Star-News Lucky 21 Rankings: Idle Monrovia, St. Francis hold on to top spots, but guess who’s No. 3?

STILL THE ONE: Monrovia is still the team to beat after the first week of high school football.
Staff file photo by Keith Birmingham

1. Monrovia (0-0) – The only knock of the Wildcats, who have won back-to-back Mid-Valley Division titles, is that don’t have a signature win during the last two years. They get a chance Friday, traveling to face Ayala, which routed Diamond Bar, 46-17.
2. St. Francis (0-0) – All signs point to a solid season for the Golden Knights, who hope to ride a solid defense with the quarterback skills of Jared Lebowitz. It starts Friday when Arcadia comes calling.
3. Rio Hondo Prep (1-0) – I look as the Kares as the area version of TCU and Boise State, who are small schools who have shown they can play with the big boys. Rio showed it as well, whacking Arcadia, 29-7 last week.
4. San Gabriel (1-0) – Rebuild? The Matadors showed last week in a 53-0 victory over Animo South Los Angeles that they simply reload.
5. Maranatha (0-1) – The Minutemen, with quarterback Andrew Elffers held its own against a Division 3 level team, eventually losing 29-15 to Antelope Valley. They have another tough one this week, traveling to Don Lugo.
6. San Marino (0-0) – The Titans didn’t do a thing and moved up three slots from the preseason rankings. But they get to test their will Thursday when they open the season at Eagle Rock.
7. Muir (0-1) — The Mustangs looked riderless in a 35-6 loss to Upland. But that may have been more of the skills of the Highlanders. But it doesn’t get any easier this week with a trip to Alemany scheduled on Friday.
8. Arcadia (0-1) — Are the Apaches really this bad? Or was a 29-7 loss to Rio Hondo Prep more about facing a Kares’ squad that’s a lot better than most thought while also trying to adjust to a new coaching staff? I will lean on the latter for now. But it doesn’t get any easier with a trip to St. Francis on Friday.
9. Pasadena (0-1) – The Bulldogs were in over their ahead against Alemany, which could be one of the better teams in the Serra League and Pac-5 Division. They get the week off with a chance to regroup before host Cathedral in two weeks.
10. Duarte (1-0) – The Falcons appear to back at the level when they annually competed for Montview League glory. They got the ball rolling with a 46-0 victory over Marshall last week.
Best of the Rest: 11. Rosemead (0-0), 12. Pasadena Poly (0-0)’ 13. La Salle (1-0); 14. La Canada (0-0); 15. South Pasadena (0-0); 16. Temple City (0-1); 17. Bosco Tech (0-1); 18. Flintridge Prep (0-0); 19. Keppel (0-1); 20. Marshall (0-1); 21. Blair (0-1).

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New SGVN blogs to appear this week

For those of you who didn’t already we know, we’ve been planning on switching our blogs to a new publish-type, and that will change come this week. Here’s what Fred posted, with what to expect:
What’s important for you to know: The blogs will be out of service for at least 48 hours when the transition of moving our blogs from Moveable Type to Word Press begins sometime on Wednesday. All the blogs at our eight properties are changing to Word Press, including the three area high school blogs, Inside the Huddle and our UCLA and USC blogs with Scott Wolff and Jon Gold. It’s a new blog era and after more than a year of telling us it’s coming, it’s finally here.

Friday Night Football: We may or may not have the new blogs in time for Friday night football, so for now, I would plan on not having them. Even if they’re ready, It’s going to take some time for me to learn all the new functions of what we can and can’t do and Friday is too busy of a day for me to experiment. However, we will update football scores on twitter using the #sgvfootball hashtag. Those in Pasadena can follow Steve Ramirez at Also, Mike The Cousin will be at Chino Hills vs. Bishop Amat on Friday to do live updates on Scribblelive, which will be available on the Whittier, Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley Tribune prep pages. Friday’s postgame show with Aram, Fred and I will also be on our websites instead of the blogs, so visit our websites this week, that’s where we will keep you updated along with on twitter. Again, you can follow me on twitter at srammy8. I’ll keep you updated on everything that’s happening until the blogs arrive.
Archives: You’ll be happy to know we’re not starting a completely new blog in the sense the archives will be switched over to the new blogs. I know a lot of you like to scroll through the blog history, so you’ll be happy to know we saved it.
Commenting: You can still comment anonymously and there are many other ways to comment such as through Facebook, Twitter and other ways. You can also interact with other commenters much easier through WordPress.

About WordPress: I have no idea how the new blog looks or how it’s designed. I’ve looked at other WordPress blogs, but they’re built so differently we’re going to have to wait and see what they give us.

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Star-News Pigskin Pick’em: Your picks and ours

Keith Lair and I will go head-to-head in the Star-News Pigskin Pick’em throughout the year. Here are the results from Week 0, with a look at Week 1.

Last week: Keith Lair (7-4); Steve Ramirez (6-5)
Season: Lair (7-4); Ramirez (6-5)

Last week: Keith got me by going for the Wilson’s win over Bosco Tech, and we both missed on Mountain View’s upset over Alhambra. But who had that one? If you did, buy yourself a cookie. We also missed on La Salle beating Temple City, Antelope Valley over Maranatha and Rio Hondo Prep’s big win over Arcadia.
This week: We got nearly a full slate of games, with the most intriguing being Monrovia at Ayala, which opened with a big win over Diamond Bar. Also, it doesn’t look good for Arcadia as it follows its loss to Rio Hondo Prep with a date with St. Francis.
This week’s games and predicitions: (Keith will update his picks later):
Thursday, Aug. 30

Alhambra (CA) at La Canada (CA), 7:00pm — Ramirez (La Canada); Lair (La Canada)
Rosemead (CA) at Irvine (CA), 7:00pm — Ramirez (Irvine); Lair (Irvine)
San Marino (CA) at Eagle Rock (Los Angeles, CA), 7:00pm — Ramirez (San Marino); Lair (San Marino)
Friday, Aug. 31

Arcadia (CA) at St. Francis (La Canada, CA), 7:30pm — Ramirez (St. Francis); Lair (St. Fancis)
Arroyo (El Monte, CA) at Temple City (CA), 7:00pm — Ramirez (Arroyo); Lair (Arroyo)
Blair vs. Marshall at Muir, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Blair); Lair (Blair)
Bosco Tech at Gabrielino, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Gabrielino); Lair (Bosco Tech)
Duarte at Cerritos Valley Christian, 7:00pm — Ramirez (CVC); Lair (Duarte)
Glendale (CA) at La Salle (Pasadena, CA), 7:00pm — Ramirez (La Salle); Lair (La Salle)
Keppel vs. Workman at La Puente, 7:00pm — Ramirez (Workman); Lair (Workman)
Maranatha at Don Lugo (Chino, CA), 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Maranatha); Lair (Maranatha)
Monrovia (CA) at Ayala (Chino Hills, CA), 7:00pm — Ramirez (Monrovia); Lair (Monrovia)
Muir (Pasadena, CA) at Alemany (Mission Hills, CA), 7:00pm — Ramirez (Alemany); Lair (Alemany)
Poly at Saddleback Valley Christian, 7:00pm — Ramirez (Poly); Lair (SVC)
South Pasadena at San Gabriel, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (San Gabriel); Lair (South Pasadena)
Mission Prep at Rio Hondo Prep, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (RHP); Lair (RHP)
Saturday, Sept. 1

Flintridge Prep at Army-Navy, 1:15pm — Ramirez (Army-Navy); Lair (Army-Navy)

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Friday Gameday Final: Rio Hondo Prep wins battle of Arcadia; La Salle, San Gabriel also win big

OPENING NIGHT WIN: Rio Hondo Prep’s Nate Tayco looks for some of his 76 rushing yards in Friday’s season opener against Arcaida. Rio Hondo Prep won, 29-7
. (Sarah Reingewirtz / Staff Photographer)

How ’bout those Kares? Rio Hondo Prep, which has won more CIF-SS football titles than any other area school, showed it can not only compete against the bigger schools, but it can dominate them, routing Arcadia, 29-7. The Kares rushed for 248 yards and led 22-0 after three quarters. Opening night was also big for La Salle, which routed Temple City, 27-0 and San Gabriel, which showed little signs of big graduation losses with a 53-0 victory over Animo South L.A.


Here’s a brief look at Friday’s games:

Rio Hondo Prep 29, Arcadia 7 – Isaac Holguin and Nate Tayco combined for 180 yards rushing as the Kares rolled big brother Arcadia. Quarterback Colby Rivera threw for 107 yards and two touchdowns and Rio Hondo Prep allowed just 157 yards, 80 coming on the Apaches final drive.
La Salle 27, Temple City 0 — Austin Wallis threw 107 yards and a touchdown to lead the Lancers, who looked solid under new coach Russell Gordon.
Mountain View 10, Alhambra 6 – This one might be more shocking than Rio Hondo Prep’s dismantling of Arcadia. I expected more from the Moors, who begin the season as the favorite to win the Almont League. But obviously there’s some work to do.
Alemany 45, Pasadena 8 – Well at least it was closer this year. I thought the Bulldogs were in over their heads, and the Warriors showed it again. Quarterback Brandon Cox, an Arizona commit, scored the only touchdown for Pasadena.
Upland 34, Muir 6 – No shock here. Muir, getting 114 total yards, was no match for the Highlanders, who have been one of the CIF-SS’ top teams. It doesn’t get any easier for the Mustangs, who travel to Alemany next week.
Bassett 14, Keppel 0 – Another long year for the Aztecs?
Duarte 46, Marshall 0 – Marcus Lewis ran for 112 yards and three touchdowns and Davyn Washington rushed for 109 yards and two scores as the Falcons spoiled Jim Arellanes’ debut with the Eagles.
San Gabriel 53, Animo South L.A. 0 – Rebuild? The Matadors simply reload. San Gabriel rolled up 271 yards in the first half and never looked back.
Hoover 46, Blair 0 — Blair didn’t win, but this one was more about competing than winning. “Everyone was saying Blair does not have it,” Blair coach Johnny Lopez said. “‘Blair should shut the program down.’ It’s not like we’ve been there all summer. We had eight guys on day three.”
HH Wilson 21, Bosco Tech 6 – Youth is being served at Bosco Tech, and it was evident Friday. It doesn’t get any easier for the Tigers.
Gabrielino 14, Sherman Oaks CES 7 – Nice win for the Eagles, who received two TD passes from Elijah Peters.
Antelope Valley 29, Maranatha 15 — The Antelopes provided a good test for the Minutemen.

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PrepXtra Football Magazine available Thursday

If you have a home subscription to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News or Whittier Daily News, you’ll find the 111-page PrepXtra Football Preview Magazine in your newspaper Thursday morning. The Magazine is also available with a copy of your paper at newsracks and will be sold at our home offices at the Tribune, Star-News and Whittier Daily News, so don’t miss it.


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Muir’s Muema ready to stand out

TAKING THE REINS: Muir High School quarterback Joshua Muema threw for 1,357 yards and nearly 30 touchdowns last season, but he s often been overlooked. Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

This might be the year of the quarterback in the West San Gabriel Valley, with such signal-callers as St. Francis’ Jared Lebowitz, Monrovia’s Blake Heyworth and Pasadena’s Brandon Cox all ready for great seasons.
Muir has it’s own star behind center in Joshua Muema, who will be a key for the Mustangs’ quest for a Pacific League title and another deep CIF-Southern Section playoff run.

By Keith Lair, SGVN

PASADENA - Keyvon Seymour has gone on to USC. Darick Holmes Jr. has transferred to another school.
Now is the time for the other players to step up for Muir High School, quarterback Joshua Muema said.
“This year we’re going to have to win as a team,” Muema said. “Especially this year. We do not have a kid like (Seymour) that I can throw the ball for five yards and he’s going to run 80. It’s more of a mental game right now.”
Muema, who has decided to shorten his name from Muema-Washington, which he used last season, is one of those players who will need to produce if the Mustangs can return to dominance in the Pacific League.
“If we don’t have the superstar guy who can beat 11 guys, then we have to have 11 guys do their job to be successful,” first-year coach John Hardy Jr. said.
Muir is well-known for its running backs and defensive players. But for one of the few times in recent history the Mustangs may have their best player at quarterback. Hardy said Muema has been constantly overlooked.
“If you go to our passing league games and tournaments, all the coaches ask who the heck is our quarterback?” Hardy said. “He doesn’t get the publicity. He’s played against (Pasadena’s) Brandon Cox all the way through Pop Warner and when he gets up against Brandon, he out-does him. He’s as good as the kid at Maranatha (Andrew Elffers) and St. Francis (Jared Lebowitz).
“Our guy can stand up with any of these guys.”
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Minutemen ready for their next challenge

READY FOR MORE: Quarterback Andrew Elffers will be a key for Maranatha this season.
Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

By all accounts, Maranatha High School football coach Pete Karavedas’ first season with the Minutemen was a success.

Maranatha won its first six games en route to an 8-3 season that ended with a 9-0 loss to San Gabriel in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs.
But Karavedas, who came to the Pasadena school after an assistant coaching stint at Whittier Christian, doesn’t want his Minutemen to rest on their laurels when his team opens the season Friday at home against Antelope Valley.
“Our boys are not looking to start 6-0 (again),” Karavedas said. “We don’t care about that. We want to win (the Olympic) League. We’re looking forward, not just to be good but great. You can be satisfied with 8-3 or are you going to push yourself to achieve more?
“We can stay where we’re at, but if we want to be great we have to do more. We want more, so we need to give more and work more.”
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