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.

LOOKING AHEAD AT WEEK 9
(Note: If the game’s time/site changes please e-mail miguel.melendez@sgvn.com .. We’re not that fond of surprises =)

THURSDAY’S GAME
Pasadena vs. Burbank at Burroughs, 7 p.m.

FRIDAY’S GAMES
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.

SATURDAY’S GAMES
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.

CLICK HERE FOR QUARTER-BY-QUARTER SCORE UPDATES

TONIGHT’S RESULTS

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

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

CLICK HERE FOR QUARTER-BY-QUARTER SCORE UPDATES

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.

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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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