Star Picks: Live from The Grand in Long Beach for the 36th annual CIF-Southern Section press conference and luncehon.

Three teams left from the West San Gabriel Valley, and you all know them by now: Monrovia and San Gabriel will battle for the Mid-Valley Division championship and, of course, Rio Hondo Prep in the Northeast Division finals for the 13th time in its storied history. I’m writing this from The Grand in Long Beach, sitting at San Gabriel’s table. The Matadors were here in 2003 when they reached the finals back in 2003. Monrovia is making its third straight appearance. Rio Hondo Prep was here two years ago. I will go wait until our Tuesday show to make my predictions. Some might think they will be easy to make, but believe me, this won’t be. The Mid-Valley final will be Saturday at Monrovia High at 7 p.m. Rio Hondo Prep will host the final at 7 p.m. as well. The plan is to give both games extensie coverage. I will write features on all three teams that will appear in the paper this week. We will have a game preview in the paper on Saturday. I will be at the Mid-Valley final where Mike “The Cousin” will join the Star-News contingent for Coveritlive. Our Keith Lair will be at Rio Hondo Prep. My question to you right now is, who do you want to see featured in the paper this week from each team? Let me know and stick around.

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    RHP Defense has been ridiculous… 8 points in 3 games.

  • USA Bob

    Agreed the defense for RHP has been great! but, I would like you to focus on all the linemen on offense. The O line has been outstanding!

  • Hoss Cartwright

    Miguel, do a special write up on Deshawn Ramirez. Ellis McCarthy needs no press. He will get his when the Army All American Game pops off. We Can’t Forget about Luke Williams…you can mention him. However Deshawn has came from being out of School, to a Scoring Machine and All CIF player. He turned his life around. He deserves the write up. Heyworth, Craft, G5, Bryant, and Walsh will have lots of coverage next season as the Cats Make another Run for a title.

    Monrovia vs San Gabriel
    Miguel I agree with you, that this title games is far from being “in the bag” for Monrovia. When you have a dual threat QB like Andy Guerrero, and Plethora of WR led by Villalobos, things will be interesting. Their Dink and Dump style, is very hard to deal with. Then Andy’s ability to make plays with his feet also adds another dimension. San Gabriel’s Defense lacks Size, but is very quick to the ball, and they hit, If your passes are not accurate, SG will pick you off, because their DBs are the WRs and they can catch. San Gabriel plays with a lot of emotion as well. Kids seem to run faster and hit harder when they are pumped up. I watch them against Muir, and they did not back down. They Made plays, and they Actually did well against two all American DBs in Seymour and Owens. They are well coached and they will be ready.
    Monrovia has the Size and speed advantage. The Cats game plan has to be to “Simplify” things. They will Run Straight at SG with Bias, to wear them down. The Monrovia Db’s believe it or not, is actually playing much better WR’s this game, and will have to play the short and long passes. If Monrovia hits like they did against Covina, SG will wear down. The Cats are the Favorites, but the Question is by how much? It’s going to be close, but I think Monrovia wins back to back titles. Especially in front of a sold out Crown at Wildcat Stadium. I am sure the West Covina fans will mosey their way over to Mtown to support Maddox and the wildcats. I know SG is Going to represent. It’s going to be electric, crazy, and Historic at Monrovia Sat at 7pm. Get there Early.

    Monrovia 42 San Gabriel 21.

  • RHP Parent

    For Rio Hondo … I’d like to the the Tayco brothers and Holguin brothers featured…

  • Edwin Ixta

    How about writing about the RHP coach and his sons? Football at Rio is a family affair, and for Ken Drain and his sons, RHP football means a lot. Drain has now coached each of his 3 boys to CIF championships, his two youngest as head coach. Dave Drain, his youngest, is a senior now starting both ways on the offensive and defensive line for 3 years. This young man receives little to no credit for all the work he has put in over the years. Saturday, this is Dave’s second championship appearance and he will be looking to finish on top. Older brothers Ed and Devon take stats on the sidelines, lead the rallying pep band during football games, paint the lines, endzones, and logos on the football field, and seem to talk nonstop about RHP football. I STRONGLY urge you to take the time and effort to get to know and write about the great coach Mr. Drain is and the sons he has trained so well.

  • RHPfan

    I’d like to see the seniors featured. This will be their final High School game and they have made a difference on this team. Even though Alex Tayco has been sidelined with an ankle injury for most of the season, he didn’t let that stop him against Boron. Also, KJ Moore was a real force this season showing he is a great leader. Although, Andrew Quintero was injured early in the season, he was on his way to earning some top awards. Dave Drain, Tyler Heap, Javier Rodriguez, all these guys contributed in huge ways.

  • Duarte Gorillas 42 Monrovia Bobcats 0 Jr Pee Wee 1977

    I think you should Interview Coach Donald Davis and FEATURE THE ENTIRE MHS Secondary as they will be the key for victory for MHS. CRAFT BRYANT AND RAMERIZ.

  • Miguel Melendez

    Who cares: I deleted your comment because, in short, you have no class. To trash Rio Hondo Prep and to relegate them to page 3 in the bottom fold is just a dumb remark. Rio Hondo Prep worked just as hard to get here and deserve just as much coverage.

    To everyone else who posted a comment and left suggestions: I appreciate and feed off your enthusiasm and passion. Here’s what you should look for in the paper this week:

    Tuesday: Full story from Monday’s CIF-SS press conference and luncheon.

    Wednesday: Feature on a San Gabriel player along with a football notebook that will include items on Monrovia and Rio Hondo Prep.

    Thursday: Feature on a Monrovia player along with a football notebook that will include items on Rio Hondo Prep and San Gabriel.

    Friday: Feature on Rio Hondo Prep along with a football notebook that will include items on Monrovia and San Gabriel.

    Saturday: Game preview on San Gabriel-Monrovia and game preview on Desert Christian-Rio Hondo Prep.

    Just want to touch on a few pointers.

    I featured the entire defensive line a few years ago (or was it last year?) from Monrovia. Photo-wise in the paper it’s a big challenge to have a bunch of players on the front page, so this year I’m focusing on one or two players max.

    To the Rio Hondo Prep fan who suggested I write a story on the Kares coaching staff: A few years ago I featured the entire coahing staff, focusing especially on Ken Drain and his impressive dedication to the program and school.

    I will do my best to mention as many names this week, especially the seniors. Good luck to all and hope you continue reading through Saturday.

  • Don-O

    A little confused here. I thought CIF made a big deal last year about Monrovia High’s facility not being big enough to hold a championship game so it ended up at Arcadia High. Did something change? I’m not complaining (I live within walking distance of MHS), just wondering.

  • RHP Fan

    i think you should do an article on the RHP O-line, they worked really really hard this year and it would mean a lot to them.

  • Monrovia Hammer

    Big M, As far as the game… I can’t wait..Go Cats.

    I think Ramirez is a good story. He really is a nice young man. Williams does have in future in football. But what you dont hear about to much is the under classmen too much. Bias is a great story. What about junior Brett Walsh, he is a beast out there.Craft and Bryant are good picks also.

    So my pic is Williams, Ramirez and Bias and under classmen.
    I hope that fits on your page!

  • RHP Fan

    I agree with the comment that the RHP fan put about the RHP O-line, I think you should give them some press. Maybe not a whole page but just a little article about the them.

  • Kennedy Bryant

    Good Job Miggy…. Look forward to reading about all teams. Also given you props on reader input. Great idea and perhaps could be done more often. Keep up the great work.

  • Cody Cowell

    Wow, that is definitely a tough one. It’s hard to showcase one individual for the success of RHP as they are all just as devoted as one another. I know each and every one of these players deserve to be in the spot they are currently in.

    I think a feature on the Tayco brothers would be a great idea considering it is Alex’s last year, and how he has had such an impact for this RHP offense in terms of rushing and leadership. Not to mention this is his third CIF-SS championship appearance (’08,’09,’11) so in no way is he new to this atmosphere. His experience and leadership will certainly play a big part of the outcome of the game on Saturday.

    Additionally, his younger brother Nate(sophomore), a talented junior varsity standout, gets called up for the playoffs and he performs as if he’s one of the veterans for that team especially in the win last week against Boron. I have never seen a sophomore perform as well as he has in the playoff. I think it’s funny how teams see Alex running off the field to get a breather, and they think Rio won’t run, then they give it to his little brother who is just as dangerous.

    It should be noted that these two are devoted to something other than their football team as they both coach young kids in the sport of football. They dedicate 2-3 weekdays, and their Saturday’s to coach the youth. They do not know what it feels like to sleep in on a Saturday, after a hard fought Friday night game because every Saturday, they are up bright and early, dedicated to these kids.

    With all that being said, good luck to both RHP and Monrovia this weekend.

  • RHP

    Hey Miguel,

    I would like to see what that comment said that you took off, if you could.
    just curious.

  • RHP

    Hey Miguel,

    I would like to see that comment that was posted, if you could.
    Just curious.


  • Rhp Parent

    You cannot single out any player on RHP. Although some of the comments above have some valid points, You cannot place the younger Tyco (although an exciting player) above drive, determination, and skillfull playing of players such as Perez, Rosales, White, Rivera and Holgiun. All of which have Played in playoff games as freshmen, sophmores, and now juniors.
    Should you interview the seniors, Don’t forget Sam French as the other parent did.


    No divide and conquer here.

  • Hoss Cartwright

    You know something Miguel, After watching Andy Guerrero in person, and on film. He is more of a threat than Livingston from covina was. Forget about the hype, this kid can play. SG Executes better than just about anyone in the mid valley. Mtown better come ready… SG is the giant killer of the Midvalley. They have figured out how to play passing league during the season. They just pick at you and pick at you…dink and dunk. I think their philosophy must be “Size counts for nothing”, when the ball is out super fast, and everyone is running. Their lineman Cut, get out and run, very bothersome. Luckily Maddox, has some passing league experience during last off season…You know Monrovia played Santa Margarita in passing league, and lost 3-2. The cats really gave their DB’s problems and covered well…However that’s before Heyworth was named the starter. Stanton was just too good…the tight ends got us in that one. I think Mtown will run a lot of 7 on 7 this week. As a Mtowner, this could be our most challenging game. Cats don’t let the matadors ‘ole you. Everyone thinks mtown is counting the chickens before they hatch. No way…if the cats have a let down, SG will be holding up that precious trophy.

  • Dan B

    The RHP quarterback. A QB that can hit, block, tackle, sack, pass, run.

  • Finchamp

    Regarding RHP headlines–

    Shame shame…let’s not tell Miguel how to do his job, who to feature and what is of interest. Clearly certain individuals have made very notable contributions on the run to the championship game but RHP’s success has always been built on the concept of a chain “we are only as good as our weakest link.”

    We all know the guys that get the headlines every week. They get their share of press all season long. I am interested in recognizing the guys in the trenches mostly because they do their work week in and week out without the fanfare. But their is a better story to tell than that.

    At RHP it begins when a boy becomes a KARE and with it he understands there is a responsibility. A responsibility that he will be dutiful, accountable and committed. That he will understand the game in a different way than many do because he will be commissioned to coach other younger children in the Kare Youth League program. Many are invited but the few that remain and go to RHP understand the higher calling and responsibility.

    I find it particularly noteworthy that all of the coaches at RHP were once young boys in the KARE program, went to RHP, now coach and teach there and have dedicated their lives to the development of young people. It is an anomaly in today’s world and unfortunately so for those who do not get it. The door is open at Kare Youth League however.

    And finally, it is family. The program fosters brotherhood that begins at an early age. Day trips, camp outs, tours and much more. I’m sure the team still has Thursday night dinners together and I know it made a very positive impact on my son and made me pleased to know my investment was well spent.

  • Rivera

    Well said Mr. Finchamp.

    These guys grow up together and will be friends for life.

  • objective fan

    To Finchamp, Once in a great while, someone will post an outstanding comment on these blogs, you sir have done just that. The boys on the RHP football team, as Mr. Rivera stated, will be friends for life. The Kare Youth League program not only produces excellent football players, but quality young people who strive to attain the very best at everything they do. Perhaps the most important thing these kids learn is how to serve others. It is true, these boys donate a great deal of their free time to coaching and mentoring youngsters during the week and on saturdays. There are a handful of exceptional and stand out athletes on the team, but the kids on special teams, 2nd string etc. work just as hard as any one else, all you need to do is go watch a practice and you will agree. These boys have gotten this far as a team, remaining a team philosophy will take them the rest of the way GO KARES!