Turns out he had 21 tackles after game film was reviewed. Todd’s the epitome of toughness.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Todd tries to run next week and play it by ear. It’s gonna be a tough judgment call.

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