All-Rio Hondo League Football: Nick Bueno is MVP.

I’ll post all-league football throughout the week. We start with the Rio Hondo League, which also published in today’s paper. Almont League coming Thursday, followed by Prep League on Friday.

RIO HONDO LEAGUE
2010 All-League Football
Most Valuable Player:
Nick Bueno, Monrovia, Senior
Offensive Back of the Year: Josh Simangunsong, Temple City, Senior
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Dean Bisterfeldt, Monrovia, Senior
All-Purpose Players of the Year: Sean Courtney, South Pasadena, Senior; Tyler Roach, Temple City, Senior
Linebacker of the Year: Derrick Johnson, Monrovia, Senior
Defensive Linemen of the Year: Ellis McCarthy, Junior, Monrovia
Defensive Backs of the Year: Charlie Cimmarusti, Monrovia, Senior; Michael Arkfeld, La Canada, Senior

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
WR: Matt Nelson, South Pasadena, Senior
WR: Jay Henderson, Monrovia, Senior
TE: Jay Kolina, La Canada, Senior
OT: Faustino Macatangay, Monrovia, Senior
OT: Alan Felix, San Marino, Senior
OG: Ryan Teegarden, Monrovia, Senior
OG: Brian Wong, Temple City, Junior
C: Michael Lind, South Pasadena, Senior
QB: Conor Bednarski, South Pasadena, Senior
RB: Patrick Martin, South Pasadena, Senior
RB: Christian Blanco, Monrovia, Senior
RB: Daleep Sandhu, La Canada, Senior
K: Nick Palmer, Temple City, Senior

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DL: Lorenzo Casas, Monrovia, Junior
DL: Tresjan Simmons, Blair, Senior
DL: Kevin Figueroa, South Pasadena, Senior
DE: Jerome Brown, Monrovia, Senior
DE: Adrian Velasco, Monrovia, Senior
LB: Oliver Campbell, San Marino, Senior
LB: George Frazier, Monrovia, Sophomore
LB: Tim Sanderson, Temple City, Senior
DB: Jay Henderson, Monrovia, Senior
DB: Anthony Craft, Monrovia, Sophomore
DB: Miguel Lagunas, South Pasadena, Junior
DB: Andrew Anda, Temple City, Senior
P: Nick Palmer, Temple City, Senior

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Girls Soccer: Just call her “The Comback Kid”. Flintridge Sacred Heart’s Alyssa Conti was paralyzed from the hips down before making a triumphant return to the field.


Above: Alyssa Conti, right, shown here with teammate Natalie Zeenni at a recent photo shoot.

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

Alyssa Conti is a typical teenager. She runs, jumps, gossips with her friends, sends and receives constant text messages and studies hard.

Oh yeah, she plays a little soccer, too. So well that the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy captain has already accepted a scholarship to play at Johns Hopkins University next season.

Thirteen months ago, walking, running and playing soccer would have seemed so surreal. Conti was sitting in a Huntington Memorial Hospital bed, paralyzed from the hips down.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be playing,” she said. “Hopefully, I could run some day. Now being the captain is, oh my gosh, I did it.”

It all happened suddenly.

She was playing in a Sunday game for her Pasadena-based club soccer team. She had a fever of 104 degrees that night. The following day was a school holiday so the Pasadena resident spent most of the day resting, but her fever was still at 104. She went to the refrigerator to get some Gatorade when strange things began happening.

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Boys Hoops: La Caada Tournament starts Tuesday

Well, technically the tournament starts today, but it’s St. Francis vs. Glendale. The Golden Knights can’t play when it officially begins because of finals, so they’ll start tonight.

La Caada Boys Basketball Tournament
All games at La Caada High
Tuesday
Muir vs. Village Christian, 4 p.m.
Bonita vs. Schurr, 6 p.m.
La Caada vs. Arcadia, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday
Glendale vs. Schurr, 3 p.m.
Village Christian vs. Arcadia, 4:30 p.m.
St. Francis vs. Bonita, 6 p.m.
La Caada vs. Muir, 7:30 p.m.

Friday
Arcadia vs. Muir, 3 p.m.
Schurr vs. St. Francis, 4:30 p.m.
Glendale vs. Bonita, 6 p.m.
La Caada vs. Village Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday
Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Press box officials blow it on championshp night

Prep reporters from the Orange County Register should have been treated better at Saturday’s Mid-Valley Division championship between Monrovia and Whittier Christian. According to our very own eyewitnesses working the game, which includes Miguel, officials working the Arcadia High press box demanded that all reporters be out of the press box less than 30 minutes following the game, or roughly 10:30 p.m., which is asking a lot of reporters when it’s a championship that ends at 10:05 with a ceremony on the field that follows. The O.C. reporters were trying to finish their stories when they were asked to pack up and leave. The O.C. reporters asked for a few more minutes but apparently were escorted out, which turned into an ugly scene that required police to be summoned to the press box. Police took statements and no arrests were made, but you will probably hear more about this in the days to come.

Fred’s comment: Something needs to be done for working members of the media who cover championship games that aren’t at big venues like Anaheim. At those events, CIF officials are there and are very kind allowing reporters to finish their stories. That same courtesy needs to be extended to all venues hosting championship games. These are by far the toughest to cover because of late starts, celebration and ceremonies that follow championship events. And when you have out-of-area reporters like the O.C. Register, you need to be gracious hosts, there is nowhere else for them to file their stories but the press area. To rush reporters out less than 30 minutes following a game is absolutely ridiculous. In fact, we should be allowed at least 45 minutes to finish since CIF requires a short “cooling off” period before we start interviews on the field. We’re trying to provide memories in the newspaper that last a lifetime, but apparently those working the games don’t want to allow for few a extra minutes so we can do our job. Totally unacceptable.

Saturday Night Aftermath: A perfect 10 for Monrovia, which defeats Whittier Christian 38-8 for the school’s first ever CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division championship.

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM SATURDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

FINAL BOX SCORE
CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFFS
MID-VALLEY DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
MONROVIA 38, WHITTIER CHRISTIAN 8

Whittier Christian 0 0 8 0 — 8
Monrovia 0 14 17 7 — 38

SCORING
M: Jay Henderson 68 punt return (Mason Bryant kick)
M: Henderson 28 pass from Nick Bueno (Bryant kick)
M: Henderson 63 pass from Bueno (Bryant kick)
M: Bryant 32 FG
M: Henderson 46 pass from Bueno (Bryant kick)
WC: Grant Escobar 42 run (Escobar run)
M: Christian Blanco 3 run (Bryant kick)
Records: Whittier Christian 12-2, Monrovia 12-2

Pasadena Star-News: Wildcats change their stripes

Whittier Daily News: Whittier Christian proves no match for Monrovia

Orange County Register: Whittier Christian beaten with second-half blitz

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

ARCADIA – For those who came before them and eyed the ultimate prize nine times in a seemingly standstill span of 75 years, there’s closure at last.

For the Monrovia High School football team that came so close last season after making its first CIF-Southern Section finals appearance in a decade, there’s closure at last.

To say the least, this was a long time coming, and there was no denying the Wildcats in their 10th CIF finals appearance, as Monrovia emphatically raced to a convincing 38-8 victory over Whittier Christian to win its first Mid-Valley Division championship in front of 4,557 at Arcadia High.

“This one is for the community,” said Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox, who’s in his third season at the helm. “It was a long time coming. This one is for the boys.”

Monrovia lost championship games in 1935, 1951, 1959, 1973, 1982, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2009, but this 2010 team that took pride in a punishing defense and an explosive offense is what the Monrovia faithful will remember forever. Perhaps the best part is that the Wildcats now get to add a CIF championship plaque, no doubt the centerpiece to the trophy case that consists of nine runner-up plaques.

Monrovia (12-2) was led by wide receiver Jay Henderson, who caught five passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns. He played every bit the part of a senior who left it all on the field.

“I’ve been waiting for a game like this,” Henderson said. “This is my best game ever, and I left it all on the field.”

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OC Register’s Fryer: Whittier Christian 21, Monrovia 14; Whittier Christian says it has sold 1,000 tickets …

My former colleague and good friend Steve Fryer says Monrovia has not faced a passing like the one Whittier Christian will bring Saturday against Monrovia in the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship game. But the real question is, has Whittier Christian seen a quarterback like Monrovia’s Nick Bueno? The kid’s thrown for 1,652 yards and 20 TDs and rushed for 1,462 yards and 14 TDs. Some might call him a defensive coordinator’s nightmare. Just saying.

Football: Monrovia’s Blanco finally getting his chance

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

MONROVIA – Christian Blanco’s football career started seven years ago as a fifth-grade student at Monroe Elementary School.

The senior running back from Monrovia High School wasn’t carrying a football, much less wearing pads or cleats.

In fact, he wasn’t even on a football field.

He was racing his friend Davonte Walls in the 100-meter dash. Walls lost that day, but went home to tell his dad, Donell, about the race.

Blanco’s come a long way since, and become another weapon in the long list of weapons Monrovia will use against Whittier Christian on Saturday night at 7:30 in the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship game at Arcadia High School.

“He (Davonte) came up to me and said, `Hey, dad, I really want you to meet my friend,’ ” recalled Donell, who works security at Monrovia and has served as head coach for the Wildcats freshman football team.

“I saw him (Blanco) race again and I thought he was pretty fast for his size. I encouraged him to play football, and he did.”

It wasn’t long before Blanco signed up to play for the Duarte Falcons. He wasn’t a stranger at Monrovia, where his older brothers Genaro and Rigo wrestled and played soccer.

Blanco grew up attending Monrovia football games and was in awe of star running back Adam Gabriel, who was heavily recruited by Wisconsin, Colorado and USC before signing with Colorado State. Blanco vowed to one day play running back.

“Since I was a little kid I wanted to play running back at this school,” Blanco recalled.
“So I did my best to work as hard as I could to get and run you over.”

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