Saturday Morning Quarterback Postgame: Monrovia rolls over Duarte; Rosemead blows up San Dimas; Temple City shutsout Azusa; Rio Hondo Prep romps Boron


Marquise Williams is one of the most complete players I have ever seen. The senior running back rushed for 233 yards and scored five touchdowns to lead the Wildcats.

Duarte’s Jordan Canada will be fun to watch next season. The junior had 280 all-purpose yards and scored two touchdowns, a 39-yard run and a 72-yard touchdown catch.

Freddy, Freddy, Freddy. He said the Montview would sweep the Rio Hondo League but dude was so wrong. Rio Hondo League went out there and did their thang. Foks, for the first time this season, I went unbeaten!

Tonight’s Results with my comments:

Rosemead 59, San Dimas 22, Final — Monrovia gets another rematch in these playoffs after the Panthers’ Tra Sumler rushed for 260 yards and scored five touchdowns to lead Rosemead in the win. No one believed you, Koffler, but I called it.

Monrovia 41, Duarte 21, Final — Got to meet my boy ObservantCat at the game. Good lookin’ out ‘Cat. Not sure why Duarte didn’t go with Canda early and often in the first half.

Temple City 17, Azusa 0, Final — Max Ruckle rushed for 142 yards and scored a touchdown. Nobody believed in the Rams, but I called it (Goldenarm).

Rio Hondo Prep 42, Boron 14, Final — Antonio Alanis, Chris Llamas and Charles Quintero each scored two touchdowns to lead the Kares, who led 36-0 midway through the fourth quarter. Alanis, Quintero and Tim Esguerra each rushed for over 100 yards. Nobody believed in the Kares, but I called it.

Saturday’s second-round game
Maranatha vs. Big Bear at Big Bear Middle School, 1 p.m. — Melendez (Maranatha)

Info on Maranatha’s game at Big Bear: Big Bear High School plays its games at Big Bear Middle School.

Minder Field
Big Bear Middle School
41275 Big Bear Blvd.
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
(next to Burger King)

Buses and spectator vehicles should park at the lower part of the campus in the Student Parking Lot on the west side of the school. Officials should park there also. Team vans or vehicles with equipment may drive up the driveway on to the track around the football field to drop off items but they may not park there. PLEASE, DO NOT PLAN TO PARK ON THE FIELD. Visitors will dress in the girls locker room of the middle school. It is located below the field areas at the south end of the gym (the second door east of the bus parking area).

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An open discussion about whoever and whatever you wanna talk about …

And if it’s too much for you to handle don’t worry, I’ll bring in reinforcements…..

I’m taking the rest of the day off. Time to stuff my face with three dinners. I leave you with this touching story of Temple City’s Joey Stewart.


By Miguel A. Melendez
Staff Writer

If you ever wonder how Joey Stewart turned out to be the person he is – poised, respectful, hard working and ever so cool – take a closer look at his surroundings.
Stewart has always found himself surrounded by exemplary people,whether it was relatives or family friends. That’s the way his father, Tim, always wanted it to be.

Stewart took a liking in the family friends who would later become an influential part of his life.

But it was his father’s work ethic that made a lasting impression.

And for that, Stewart is most thankful.

Following his father’s example has steadily streamlined its way into just about everything Stewart puts his mind to.

And for that, the Temple City High School football team is grateful.

He’s a brutal force in the backfield, whether it was starting at running back early in the season or since switching over to fullback, wreaking havoc on opposing defenses with his deft blocking skills, brutal force and speed.

But there weren’t always good times.

Last season, Stewart missed eight games after tearing the meniscus on his right knee and watching from the sidelines was probably tougher than the injury itself.

Continue reading

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………CIF-SS Playoffs second round preview………


WHERE: Citrus College

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RECORDS: Temple City (6-4-1); Azusa (10-1)

GAME NOTES: The visiting Rams are coming off a tough 7-6 win over Arroyo in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs. But Temple City has the weapons to outrun the Aztecs. The Rams will be led by running back Max Ruckle who has rushed for 1,278 yards and 16 touchdowns. Joey Stewart is capable of holding his ground, too. The fullback has rushed for 751 yards and 11 touchdowns in the run-first offense attack. Morgan Hatch though can balance the offense. He’s passed for 1,252 yards. Gianni Bruno-Lopez has caught for 581 yards and three touchdowns while teammate Kenny Werner has caught six touchdown passes. Azusa is led by quarterback Adrian Gaeta who has passed for 1,335 yards and 16 touchdowns. Gaeta is also mobile and the leading rusher on the team. He’s rushed for 733 yards and 12 touchdowns and Albert Martinez has rushed for 552 yards.

THE PICK: Temple City


WHERE: Rosemead H.S.

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m.

RECORDS: San Dimas (10-1); Rosemead (9-2)

GAME NOTES: The host Panthers, led by Tra Sumler’s 1,766 yards and 26 touchdowns, defeated Valley Christian, 45-14, in the first round of the Mid-Valley Division playoffs. San Dimas, the fourth-seed, defeated Sierra Vista, 67-12. The Saints and Rosemead have two common opponents in South El Monte and Covina. San Dimas beat South El Monte, 56-33, and Covina, 35-27. Rosemead, on the other hand, led 37-0 at the half against Covina before pulling away, 50-12, in the season opener. The Panthers beat South El Monte, 52-14. Daniel Joseph has rushed for 1,406 yards and 21 touchdowns, averaging 127 yards per game. Running back/linebacker Nico Barbone has rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Saints, who run a Wing-T offense. Rosemead’s secondary will be challenged. But the Panthers feel they can counter with a balanced attack, led by quarterback Angel Alejandre who has passed for 1,949 yards and 13 touchdowns.

THE PICK: Rosemead


WHERE: Boron H.S.

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RECORDS: Rio Hondo Prep (7-3); Boron (10-1)

GAME NOTES: The visiting Kares will make a 210-mile round trip visit to arguably the best team in the Northeast Division playoffs. Aside from facing a tight double-wing, plenty of counters and double reverses, Rio Hondo Prep will also have to battle low temperatures. It’s expected to dip in the low to mid 30′s. The Kares boast a tandem of running backs in Antonio Alaniz and Tim Esguerra. Alaniz has rushed for nearly 900 yards and 11 touchdowns and Esguerra has added nearly 800 yards and nine touchdowns. But the Bobcats boast three running backs who can counter from all directions. Israel Lucas leads the Boron backfield with 1,879 yards and 22 touchdowns. Leroy Taylor has rushed for 633 yards and eight touchdowns while teammate Joshua Glass has 368 yards and 12 touchdowns.

THE PICK: Rio Hondo Prep


WHERE: Big Bear Middle School

KICKOFF: Saturday, 1 p.m.

RECORDS: Maranatha (10-1); Big Bear (7-3-1)

GAME NOTES: “I think it’s a great matchup,” Minutemen coach Joel Murphy said. “Coach (Dave) Griffiths has done an incredible job with his program over the years and we’re excited to get a chance to play for another week.” In last week’s first-round win over Ontario Christian, Maranatha scored only 16 points despite two players combining for nearly 400 yards of offense. Senior quarterback Matt Schilz completed 20 of 43 passes for 264 yards and one touchdown but threw three costly interceptions, including two in the red zone. Senior running back Daniel Kopplin had 117 yards on 17 carries. “We don’t really have time to think about last week’s game,” Murphy said. “Did we trip up? Sure. But you learn and move on and choose to get better because of it.”

THE PICK: Maranatha


WHERE: Duarte H.S.

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RECORDS: Monrovia (9-2); Duarte (6-5)

GAME NOTES: Senior running back Marquise Williams had a tough time adjusting to the Wing-T offense but by Week 3, he and his counterparts grasped it well enough to put together an eight-game winning streak. But others have proven to be the X-factor. Kendal Boggs and DJ Cole offer another dimension to the team’s dynamic. Nick Bueno, the sophomore quarterback, allows for a spread offense and Jonathan Cushman, the senior linebacker, provides the stifling defense. The Wildcats’ secondary will be tested with a healthy Canada waiting in the backfield. He can cut to the sidelines for long-yardage plays or earn his yards going straight down the middle, and he has the lineman to get it done. Maurilio Lopez, a 6-foot-3, 300 pound towering presence, returned late in the season from a back injury that forced him to sit out the entire preseason. Duarte coach Wardel Crutchfield’s concern is Williams, who is averaging 157 yards per game.

THE PICK: Monrovia

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

For the first time in five years, I will be enjoying Thanksgiving Day at home with the familia. After chowing down some turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, my sisters will probably force me to watch scary movies with them.

I have worked on just about every major holiday whether it’s working on the sports desk, covering holiday colege basketball tournaments or helping with Rose Bowl coverage. I would never usually be home and that’s one thing my mom did not like about my job.

But I’m thankful to have my dream job. I work in a city I love (thankfully I didn’t leave for Seattle or Indianapolis) and I’m still close to the city I love: Los Angeles. I’m the envy of some advertising executives in the office who’d rather talk football on the phone than selling ads. And I don’t say that to gloat but it does put things in perspective.

Thank you for your patience. Thank you for warm welcome. You guys have made me addicted to the blog and for that I thank you.

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Temple City will practice in gym, Monrovia in the rain

It looks like Temple City will practice today in the gymnasium given the fields are very muddy and more rain might be on the way. I’m looking outside my window office and there is no rain.

Still, it wouldn’t serve the Rams any purpose to practice in the mud since they’ll be playing on turf at Citrus College on Friday at 7 against Azusa in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs.

Practicing in the gym is never the same, of course, as practicing on the field. Teams mostly go through formations and no tackling is done. One time I covered a UCLA football practice at Pauley Pavilion. It looked very weird. The players wore only tennis shoes, shorts and jerseys and it was all done at half speed.

Meanwhile, Monrovia practiced at 10 a.m. and got caught in the middle of the down pour. Coach Maddox said had they practiced at 8 a.m. they probably would have missed the rain.

Still, practice went as scheduled on the field as they prepare for Round 2 (literally and figuratively) against Duarte in the Mid-Valley Division playoffs.

In case anyone’s wondering, the Wildcats will not have Thanksgiving Day off. They will practice bright and early at 8 a.m.

“When a football program is in the playoffs year in and year, practicing on holidays sometimes is never an issue because the parents and players are used to it,” Maddox said.

Winning tradition comes at a price. But the kids will get home just in time to enjoy some turkey, mashed potatoes with tiny onions swimming in gravy, and of course pumpkin pie.

Coming Friday is a story on the MD Classic, Part 2. Maddox brings up an interesting point: when Monrovia played Duarte in Week 1, they did so without seeing much of Jordan Canada, who played sparingly in the first half and much more in the second.

So, really, Monrovia is going to play against a much better Duarte team who also returns senior lineman Maurilio Lopez, a towering presence at 6-3, 300 pounds. A battle in the trenches, indeed.

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St. Francis grad Peter Vagenas selected in MLS Expansion Draft by Seattle Sounders FC

Above: Peter Vagenas, center, chats with David Beckham as Chris Albright, right, listens before a match against Chelsea FC.

Galaxy midfielder and former St. Francis soccer star Peter Vagenas was selected by the Seattle Sounders FC in the 2008 MLS Expansion Draft this afternoon.

The longest tenured player with the Galaxy this season, having been with the club since 2000, Vagenas appeared in 14 games this season, making 11 starts, tallying one goal and adding three assists.

A native of Pasadena, Vagenas played four years at UCLA, winning a national championship in 1997, before being drafted by the Galaxy in the second round (23rd overall) of the 2000 MLS SuperDraft. He would go on to play nine seasons with the Galaxy, helping the club win five titles, including two MLS Cup championships.

I’m not sure why the Galaxy didn’t protect him from the expansion draft. These days, the Galaxy seems to have no clue as to what they’re doing.

Remember when they fired Sigi Schmidt even though the Galaxy was in first place? And look at Sigi now … He just won another MLS Cup, ironically named the Philip F. Anschutz who happens owns the Galaxy.

BTW, I was at the game where Beckham, Venegas and Albright are pictured below. That was just before the start of the Galaxy-Chelsea match. It was a chaotic scene down there as I watched from the press box. Hope you all had fun watching Beckham last year. I take it Beckham’s favorite song is now, “I say goodbye (America), and you (AC Milan) say hello.”

Above: Beckham, Venegas and Albright are swarmed by a throng of media in Beckham’s first game with the Galaxy.

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Maranatha tries to keep season alive

I’ve been one of the biggest critics of Maranatha football this season. I have questioned their soft schedule. But the important thing is the Minutemen have found to get a win regardless of how they got it. And with these playoffs well underway, it doesn’t matter how they win, as long as Maranatha wins.

Over the past couple of weeks, Maranatha High School’s football team has been somewhat of an enigma, never really knowing which team would show up.

The Minutemen struggled against some inferior Alpha League teams, and their high-octane offense was shut out in the regular-season finale against Brentwood. That resulted in Maranatha dropping from a second seed to no seed.

But the Minutemen still finished with a 9-1 overall record despite the see-saw performances.

And despite the ups and downs, Maranatha is in position to make a deep run in the CIF-Southern Section East Valley Division playoffs.

The Minutemen visit Big Bear for a quarterfinal-round game Saturday at 1 p.m.

“I think it’s a great matchup,” Minutemen coach Joel Murphy said. “Coach (Dave) Griffiths has done an incredible job with his program over the years and we’re excited to get a chance to play for another week.”

In last week’s first-round win over Ontario Christian, Maranatha scored only 16 points despite two players combining for nearly 400 yards of offense.

Senior quarterback Matt Schilz completed 20 of 43 passes for 264 yards and one touchdown but threw three costly interceptions, including two in the red zone.

Senior running back Daniel Kopplin had 117 yards on 17 carries.

“We don’t really have time to think about last week’s game,” Murphy said. “Did we trip up? Sure. But you learn and move on and choose to get better because of it.”
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Girls Volleyball: Mayfield, La Caada sweep into second round of CIF State Playoffs!! Round 2 on Saturday

Mayfield (26-5-1) defeated Tehachapi (20-5), 25-11, 25-11, 25-14, in the first round of the CIF Division III State Championships. The Cubs advance to play the winner of Santa Monica-Cathedral Catholic (most likely Cathedral Catholic). Our own Jeremy Balan will have the complete story in Wednesday’s paper.

La Caada (29-6) defeated Hanford (15-3), 25-17, 25-14, 25-12, in the first round of the CIF Division II State Championships. The Spartans will travel to face top-seed Redlands East Valley on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Good job, ladies.

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……..Rain, rain go away……..

From our boy FJR over on the Eastside with my two Lincolns….

With rain in the forecast through the end of the week, which teams are affected the most?

South Hills-Diamond Ranch: As much as they throw, and as slippery and muddy Covina District can get, add this to the list of things that don’t help the Huskies.

Charter Oak-CV: A Tsunami blowing into town won’t stop the Chargers from routing Crescenta Valley.

Rosemead-San Dimas: Won’t matter, this will be won in the trenches anyway. Might as well mud-it up to add to the mystique.

Glendora-Upland: Won’t matter, both teams are similar in what they do.

Temple City-Azusa: Favors Temple City. They’re going to run, run and run again. The Aztecs have to win the turnover battle. Azusa: meet Max and Joey. Your not-so-new buddies.

West Covina-Burbank: Fits right into the Bulldogs game plans, but the winds do swirl in that part of town.

Rowland-La Serna: The closest game to call in the quarterfinals will probably be decided by the fewest mistakes anyway.

Northview-Paraclete: It can’t help Northview playing on a sloppy field the day after South Hills tears it up. On the plus side, if Paraclete is as good as everyone says, a little neutralizing rain may not be a bad thing.

Rio Hondo Prep-Boron: Bring your gloves. Temperatures will dip into the low to mid 30′s. The conditions will be something Boron will be used to but the Kares, who are used to playing in near-perfect weather, will run away with a win courtesy of Alanis and Esguerra.

Maranatha-Big Bear Lake: This is a 1 p.m. game but showers are still in the forecast. But don’t be surprised if it snows. Celebrate a Minutemen victory by skiing.

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…..Star Picks…..Playoff predictions, the remix

Last week: I went 9-2. Not bad. But I have made my division predictions and according to me, we’ll have two divisional champs in Rosemead and Rio Hondo Prep. My wrong picks this week were: San Gabriel (lost to La Serna) and Muir (lost to Diamond Ranch).

This week: Game of the Week is an obvious pick. I will be covering MD Classic II. Marquise Williams vs. Jordan Canada. Who will out duel one another? Who will lead their team to the semifinals to face Rosemead? The pick here goes to Monrovia.

Friday’s games with predictions:
Monrovia at Duarte, 7:30 p.m. — Melendez (Monrovia)
San Dimas at Rosemead, 7:30 p.m. — Melendez (Rosemead)
Temple City at Azusa, 7:30 p.m. — Melendez (Temple City)
Rio Hondo Prep at Boron, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Rio Hondo Prep)

Saturday’s game with prediction
Maranatha vs. Big Bear at Big Bear Middle School, 1 p.m. — Melendez (Maranatha)

Second round: Monrovia at Duarte, 7:30 p.m.; Rosemead over San Dimas, 7:30 p.m.; Northview over Paraclete, at CDF, Saturday, 7 p.m.; Temple City over Azusa, 7:30 p.m.
Semifinals: Rosemead over Monrovia; Northview over Temple City
Championship: Rosemead over Northview

Second round: Charter Oak over Crescenta Valley, 7:30 p.m.; Rowland over La Serna, 7:30 p.m.; Diamond Ranch vs. South Hills at CDF, 7:30 p.m.; West Covina at Burbank, 7:30 p.m.
Semifinals: Charter Oak over Rowland; Diamond Ranch over West Covina
Championship: Charter Oak over Diamond Ranch

Second round: St. Margaret’s over Yucca Valley; Maranatha over Big Bear; Aquinas over 29 Palms; Brentwood over Filmore.
Semifinals: St. Margaret’s over Maranatha; Brentwood over Aquinas.
Championship: St. Margaret’s over Brentwood

Second round: Mojave over Silver Valley; St. Genevieve over Riverside Christian; Bell-Jeff over Linfield Christian; Rio Hondo Prep over Boron.
Semifinals: Mojave over St. Genevieve; Rio Hondo Prep over Bell-Jeff
Championship: Rio Hondo Prep over Mojave

Second round: Palmdale over Beverly Hills; Mira Costa over Warren; Quartz Hill over Lynwood; Alemany over Culver City.
Semifinals: Mira Costa over Palmdale; Quartz Hill over Alemany
Championship: Mira Costa over Quartz Hill

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