Above: Rosemead’s Tra Sumler was a unanimous pick for the Star-News Player of the Year.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! With hardly of us working today I thought today would be a good day to throw up this thread and let you have your say about the Star-News’ All-Area football teams while the turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie get set on the table. You can fill in the blanks and make your arguments. The AP is all purpose, which can be used for an extra quarterback, two-way standout or just about anyone that absolutely deserves to be on the team. You might think the hardest decisions are at quarterback, running back, but it’s actually the offensive lineman, the ones that make it all happen.
Player of the year:
Coach of the year: First Team Offense
QB: (1); RB: (2); AP: (1); WR: (3); OL: (5); PK: (1) First Team Defense
DL: (3); LB: (4); DB: (3); SS: (1); P: (1)
CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION WESTERN DIVISION PLAYOFFS
FRIDAY, 7:30 p.m.
ST. FRANCIS (9-2) vs. PALMDALE (9-2) at PALMDALE HIGH (2137 E Avenue R, Palmdale)
Palmdale is led by quarterback Joshua Shaw’s 1,586 yards and 12 touchdowns. St. Francis coach Jim Bonds is keeping an eye on the Florida-commit, who is the second-leading rusher with 637 yards and nine touchdowns. “They have a stud (Shaw) who is committed to Florida. He’s a starting safety/defensive back and does some nice job running,” Bonds said. “He can throw the ball. They have an outstanding back on Corey Washington whose another guy we need to account for.” Washington’s rushed for 758 yards and six touchdowns. Dietrich Riley, who injured his hamstring against Loyola, is getting closer to 100 percent, though he probably won’t get there until the season’s over. As Bonds put it, “When you’re a guy of his speed, that’s your game,” he said. “You have to have a hamstring that’s functioning. It’ll linger but it won’t be 100 percent.” Quarterback Justin Posthuma (1,996 yards, 17 touchdowns) still has a cast in his non-throwing hand. It broke in two places against Alemany, though he returned in the final game of the season to lead the Golden Knights to an impressive win over Chaminade. “I was amazed the doctor let him go back in the game,” said Bonds regarding the game against Alemany. “They thought he might have dislocated it in one place. In the game, the doctor taped it up and let him go.” X-Rays later showed it was fractured in two places. He’ll continue to play with the cast and a half inch of foam, per CIF rules. Posthuma (634 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns) no doubt is tough, and that much was accentuated by his late-game heroics. “If you have a fracutre you’re gonna be in quite a bit of pain,” Bonds said. “He’s tougher than nails to get back out there and do what he was able to do.” St. Francis will drive to the Palmdale area for a playoff game for the fourth time since 2002. The Golden Knights played at Palmdale in 2003 and lost 26-0 in the first round of the Division III playoffs. St. Francis had better luck the following year and beat the Falcons, 19-10, before reaching the semifinals and running into Mission League rival Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. Last year, St. Francis lost in the first round, 30-17, to Quartz Hill, located just 16 minutes from Palmdale. As for the chilly weather in Palmdale … “We told our guys it’s going to be colder than it is down here,” Bonds said, “but we’re not going to overemphasize it. It’s going to be cold for both teams, but they’re used to it because they live up there.” St. Francis defeated Gahr, 55-34; Palmdale defeated Santa Monica, 45-26.
“They’re 10-1 for a reason,” San Marino coach D.R. Moreland said. “Offensively they spread the ball around and have their athletes in space. It’s a challenge to cover them. They’re going to definitely mix up our defensive schemes. They’re physical and they fly to the ball. They’re going to hit us when they get the chance.” John Chavez leads things at quarterback for the Aztecs. He’s completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,352 yards and 11 touchdowns. Running back Kendrec McDade’s rushed for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns. Nick Valverde is tough as nails with eight sacks and Jose Nunez leads the team in tackles with 93 for an 8.5 average per game. San Marino’s offense will present matchup problems for Azusa. It won’t be easy to defend the Titans’ Benny Hung, Stevie Yortsos and the mobile quarterback Joe Forgatch. “I think in our offense we’re finding that you have a lot of weapons,” Moreland said. “There’s a lot of our offense to defend, which puts a lot of pressure on defenses.” Yeah, tell that to Rosemead. The Panthers couldn’t find a way to contain Hung, who rushed for 190 yards on 22 carries. Forgatch completed 12 of 19 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. San Marino defeated Rosemead, 42-20; Azusa defeated Covina, 41-13.
CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION EAST VALLEY DIVISION PLAYOFFS
FRIDAY, 7 P.M.
MARANATHA (9-2) vs. ONTARIO CHRISTIAN (5-6) at ONTARIO CHRISTIAN (931 W. Philadelphia St., Ontario)
Ontario Christian’s record is deceiving. The host Knights played Cerritos Valley Christian and were leading until the fourth quarter; they led by two touchdowns against Azusa before falling, 28-27; lost to the Northeast Division’s No. 2 seed Linfield Christian, 27-26; and Ontario Christian lost in the last minute to Aquinas for the Christian League championship. “They easily could have been 7-3 or 8-2,” Maranatha coach Joel Murphy said. Ontario Christian is a senior-heavy team, starting with quarterback Andrew Lachelt who’s thrown for 563 yards and rushed for 746 yards and nine touchdowns. “He’s mobile as could be and a dual threat at quarterback,” Murphy said. “It’ll be quite a task to keep him in check.” Maranatha defeated Frazier, 59-13; Ontario Christian defeated 29 Palms, 14-9.
CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION NORTHEAST DIVISION PLAYOFFS
SATURDAY, 7 P.M.
RIO HONDO PREP (11-0) vs. SADDLEBACK VALLEY CHRISTIAN (7-4) AT ST. MARGARET’S HIGH (31641 La Novia Ave., San Juan Capistrano)
Someone asked if I was going to the Rio Hondo Prep game. To answer your question, yes I will be there live from St. Margaret’s. It’ll be the first opportunity I get to watch the Kares live and in action. I really hope my attending won’t jinx their vibe. Rio Hondo Prep is the defending champion and no doubt have a target on its back. They’ve had it all year with teams gunning for them, but as always the Kares have taken care of business. Saddleback Valley Christian boasts a good quarterback in Zac Rodarmel who’s passed for almost 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s also the team’s second leading rusher behind William Hinn’s 1,177 yards and 22 touchdowns. “He’s a tall kid and throws pretty darn good,” Rio Hondo Prep coach Ken Drain said. “Their running back is fast and farily quick. Those guys do 99 percent of the offense; stop those guys and you can stop the offense, that’s the plan.” Rio Hondo Prep will have to go into Saturday nights’ game without Cody Cowell, a 6-foot-1, 225 pound tight end/linebacker. Cowell separated his right arm in the first round. That injury is not new to Cowell. He separated both his shoulders last season, but returned in time to play in all the Kares’ playoff games. Judging from Drain’s words, Cowell is without a doubt Rio Hondo Prep’s best player and heart and soul of the team. “He’s our enforcer on defense and he’s a great tight end,” Drain said. “He’s our lead blocker on a lot of our running plays. He’ll be a big loss.” Rio Hondo Prep defeated Desert Christian 34-0 in the first round. SVC squeezed past Riverside Christian, 21-20.