Star-Jibber: Time’s running out! Who’s still alive?

*Just thought I’d share this with you. Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times wrote a very inspiring story on Charlie Wedemeyer, who was diagnosed 31 years ago with ALS and told he had a year to live. Now, he guides players from sidelines in non-verbal language to his wife. Believe me, you will want to read this if you haven’t already. Truly inspiring.

*La Caada’s win over San Marino gives meaning to next week’s Monrovia- La Caada game. Is this easily our game of the week?

*FYI: Every time I’ve picked San Gabriel to win, they’ve lost. Every time I’ve picked them to lose, they’ve won. Who do I have in next week’s Almont League showdown pitting Schurr at San Gabriel? Undecided.

*What happened to PHS? They had this one. They had it! Someone on the blog mentioned there was no sense of urgency, but seriously, how is that possible with so much on the line?

*What happened to Arcadia? They were leading the Pacific League front-runner by six points before they let it slip away … This one’s probably the toughest game to swallow.

*Is there any more doubt St. Francis is the top team in the WSGV? No.

*La Salle coach Antoine Peterson sounded frustrated, exhausted and puzzled after Friday night’s loss to Mary Star. Peterson was hoping the Lancers would play with some sense of urgency, and the bye didn’t seem to help as some players showed rust.

*Isn’t Rio Hondo Prep the “feel good team” of the San Gabriel Valley? They hop on a bus to Viewpoint early Friday and head home in traffic late in the afternoon with a 40-0 win. And in case you’re wondering, Ken Drain is not just the head football coach. He’s also the school’s athletic director and boys basketball coach. Oh, and also the team’s bus driver. Rueben Thomas, move over. We have a new Mr. Everything taking charge.

*With Muir’s 25-0 win over Hover earlier this week, are the Mustangs’ playoff hopes still alive? At the very least, it’s looking like the Turkey Tussle will have more than just Braggin’ Rights on the line.

*Athlete of the week considerations: Temple City’s Justin Smith; San Gabriel’s Isaac Valdez; Monrovia’s De’Shawn Ramirez; and La Caada’s Rocky Moore. Picking one won’t be easy.

(Note: If the game’s time/site changes please e-mail .. We’re not that fond of surprises =)

Pasadena vs. Burbank at Burroughs, 7 p.m.

Monrovia at La Canada, 7 p.m.
Bell Gardens at Alhambra, 7 p.m.
Schurr at San Gabriel, 7 p.m.
Cantwell Sacred Heart at La Salle, 7 p.m.
Hoover at Arcadia, 7 p.m.
South Pasadena at Temple City, 7 p.m.
Glendale at Muir, 7 p.m.
St. Francis at Alemany, 7:30 p.m.
Duarte vs. Workman at La Puente, 7 p.m.
Rosemead vs. El Monte at Arroyo, 7 p.m.
Keppel at Montebello, 7 p.m.
Viewpoint vs. Flintridge Prep at Oxy, 7 p.m.
Maranatha vs. Marshall at Paadena, 7 p.m.
South El Monte at Gabrielino, 7 p.m.
Blair vs. San Marino at PCC, 7 p.m.

Rio Hondo Prep at Pasadena Poly, 2:30 p.m.
Serra at Bosco Tech, 1 p.m.

Also, check out this video … Was the QB showing off or is it still a pretty cool throw?

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Friday Night Aftermath: San Gabriel pounds Alhambra, 52-14; La Caada outlasts San Marino, 14-10; St. Francis blows out St. Paul, 34-0; PHS comes up short, 38-27.



San Gabriel 52, Alhambra 14 — Valdez rushed for four touchdowns and passed for another as San Gabriel, 3-0 in league play, took off after a shaky start. Trailing 7-0, the Matadors took advantage of a 7-yard punt that gave them the ball at the Alhambra 38- yard line in the second quarter. Four plays later, Valdez scored on a 1-yard sneak to tie the game. Alhambra went backward in its next series, and a short punt and 22-yard return by Fabian Amaro put the ball on the 18. Four plays later, Valdez was in the end zone on a 4-yard bootleg run for a 13-7 lead. The game took more than three hours to play and featured 75 passes and 23 penalties, coupled with a 32-minute intermission for San Gabriel’s homecoming activities. This game proved to be way too for Alhambra.

La Caada 14, San Marino 10 — San Marino mistakes limited its offense and LC quarterback Rocky Moore led a touchdown drive deep in the fourth quarter to give La Caada’s first lead of the game. San Marino’s Benny Hung ran into a virtual wall, rushing for 93 yards on 29 carries. It didn’t help that Titans QB Joe Forgatch did not connect on his final 10 passes the fourth quarter, and one was intercepted. In fairness, three were dropped. La Caada’s win sets up a huge showdown at home next week against second-ranked Monrovia.

Azusa 47, Duarte 6 — Azusa’s John Chavez threw for 129 yards and three touchdowns to lead the visiting Aztecs.

Rosemead 31, South El Monte 28 — Rosemead withstood a furious rally by South El Monte and scored the winning touchdown on Matt Fergoso’s 5-yard run with eight seconds left to stay in the hunt for the Mission Valley League title Friday night.

Burbank 33, Arcadia 27 — The Apaches squandered a 6-point lead before Burbank’s Anthony Cervantes caught a 19-yard pass from Adam Colman to close out a six-play, 65-yard drive, and Colman’s run for the two-point conversation sealed the Bulldogs’ win in a Pacific League game that saw six lead changes.

Temple City 41, Blair 8 — Justin Smith passed for three touchdowns and ran for another three to lead the Rams (4-3-1, 2-1) over Blair in a bizarre Rio Hondo League contest Friday night at Muir High. With just under six minutes left in the game, the lights at Muir’s new field went out, forcing the game to end quicker than expected.

Monrovia 35, South Pasadena 7 — De’Shawn Ramirez put on a show. He had eight carries for 113 yards and four touchdowns. Monrovia led 14-0 at the half and scored 21 in the second half. The Wildcats sat out their starters for some of the third quarter and the entire fourth.

Mary Star 33, La Salle 14 — Mary Star of the Sea (5-3, 3-0) scored early and often, handing La Salle (3-5, 0-2) a Camino Real League defeat that puts the Lancers’ playoff hopes in shambles. The Lancers trailed 19-0 at halftime, but got within striking distance in the second half. La Salle scored early in the third quarter when Mike Alexander caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Novell to make it 19-7. The Lancers got within 19-14, but that’s as close as they would get before Mary Star took over.

Crescenta Valley 38, Pasadena — The Bulldogs amassed 555 yards of total offense, 294 through the air and 261 on the ground, including Nick Escoe and Charles Hendricks whom each had 100 yards rushing apiece. PHS quarterback Aaron Simpson passed for 294 yards, but turnovers proved to be the difference and they couldn’t stop CV’s offensive prowess. CV scored on six of eight possessions, and the two they didn’t score ended the first half and the game.

Maranatha 19, Sierra Canyon 12 — Cody Keith ran for a touchdown and connected on another with Danny Beckwith to help the Minutemen improve to 5-0 in Alpha League play. Maranatha led 7-6 at the half.

St. Francis 34, St. Paul 7 — Converting Friedman Field into their own version of “The Pit” (St. Paul High School’s notorious Cranham Field), St. Francis opened Mission League football play with a 34-7 victory over visiting St. Paul on Friday night. The Golden Knights (7-1) were led by running back Austin Nieves, who rushed for 157 yards on just seven carries. Quarterback Justin Posthuma completed 11 of 21 passes for 165 yards and a pair of touchdowns. St. Francis scored on four of its five first-half possessions, highlighted by a 79-yard touchdown run by Nieves for a 14-0 lead on the final play of the first quarter.

Rio Hondo Prep 40, Viewpoint 0 — Cody Cowell returned an interception 78 yards for a score and added another with a 21-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Chris Llamas in the closing minutes of the first quarter to lead the Kares to a Prep League victory.
Rio Hondo Prep (8-0, 3-0) built a 37-0 lead at halftime, courtesy of J.T. Parker’s two TDs in the second quarter — a 1-yard scoring run and a 49-yard touchdown catch from Llamas in the closing seconds of the quarter.

Flintridge Prep 24, Webb 21 — Trailing 21-17 with 2:30 remaining in the game and facing a fourth-and-6 from their own 20, the Rebels’ Kory Hamane found a ball that was batted away by a Webb defender to keep their last-minute drive alive. Two plays later, Hamane took the ball around the left end from 14 yards for the winning score with 1:36 left left in the game. Flintridge Prep (2-5, 1-1) played tenacious defense and stopped the Gauls to make the score stand.

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Thursday Night Football: Muir desperate for answers

MUIR (1-6, 1-3) vs. HOOVER (1-6, 0-4) at GLENDALE HIGH, 7 P.M.


So much for Muir High School competing for a Pacific League championship this year. Mustangs football coach Ken Howard was optimistic before the start of the season despite losing 24 players to graduation, but after an 1-6 start? Not so much.

Muir has won the league title four of the last six years, but at this point the only certainty is it won’t happen this year. It used to be Muir’s biggest challenge was not overlooking inferior opponents because of their records. It also used to be Muir could be counted on to beat Hoover (1-6, 0-4), but the way things have gone this season nothing’s a certainty.

“Oh yeah, no doubt about it,” Howard said as the Mustangs prepared to play Hoover tonight at 7 at Glendale. “I’m not going to take (Hoover) lightly because of their record because I can’t complain about anybody or how they’re doing. Look at us. We need to win. Period.”

Muir quarterback Jarron Williams said the team needed heart after the Mustangs’ 21-14 loss to Crescenta Valley last week. Muir trailed 21-0 at the half before mounting a comeback in the second half that fell short.

“Every year you get the same thing,” Howard said. “We don’t fight until we’re up against the wall. I don’t know why we do that, but we have to at some point start in the front court.”

Pasadena (4-3, 3-1), meanwhile, is coming off an impressive 48-0 win over Glendale. The Bulldogs revamped the offense and installed the double-wing. Glendale was not ready to defend it and Pasadena took advantage. Howard said the Mustangs’ offense will not be revamped, but there will be tweaks to the lineup.

“We have to try everything right now,” Howard said. “Don’t be surprised if you see guys playing different positions, whether it’s Williams lining up at running back or something else. We’re trying to find where we’re going to click together.”

Regardless, chances for a playoff spot are slim and Muir cannot afford another loss. “Last week was a win that would have made us comfortable, but we have to win (today),” Howard said.

If not?

“It’s going to throw a wrench in the game,” he said. “But I’ve seen stranger things happen. We’re not going to give up.”

Howard, in his 13th year at the school and seventh as head coach, took issue with growing whispers from those questioning play-calling and impatience.

“You look at the people that are naysayers and you figure they must have won every game in their life,” Howard said candidly. “They must have never lost. But if you’re not in someone’s shoes don’t condemn the guy before you know what’s going on.

“If you knew how many guys graduated last year and how many young guys are playing … you don’t win every year. Lets be serious about this; is this program down? No. Right now we’re not better than the teams in the past. If we don’t make the playoffs, then of course it’s a down year, but we’re still fighting for a spot.”

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Football: Isaac Valdez leaving his mark on Matadors

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

It’s not hard to spot San Gabriel High School’s Isaac Valdez.

If his kindness isn’t captivating enough, then his infectious smile will do the trick.

And Valdez has plenty of reasons to smile.

He’s the popular quarterback on the Matadors football team, he’s always flanked by coaches, teachers, teammates and friends and is showered with love and support from his large family.

“But don’t misunderstand,” San Gabriel coach Keith Jones said. “Behind that smile there’s still a competitive young man.”

After hanging up the soccer cleats – “I think that’s where I developed my footwork,” he said – Valdez convinced his mother, Rocio, to let him play Pop Warner football in the eighth grade.

“She didn’t want me to get hurt,” Valdez said. “But she got used to it.”

Rocio now is one of about 40 relatives who attend Valdez’s home games. There still are three games left in the season, but Valdez already knows what he’ll miss most – the high school football atmosphere unmatched by any other sport.

Continue reading

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Robledo: This is why the ‘Clete will win the Mid Valley

Above: For you Monrovia fans, here’s what Freddy looks like in case you want to give him an earful.

Fred Robledo, who has covered San Gabriel Valley Preps almost as long as I’ve been alive, makes a very interesting point about Paraclete possibly reaching the Mid Valley Division finals again and why Monrovia will lose in the semifinals.

Mid-Valley rankings 1. Monrovia, 2. San Dimas, 3. Azusa, 4. Baldwin Park, 5. Paraclete, 6. San Marino, 7. Village Christian, 8. Arroyo, 9. Gladstone, 10. La Puente. I post these rankings to show the championship is going to be San Dimas and Paraclete. Sorry MTown, Paraclete is a different animal and its a shame that because they lost to some very tough teams, they will probably get the No. 4 seed when the playoffs start, which means they will knock off No. 1 Monrovia in the semis. I’m guessing San Dimas will beat Baldwin Park for the VVL title, knocking Baldwin Park behind Paraclete and thus moving Paraclete to No. 4. There is no way Azusa is losing to anyone in the Montview, so they’re locked in at No. 3. Just as San Dimas and Northview found out last year, being No. 1 isn’t always fair. Monrovia should play someone like Azusa in the semis, but with Paraclete looming at No. 4, I’m afraid they won’t get to stop San Dimas again, Paraclete will.

All joking aside, Robledo makes a very good point and gives the CIF rankings a whole new meaning when looking at it in perspective. What have you say Observantcat and New York?

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Maddox: Mid Valley Division title goes through Paraclete

If you’re Monrovia (7-0, 2-0) how do you stay pumped when you’re going up against the likes of South Pasadena, La Canada and Blair? You remember that if you don’t beat those teams there’s a good chance you drop from the No. 1 ranking in the CIF-SS Mid Valley Division. But even so, Paraclete is the defending Mid Valley Division champion. They put a whoop on Rosemead last year and if the Wildcats are to claim a CIF championship they realize it’s Paraclete’s to defend first.

“Absolutely,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “They proved last year that they’re the team to beat. Until somebody in our division beats them and as long as they come out of their league on top, which in all likelyhood will happen, they’re the team to beat.”

Desert Rat, Spirit Xpress, what have you say?

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Football: The PSN’s Top 10 rankings, explained

Above: Steve Yortsos & Co. will have their hands full when San Marino hosts La Caada on Friday.


1. ST. FRANCIS (6-1) — The Golden Knights’ 27-23 win over Loyola last week was huge, the first in 27 years. Talk about breaking a bad spell. I wasn’t at the game but from reading the story it sounded like it was a good one. And good for St. Francis QB Justin Posthuma redeeming himself. And I agree, good story from Eric Sondheimer at the L.A. Times. Posthuma connected with sophomore Travis Talianko for a 3-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left in the game.

2. MONROVIA (7-0) — I’ve gotten quite a few emails asking why Monrovia is unbeaten yet ranked No. 2 instead of No. 1. Well, as I’ve explained before (haven’t I?) St. Francis has played much much tougher competition. They were this close to beating Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and just beat Loyola, and in spite of losing running back Anthony Barr (broken leg) early in the season and their head coach Jeff Kearin — who resigned halfway through the season for personal reasons — the win over the Cubs (3-4) is still impressive because Loyola’s a perennial power in the CIF-Southern Section Pac-5 Division. However, there is no doubt the Wildcats are the best team in the Mid-Valley Division and arguably the best team in the SGV. From this point on it’ll be up to Monrovia whether it finishes unbeaten or not. Then, of course, the playoffs begin and there’s no telling from there on.

3. SAN MARINO (6-1) — The Titans will have their hands full Friday night when they host the Spartans. Both teams are coming off impressive wins over South Pasadena and Blair, respectively. If I had to guess, the Rio Hondo League finishes like this: 1. Monrovia; 2. San Marino; 3. Temple City; 4. La Caada; 5. South Pasadena; 6. Blair.

4. TEMPLE CITY (3-3-1) — Well, what can you say about the Rams. They are hurting right now with injuries depleting the roster. That said, Temple City shouldn’t run into any problems with Blair on Friday night. For the sake of argument, why not let Max Ruckle dictate the offense, just to see if the Rams’ ground attack is superior to the passing game. If Ruckle runs wild for 300+ yards then you have your answer. But then again, this would be coming against Blair so there wouldn’t be much revealing.

5. ALHAMBRA (4-2) — In retrospect, the Moors should have moved up to No. 4 in these rankings. Alhambra’s coming off a 28-21 win over Montebello, and this game was all the more impressive because Alhambra won on the road. The road show continues when the Moors travel to San Gabriel. I’m going to try to make it out for the first half, but no promises. Keith Lair will be there on assignment.

6. RIO HONDO PREP (7-0) — The Kares exacted vengeance last week when they derailed Chadwick, 43-7. Some competition. Rio Hondo Prep, however, still has some kinks to iron out when it comes to its passing game, and they’ll need one when they head to the playoffs. For now the offense can survive without it, but not come playoffs.

7. SAN GABRIEL (4-3) — C’mon, who really pegged the Matadors to win at Bell Gardens, and by a blow out no less. Certainly not me, but as usual San Gabriel wakes up in the nick of time. Last week’s 49-28 win over Bell Gardens was impressive because the injury-plagued Matadors held the Lancers scoreless in the second half.

8. LA CAADA (3-3) — No Josh Hanson meant Spartans QB Rocky Moore was left without his biggest and best target when they played host to Temple City. With Hanson back in the lineup La Caada has a legitimate shot at knocking off San Marino and putting its playoff hopes in doubt.

9. MARANATHA (5-2) — I still don’t have a hold of Maranatha. I’m not sold yet, I’m not doubting either. I’m down the middle. “Cheer- leader!” posted in the Star-Picks thread that Maranatha is a cute team … Yeah, cuz “cute” make teams win.

10. LA SALLE (3-4) — The Lancers are in a must-win situation on Friday when they host Mary Star of the Sea (4-3, 2-0). Mary Star brings a balanced offense whose offense is spotty at best. QB Cole Webb has 476 yards passing with two touchdowns and six interceptions. James Hungerford leads the ground attack with 388 yards and five touchdowns. La Salle (3-4, 0-1) is coming off a bye, and it couldn’t have come at a better time as the Lancers are nursing some injuries. La Salle QB Mike Novell has completed 61 percent of his passes (727 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions).

OTHERS CONSIDERED: Pasadena (4-3, 3-1).

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Football: Does Monrovia bring home a CIF ring this year?

It may be a lot of pressure to put on Monrovia with three Rio Hondo League games left before the start of the highly-anticipated CIF-Southern Section playoffs. But can you think of any reasons why the Wildcats wouldn’t bring home the school’s first CIF football championship? There’s been a lot of debate about Monrovia quarterback Nick Bueno, whether he can play Division I or II or III. But the reality is, who cares? You think Bueno’s thinking about that right now? The goal right now is win Friday against South Pasadena, etc. You can’t deny the kid’s talent. He’s smart, elusive, poised and a proven leader. Bueno weathered the “pressure” of starting at quarterback his sophomore year, and he delivered. As proven, Monrovia has not thrown the ball because simply put the Wildcats haven’t had to. This is a simple case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. We must be naive to think that Bueno can’t throw just because he hasn’t as much as he did last year. I thought as much heading into the Temple City game, but the reality is Bueno doesn’t have to throw, and Ryan Maddox knows that. He’s as dangerous on the ground as he is through the air, but so far the ground attack has been excruciating for opposing teams to defend. When talking about a championship you need to have balance, a great defense and a true offensive threat, and Monrovia has all three. Monrovia’s stable of running backs is unparalleled; the defense is as fast as they are physical from Josh Lowden and Ellis McCarthy to Craig Brown, Christian Blanco and Charlie Cimmarusti. Why would you bet otherwise? This is about as good a chance as Monrovia’s ever had in the last 15 years.

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Football: Rams literally hurting after loss to Monrovia

Temple City was literally hurting after its 38-21 loss to Monrovia last week. The Rams (3-3-1, 1-1) will have to deal with injuries to Josh Simangunsong (concussion), Josh Lin (dislocated shoulder), Andrew Torres (mild concussion) and Sean Stanton (bone contusion) as they prepare for Blair on Friday. Simangunsong, a junior, took it hardest last week, and teammates tried consoling him after he learned he wouldn’t play the rest of the game. Simangunsong was injured in the second quarter, and from that point the dominos kept falling. After Stanton suffered a bone contusion to his left leg, Lin was called up to take his place at defensive back, and it wasn’t long before he went out with a dislocated left shoulder. Torres suffered a mild concussion after catching a 47-yard pass from quarterback Justin Smith to pull the Rams within 19-14 with one second left in the second quarter. Torres played a few minutes in the third quarter before he was taken out for the rest of the game. Senior offensive lineman Matt O’Malley couldn’t overcome constant cramping in his left leg. He missed most of the fourth quarter. “We’re kind of banged up,” Temple City coach Anthony White said, “but we don’t like to make excuses.” Simangunsong will likely miss Friday’s game, and Torres will be limited.

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TC’s Spratt, Bosco Tech’s Burrola OK after car accident

Temple City High School’s David Spratt and Bosco Tech’s Alex Burrola were involved in a single-car accident Saturday night in Temple City. Spratt, a senior wide receiver on the Rams football team, and Burrola, a senior defensive back for the Tigers, were transported to San Gabriel Methodist Hospital after the car they were in flipped over at the corner of Encinita Avenue and Pentland Street.
Burrola was treated for a cut on his left arm and Spratt had a bruised right knee and a sore back. They were released later that night. Burrola was driving Spratt home after Bosco Tech’s 35-30 loss to Verbum Dei at St. Matthias High School in Downey. Spratt has been a friend of Burrola for three years. “We lost control (and hit the sidewalk) when we were turning (onto Encinita Avenue), and next thing I remember is that I was upside down,” said Spratt, who sat out Monday’s practice. Spratt saw smoke and pulled Burrola out of the driver’s seat. “Then a friend on the street we were on heard and came and helped us,” Spratt said.

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