Season Opener: Monrovia runs past Arcadia in 27-13 win

CLIICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY OF THURSDAY NIGHT’S ARCADIA-MONROVIA GAME SHOT BY THE STAR-NEWS’ ACE PHOTOGRAPHER KEITH BIRMINGHAM

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

FULLERTON — Speed, speed and more speed.

It’s what best describes Monrovia’s football team this season.

While there are some wrinkles to iron out, the second-ranked Wildcats made a statement in their 27-13 victory over Arcadia in the season opener Thursday night at Fullerton High.

The highlight reels by junior quarterback Nick Bueno and senior DuJawn Jones would have had a much bigger audience if not for the poor air quality from the week-long fires forcing this marquee matchup to change venues.

Monrovia (1-0) coach Ryan Maddox said the offense would change a bit this season after Bueno getting a better grip of the offense, but not many expected to see quite the show.

Bueno ran circles around the Apaches (0-1) defense, rushing for 148 yards on 11 carries. He went back-to-back on 30-yard rushes, the second attempt padding Monrovia’s lead 12-7 in the second quarter.

It was clear from Bueno’s first run early in the game he was going to be putting on a show. He took off for a 16-yard play on the Wildcats’ third play of the game. Bueno sped down the sidelines, but instead of running out of bounds he took a hard helmet-to-helmet tackle, much to the dismay of the Monrovia coaching staff.

Dujawn Jones, not to be outdone, intercepted Garrett Tuck’s pass with 3:18 left in the third quarter.

Jones caught the pass in the end zone. He hesitated at first, not knowing he could return the ball.

Jones sped past defenders on the sideline before breaking down the middle and outmaneuvering the last defender to waltz into the end zone on a 102-yard return.

Despite trailing the whole game, Arcadia did show plenty of promise.

Sophomore Taylor Legace is a star in the making as is junior David Maldonado, who by the end of the game was worn out. If the Apaches can find someone to compliment Maldonado I can see Arcadia making some serious noise this season. Maybe when Rodney Arnett returns from an injury we’ll see how good the Apaches really will be.

Senior quarterback Garrett Tuck completed 18 of 36 passes for 203 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He connected with David Schuil on a 3-yard pass with 5:51 in the second quarter to pull within lead 7-6. Tuck also connected on a 37-yard pass with Brian Lam to pull within 27-13 late in the fourth quarter.

Monrovia used a combination of running backs to exploit holes, especially down the middle where Craig Brown, Danny Caldera and Derrick Johnson found plenty.

The scary part?

Monrovia’s best and fastest running back, sophomore De’Shawn Ramirez, did not play because of two missed practices.

There were some questions answered when it came to the Wildcats’ young defense. Sophomore defensive end Ellis McCarthy had two sacks and batted down a pass.

The Wildcats were penalized four times and couldn’t convert three PAT’s, though Christian Blanco did manage to catch a bad snap to run it in for the 2-point conversion.

“It’s a Week 0 game and neither team had a lot of practices (because of the fires),” Maddox said. “We had a lot of positives, but there were some wrinkles, not being able to condition really affected us and cost us some mental mistakes, but overall it was a good game to start the season.”
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UPDATED: Maranatha moves to Saturday at ELAC; San Gabriel to play Friday night at Keppel High

*UPDATE 4:10 p.m.* San Gabriel assistant coach Donald Bernard called moments ago to confirm the San Gabriel-Cathedral game will be at Keppel on Friday night at 7. … Not sure if I can do live-blogging anymore, tcchamps. Maybe I’ll give it a try tonight at Fullerton, not sure. Anyway, hope you guys are all caught up with these schedule changes. It’s been a long, but productive week. On my way to Orange County now …

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*THURSDAY 2:14 p.m.* Maranatha’s game vs. Linfield Christian has moved to Saturday night at 7 at East Los Angeles College. San Gabriel’s game vs. Cathedral has been moved to either Moor Field or Keppel for Friday night at 7. The Alhambra Unified School District is mulling over the decision as we speak since Moor Field and Keppel both are in different regions as far as air quality reports is concerned. When the latest quality reports come out and depending on which region has the better air quality that’s where San Gabriel will host Cathedral. I will be on my way to Orange County today when word gets to me on where SG will play, but I’ll update on the blog later tonight and for sure in the paper tomorrow. Pasadena Poly’s game against Rock Academy of San Diego was moved from Saturday morning at Pas Poly to Friday night at Rock Academy vs. Rock Academy at Helix High in San Diego. The Muir-Diamond Ranch game will be at Ganesha High on Friday night at 7.

This weekend’s updated schedule:

FRIDAY’S GAMES
Muir vs. Diamond Ranch at Ganesha High, 7 p.m.
Village Christian vs. La Salle at St. Matthias High, 7 p.m.
Pasadena at Westchester, 7 p.m.
San Gabriel vs. Cathedral at Keppel, 7 p.m.
Alhambra at Roosevelt, 7 p.m.
Blair at St. Margaret’s, 7 p.m.
Duarte at Cajon, 7 p.m.
Rio Hondo Prep at Mission Prep, 7 p.m.
Pasadena Poly vs. Rock Academy at Helix High (San Diego), 7 p.m.

SATURDAY’S GAMES
Contreras at Bosco Tech, 10 a.m.
Linfield Christian vs. Maranatha at ELAC, 7 p.m.
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Kickoff 2009: These playmakers can change the game

COVER STORY

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

One Hail Mary pass, one burst up the middle, one acrobatic catch and just like that, it’s all over.

These are the guys opposing defenses will try to isolate from every play, but It won’t matter all that much, really.

One way or another, these guys will get their chance to steal the spotlight.

It may be for just one play, but it’ll be the play.

Call them heroes, big shots, All-Americas or big men on campus.

Simply put, they’re playmakers.

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Kickoff 2009: Surprise, Muir is No. 1 in the Star-News Preseason Top 10 poll, but can they walk the walk?

PRESEASON TOP 10 POLL

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

It’s an unwritten law that every Star-News preseason top 10 football poll begin with either Muir or St. Francis high school.

It was the Golden Knights last season taking the top spot, much to the dismay of ‘Stang Nation.
Who could argue the returning core St. Francis was returning last year: A top defensive linemen (Rian Younker), defensive back (Dietrich Riley), utility (Malik Speed) and quarterback (Justin Sciarra).

Inevitably, Muir climbed to the top spot and grabbed a steady hold, largely in part to an impressive performance in the season opener against host Diamond Ranch, the Southeast Division runner-up.

It didn’t matter that the Mustangs were later ousted in the first round of the playoffs, by Diamond Ranch, no less. Muir proved all season they were the best in the West, the West San Gabriel Valley, that is.

This season will be no different.

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Melendez: This season is full of plots at every turn

MIGUEL MELENDEZ

Whether your favorite team tanked or won a CIF-Southern Section football championship last season, none of it matters now.

The season kicks off Thursday with a clean slate, and isn’t that the beauty of sports?

No matter where you’re sitting on any given Friday night, there’s likely to be an interesting storyline to whatever football game you’re attending.

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Kickoff 2009: Monrovia reloads, team to beat in RHL

RIO HONDO LEAGUE PREVIEW

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

The way things started out last season – perhaps how they ended as well – may have surprised even the most optimistic fan at Monrovia High School.

The Wildcats last season, under new coach Ryan Maddox, got off to a shaky start by virtue of a rout to Arcadia. It was clear the Wing-T offense would need a few games before it jelled.
But when it did, the Wildcats were off and running.

Monrovia made a surprising run to the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs with an offense that got in a groove by Week 4 and a coach who made modest expectations.

They got there with a solid ground attack led by Marquise Williams, who carried most of the offensive load at running back and has since graduated.

No need to panic, Wildcat fans.

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Kickoff 2009: St. Francis loaded with depth and talent

PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS PREVIEW (St. Francis, Don Bosco Tech, La Salle)

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

Opposing teams will have to pick their poison when facing St. Francis High School this season.
The obvious choice is Dietrich Riley, one of the best – if not the best – high school football player in California. Zero in on him and the second or third option could burn you.

Completely ignoring Riley, however, is not a wise move, either.

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Kickoff 2009: Muir always in hunt for the Pacific League

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PACIFIC LEAGUE PREVIEW

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

There’s three things you can always count on in life: Death, taxes and Muir High School in the hunt for a Pacific League championship.

Think about it.

What other team can lose 24 players to graduation and still be in the hunt for a league title and make a strong case to be the West San Gabriel Valley’s top team?

That’s right, Muir.

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Kickoff 2009: Alhambra eyeing Almont League title

ALMONT LEAGUE PREVIEW

By Andrew J. Campa, Staff Writer

ALHAMBRA — The 2009 Almont League campaign may very well be a season of change.

Perhaps the biggest story heading into Friday’s Week 0 games involves Alhambra High School’s Gil Ruedaflores calling blackjack, as he announced he will retire at the end of this year — his 21st season.

“It’s been a great pleasure to have coached at Alhambra,” Ruedaflores said. “Hopefully, we can have a strong season.”

The Moors (5-5 overall, 2-3 and tied for fourth in league) are definitely a contender for the crown, which would be their first since a tri-league title in 2006, thanks to steady quarterback Darian Cazarin.

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Kickoff 2009: Mission Valley League crowded at the top

MISSION VALLEY LEAGUE PREVIEW

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

It’s the usual suspects.

Rosemead, Arroyo and South El Monte high schools have been on the top of the Mission Valley League for the last five years.

For good reason. Each has won or tied for the league title each of those years. Rosemead, which advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division title game last season, and Arroyo have both gone to the playoffs in each of those seasons.

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