Football: How will the Rio Hondo League unfold?

Above: Will anybody sneak up on the Monrovia Wildcats? Me thinks not.

There’s a better chance of me landing in the moon than anybody knocking off Monrovia for the Rio Hondo League championship. That being said, there are no assurances from second on down. Temple City (4-3-1, 2-1), La Caada (4-3, 2-1) and San Marino (6-2, 1-2) are going to have quite the battle. With the remaining games left this season, here’s what I think we all expected would happen before the start of the season: La Caada loses to Monrovia, beats South Pasadena; San Marino beats Blair, loses to Temple City; Temple City beats South Pasadena; beats San Marino. Now, because La Caada beat San Marino last week that kind of threw off the rest of the league. There are a few scenarios that can play out, but the most obvious people thought would unfold would have Monrovia, Temple City and San Marino headed to the playoffs. All eyes will be on South Pasadena-Temple City and Monrovia-La Caada. The team with a decent chance at pulling off the upset in Week 9 is South Pasadena. The Tigers held Monrovia to 14-first half points. A Temple City loss would wreak havoc and put the Rams, Spartans and Titans all at 2-2. Then La Caada beats South Pas in Week 10, putting them at 3-2. If Temple City beats San Marino, the Rams are 3-2, and they move represent the RHL at No. 2 because of its tiebreaker over LC, which would finish third. A San Marino win puts them at 3-2 but would finish third because of its loss to the Spartans. This, of course, will only play out if the Rams lose Friday night, but don’t count on it.

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Bracketology: The Scouting Guru breaks down the playoff picture in Southeast and Mid Valley

Good morning Pasadena. The Scouting Guru is someone I use often at the Tribune. Since a lot of this information has a bearing on Pasadena teams, I thought I would share it with you. The Guru has been all over the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, and like always, he’s offered to share his thoughts, free of charge. Don’t hate, enjoy it for what it’s worth, which is one man’s opinion on the talent and teams in the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding areas. I know those guys at the Mid-Valley don’t care for him, but what do they know.

Guru Says: Well, this is my favorite time of year. We are watching tons of film for 2010 prospects. But more than that, it’s close to playoff time – which means it’s time for a little bracketology for the playoffs. Let’s dive into it.
First, what needs to be understood is the protocol directly from the CIF-SS Handbook that is online at “The initial step is to designate four teams (maximum) as seeds, with No. 1 and No. 4 placed in the top bracket, and No. 2 and 3 in the bottom bracket (see Diagram 1). An exception to this procedure would be if seeds in the same half of the bracket are from the same league……Is it possible to designate more than four seeds? The task would be virtually impossible on two counts. Attempting to delineate which team is the No. 7 seed, as opposed to No. 8, or No. 12 rather than No. 13, would result in 25 different answers by 25 different people. Additionally, an attempt at a “true seed” would be in opposition to the CIF-SS Constitution and By-laws, which specify a league’s designated No. 1 entry shall meet a No. 3 entry, and a No. 2 shall meet another No. 2, where the draw provides for same in the opening round.”

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BREAKING NEWS: Marshall’s Pickens relieved of duties


Ricky Pickens has been relieved of his duties as head coach at Marshall High. Pickens was in his second season coaching the Eagles. He led Marshall to a thrilling 36-24 win over Pasadena Poly that helped the Eagles snap a 33-game losing streak earlier this season.

“We agreed to release him due to personal issues,” said Jason Taylor, Marshall’s athletic director.

Pickens said Taylor was supportive in his decision to leave with two games left in the regular season.

“My mom is sick,” Pickens said. “She’s got some health issues and it’s something I want to take care of. I didn’t want to stay around when I wasn’t going to be 100 percent. I had made a decision that I was going to let (Taylor) know by the end of the season, but I wanted him to have ample time to look for someone so we just made a decision to go ahead now.

“I would have liked to finished but it’s taken a toll on me. My mom doesn’t live in the city. She lives in Victorville. I have to leave and get across the freeway and fight traffic and it becomes an issue. (Taylor) agreed and said your family comes first. I didn’t want to do it like that beause I love Marshall. The opportunity I had was phenomenal. I certainly wish them the best and I”ll always be a fan. I do want to coach again once i iron these things, and I believe i can do it somewhere when this is over.”

In his nearly two years at the helm, Pickens compiled a 2-16 record as head coach.

Germel Ford will take over on an interim basis. Ford served as Marshall’s linebackers coach. He teaches physical education at Marshall.

“We felt that was a great fit,” Pickens said, “and i definitely support it.”

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Football: Pasadena joins the PSN’s Top 10 Rankings


1. ST. FRANCIS (7-1) — Is there really any debating St. Francis is not the best ream in the PSN area? Enough. St. Francis is the undisputed No. 1 team in the WSGV. Despite losing a few weeks ago to Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, the Golden Knights dropped only one spot to No. 2 in the CIF-SS Western Division rankings. Say all you want about the CIF polls’ validity, but the pollsters finally showed a deserving team some respect, and that team was St. Francis. Most teams after losing a game drop several spots, just like San Marino did in the CIF-SS Mid Valley Division, dropping from No. 2 to No. 6 after losing to Monrovia, the No. 1 team in the Mid Valley. St. Francis’ biggest task comes Friday night at Alemany. This won’t be easy, and you’d be crazy to think Friday’s outcome doesn’t define the Golden Knights’ season.

2. MONROVIA (8-0) — The Wildcats have played down to opponents, and was that ever more evident last week against South Pasadena? Monrovia mustered 14 first-half points before De’Shawn Ramirez saved the day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Monrovia’s only enemy right now is itself. They can’t play down to opponents and lose focus. If and when they do, they’ll get caught off guard and the domino’s will follow.

3. TEMPLE CITY (4-3-1) — The Rams scored a yawner of a victory last week against Blair. The powers that be must have grown tired of watching Temple City have its way with Blair because with less than four minutes left in the game at Muir, the lights went out. Nevertheless, the Rams jump up one spot from No. 4 after San Marino’s loss.

4. LA CNADA (4-3) — The Spartans surprised the world when they knocked off San Marino. Despite a soft preseason schedule, the Titans were the favorite to win. Were they exposed? Rocky Moore is about as good as any quarterback in the Rio Hondo League, and probably the rest of the San Gabriel Valley. The Spartans’ win over San Marino throws the Rio Hondo League into whack, a bit. La Canada is probably going to finish 3-2 in league after losing to Monrovia and beating South Pasadena, while San Marino will be 2-2 heading into its finale against Temple City. A loss to the Rams, San Marino is out of the playoffs. A win over Temple City and we’ve got ourselves quite the scenario that certainly will give us all a reaching for Tylenol.

5. SAN GABRIEL (5-3) — San Gabriel’s making me look bad, and I’m sure they’re enjoying every second of it. As you may have noticed by now, I picked Schurr to win and already the SG fanatics are saying that guarantees the Matadors will win. Not necessarily. Schurr owns San Gabriel like I own my 2006 Accord — I beat it up, wear it down and tear it down. Sure, San Gabriel’s knocked off a few good opponents, but the Matadors are walking in uncharted waters right now. They’re in prime position to take the driver’s seat in the Almont League, but they’ll probably fumble the opportunity to land the coveted seat because they’ll succumb to pressure. I digress. This post was supposed to be about San Gabriel’s impressive win over Alhambra. The Matadors didn’t just win handily. They destroyed the Moors. My brother, a San Gabriel alum, gave me grief the entire Saturday morning. I got the last laugh when Oregon beat USC.

6. RIO HONDO PREP (8-0) — The Kares are taking care of business the way Monrovia isn’t. Rio Hondo Prep is the No. 1-ranked team in the Northeast Division and they’re leaving no doubt they are the best. The only reason why Monrovia hasn’t dropped from No. 1 is because they haven’t lost, but they’ve yet to dominate opponents like they did at the start of the season, particularly against Rosemead and San Dimas. One thing the Kares do need is a more efficient passing game. This week’s showdown with Pasadena Poly took a hit when Panthers sophomore Jackson Allan suffered a serious head injury and underwent brain surgery over the weekend. While the game has Prep League implications on the line it’s certain everyone will be thinking about Allan and his family.

7. SAN MARINO (6-2) — De ja vu? San Marino exposed Monrovia a few weeks ago and now they got a taste of its own medicine against La Canada last week. The Spartans secondary was a virtual wall against the Titans offense. A lot will be riding on the Temple City-San Marino game on Nov. 13. Wish I could be there.

8. ALHAMBRA (4-3) — The Moors still have a shot at the playoffs if they beat Bell Gardens and Keppel. Alhambra coach Gil Ruedaflores said the Moors would need a balanced attack to beat San Gabriel, but there was quite a lot of passes thrown and Alhambra never really established the run. This was a problem last year and it’s a problem this year.

9. MARANATHA (6-2) — The Minutemen escaped with a 19-12 win over Sierra Canyon. Maranatha coach Joel Murphy said the team’s made drastic improvements since the starting the season at 0-2. It’s safe to say the Minutemen will extend their streak to seven after taking on Marshall on Friday.

10. PASADENA (4-4)Huckster I’m sure is banging his head somewhere on Sierra Madre Boulevard after seeing the Bulldogs make the list. Sure, Pasadena lost to Crescenta Valley, but after La Salle (3-5) dropped out of the rankings there was no other viable team to replace the Lancers. The Bulldogs in my book have surpassed all expectations. I’m sure that’s not what coach Mike McFarland is saying, but already at Week 9 he’s set the bar for next season. He’s building a solid foundation for Pasadena football, and in only his first year it appears McFarland has the Bulldogs ready to dethrone Muir from its pedestal that is the Turkey Tussle streak. Never mind that Muir’s having an atrocious season thus far. That’s besides the point. I last covered Pasadena against Saugus. The defense was solid and nearly came away with a win. That was Week 2. Lets see what things look like Thursday night.

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Basketball: When it comes to basketball, are we always going to talk about the same teams? PHS and Muir?

As usual, the top 10 rankings will more than likely start with Pasadena on top, but what about everybody else? Temple City lost the San Gabriel Valley’s highest scorer in James Chen; Alhambra is doing without coach Joe Petralia who retired after nearly three decades at Alhambra; Monrovia and La Salle are young this season, and was Keppel a one-year wonder or can they be counted on as a basketball school?


1. Pasadena (19-5); 2. Temple City (15-7); 3. Alhambra (16-8); 4. Monrovia (16-7); 5. La Caada (18-6); 6. Flintridge Prep (16-6); 7. Keppel (15-9); 8. La Salle (13-11); 9. Marshall (16-6); 10. Blair (12-9)


There never seems to be a shortage of good girls basketball teams, is there? Monrovia and Muir advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division III-A playoffs. The Wildcats mounted an amazing comeback after trailing by 22 points, and then-freshman Gina Hendreson dropped 38 points. Muir lost in the final seconds to Inglewood, and if not for those two losses we have ourselves an all-WSGV final. Keppel met its nemesis in Bishop Amat early in the playoffs, and you know La Caada is always tough and disciplined with Tamar Hill at the helm.


1. Muir (18-3); 2. Keppel (15-10); 3. Monrovia (15-5); 4. La Caada (18-6); 5. Pasadena Poly (17-4); 6. La Salle (14-9); 7. South Pasadena (14-9); 8. Alhambra (13-9); 9. Rosemead (10-10); 10. Flintridge Prep (13-10).

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Soccer: Start thinking about the PSN’s Top 10 rankings

I unsuccessfully tried installing just a Top 5 for soccer this season. I’m not saying last year was a down year for soccer, but after the top 5 it was a real struggle putting together a legitimate 6-10 ranking. There’s no doubt St. Francis and La Caada will always compete in boys soccer; they’re the Muir in football, they don’t rebuild, they reload. (Well, maybe not Muir this year, but you get what I’m saying). Then you have Monrovia and Pasadena which had a strong year last year. Rosemead also was in the mix. Nevertheless, I’m asking your input for the top 10 preseason rankings this year. Is it going to be another down year? Is St. Francis star Eric Verso playing this year? Will St. Francis successfully defend its CIF Southern California championship? Who is No. 1? Monrovia? St. Francis? That was the big debate last year. I guess it never ends, whether it’s football this year or soccer — St. Francis vs. Mornovia, the matchup we’d all like to see.


1. Monrovia (17-2-3); 2. Pasadena (10-1-6); 3. St. Francis (12-5-4); 4. Temple City (5-4-4); 5. La Caada (15-6-2); 6. Rosemead (11-4-4); 7. Muir (6-6-2); 8. Alhambra (5-5-1); 9. San Marino (8-9-2); 10. Blair (6-8-2).


In girls soccer, Alverno is the defending CIF champion in Division VII, and I can already hear all the talk about how Alverno played a weak schedule … yada, yada, yada, yada … The word on the street is La Salle is the top team in the WSGV. If you get a chance you will want to check out La Salle’s Samantha Whitehead. She’s a junior with tremendous speed.


1. Flintridge SH (15-4-3); 2. Arcadia (13-4-2); 3. Alverno (15-1-1); 4. Monrovia (6-5-3); 5. La Caada (11-4-3); 6. Maranatha (13-6-4); 7. Ramona Convent (15-5-1); 8. South Pasadena (10-7-4); 9. La Salle (11-5-4); 10. Westridge (5-4-3).

Below: Can Alverno repeat as CIF champions this season?

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Football: Pas Poly’s Allan in critical but stable condition

Courtesy of Facebook

If you want to show your support for this young man and his family, visit his Facebook page by clicking here. Tina Cocumelli, a teacher at Pasadena Poly, perhaps said it best. “You are so precious to all of us in your Poly family,” Cocumelli wrote Sunday night on Facebook. “Coach Ryan spent a lot of time on the junior trip telling me that you’re the “toughest guy on the team”; well, we’ve all seen proof of that on the playing field. We know you’ll use that same toughness to battle back to full health … “When you’re well enough to read this page, you’ll know that there’s a spiritual army of people loving you and praying for you and your family. None of us will rest until you’re safely through this and back “home” with us at Poly.”

Story in today’s sports section of the Star-News on page B2

Pasadena Poly sophomore Jackson Allan, injured in a football game Saturday, underwent brain surgery over the weekend to remove swelling and a blood clot, according to accounts posted on Facebook and the school’s Web site.

Allan is in critical but stable condition, said his father, Les, who has been updating his son’s status on the Facebook group page “Get Well Jackson Allan,” which was created Saturday.

“Jackson had a good night and his mom and I are with him constantly,” wrote Les Allan on Facebook. “He is at UCLA Harbor and in the best possible hands. He had surgery which went as well as it could have. He remains stable but critical, and the next few days are key. He is under very heavy sedation but still manages an occasional response to the loving and kind words that we are relaying to him.

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Star-Picks: Week 9 is here and will be gone in a flash!

The Stang Fan last week: (TSF, anyway you can e-mail me your picks/results?)
Melendez last week (overall): 14-5 (95-52-1)

Last week: My five losses were Pasadena (lost to Crescenta Valley); Alhambra (lost to San Gabriel); Bosco Tech (lost to Cantwell); La Salle (lost to Mary Star); and San Marino (lost to La Caada). PHS and San Marino made it close, but can’t say the same about the rest.

This week: This week’s “game of the week” is still up in the air. Does La Caada have a chance against Monrovia? Not many expected the Spartans to come into Titan territory and knock them with a dose of reality. What about St. Francis at Alemany? A huge Mission League showdown. Both teams are 1-0 in league and the winner all but claims the league title, something St. Francis hasn’t done in quite a while. For the record, Calpreps has the Golden Knights winning by 10. My only problem with this game is that it’s way over in Mission Hills, and with a 7:30 start it could get ugly come deadline. Then we have Schurr at San Gabriel, a HUGE Almont League showdown. The winner of this game gets in the driver’s seat for a league championship. I hear folks at San Gabriel are worried I might pick the Matadors to win. As you recall, every time I’ve picked San Gabriel to win they’ve lose and every time I’ve picked them to lose, they’ve won, except for the Keppel game. Nevertheless, the nod here goes to Schurr because lets face it, the Spartans own the Matadors. Most likely I’ll be covering PHS on Thursday night. It’s homecoming, isn’t it? The 30 minute halftime show should be fun. So we’ll have PHS in the cover Friday, a school TBD in the cover Friday.


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

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

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

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