Star Picks: Alhambra and San Gabriel renew rivalry in the Almont League while La Caada and San Marino square off in a key Rio Hondo League game.

The Stang Fan last week: ?????
Melendez last week (overall): 15-2 (81-47-1)

Last week: My lone losses were Bell Gardens (lost to San Gabriel) and Marshall (lost to Kilpatrick).

This week: Got this interesting comment from cant believe it!


My response?

You nailed it! I was a star defensive end at Temple City under the Mooney Era and my son and nephew were on the team. Even my daughter was a water girl!

Obviously, I was being sarcastic. I never went to Temple City and I don’t have any sons or daughters, why would I? I do, however, find it funny when people try to figure out where I went to school according to the teams I cover. In fact, if not for some you who read my bio when it was announced I would take over Galleti, you might not even know where I went to school. For the record, I went to eight schools growing up, and to this day I have no idea why. I never asked and I don’t plan to. On that note, I bring you this week’s game of the week: San Gabriel at Alhambra. The Matadors look to improve to 3-0 in Almont League action while the Moors look to go one game above .500. I’m going with the Moors, but more on that later this week. San Gabriel still has Schurr and Montebello on its schedule while Alhambra has it a bit easier with Bell Gardens and Kepppel; all are home games for SG and Alhambra. In the Rio Hondo League, the winner of the La Caada-San Marino game improves to 2-1 and increases its chance at a possible second-place finish, though Temple City will have something to say about that when it meets San Marino later this season. The St. Francis-St. Paul game has been switched to St. Francis. Dietrich Riley, who was injured in last week’s win over Loyola, is expected to play. Upset of the week honors go to Pasadena. They’ll beat CV, 28-21. C’mon, who really expected to see a double-wing last week? Eh? Eh?


Hoover at Muir, 7 p.m.

Alhambra at San Gabriel, 7 p.m. — Alhambra
La Caada at San Marino, 7 p.m. — San Marino
Burbank at Arcadia, 7 p.m. — Burbank
Temple City vs. Blair at PCC, 7 p.m. — Temple City
South Pasadena at Monrovia, 7 p.m. — Monrovia
Mary Star at La Salle, 7 p.m. — La Salle
Crescenta Valley at Pasadena, 7 p.m. — Pasadena
Azusa at Duarte, 7 p.m. — Azusa
Mountain View at Gabrielino, 7 p.m. — Gabrielino
Sierra Canyon at Maranatha, 7 p.m. — Maranatha
Rosemead at South El Monte, 7 p.m. — Rosemead
St. Paul at St. Francis, 7:30 p.m. — St. Francis
Marshall vs. Campbell Hall at Crespi, 7 p.m. — Campbell Hall
Rio Hondo Prep at Viewpoint, 3 p.m. — Rio Hondo Prep
Keppel at Bell Gardens, 7 p.m. — Bell Gardens
Webb vs. Flintridge Prep at Oxy, 7 p.m. — Flintridge Prep

Cantwell Sacred-Heart at Bosco Tech, 1:30 p.m. — Bosco Tech
Pasadena Poly at Chadwick, 2 p.m. — Chadwick

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Star-Jibber: St. Francis … Monrovia … St. Francis … Monrovia … St. Francis … Monrovia …. St. Francis … Monrovia … How to truly measure the area’s No. 1 team?

Discuss anything and everything you want … especially football ….

*Not 10 minutes had passed and I got bird droppings on my brand new watch and brand new shirt. Normally I wouldn’t have made a fit about it, but the Kenneth Cole watch and Van Heusen studio shirt was styling Friday night. Thankfully the droppings were wiped clean, but I still have to say getting bird droppings any time has to be a bad omen, no?

*I still think Temple City got burned by bad calls from the refs. Believe you me, if not for those questionable calls we have ourselves a much different ball game.

*Monrovia linebacker Josh Lowden proved to be a thorn in Temple City running back Max Ruckle’s side. Ruckle was limited to under 100 yards rushing and at the center of the human wall was Lowden. On one play, Ruckle took a handoff and threw to Justin Smith who later completed a long play. Ruckle was thrown to the ground by Lowden who received a roughing the passer penalty. But talk about class. Lowden and Ruckle slapped each other’s helmets and went on with the game. Throughout the game Lowden tackled Ruckle and their sportsmanship was still full on display.

*In the third quarter of the Monrovia-Temple City game, some knucklehead started yelling “Go back to Rosemead” … This guy (and I’m being nice by calling him “guy”) was yelling and letting it known he was not happy with Temple City coach Anthony White. To my surprise nobody seemed bothered by his classless act, in front of the Temple City crowd no less. There’s no room for that kind of behavior at HIGH SCHOOL football games.

*St. Francis won. Monrovia won. Try figuring out who is the new No. 1 team in the SGV. I know, I know. Our meesly top 10 rankings mean little to nothing, but pride is still at stake. I’ll let you guys figure this one out.

*Any thoughts on game of the week next week? I’m staying in the office Friday night, but I might sneak out to catch the first half of a nearby game. Right now I have my eyes set on Alhambra-San Gabriel. Anyone care to persuade me to go somewhere else?

*I was told by our Keith Lair that the way Pasadena played against CV last week and the way Muir played against CV on Thursday, and if the Turkey Tussle was this week, PHS would easily hold a 30-0 lead at the half. And that’s saying something because PHS had a bad game against CV last week. The Bulldogs took care of business when they had to and beat down Glendale, 48-0. But then again, who hasn’t beaten Glendale?

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Friday Night Aftermath: Monrovia takes care of Temple City; St. Francis breaks away from 27-year misery, beats Loyola; San Marnio, Alhambra, Rio Hondo Prep, San Gabriel, Maranatha and Pasadena score big.




Monrovia 38, Temple City 21 — Temple City was stymied by questionable first-half penalties. Two pass interferences and a fumble that wasn’t? Craig Brown returned a 37-yard fumble to give Monrovia a 19-7 lead. That fumble came after Temple City quarterback Justin Smith threw a pass to Andrew Torres, who had the ball bounce off his chest and onto the ground before Brown picked it up. The whistle never blew, much to the chagrin of Temple City coach Anthony White. C’mon! If not for those penalties the Rams are in it in the second half. Despite a 73-yard touchdown pass from Nick Bueno to De’Shawn Ramirez, I thought Monrovia played a stale first half. Their special teams need some work. Monrovia was lucky to be leading 19-14 heading into halftime. Temple City showed a lot of heart, especially in the closing seconds. Torres caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Smith in the closing seconds of the second quarter to pull the Rams within 19-17. The pass from Smith came with less than five seconds to go and bounced off Monrovia’s Jay Henderson and Charlie Cimmarusti before falling into Torres’ hands. Temple City got within 26-21 after Smith connected on a 37-yard touchdown pass to David Spratt. Ramirez finished with 136 yards rushing and scored on runs of 68 and 44 yards. Smith completed 12 of 26 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns but he also had three interceptions. Max Ruckle, aside from his 46-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, was nonexistent. The San Gabriel Valley’s leading-rusher was stuffed for 80 yards.

San Marino 41, South Pasadena 14 — Stephen Yortsos caught three of quarterback Joe Forgatch’s four touchdown passing to lead San Marino High School to a 41-14 Rio Hondo League victory over South Pasadena at Ray Solari Stadium on Friday night. “San Marino just cleaned our clock. They deserve all the credit. They’re a very good team,” South Pasadena coach Edward Smith said. The victory gave San Marino (6-1, 1-1) its first league victory as well as the inaugural ownership of the Crowley Cup, a newly-instituted trophy that will now go to the victor of this long-standing rivalry. The cup’s namesake, Paul Crowley, was in attendance at the game, as he has been at each of the 55 games in the series, starting in 1955. Yortos had touchdown receptions of 66, 10 and 30 yards for the Titans, all in the first half. Yortos accounted for 23 first-half points by also kicking all five of the PATs. The senior led all receivers with 7 catches for 150 yards. He also had 46 yards rushing on three carries.

Rio Hondo Prep 43 Chadwick 7 — The highly anticipated showdown of the unbeatens proved to be a Rio Hondo Prep rout. The Kares, behind five rushing touchdowns by four different players, improved to 2-0 in league and 7-0 overall with a 43-7 rout of Chadwick in a Prep League game Friday night. Chadwick, ranked No. 1 before the game, fell to 1-1 in league and 6-1 overall. The only number that will matter to the Dolphins coaching staff will be 310 — the number of rushing yards their defense gave up to the physical Kares’ line.

St. Francis 27, Loyola 23 — Travis Talianko caught a 3-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left in the game to lift the Golden Knights at L.A. Valley College. St. Francis quarterback Justin Posthuma had 229 yards total offense to lead the Golden Knights. He rushed for 74 yards and one score and passed for 155 yards. He completed 13 of 19 pass attempts, including a second touchdown pass of 10 yards to Dietrich Riley — who also rushed for 84 yards — earlier in the game. The Golden Knights’ comeback bid started when linebacker Ryan McAleenan intercepted Loyola quarterback Jerry Neuheisel with 4:30 left in the game. Neuheisel, the son of UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel, completed 14 of 21 passes for 202 yards and two scores.

Pasadena 48, Glendale 0 — Pasadena High School racked up 432 rushing yards in a brand-new double-wing offense, defeating visiting Glendale High School 48-0 in a Pacific League game Friday night. “We have so many kids who are (offensive) threats,” said Pasadena coach Mike McFarland. “We just try to get them the football in a position to use their abilities.” This was the first week the Bulldogs instituted the run-heavy offense, and Pasadena running backs had eight runs over 20 yards. “We caught (Glendale) by surprise,” McFarland said. “They were not prepared for it.” Pasadena was led by senior Charles Hendricks who rushed for 169 yards on 11 carries. Hendricks had touchdown runs of 28 and 68 yards in the third quarter. Fellow senior Nick Escoe finished with 130 yards on eight carries.

Alhambra 32, Montebello 27 — Senior quarterback Darrian Cazarin passed for 338 yards and three touchdowns and also ran three yards for the game-winning score with just 36 seconds remaining, giving the Moors a come-from-behind 32-27 win over Montebello.

La Canada 42, Blair 6 — Spartans quarterback Rocky Moore’s five touchdown passes, which totaled 129 yards, gave him a school-record 31 for his La Caada career. Teammate Michael Arkfeld led the Spartans in scoring with two touchdown receptions.

Burroughs 35, Arcadia 25 — Burroughs High School’s Tyler Tilton returned a fumble recovery 98 yards to help lead the Indians to a 35-25 victory over Arcadia in Pacific League play on Friday night. On fourth down from the Burroughs 1-yard line, Arcadia quarterback Garrett Tuck rolled out to his right side, was hit and fumbled the ball on the 2. Tilton picked the ball up on the run and went untouched to the end zone to break open a close contest, giving the Indians a 35-19 lead. Five Apaches turnovers proved to be costly.

Rosemead 41, Moutain View 7 — Matt Fregoso had an impressive third quarter and almost single-handedly was the difference as Rosemead routed winless Mountain View. Fregoso scored four touchdowns and accounted for 98 of his 163 rushing yards in the decisive third quarter. With Rosemead (2-5, 1-1) entering the third quarter holding on to a slim 14-7 lead, Fregoso took it upon himself to lead the way.

Schurr 28, Keppel 7 — The Spartans took advantage of Aztecs miscues and roughed up Keppel en route to a 21-0 halftime lead in an Almont League game Friday night. “We couldn’t get anything going early,” first-year head coach Bobby Madrid said. “They were just physical and kicked our butts in the first half. Unfortunately, you can’t do that against Schurr or anybody else in our league.” The Aztecs (1-6, 0-2) went to backup quarterback Henry Ahn in the second half. He threw an 18-yard TD pass to Edson Pena in the fourth quarter.

San Gabriel 49, Bell Gardens 28 — The monkey is definitely off San Gabriel High School’s back. Until two years ago, the Matadors had never won a football game at Bell Gardens. Friday night in an Almont League game, they made it two in a row over the Lancers, and three consecutive including last year’s win at San Gabriel, with a 49-28 victory. The Matadors held a four-point lead at the half, but kept the Lancers (5-2 overall, 1-1 in league) scoreless in the second half.

Maranatha 35, Montclair Prep 16 — Maranatha began the season 0-2, but the Minutemen have gradually begun to grasp coach Joel Murphy’s new schemes. Friday, the Minutemen won their fourth consecutive with a 35-16 victory over host Montclair Prep game in an Alpha League contest at Pierce College. “We’re kind of catching our stride,” Murphy said. “The kids are obviously understanding and believing in it. It’s just the little things. The way we warm up and finish a game. But I like our progress. We’re doing good things, but we’re not at our potential yet.” The Minutemen (4-0 in league) took a 35-0 lead into the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers (1-6, 1-3) scored on a pair of big plays.

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Thursday Night Football: Must-win game for Muir


MUIR (1-5, 1-2) vs. CRESCENTA VALLEY (4-2, 2-1) at Glendale High, 7 p.m.


No matter how you look at it, this is a must-win game for Muir if it wants to keep its playoff hopes alive. What team shows up today is beyond me. It could be the offense, it could be the defense, who knows. If the Mustangs get a win tonight it’s seemingly downhill from here, schedule-wise at least. Muir would only have Hoover, Glendale and Pasadena while Crescenta Valley still has Burroughs on its schedule. And some of you I think are right — the final playoff spot may come down to the end result of the Turkey Tussle. Put in a call to Muir coach Ken Howard and he agreed tonight’s game is a must-win.

“It’s a must-win,” he said. “If we don’t win we’re going to need a lot of help, but I don’t believe anybody else is going to help me.”

Muir has been sort of an enigma. So how does Howard get his team to play consistent?

“Right now we’ve coached them up as much as we can coach them up,” he said. “One week it’s the offense believing and trusting themselves or vice versa. They have to understand both sides have to have a perfect game in order to win the game.”

But it’ll get easier, no? I man, c’mon. It’s Hoover (yawn), Glendale (hmmm?) and Pasadena still left on the schedule. It’s an easy road to the playoffs if Muir can just buckle down and get it done.

“You know what,” Howard said, “anybody can say easy but they’re not in my shoes. I’ve only won one football game. It might look easy on paper but they still put on their pants the same way we put our pants on. I don’t think about it as easy. Either we win tonight or we need a lot of help. There’s a couples teams ahead of us that still have to see Burroughs and Burbank. We just have to bring a little heart to the table and see if we can dance with these guys.”

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Football: Smith proving to be a good sport for Rams

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

Justin Smith had no intention of playing football again for Temple City High School.

He was coming off a successful baseball season two years ago as a sophomore and earned second-team All-Rio Hondo League honors as the Rams’ No. 2 pitcher. It was normal to want to focus solely on baseball, but it proved to be much too difficult after his junior year.

For starters, Smith’s friends were on him every day.

Max Ruckle always was in his ear and telling Smith they needed him back. Some of the offensive linemen told Smith they didn’t want to block for anybody else.

Then there was lineman Victor Dominguez, who was the mosquito Smith couldn’t get rid of.

You’re gonna play, right?

You’re gonna be quarterback, right?

Smith’s former teammates knew what he was capable of.

As a sophomore, Smith led the junior varsity team to a Rio Hondo League championship with a 7-6 win over Monrovia. Smith weathered the pressure of facing a Monrovia team that was 19-0 in two seasons heading into the game.

Not long after Anthony White was hired at Temple City, the new Rams coach received an e-mail from Ruckle’s father, Terry.

I hear Justin Smith is thinking about coming back.

As the buzz spread about Smith possibly changing his mind, there was renewed excitement among potential players because of a young and energetic new coach.

Smith grew curious.

Continue reading “Football: Smith proving to be a good sport for Rams” »

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