We’re spreading the love on this edition of Star-Jibber.

It’s your time to discuss everything CIF playoffs, whether it’s La Caada and Mayfield in the upcoming CIF State Championships or the area football teams in the second round of the CIF playoffs. Talk your smack and/or give your Westside teams some words of encouragement. Who moves on to the semifinals? Whose road ends Friday night? Don’t be shy, lay out here.

Below is the schedule for the CIF football playoffs in the Southeast and Mid-Valley Division. I’ll update predictions for the other divisions come Monday morning.

Southeast Division
Crescenta Valley at Charter Oak
Rowland at La Serna
Diamond Ranch vs. South Hills at CDF.
West Covina at Burbank

Mid-Valley Division
Monrovia at Duarte
San Dimas at Rosemead
Paraclete at Northview at CDF, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Temple City at Azusa

Above: Mayfield’s Claire Doney and Rachel Aragon attempt to block a shot against Santa Monica on Saturday in the CIF Southern Section Division III-A championships. The Cubs won the CIF championship on Saturday afternoon at Cypress College over Santa Monica. (Larry Goren / Correspondent

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Saturday Morning Quarterback Postgame: Muir, San Gabriel, St. Francis, San Marino ousted; Rosemead, Monrovia, Rio Hondo Prep win big; Temple City, Maranatha squeak by in first round playoffs

So much for the ranch dressing on the side.

Diamond Ranch High School overcame a sloppy first half and Muir’s frantic attack in the second to come away with a 21-7 win Friday night in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs.

After a resurgent ground attack and an even hungrier appetite to continue its season, the Panthers (5-6) head to the second round and will face South Hills (9-2) at Covina District Field.

The quest to end the season with an exclamation mark came to a screeching halt for Muir (9-2).

The third-seeded Mustangs went down again in the first round. They have failed to go past the first round in recent history.

“They’re a great team,” Diamond Ranch coach Roddy Layton said. “Both coaches after our first game said we’ll face each other. It’s unfortunate we faced each other so early.

“I think they’re one of the elite in our divison and it’s unfortunate they can’t play. But big time players make big time plays in big time games and Brian Spirlin is big time.”

Diamond Ranch pounded the ball on the ground and was led by senior running back
Brian Spirlin, who rushed for 123 yards on 19 carries.

Early game jitters may have gotten the better of both teams as sloppy play in the first half resulted in a low scoring affair.

Among the long list of problems Muir encountered in the first half were its inability to convert on third down and turnovers.

The Mustangs fumbled twice and failed to convert on third down three times.
It proved costly with 2:52 left in the third quarter when Muir gave Diamond Ranch good field position at the Mustangs’ 43.

Chase Price capped a four-play, 43-yard drive by scoring on a 3-yard run with 1:25 left in the half to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead.

Diamond Ranch also turned the ball over twice and twice failed to convert on third down.

But the difference was the Mustangs failing to capitalize on those mistakes while the Panthers pounced on Muir’s failed attempts.

It was a bad night for the Mustangs’ offense, which was virtually non-existent.

Muir quarterback Jarron Williams was pestered nearly the entire game by the Panthers’ defense. He completed 13 of 28 passes for 167 yards and an interception.
Williams put Muir on the scoreboard with an 8-yard run with 4:58 left in the fourth quarter.

But by then, Diamond Ranch led 21-7 after Amari Staten capped a 14-play, 85-yard drive on a 3-yard run with 4:51 left in the third quarter.

Muir could not convert on fourth and 17 at the Mustangs’ 36, another opportunity the Panthers capitalized on.

Spirlin capped a two-play, 36-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown run with 5:56 left in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

Muir’s on-side kick with 4:58 left was recovered by Marcus Graves to keep its season on life support, but to no avail.

Reuben Thomas had some long-yardage plays, but for the most part was kept in check at running back. He lined up at quarterback on one series, but Muir went nowhere on three incompletions.

“It hurts, it hurts big time,” Mustangs coach Ken Howard. “The kids did everything they could do to win the football game. We didn’t underestimate (Diamond Ranch), that’s for sure.”



Diamond Ranch 21, Muir 7 — I could not believe the kind of low class Pasadena fans showed at the Muir game. Unbelievable. Despicable. Totally uncalled for. No reason for them to do that. How did Muir security not throw them out of the game? Perhaps they weren’t in their right to do so but I would have at least tried. It was tough interviewing Howard at the end. I could detect his pain. You could hear it in his voice. With two minutes left in the fourth quarter, some fan yelled at me from the stands. “Hey, Mr. Melendez” he yelled but I couldn’t exactly hear what he said. At least I know someone is reading my stuff, 3,400 a day to be exact. Chris Dulap is a warrior. Dude hurt his right hand. It was wrapped with ice in the first half but played much of the second. Wish he’d been healthy so we could really see what he’s truly capable of doing. I couldn’t tell what there was more in Friday night’s game: penalties/turnovers or fans on Muir’s stands.

Temple City 7, Arroyo 6 — A win is a win, right?

Monrovia 34, El Monte 7 — Wildcats defense played tough the entire game. Marquise Williams was a force on offense without the ball and with the ball. A lot of fake handoffs allowed for others to be utilized effectively. Williams rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns. DJ Cole, Kendal Boggs and Nick Bueno fueled the victory. Maddox, however, was unhappy with amount of penalties, specifically holding penalties.

Rosemead 45, Valley Christian 14 — This was a no-brainer. Ready for next week’s blockbuster showdown next week vs. San Dimas?

Paraclete 42, San Marino 14 — This was tough for me to pick because I saw it coming. No Steven Wright meant no balanced offense. Paraclete’s tough nonleague schedule paid off.

La Serna 42, San Gabriel 14 — Where to begin …

Quartz Hill 30, St. Francis 17 — Golden Knights were outscored 23-0 in the half and squandered a 17-7 lead at the half. Too many costly penalties and turnovers in the second half led to St. Francis’ demise.

Maranatha 16, Ontario Christian 3 — Matt Schilz did not have a great game. He completed 20 of 43 attempts for 264 yards, one TD but had two costly interceptions in the red zone. Junior running back Daniel Kopplin had 17 carries for 117 yards. Schilz and Kopplin combined for 381 yards on offense and mustered only 16 points. Yikes! What is up with that?!?!

Rio Hondo Prep 48, St. Anthony 14 — Kares continue to get the job done. I can easily see Rio Hondo Prep as one of only two area teams (Rosemead) who might come away with a CIF title.

Saturday’s Games
Duarte at L.A. Baptist, 1 p.m. — Melendez (Duarte)
Flintridge Prep at Riverside Christian, 12 p.m. — Melendez (Riverside Christian)

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…….Read ‘em and Weep ‘em……..

(Be sure to check out my extended version of my picks in Friday’s column)

No need to attend the playoffs. Stay home. Open up your laptop and pop open a cold one.

Here are my predictions for the entire division playoffs involving area teams. Consider yourself warned.

This is for all the marbles.

Lose and go home.

First Round: Charter Oak over Bell Gardens; California over Crescenta Valley; San Gabriel over La Serna; Burroughs over Rowland; Muir over Diamond Ranch; South Hills over Schurr; West Covina over Bonita; Santa Fe over Burbank.
Second round: Charger Oak over California; Rowland over San Gabriel; Muir over South Hills; West Covina over Santa Fe.
Semifinals: Charger Oak over Rowland; Muir over West Covina.
Championship: Muir over Charter Oak.

First round: Monrovia over El Monte; Duarte over L.A. Baptist; Rosemead over Valley Christian; San Dimas over Sierra Vista; Northview over Workman; Paraclete over San Marino; Temple City over Arroyo; Azusa over Covina.
Second round: Monrovia over Duarte; Rosemead over San Dimas; Northview over Paraclete; Temple City over Azusa.
Semifinals: Rosemead over Monrovia; Northview over Temple City.
Championship: Rosemead over Northview.

First Round: Palmdale over Redondo Union; Chaminade over Beverly Hills; Warren over Santa Monica; Mira Costa over Eastside; Quartz Hill over St. Francis; Lynwood over Peninsula; Culver City over Downey; Alemany over Highland.
Second Round: Palmdale over Chaminade; 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.

First round: St. Margaret’s over Campbell Hall; Yucca Valley over Bishop Union; Maranatha over Ontario Christian; Santa Paula over Big Bear; Aquinas over Kern Valley; 29 Palms over Brethren Christian; Filmore over Desert; Brentwood over Arrowhead Christian.
Second round: St. Margaret’s over Yucca Valley; Maranatha over Santa Paula; Aquinas over 29 Palms; Brentwood over Filmore.
Semifinals: St. Margaret’s over Maranatha; Brentwood over Santa Paula.
Championship: St. Margaret’s over Brentwood.

First round: Saddleback Valley Christian over Mojave; Silver Valley over Webb; St. Genevieve over Twin Pines; Riverside Christian over Flintridge Prep; Linfield Christian over Mammoth; Bell-Jeff over Fairmont Prep; Rio Hondo Prep over St. Anthony; Boron over Animo.
Second round: Saddleback Valley Christian over Silver Valley; St. Genevieve over Riverside Christian; Linfield Christian over Bell-Jeff; Rio Hondo Prep over Boron.
Semifinals: St. Genevieve over SVC; Rio Hondo Prep over Linfield Christian.
Championship: Rio Hondo Prep over St. Genevieve

Need some tape to post it in your locker?

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……..Bonded Like Brothers……..

Above: Duarte’s Tim Starr,Left, with Maurilio Lopez on Wednesday November 19, 2008, in Duarte. (Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham)

Longtime friends Lopez, Starr bolster Duarte’s lines

By Miguel A. Melendez
Staff Writer

DUARTE – Seemingly, they were separated at birth.

Tim Starr is the eldest, and his younger sisters look up to him.

Maurilio Lopez is the youngest of two whose sibling is an older sister.

When Starr and Lopez met in seventh grade, little did they know they’d started a relationship that would turn into more than just friendship.

“More like brothers,” Starr said.

When they’re not spending time with friends bowling or taking dates to the movies, Starr and Lopez are anchoring the offensive and defensive lines for Duarte High School.

The seniors endured and overcame what felt like an injury-marred season to return just in time to help the Falcons go on a momentum-fueling run.

Duarte overcame an 0-4 start to finish 5-5 overall, but more importantly finished 5-1 in Montview League play.

The Falcons hope to transcend that momentum when they take on L.A. Baptist on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs.

Starr and Lopez, both 17, became friends while attending school at Northview Intermediate and both moved up to Duarte’s varsity squad their sophomore seasons.

They went through the ups and downs together and both point to their sophomore season as the best season yet.

That year, Duarte went undefeated in Montview League play to win the league title and advanced to the semifinals of the playoffs.

This season, however, included a rough start.

For starters, Starr pulled his left hamstring just before the start of fall camp.

Lopez hurt his back after weightlifting and felt the lingering effects, missing all of Duarte’s nonleague games. Five times he went for medical clearance and five times was told he was not ready to go.

To add insult to injury, the Falcons suffered consecutive losses to Ayala, Monrovia, Pomona and South Hills, the makings of a bleak season.
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CIF Volleyball: Mayfield, La Caada headed to finals

Wednesday’s Semifinal Scores
CIF-Southern Section Playoffs
Mira Costa def. Los Alamitos, 25-17, 25-14, 25-16
Santa Barbara def. Marymount, 25-17, 21-25, 25-19, 25-17
La Caada def. Troy, 25-22, 25-21, 25-22
Conaty-Loretto def. Upland Christian, 25-23, 23-25, 25-14, 24-26, 15-11

No. 2 La Reina vs. No. 1 La Caada, Friday 7 p.m. (Gym II) Cypress College

No. 1 Mayfield vs. Santa Monica, Saturday 4 p.m. (Gym I) Cypress College

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16-year-old girl drafted by Japanese pro team

From The Associated Press

TOKYO — The knuckleball — the fluttering, hard-to-hit pitch that’s rare in the major leagues — is propelling a 16-year-old girl to the pros in Japan.

Eri Yoshida was inspired to learn how to throw the knuckler after seeing a video of Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield. On Monday, she broke the gender barrier by being drafted for an independent league team as Japan’s first female professional baseball player.

“Hope I can see her pitch one day,” Wakefield said in a message he texted to the Red Sox that was relayed to The Associated Press. “I’m honored that someone wants to become me. I wish her the best of luck. Maybe I can learn something from her.”

Eri Yoshida wore her high school uniform at the news conference, but the next uniform she gets to put on will be that of a pro baseball player.

The high schooler was chosen by the Kobe 9 Cruise in the Japanese League, which starts its inaugural season in April.

The Cruise are a far cry from Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants. Making the squad is more like earning a tentative slot on a farm team than warming up in the bullpen for the Red Sox.

Even so, the 5-foot, 114-pound Yoshida has smashed the glass ceiling with her unorthodox, sidearm pitch in baseball-crazy Japan, where women normally are relegated to amateur, company-sponsored teams or to the sport of softball.

“I’m really happy I stuck with baseball,” Yoshida said in a news conference after she was chosen with 32 other players in the new league’s draft. “I want to pitch against men.”
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Pasadena’s next coach should be ….

Here’s a list of former head coaches who could spice up a starving football program at Pasadena High School. Time for you bloggers to have a field day.

STEVE GARRISON — The former Wildcats football coach is currently a teacher at Monrovia High School. Talk about someone who would bring instant discipline and credibility to the Bulldogs program.

MIKE MOONEY — The former Temple City coach and current San Marino assistant principal/assistant coach would do the same for Pasadena, though it’s unclear if Pasadena would offer anywhere near the same deal Mooney probably has at San Marino High School.

TIP SANDERS — The former Blair coach and current JV assistant knows the area well and has proven with the right help and tools can take a program into the direction it desperately wants to go.

TOM MAHER — The former PCC football coach and current assistant at Fullerton knows the area well and has a lot of ties with Pasadena. This consideration could be entertaining at the very least.

JIM ROME — No, not the radio/TV dude. Rome used to coach at Muir and Citrus College. Having previously coached the Mustangs, Rome probably could draw interest from players who are unsure which school to attend (though it seems Muir is running a monopoly when it comes to football).

Anyone else have suggestions?

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55th Turkey Tussle to be televised Friday and Saturday

The 55th Turkey Tussle was recorded last Friday by the Pasadena Community network Public Access station, channel 56.

The entire football game includes play-by play coverage, color commentary, and instant replay segments, and will be replayed Friday at 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. and again on Saturday at 1:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

For cable customers without cable-boxes, the game can be seen on channel 5, and can also be viewed in real time by going on line to www.PasadenaCommunityNetwork.com and clicking on the channel “56″ icon.

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Football: Star-News’ final rankings shape out

Send all your complaints, fits, frustrations and/or compliments to miguel.melendez@sgvn.com or leave a comment.


1. MUIR (9-1, Prev. No. 1)
Ready for (D)Ranch dressing? The Mustangs beat who they were supposed to beat regardless of how big or small a margin. Muir is the best team in the San Gabriel Valley, err, West San Gabriel Valley, period. Mustangs are hoping Reuben Thomas is 100 percent by Friday’s game against Diamond Ranch. Beating any team twice in one year is never easy. This game is Friday’s game of the week. Roll out the blue carpet for yours truly.

2. ROSEMEAD (8-2, Prev. No. 2)
Panthers dealt with tough cards after the CIF pollsters committed a crime by not seeding them. But as Coach Matt Koffler said, it’s not time to cry about it. Go out and win and prove you truly deserved at LEAST the No. 2 seed.

3. MONROVIA (8-2, Prev. No. 4)
Wildcats headed to promise land? That depends if Monrovia can take advantage of the No. 1 seed. That Rosemead wasn’t the No. 1 seed has nothing to do with Monrovia. Regardless, the Wildcats will take whatever is given to them and use it to their advantage. Could the true No. 1 seed could be decided when Rosemead and Monrovia meet in the semifinals? Hmmm… (So, really, no thoughts from anybody on Maddox as coach of the year? Sheesh!)

4. ST. FRANCIS (6-4, Prev. No. 3)
Golden Knights start clean slate after losing the last two games of the season. St. Francis won the coin flip. Quartz Hill won’t be an easy trip.

5. TEMPLE CITY (5-4-1, Prev. No. 5)
Rams need to pound the ground with Max Ruckle. There’s no time to get cute with the passing game especially if Ruckle is racking up the yardage.

6. SAN MARINO (8-2, Prev. 6)
Fading at wrong time of the year? That depends on who you ask. D.R. Moreland will argue that but losing two of your last three games of the season because of the same reason (bad defense) can be troubling. Moreland said he plans on expanding QB Joe Forgatch’s role with the offense in an effort to have a more balanced attack.

7. SAN GABRIEL (5-5, Prev. unranked)
Peaking at right time of the year? Such could be the case. Coach Keith Jones said the Matadors played a complete game last Friday in a rout over Montebello to close out the Almont League. If there’s a time for a team to peak, now is obviously the best time. Isaac Valdez, Marcos Villalobos and Fabian Amaro played superb vs. the Oilers. San Gabriel will need that kind of effort if it is to make a good run in the Southeast Division.

8. DUARTE (5-5, Prev. No. 8)
Falcons make season successful after a shaky start. Jordan Canada got in his groove but much of that had to do with the fact the Falcons returned two important linemen (Staff and Lopez) after injuries earlier this season. A story on the fellas will run in Thursday’s sports pages of the Star-News and Tribune.

9. MARANATHA (9-1, Prev. No. 7)
Couldn’t win the game that counted. Sounds harsh but it’s true. The feeling here is the Minutemen will face St. Margaret’s in the final and meet Brentwood for the division title. Or not.

10. RIO HONDO PREP (6-3, Prev. No. 10)
Kares handled business in the Prep League and as a result could be looking at a quarterfinals appearance. Esguerra and Alaniz need to continue that dominance in the backfield and transcend it into the playoffs.

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……Winter sports patiently waiting…..

Two of my favorite sports to cover, write and blog about: basketball and soccer (don’t get it twisted, I still enjoy football).

I don’t know how these sports were handled last year, but like a new coach I’m bringing in my own play book. My plan is to cover basketball and soccer during the winter. Soon, I will be putting together the top10 in each sport (boys and girls) so have your say and tell me who are the best teams to keep an eye on.

Whether it’s boys or girls basketball, soccer or wrestling, start listing your top ten’s for each, players to watch for, etc, etc. We start making our calls to work on previews next week.

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