….East meets West….

VS.

Bishop Amat (4-1) vs. St. Francis (5-0)
The Lancers, as our boy Freddy Robledo put it, have not been to the playoffs since 2004 and are a mediocre 33-33 since 2002, going 3-7 last season. Despite those numbers, Bishop Amat started the preseason ranked No. 2. The Golden Knights, however, were a few players and a play away from making the playoffs last year. St. Francis was picked the preseason No. 1 and remain the area’s No. 1 team.

Tribune’s No. 1 vs. Star-News’ No. 1
Like I said. Bishop Amat started at No. 2, then fell and now they’re back on top, but not before Bishop Amat fans were crying about not being No. 1.

Fred J. Robledo Talks Preps Sports vs. From the Sidelines with Miguel Melendez
Freddy and Steve Ramirez both picked Bishop Amat to win. I know better. I say Robledo and I make a bet but he’s ignoring my calls. If he back pedals any more he’ll end up on the 10 freeway. Bishop Amat cries so much they now get their own weekly thread on Freddy’s blog. I treat everyone the same, which means Golden Knights fans are far better to talk football.

This isn’t just another nonleague game. This is like Rocky taking on the Russian in Rocky IV, only this time the “Russian” comes to our side of town, the Russian being Bishop Amat. Every bout has a bad guy and the bad guy on this side of town is Bishop Amat.

I’m sure the Primadonnas (AKA Bishop Amat fans) have something to say about that.

But as the CEO, Mayor, President of this blog I ask that every man, woman and child on this side of the 626 rally around St. Francis.

The Golden Knights, like the boys over on Lincoln Ave., will represent the West and prove we can hang with the big boys.

Every coach should be rooting for St. Francis this week. Muir coach Kenny Howard will be for sure.

“I will,” Howard said. “I don’t know about everybody else but I’m for the West side.

“If a West side team is playing an East side team I’ll always root for the West side.”

This coming from a coach who strongly feels his Mustangs belong in the top spot. But for this week Howard is rooting for the boys over on Foothill.

I plan to be there and not only will I get there early but I’ll bring my appetite. I’ll go out on the limb and say it’s not only the Game of the Week but it’s also our Video Highlights Game of the Week. Time to breakout the Van Heusen suit.

I’ll take a carne asada burrito any day over kettle corn over at Bishop Amat. Ugh, kettle corn. Are you serious?

For this week only, I’ll post a thread every day about the showdown comparing both teams not just on the field but everything else like who has the better concession stands, better uniforms, coaching staff, better fans (we know that already) and much more.

Have your say about the showdown.

And if I haven’t made it clear yet, I’m calling you out Primadonnas.

Let the talk smacking begin!

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….Star Picks…. No laughing matter

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: 10-7; Overall: 62-29
Lair: Last week: 14-3; Overall: 70-21

10-7?!?!?!?!?!? If this happens again I might just hang up the pen and notebook and head to law school. 10-7 is just inexcusable. I-N-E-X-C-U-S-E-A-B-L-E!!!

My wrong picks: Marshall (lost to Mountain View); San Gabriel (lost to San Marino); Alhambra (lost to South El Monte); Millenium (lost in forfeit to Blair); Bosco Tech (lost to Cantwell); Flintridge Prep (lost to Malibu); and Pasadena Poly (lost to Desert). Lair’s wrong picks were Millenium, San Gabriel and Arroyo.

It’s time to rebound. A lot of good games again this week and up first is Bishop Amat at St. Francis. I’ll have more on this later today and the rest of the week as well.

Temple City and Monrovia open Rio Hondo League play on Friday. That’s going to be an exciting game because the Rams finally got a win under their belt and enter league with some momentum while the Wildcats enjoyed a bye last week. It’s looking like Temple City now has two good running backs in Max Ruckle and Joey Stewart. It’s becoming clear the Rams should probably opt for the run first. Arcadia should handle Pasadena. Muir is looking beatable, but I don’t think Burbank will get the honor. The Mustangs defense is stellar, however. San Marino stays unbeaten and Schurr gives Alhambra another wake-up call.

This week’s games with predictions
Bishop Amat at St. Francis, 7:30 p.m. — Melendez (St. Francis)
Temple City at Monrovia, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Monrovia)
Arcadia vs. Pasadena at PCC, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Arcadia)
Burbank at Muir, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Muir)
South Pasadena at San Marino, 7 p.m. — Melendez (San Marino)
Arroyo at Gabrielino, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Gabrielino)
Schurr at Alhambra, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Schurr)
Keppel at San Gabriel, 7 p.m. — Melendez (San Gabriel)
Verbum Dei at La Salle, 7 p.m. Melendez (La Salle)
La Canada at Blair, 7 p.m. — Melendez (La Canada)
Kilpatrick at Maranatha, 7 p.m. Melendez (Maranatha)
Marshall at Calvary Chapel Downey, 7:30 p.m. — Melendez (Calvary Chapel)
Bosco Tech at Serra, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Serra)
Rio Hondo Prep at Chadwick, 3:30 p.m. — Melendez (Rio Hondo Prep)

Saturday’s Game
Flintridge Prep at Pasadena Poly, 2:30 p.m. — Melendez (Pasadena Poly)

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Saturday Morning Quarterback Postgame: San Marino’s streak continues, Temple City rebounds, Alhambra collapses, Arcadia impressive but Muir not so much…

CLICK HERE FOR QUARTER-BY-QUARTER UPDATES!


Above: Burroughs’ Eddie Lopez is wrapped up by a slew of Muir defenders. The Mustangs won, 13-10. (Larry Goren/Correspondent)

(UPDATED at 12:56 a.m.)

I gotta say this and don’t take it personal or get offended Kenny:

I was not impressed by Muir.

The second-ranked Mustangs (4-1, 2-0) escaped with a 13-10 victory over Burroughs on a chilly Friday night in Pacific League play at Muir High.

I will say that I came away impressed with junior quarterback Jarron Williams, who completed 8 of 14 passes for 146 yards. Senior Myles Campbell caught seven passes for 109 yards.

Reuben Thomas started at quarterback, but later lined up in the backfield and at wide receiver. He returned punts, too. He rushed for a 3-yard score with 3:09 left in the first quarter to put Muir on top, 7-0.

That score was set up by a string of plays that started when Fernando Aguilar tackled Indians (2-3, 0-2) quarterback Lucas Yanez, whose fumble at the Burroughs 18 was recovered by Marcus Graves.

I thought Chris Dunlap was going to carry the ball a lot in this game. He had three. His first was a 20-yard touchdown score in the third quarter that padded Muir’s lead 13-3. His next two carries were for no gain.

I’m hoping someone from Muir can fill me in: Why does Thomas have to check with his coaches for the next play on almost every down from the line of scrimmage? I found that a bit weird.

Burroughs couldn’t get anything going on the pass. They passed for only 46 yards on 3 of 9 attempts. They did, however, rush for 127 yards on 34 carries.

The game was a lot closer than Muir would have wanted. The game also had a disturbing ending.

The Mustangs stopped Burroughs on fourth and 4 at the Muir 34 with less than a minute left in the game after the Indians’ Derek Cwik attempted a fake punt. Muir’s Robert Felton made the tackle for a loss.

That’s when things turned ugly.

Muir took a knee with just under a minute left to run the clock out. On the Mustangs’ first knee, Joseph DeLeon was tackled hard by an Indians lineman, which escalated into a mini-scuffle after Muir’s Jeremy Jacob got involved.

When players lined up at the end of the game for the traditional handshake, both teams and coaches had to be separated after a fight almost broke out.

No punches were thrown and order eventually was restored.

I was on the field as it unfolded.

I’ll be straight up and say it: Burroughs couldn’t handle the loss.

They were denied on the fake punt (or whatever it was), they were frustrated and they let their emotions get to them.

DeLeon was tackled hard and I’m sure the tackle felt harder because the kid certainly wasn’t expecting it since Muir was taking a knee.

I heard some nasty stuff coming out of Burroughs as they “shook” hands. That’s when players had to be restrained. I was just trying to get out of the way. My question is: where was the police or campus security when all this happened? I jogged back to my car and saw three police officers standing there talking.

This shouldn’t have happened but Burroughs coaches let it happen.

Completely inexcusable on their part.

Enough with that.

In case you guys don’t know. I write a weekly column every Friday. Here I talk about the crazy economic crisis and how it’s affected high school football. If you guys have any column ideas be sure to throw them my way. E-mail me at miguel.melendez@sgvn.com ..

… Shout out to my girl Monique, the Muir cheer leaders coach. Wassup girl. You better start reading my columns. You know what I’m talking ’bout.

…. During the third quarter, the Muir mascot was having a dance-off with a member of the Mustangs matching band. They danced to a beat from the Muir drumline.

Upon further review, the win goes to the band geek.

Friday’s scores with my thoughts

Muir 13, Burroughs 10 — I did not come away impressed with the boys from Lincoln Ave. The first half proved to be tasteless. I will say this, Jarron Williams will be a great QB next year.

San Marino 29, San Gabriel 17 — Yeah, I got this one wrong, SM fan. But the Titans are back. San Gabriel had a 7-0 lead after the first quarter but the Tians stormed back to take a 20-7 lead at the half. It sounds like the Matadors coughed this up but credit to San Marino and its coaching staff for winning the chess game.

South Hills 14, Rosemead 10 — This is proof that the Panthers can hang with the big boys. Rosemead not only solidified its ranking but opened eyes. The Panthers could make some serious damage come playoffs.

Temple City 28, La Salle 17 — Where has Max Ruckle been hiding all season? Dude rushed for 197 yards on 31 carries and scored three touchdowns. The Lancers will come back strong next week. It’s only a matter of time. Just so happens that this time it was the Rams’ turn.

South El Monte 35, Alhambra 7 — I’m shocked. Absolutely. Shocked! From what I hear the Moors were lining up three running backs in the back field. What’s up with that? Mitchell Crockom was ineffective. Jose Garay had a big night for South El Monte. It was a dirty game. There was over 200 yards in penalties and two Alhambra players were ejected on separate plays.

Arcadia 22, Glendale 6 — Does this mean Arcadia is better than Muir? The Apaches were led by UCLA-bound running back/linebacker Todd Golper. He caught touchdown passes for 32 and 66 yards and ran one from 3 yards out. Sophomore David Maldonado rushed for 104 yards on 25 carries in his second varsity game. Kid could be a stud next year.

St. Francis 45, El Rancho 7 — I’m not surprised. The Golden Knights are the real deal. Looks like they learned their lesson from last week.

Cantwell Sacred-Heart 33, Bosco Tech 7 — I was wrong.

Duarte 34, Gladstone 16 — Don’t look now but that’s two in a row for the Falcons.

La Canada 28, Arroyo 0 — It’s a combination of both, to answer your question La Canada fan. The Spartans are taking advantage of the cupcake teams, as they should.

Maranatha 14, Rio Hondo Prep 7 — I think the Kares are much better than I’m giving them credit.

Pasadena 51, Hoover 6 — The Bulldogs led 45-0 at the half. If Pasadena didn’t win this game then they were going to be in some serious trouble all season.

South Pasadena 35, Keppel 6 — Enjoy the win, Tigers.

Malibu 20, Flintridge Prep 7 — Thought the only thing Malibu kids knew how to do was surf? Go figure.

Pasadena Poly at Desert, 6 p.m. — ..waiting..

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It’s time for Dodgers Baseball!

I love this job.

I’m done with my column, advance on San Marino-San Gabriel and my six capsules/predictions which means it’s time to get outta here and go watch the Boys in Blue.

I’ll be in downtown with a bunch of friends who are visiting from out of town. They all attended the Latino Sports Media Association workshop in association with the California Chicano News Media Association at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A.

This series against the Philadelphia Phillies should be a good one, and I’m glad the Dodgers are not facing C.C. Sabathia.

I kinda feel bad for Angels fans. I covered the Angels’ collapse last year to the Red Sox and I knew they’d do the same this year.

Boston is just a much different team come playoffs. The Angels still are haunted by Fenway Park.

There’s something special about that place.

Talk to yall tomorrow.

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Blair wins!!! Blair wins!!! Blair wins!!!

Blair coach Gary Parks has confirmed Millenium (Northern California) forfeited Saturday’s game against the Vikings.

The forfeit win now makes Blair 1-3 as they head into Rio Hondo League play next week.

Millenium was forced to forfeit for economic reasons, paying for gas the main reason. It’s 373 miles one-way from Piedmont to Pasadena. That’s nearly six hours sitting on the bus one way for a 3 p.m. Saturday football game.

Parks said he told Millenium administrators he was willing to help pay the gas and provide food for the team after the game, but their administrators felt it was just too much. They might re-schedule next season.

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Will the streak end tonight?

CLICK HERE FOR QUARTER-BY-QUARTER UPDATES!

Tonight’s game features Mountain View vs. Marshall at Muir. It’s slated to begin at 7 p.m.

As you know the Eagles (0-4) are hoping to snap their 24-game losing streak and tonight possibly is their best chance.

Mountain View is 1-3 and its losses include 6-0 to Workman. The Viking’s lone victory was a 28-8 victory over Keppel, who also is battling a long losing streak. The Aztecs’ streak has reached 31 games.

So will Marshall win tonight? My gut feeling tells me yes.

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….High School Heisman Watch 2008….

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.

This week’s list:

1. Brian Gonzalez, Alhambra, WR., Sr. — If you guys still read the paper you will know that he plays just about everywhere. In addition to catching seven passes for 194 yards, Gonzalez also connected on two field-goal attempts, scored all five extra-point attempts and had five touchbacks on kickofffs. Not bad, kid.

2. Darrian Cazarin, Alhambra, QB, Jr. — Threw for 369 yards and had three touchdowns in the Moors 43-14 win over South Pasadena last week. Now, if he can stay consistent and have a good showing against South El Monte then I’ll be convinced.

3. Tra Sumler, Rosemead, RB, Sr. — Rushed for 221 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Rosemead past Temple City, 45-14, last week. I was impressed with his toughness and ability to get yardage going straight down the middle. When he did opt to go outside he eluded defenders with such ease.

4. Marquise Williams, Monrovia, RB, Sr. — Dude is getting into a rhythm and it’ll be scary to see him come RHL play. He rushed for 196 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 52-7 victory over La Salle.

5. Jarron Williams, Muir, QB, Jr. — It’s nice to see your backup QB racking up good numbers. Williams completed 12 of 18 passes for 127 yards. I’ll be honest, Williams won’t be in the hunt come Player of the Year consideration, but he deserved to be on this list this week. I think he’s a junior but he could be a senior, I think. “We have some of the best athletes in the San Gabriel Valley,” Muir coach Kenny Howard said. How can that not be true when your backup QB puts up those numbers?

Don’t see your guy on the list? Nominate him and state your case or stop your yapping.

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Volleyball: Star-News Top 10 Rankings


Above: Sacred Heart’s Marissa Provenzano (No. 6) scores in the first game during a volleyball match between Alemany and Sacred Heart at Sacred Heart Academy on Tuesday (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham/SPORTS)

STAR-NEWS TOP 10 RANKINGS

1. Mayfield – Big sweep of Westridge

2. Flintridge Sacred Heart — Got win in league opener

3. La Canada — Plays Blair in Rio Hondo today

4. Westridge — Has the week off

5. Arcadia — Still undefeated in Pacific

6. San Gabriel — Beat Maranatha in four

7. Monrovia — Wildcats have won six in a row

8. Maranatha — Defeated Gabrielino

9. Gabrielino — 9-4 start to season

10. Rio Hondo Prep — Below .500 for the first time


Above: Sacred Heart’s Mary Schroeder (No. 4) blocks a shot with Alyssa walton (No. 19) in the first game. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham/SPORTS)

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La Salle can’t catch a break, literally and figuratively


Above: La Salle senior Tony France (No. 45) is out for the season with an injury.

Just got off the phone with La Salle coach Antoine Peterson. It’s been a tough year for the Lancers (1-4) whose offense has struggled in the last few games.

To make matters worse, Peterson just gave me a list of players who are injured and out for the season or for an extended period of time.

I have to say the one that hurts most is losing senior strong safety Tony France. The kid is a stud and the heart and soul of the team. France broke his right tibia and is out for the season. I hope the kid still gets a scholarship offer despite his season cut short. This kid is an athlete.

Others who are out:

Garrett Lara, RB/OLB, Sr. — Out for the season (torn ACL)

Tony France, SS, Sr. — Out for the season (broken tibia)

Matt Housman, LB, Sr. — Out for the season (torn MCL)

Michael Alexander, WR, Jr. — Week-to-week (sore hamstring)

Trevor Lanzarotta, WR, Sr. — Out 2-3 weeks (helmet to the left knee)

Antoine Peterson, RB, So. — Out two weeks (hip flexor)

Marcus Wells, RB, Jr. — Out two weeks (right shoulder sprain)

More on La Salle in Wednesday’s paper.

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….Star Picks….This is why I’m hot

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: 15-2; Overall: 52-22
Lair: Last week: 16-1; Overall: 56-18

I got ahead of myself…I knew I had done great with my picks last week so that’s why I wrote the headline, and just when I was about to add the other verse, “…You ain’t cuz you’re not” I realized Lair got one up on me. In my defense, Marshall let me down. Godinez is in its FIRST year of varsity competition!!!!! And my other hiccup was picking Salesian over Bosco Tech. Lair’s lone mishap was Cantwell over San Marino. I knew better.

This week will be a good one. I’ll most likely be covering Muir so I hope to get the red carpet treatment over on Lincoln. But check out the other games: San Gabriel at San Marino (Titans streak about to come to an end); South Hills at Rosemead (Panthers will give Huskies a run for their money. I was this close to picking Rosemead but I had to go with the obvious. Panthers’ home-opener on Friday will be on a new field); Temple City at La Salle (Rams rebound at the expense of another Lancers loss. Someone told me I need to stop saying Chase Rettig can throw. I know he’s had some tough games but the kid is good. This preseason schedule will only make La Salle better come league play); South El Monte at Alhambra (Moors will prove how good they really are); and Glendale at Arcadia (the return of Golper. This will be a very close game. Glendale as you all know is much improved).

So how did you guys like the video? Was it OK? It was my first time. I promise my next one will be much better. I’m curious if you guys are into the 2-minute Drills. I didn’t see many hits on those but hopefully they gain some popularity.

This week’s games with predictions

Thursday’s Game
Marshall vs. Mountain View at Muir, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Mountain View)

Friday’s Games
Burroughs at Muir, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Muir)
San Gabriel at San Marino, 7 p.m. — Melendez (San Gabriel)
South Hills at Rosemead, 7 p.m. — Melendez (South Hills)
Temple City at La Salle, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Temple City)
South El Monte at Alhambra, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Alhambra)
Glendale at Arcadia, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Arcadia)
St. Francis at El Rancho, 7 p.m. — Melendez (St. Francis)
Millenium (N. Cal) at Blair, 3 p.m. — Melendez (Millenium)
Cantwell Sacred-Heart vs. Bosco Tech at St. Matthias, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Bosco Tech)
Duarte vs. Gladstone at Citrus, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Duarte)
La Canada at Arroyo, 7 p.m. — Melendez (La Canada)
Rio Hondo Prep at Maranatha, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Maranatha)
Pasadena at Hoover, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Pasadena)
South Pasadena at Keppel, 7 p.m. — Melendez (South Pasadena)
Flintridge Prep vs. Malibu at Occidental, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Flintridge Prep)
Pasadena Poly at Desert, 6 p.m. — Melendez (Pasadena Poly)

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