Football: Hop on and enjoy the PHS bandwagon ride

Above: PHS students going all out in the Bulldogs’ first game on their new field against Salesian Saugus.

I know Huckster wants none of my ink on the Bulldogs, but oh well. If you open today’s page 2 in sports you’ll see a nice headline on PHS, and I did that just for Huckster — the story, not the headline. Anyway, it seems there are many people riding the PHS bandwagon after its 2-0 start in the Pacific League. Don’t worry, Huckster. No way I’m ranking the Bulldogs just yet. I haven’t even thought about it. But I will take a close look at the Bulldogs and wait anxiously Thursday night to hear back from our Keith Lair, who will cover Thursday’s game at Burroughs. I got a phone call this morning from a reader who said he had just moved to Pasadena (I’m assuming from out of state) and read my story this morning. He wants to follow PHS the rest of the year and asked where Burroughs High was so he can attend the game. Pretty cool, huh? It’s unlikely the Bulldogs will win the Pacific League, and a playoff berth isn’t out of reach. Either way, it’s pretty cool that the ground is shifting even if it’s just a bit, and people are now rooting for the Bulldogs. Basketball? What basketball?

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Cheerleaders at high risks under untrained eyes

By Melissa Rohlin over at the L.A. Times has a compelling story about cheerleaders at risk without safety precautions or supervision. She writes: Statistics confirm the danger. Cheerleading injuries resulting in emergency room visits have increased almost sixfold since 1980, to nearly 30,000 in 2008, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported. The exact number of serious injuries isn’t known because there is no formal reporting system, but annual statistics tracked by Mueller’s organization offer a snapshot of the situation. Over 26 years, disabilities or deaths caused by head or spine trauma are almost double for female high school cheerleaders than for female players of all sports combined: 73 “catastrophic injuries” — including two deaths — from fall 1982 to spring 2008. Gymnasts were second, with nine injuries.

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Star-Picks: Everyone is 0-0 as league begins. Me too.

The Stang Fan: You should e-mail me your record every Saturday so I can update it when I start this thread. Step to it, bro!
Melendez last week: 9-4 (Total: 56-39-1)

Last Week: My four losses were Keppel, La Canada, San Gabriel and Arcadia. I very well could have gone 12-1 if not for last-minute losses by La Canada and San Gabriel. I think Keppel wasn’t too far off either. Impressive win by Pasadena. I mean, really. How can you not want to root for the ‘Dogs? (Unless of course you’re allegiance is to 1905 Lincoln Ave) … There’s a lot of raw talent on that PHS team. Great defense, but they can only do so much with a mistake-prone offense digging holes. If they can limit the silly mistakes and be more disciplined in terms of turnovers then you have a PHS team with a lot of upside.

This Week: How can I not be at the Monrovia-San Marino game Friday night? Easy. Notre Dame visits St. Francis. The pick here goes to Monrovia, obviously. I know, shouldn’t have used the word obviously, but really, c’mon. The Wildcats are the No. 1 team in the CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division and what weaknesses does Monrovia really have? Maybe Observantcat can enlighten us. Monrovia is a battle-tested team, and despite that the Wildcats have pretty much steamrolled through the competition. San Marino, not so much. I still think Benny Hung, if he plays, will present a formidable challenge to a young defensive line. QB Joe Forgatch and WR Stevie Yortsos are an offensive prowess all by themselves, but I don’t see them testing the Monrovia secondary. Speed, speed, speed. Should be a good first half. Back to St. Francis … This will be my first-look at Dietrich Riley. I hear Justin Posthuma had an off night last week, but I’m sure he’ll bounce back. I’m eager to see how cohesive the Knights defense is playing this season. But first, I’ll be at the Temple City-La Canada game Thursday night. Someone said it best, think it was Goldenarm — the winner of Friday’s Monrovia-SM and TC-LC game will shape the outcome of the Rio Hondo League. I’m banking on Monrovia and Temple City earning a “W” and setting up next week’s showdown at Temple City. Bring it!


Temple City at La Canada, 7 p.m. — Temple City
Pasadena at Burroughs, 7 p.m. — Pasadena

Notre Dame at St. Francis, 7:30 p.m. — St. Francis
Monrovia at San Marino, 7 p.m. — Monrovia
Arcadia at Muir, 7 p.m. — Muir
Brentwood at Maranatha, 7 p.m. — Brentwood
Alhambra at Schurr, 7 p.m. — Alhambra
South Pasadena vs. Blair at PCC, 7 p.m. — South Pasadena
Gladstone at Duarte, 7 p.m. — Gladstone
Gabrielino vs. El Monte at Arroyo, 7 p.m. — El Monte
San Gabriel at Keppel, 7 p.m. — San Gabriel
Arroyo at Rosemead, 7 p.m. — Arroyo
Flintridge Prep at Rio Hondo Prep, 7:30 p.m. — Rio Hondo Prep
Saddleback Valley Christian at Pasadena Poly, 1 p.m. — Pas Poly
Mary Star of the Sea at Bosco Tech, 1:30 p.m. — Bosco Tech
Marshall vs. Calvary Chapel at Downey, 7 p.m. — Calvary Chapel

La Salle vs. Verbum Dei at St. Matthias, 7 p.m. — La Salle

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Star-Jibber: Anyone else impressed by Pasadena’s 2-0 start in the Pacific League? What to make of Muir?

Discuss anything and everything you want … Especially football

*Well, when Pasadena said it wanted to go in a new direction, they weren’t kidding. Mike McFarland’s got the Bulldogs up 2-0 in the Pacific League. Impressive wins over Long Beach Jordan (on the road, mind you) and now at Arcadia has people giving PHS a second look. I sure wasn’t expecting PHS to win Friday night, but when am I ever right?

*Muir just can’t get a break can’t they. They were leading, 14-7. They got a lucky break when Burbank fumbled in the first overtime. And still the outcome was a double overtime loss, on a two-point conversion pass, no less. Still a top 10 team? Uh, no.

*Someone from La Caada suggested I stay off the Torta Depot. The truth is, I was wearing my oversized polo shirt over a long sleeve XXL shirt. Yes, XXL! That’s what I used to be two summers ago when I was hitting the scale at almost 300 pounds, 285 to be exact, but I’m down to 230. Anyway, come soccer season you’ll see the new and improved wardrobe of your favorite sportswriter. Calvin Klein, Stafford and of course … Eddie Bauer. Anyway, I’ll be at the Temple City-La Caada game Thursday if you want some wardrobe tips.

*So is Maranatha finally back on track? The Minutemen are 2-0 in Alpha League action, but those wins aren’t exactly mind blowing, but not all that bad either. Still, there is obvious work needed on the offensive side. No passing touchdowns from Cody Keith against Kilpatrick? But lets be fair. Keith did score three TD’s on quarterback sneaks. Lets see how this unfolds.

*Rule of thumb: Go with San Marino when they play San Gabriel. I learned my lesson. I’m gonna just go right ahead and say it, Isaac Valdez is not playing like the superstar he was last year. We know he’s talented. Nobody can argue that. But the offensive prowess is lacking this season, and who knows if early season injuries to star receiver Alex Lopez contributed to the shortfall. San Gabriel should turn things around come Almont League action.

*If you have suggestions for “Athletes of the Week” be sure to e-mail me. We always like your suggestions for those. Also, if you have a student-athlete with a good story to tell e-mail me a Thursday feature suggestion. You know me, I like writing tear-jerkers.

*Is Notre Dame-St. Francis next week’s Game of the Week? No question about it.

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Friday Night Aftermath: Pasadena is 2-0 in Pacific League play; Temple City, San Marino, Maranatha and South Pas earn wins; Muir, La Caada lose in final drive.

Above: There was just no stopping the Arroyo Knights.




Arroyo 31, La Caada 27 — The Spartans just couldn’t find a way to stop Arroyo’s Mikey Vasquez who rushed for 187 yards and scored three touchdowns. Anything La Caada did the Knights had an answer for. Rocky Moore completed 16 of 31 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns. In four games this season, Moore’s yet to throw an interception. I hope I just didn’t jinx him.

Temple City 42, La Salle 20 – Max Ruckle led the Rams attack by rushing for 203 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries as Temple City scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to record its second win of the season. I’ll be at La Caada next Thursday to check out the Max Ruckle Show.

South Hills 30, Rosemead 9 — The Huskies (2-2) jumped out a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and then struggled to hold on for the win. The Panthers pulled within five points, 14-9, when Matt Macias hit Greg Parham on a 79-yard touchdown play. “It’s hard to score points on them,” Rosemead coach Matt Koffler said. “We were trying to run the ball and get their safety down low and he did and we got our play.”

Pasadena 19, Arcadia 14 — The Pasadena High School defense came up big. Again. The Bulldogs pushed host Arcadia back when the Apaches were primed to re-take the lead in the waning minutes of Friday night’s Pacific League contest.
The Bulldogs prevailed, 19-14, to remain undefeated in league play at 2-0, 3-2 overall. The Apaches fell to 1-1, 1-3-1. “They were huge,” first-year Pasadena head coach Mike McFarland said. The Apaches drove to the Bulldogs 10 in their final drive. On first down, a pile of Pasadena players threw the Apaches for a 10-yard loss on a pitchout. Arcadia was called for holding, and on third down, Chris Conell sacked Arcadia quarterback Myles Carr. The drive was stopped on the 17. “The kids are fired up,” McFarland said. “It’s been a long time since the school has beaten Arcadia. The kids were excited to end the streak.”

Burbank 29, Muir 28, 2OT — Muir had a 14-7 lead but relinquished that lead and headed into overtime tied at 21. Muir had a chance to win it in overtime after recovering a Burbank fumble. But quarterback Jarron Williams was sacked and three incomplete passes later the Mustangs found themselves heading into second OT. Williams scored to put Muir on top in the second OT, but Burbank answered with Sam Bethany 2-yard score and a two-point conversion from Adam Colman to Ulises Ochoa. Tough break for the Mustangs, who are now 0-5 overall and 0-2 in Pacific League.

San Marino 14, San Gabriel 13 — The Matadors counted on a short field and a recovered fumble in the closing minutes of its last nonleague game of the season to stay undefeated. Morgan Myers helped the Titans erase a six-point deficit with 1:10 to play in the game on a 2-yard touchdown run, followed by a Stevie Yortsos extra kick to help them get by San Gabriel, 14-13. Myers’ decisive score concluded a seven-play, 54-yard march for San Marino (5-0) that lasted 1:55. On the next drive, the Matadors (2-3) used all three timeouts, but they didn’t amount to much after an Isaac Valdez fumble that Ben Harwich recovered at the Titans 42.

Maranatha 22, Kilpatrick 6 – The Minutemen (3-2, 2-0) were led by quarterback Cody Keith, who completed 11 of 24 passes for 118 yards and one interception. Keith rushed for three touchdowns, all on quarterback sneaks from the 1. It was a sloppy game of sorts for Maranatha, which had numerous miscues and sloppy plays at times.

Sierra Vista 33, Duarte 7 — Duarte’s defense held the Dons’ high-powered running attack to 14 points in the first half despite allowing 138 rushing yards and over 12 minutes in time of possession. But it didn’t matter. Jose Maldonado and Erick Garcia led Sierra Vista with two touchdowns each.

Pioneer 31, Bosco Tech 19 — Pioneer had a strong second half in the win. Turnovers stymied the Tigers who have now lost two straight games.

South Pasadena 26, Keppel 14 — The Tigers won their first game of the season, taking advantage of Aztecs miscues. A week after Keppel ended a 40-game losing streak, the Tigers picked off five Evan Blackman passes and recovered a pair of fumbles. “We did not play very well,” Keppel first-year coach Bobby Mildred said. “Those five interceptions put us in a hole.” The Tigers led, 7-0, at the half. Keppel got down to the 10, but fumbled the ball away. “As bad as we played, we were still in the game,” Madrid said. We just shot ourselves in the foot. After last week, I’m really disappointed.” The Tigers took a 14-0 lead. Bachman scored the first of his two TDs on a quarterback sneak.

Rio Hondo Prep 40, Desert 6 — Juniors Nick Preciado and Charles Quintero each rushed for more than 100 yards and the Kares remained undefeated with a relatively easy victory. Rio Hondo Prep led, 20-6, at the half. Andrew Quintero, up from the junior varsity team, scored a TD and Preciado and Charles Quintero had the other TDs. Preciado had a TD reception from Chris Llamas. Jimmy Davis and Jason Wiley both had interceptions, Wiley returning his 50 yards.

Blair XX, Brawley XX — Did not report

Marshall XX, Montclair Prep XX — Did not report

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Star-Picks: Last week was good for WSGV Football

The Stang Fan: ???
Melendez last week: 16-2 (Total: 47-35-1)

Last Week: My only misses were Muir and Bosco Tech. The Mustangs were in control but gave up nine points in the last two minutes. Where does Muir land in the rankings? Completely out? Because guess what, I’ve seen Burbank play and they’re pretty damn good, and the guess here is Muir will be 0-5 after this week. I feel so bad for Bosco Tech. The one time I show up to one of their games and they self-destruct as soon as I get there. I showed up with about nine minutes left in the second quarter. First offensive play I see and the Tigers throw an INT. Salesian converts a field goal. On the ensuing drive, Bosco Tech fumbles. Then, at the start of the second half, Johnny Calderon goes down with an ankle injury. I left in the third quarter, but the damage was done. My bad. …. Great for Keppel to get the win. Aztecs coach Bobby Madrid was winded when we talked Friday night. The way Keppel’s playing combined with South Pasadena’s inconsistency and who knows, maybe the Aztecs string a two-game winning streak by week’s end. Someone mentioned I should have changed my pick from Flintridge Prep to Malibu. So much for that. I stuck with my guns and the Rebels came through, and so did Temple City.

This week: I’ll get my first look at Dietrich Riley on Thursday. I won’t be covering the game, but I’ll be roaming the sidelines and watching Riley, Christopher Cabrera and of course the man of the hour, Justin Posthuma. I’ll be at the La Caada game Friday night to get a look at this Rocky Moore everyone speaks of. Should be fun because Arroyo’s the No. 2-ranked Mid-Valley Division team and should give the Spartans a good test. The guess here is La Caada comes through in the waning minutes.


El Rancho at St. Francis, 7:30 p.m. (Keith Lair, staff art)

Arroyo at La Caada, 7 p.m. — Melendez (LC)
La Salle at Temple City, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Temple City)
Rosemead vs. South Hills at Covina Field, 7 p.m. — Melendez (South Hills)
Pasadena at Arcadia, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Arcadia)
Muir vs. Burbank at Burroughs, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Burbank)
San Marino at San Gabriel, 7 p.m. — Melendez (San Gabriel)
Rio Hondo Prep at Desert, 7 — Melendez (Rio Hondo Prep)
Kilpatrick at Maranatha, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Maranatha)
Sierra Vista at Duarte, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Sierra Vista)
Bosco Tech at Pioneer, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Pioneer)
Keppel at South Pasadena, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Keppel)
Blair at Brawley, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Brawley)
Marshall vs. Montclair Prep at Pierce College, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Montclair Prep)

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Football: Early experiences pave way for Rocky road

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

Wearing nothing but diapers and an oversized Muir High School boys basketball T-shirt, Rocky Moore roamed the basketball court as a 2-year-old chasing loose balls and tumbling after taking charges.

It was on Muir’s basketball court where Moore, the second-year senior starting quarterback at La Caada, learned that playing a physical style was fun. It was also there where a strong father-son bond began.

Moore’s father, Bill “Rocky” Moore, coached the Muir program to basketball supremacy, leading the Mustangs to the 1993 and 1996 CIF-Southern Section championships. Surrounded by driven, future Division I athletes is how Moore learned to build a strong work ethic. Among them was Jacques Vaughn who played under Roy Williams at Kansas and is a 12-year NBA veteran starting his fourth season with the San Antonio Spurs.

Moore spent countless hours on the hardwood learning the game his father loved, but equally as important it was watching older and much taller guys play with such high intensity. It was an environment Bill Moore wanted his sons to be surrounded by.

Continue reading

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Is this the year PHS wins the Turkey Tussle? Hmmm …

Muir has won 10 of the last 13 Turkey Tussles, but is this the year PHS breaks that dreaded 10-game losing streak and brings home The Bell? It may be too early to tell. Spoke with Muir coach Ken Howard yesterday and he said the Mustangs are still a top 10 team despite an 0-4 start. I beg to differ, at lest for now. But lets get one thing straight here: Just because the Bulldogs beat a tough Long Beach Jordan and scored a sound win vs. Hoover doesn’t mean PHS is a top 10 team. Far from it. This isn’t to say the Bulldogs can’t be good. Hell, I saw an awesome defense play strong against Saugus before penalties and turnovers doomed PHS. Nevertheless, they are mistakes that can be overcome by good coaching, and we all know the ‘Dogs finally got a no-nonsense guy in Mike McFarland. So will PHS finally break that streak? If nothing else, this is as close as the Bulldogs will get in the last decade.

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Football: Muir, Rosemead bow out of Top 10 rankings

Bold move? Perhaps. But after unimpressive performances last week Muir (0-4) and Rosemead (1-3) had to go. It was only a matter of time until the “We play a tough schedule” excuse ran out of gas. At some point the “We were in the Mid-Valley Division finals” reason lost its rationalization. Sorry, Matt Koffler. It used to be that those excuses had substance, but after Muir lost 9-6 to Burroughs last week and Rosemead dropped only 13 points against Temple City, it’s becoming clear these teams are in rebuilding stages. It’s hard to admit, especially since both schools are known as football powers, not just in the San Gabriel Valley but in their respective divisions as well. Aside from Monrovia and St. Francis, I can think of four other teams that can push Muir and Rosemead to the limit, and probably win, too — La Caada, San Marino, Temple City and Alhambra. Sure, it’s subjective to say any of those four teams can hang with Muir and Rosemead, but looking at each team’s personnel and comparing it with that of Muir and Rosemead you can see why the Mustangs and Panthers would struggle. An uninspiring 9-6 loss to Burroughs? How do you give up nine points in the last two minutes?!? There seemingly was little improvement by Rosemead from the time they lost to Monrovia, then Harvard-Westlake and now Temple City. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a reflection of the coaching staff. Koffler and Ken Howard have impressive credentials. But it’s now fair to say both teams — once considered long-standing powers — are in rebuilding mode. So, with Muir and Rosemead out of the top 10, which teams deserve to fill the spots? Speak now or forever hold your peace.

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