THURSDAY COUNTDOWN: St. Francis’ slide continues; Monrovia wins; Marshall no match for Sierra Canyon

DOWN AND OUT: Serra ran over St. Francis Thursday night, scoring a 42-6 victory.
Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE – St. Francis High School began the week with slim hopes of qualifying for the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.
That chance might now be nonexistent.
Malik Roberson rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Jalen Greene threw for 206 yards and a score and visiting Serra posted a 42-6 victory over the Golden Knights on Thursday in a Mission League game at Friedman Field.
St. Francis, getting two 48-yard field goals from Mark Verso, dropped to 3-5 overall and 0-3 in league. The Golden Knights’ shot at a third-place finish and the last playoff spot from the league is gone, and most likely any at-large hopes.
St. Francis quarterback Jared Lebowitz, who had thrown for nearly 2,000 yards during the first seven weeks, was limited to just 146. He was sacked five times and re-injured a shoulder in the third quarter and did not return.
Serra, whose only league loss was a 28-20 setback to Chaminade on Oct. 5, improved to 6-2 and 2-1.
The Cavaliers, leading just 14-6 at halftime, put it away early in the third quarter. Roberson, who had 22-yard touchdown run in first quarter, made it 21-6 with a 12-yard run at 8:39. Defensive lineman Inoke Raikadroka then intercepted a Lebowitz pass a few seconds later and returned it 53 yards for a 28-6 lead.
Greene, who also had a 1-yard touchdown run, made it 35-6 with a 29-yard pass to Roberson with 2:29 left in the quarter.
“We were playing with them,” St. Francis coach Jim Bonds said. “It was 14-6, we’re making some stops in the first half and then they come out and score (to open the third quarter). We give them points on offense (with the interception) and that just deflated us.”
Early on , Serra looked like it might run away, scoring on its first two possessions.
The Cavaliers, after Verso gave St. Francis a 3-0 lead with the first of his field goals, needed just nine plays to take a 7-3 advantage on a 22-yard run by Roberson at 5:27 of the first quarter.
Serra put together a second 80-yard drive on its next possession. Roberson had runs of 14 and 13 yards before Greene completed three passes for 51 yards before scoring from the 1 with 11:23 left in the half.
St. Francis, which had 159 yards in the first half, could only manage the two field goals by Verso, leaving the score 14-6 at intermission.
“They’re tough to block,” Bonds said. “They’re an athletic crew over there. We knew had our hands full coming into this.”
By Keith Lair, SGVN
Monrovia High School’s offense touched the ball one time during a 23-minute, 53-second stretch in Thursday’s Rio Hondo League football game at Blair at Muir High.
The Wildcats scored six touchdowns during that time in an 84-0 victory.
“One thing we can control is effort and we did that,” said junior free safety Deshawn Potts, who started at quarterback. “It was a matter of getting on the field and having fun.”
Potts threw a short sideline pass to Jacob Bueno, who went 45 yards to give the Wildcats a 35-0 lead with 9:18 left in the first half.
Monrovia then scored five consecutive times without its offense touching the ball. Anthony Marquez intercepted a Terance Douglas pass and returned it 33 yards for a score, sophomore Darian Huff returned a punt 49 yards for a touchdown, Andrew Gallegos picked up a fumble and went 22 yards, Anthony Craft returned the second-half kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and Crayvon Gillespie returned a punt 45 yards for a score.
Monrovia finally ran an offensive play with one minute to go in the third quarter and Fernando Rosas scored on a 45-yard run.
That was fun seeing our teammates having fun out there,” Potts said. “It was exciting to come back to the sidelines and everyone is really happy for those guys.”
Potts, whose last start at quarterback was last year against Blair, and Rosas each scored twice.
“We weren’t trying to run the score up at all,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “Our starters were out in the first quarter.
“(Blair) coach (Johnny) Lopez is trying to rebuild and get things going.”
Monrovia (6-2, 3-0) won its 25th consecutive league game. Blair (0-8, 0-4) lost its 17th consecutive game overall and 18th consecutive league game.
Monrovia ran 13 offensive plays in the game and scored on seven of them.
The Vikings’ biggest play was when Juan Sanchez recovered a muffed Monrovia punt return in the first quarter.
“They scored less than San Marino,” Lopez said. “We held them to two points less. Nobody sat down and they’re all here. Still. Nobody’s hurt. I’m cool. We made it through the night.”
By Guillermo Tovar
PASADENA - The Marshall Eagles were hoping their annual homecoming would be a game to remember.
Unfortunately, the game was one Marshall (3-6, 0-4) would just as soon forget as it was routed by Sierra Canyon 51-0 in an Alpha League game Thursday.
Sierra Canyon (8-0, 4-0) scored 41 seconds into the game when Xavier Menifield took a handoff and ran 32 yards for a 7-0 lead.
The Trailblazers made it 14-0 with 8:19 left in the first quarter when Menifield scored his second touchdown of the game on a 9-yard run.
With 4:41 left on the first quarter, quarterback Andre Nunez connected with Preston White on a 7-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-0.
Nunez threw his second touchdown pass early in the second quarter. With a second and goal at the Eagles’ 7, Nunez threw a shovel pass to Blake Brady that made it 28-0.
Still in the second quarter, Brady took the handoff and ran 5 yards for a score. With 2:06 left before halftime, Menifield score his third touchdown, this one a 52-yard run that made it 42-0 at halftime.
Menifield did not play in the second half. He ended the night with 103 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Marshall plays its last game of the season Oct. 26 against Viewpoint at Calabasas High.

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Omar Younger ages well for Maranatha

OMAR TO THE RESCUE: Maranatha’s Omar Younger has been a big key — on and off the field — for the Minutemen, who have rebounded from an 0-5 start to win their past two games.
Staff photo by Keith Birmingham

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

PASADENA - There was a time this season when it would have seemed understandable if the Maranatha High School football team gave in to adversity.
There’s just so much an individual can take, especially for a football team that drops its first five games and loses key starters, including arguably the area’s best quarterback.
But running back Omar Younger wouldn’t allow despair to settle in.
The senior is the glue that kept the Minutemen together and, after winning the past two games, has helped put them in position to compete for an Olympic League title.
“He stepped up a ton in the absence of Drew (Elffers),” Maranatha coach Peter Karavedas said. “He’s one of our captains. He’s not always going to be a guy that’s vocal, but he leads by example.
“He runs hard, not just in the games but in practice. The guys really respect him and he’s really stepped up.”
Younger, with Elffers out, has been the focal point of Maranatha’s offense in rushing for 589 yards and three touchdowns. But the senior’s value goes a bit farther than his 5.66 yards a carry.
“I don’t feel any pressure,” Younger said. “(The defense) always tried to stop (Elffers) or me. Either way, they know we can run or pass. I feel we can still pass, so it’s kind of the same situation.
“Andrew talks to me every now and then and gives me some advice. He notices when we’re down as a team and tells me that we have to step up our intensity. I feel like it’s hard sometimes, and it’s definitely different.”
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Temple City shakes off slow start

RESURGENT RAMS: Temple City has found itself after going scoreless in the Rams first three games. Staff photo by Sarah Sarah Reingewirtz

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

It would have been easy for the Temple City High School football team to pout a bit after going scoreless during the first three games of the season.

Instead, the Rams just went back to work, and now they are reaping the rewards.

Temple City, after being outscored, 71-0, to begin the season, has responded with four consecutive victories and finds itself in the Rio Hondo League race.
The Rams host San Marino Friday at 7 p.m. Temple City begins the week ranked No. 10 in the area.
“First off, we just have a bunch of kids who refused to quit,” Temple City coach Mike McFarland said. “They didn’t let a little adversity stop them from working to get better.
“Second, we made a few changes and put kids in a better position. It gave us a little confidence.”
The turnaround started slowly for the Rams. They eked out a 15-14 victory over Hoover, of Glendale, for the first victory on Sept. 13. Temple City, getting solid efforts from running back Nick Starling and quarterback Anthony Valencia, followed it up with wins over Rosemead (20-10), Blair (48-0) and South Pasadena (42-35).
The latter win provided the Rams with a big boost coming into the final three games, and gives them the inside path to a CIF-Southern Section playoff spot.
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Alhambra football coach Joe Kanach resigned after the School District launched an investigation and placed him on leave

“The school had been doing some research on Mr. Kanach and so we did have him go on leave so that we could do more research and that’s all that I can share with you. When there are concerns we do our fact-finding process at the school site and that is a requirement.” — Alhambra Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jenny Cheng said.

By Lauren Gold, SGVN

ALHAMBRA – Alhambra High School football coach Joe Kanach resigned as a coach and science teacher at the school, district officials said Tuesday.

Kanach had not been in the classroom or on the football field since Oct.5, Alhambra Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jenny Cheng said.

She said AHS and the district had been looking into Kanach for a number of weeks before placing him on leave, but could not say what sparked the investigation. Cheng said the “research” was not due to a complaint by a student. Kanach resigned late Monday.

“The school had been doing some research on Mr. Kanach and so we did have him go on leave so that we could do more research and that’s all that I can share with you,” Cheng said. “When there are concerns we do our fact-finding process at the school site and that is a requirement.”

Cheng said the district was not aware of Kanach’s history at other schools, including a reproval for misconduct he received on his teaching credential in July 2010.

“We do a thorough research on our teachers, but we didn’t hire him in 2010, we hired him in August of this year, and so we wouldn’t have noted the July 2010 information,” Cheng said.

According to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Kanach was issued a warning for “conduct (that was) not appropriate for a credential holder.” The warning did not result in the revocation of Kanach’s credential.

Kanach coached two seasons at Hawthorne High School, and also previously coached for a few weeks at Springfield High School in Oregon. Kanach resigned from Hawthorne at the end of last season for “personal reasons.”

Bob Cox, assistant superintendent of human resources at Centinela Valley Union High School District where Hawthorne is located, said the 2010 warning was not on Kanach’s record when the district reviewed Kanach during the hiring process.

“We have never received anything from the commission,” he said.

Cox said he could not comment on why Kanach left Hawthorne, but said “a number of (probationary) employees” were not hired as permanent teachers on March 15, the deadline for districts to evaluate current teachers.

He added that in cases where teachers are put on leave, the district is usually conducting a serious investigation.

“You can’t really read an end result of the investigation into that but you can know the district took it seriously enough that they felt the employee couldn’t be working while being investigated,” Cox said.

Kanach did not return repeated calls for comment., 626-578-6300, ext. 4586

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STAR-NEWS RANKINGS: No changes at the top, but La Salle, Muir make move; Arcadia, TC in top 10

WELCOME BACK: Temple City, riding a four-game win streak, is back in the Star-News top 10. Staff photo By Sarah Reingewirtz

1. Monrovia (5-2) – The Wildcats continued their annual cruise through the Rio Hondo League, trumping La Canada, 49-3 last week. It should be more of the same this week before next week’s showdown against San Marino.
2. San Marino (7-0) – The Titans train just keeps on rolling. San Marino has scored at least 30 points in six of its seven victories, winning by an average margin of 46-8. They get a big test this week against improving Temple City before next week’s showdown at Monrovia.
3. Rio Hondo Prep (6-1) — It’s beginning to look like you can pencil in the Kares, after a 52-6 rout of Chadwick, as one of the top teams in the Northeast Division finals. But first they have a first-place showdown agaisnt Flintridge Prep at Occidental College on Friday.
4. La Salle (7-0) – Worst to first? That’s the destiny that the Lancers can complete Friday when they travel to Bishop Montgomery in a game that will decide the Del Rey League title.
5. St. Francis (3-4) – The Knights are freefalling after another close loss, a 41-36 setback to Harvard-Westlake. Now Serra comes to town on Thursday. Those playoff chances are dwindling with each passing week, if they still exist at all.
6. Muir (4-3) – The Mustangs have recovered nicley from a slow start to win four consecutive games, including a 21-14 victory over Burroughs last week. Now they play for first place in the Pacific League against Burbank.
7. Gabrielino (6-1) – Six was enough for the Eagles, who need to put another streak together to earn a playoff spot. Can they?
8. Arcadia (3-4) – Look whose back? The Apaches have won three of four in the Pacific League are still in the running for a league title. But first they must take care of business against Pasadena on Friday.
9. Duarte (4-3) — The Falcons, who lost to Gladstone in a first-place battle last week, are in a three-way tie for second in the Montview League. They face La Puente in a game that will likely determine one of the league’s three guaranteed playoff spots.
10. Temple City (4-3) – The Rams are one of the hottest teams in the area, riding a four-game win streak after a 42-35 victory over South Pasadena.
The Rest: 11. South Pasadena (4-3). 12. Alhambra (3-4), 13. Rosemead (3-4), 14. Flintridge Prep (4-3), 15. Pasadena (2-5), 16. Maranatha (2-5), 17. Pasadena Poly (3-2), 18. San Gabriel (1-6), 19. La Canada (1-6); 20. Bosco Tech (1-6), 21. Marshall (3-5), 22. Keppel (0-7); 23. Blair (0-7).

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Star-News Pick’em: Showdown week as La Salle and Muir face first-place battles, while Rio Hondo faces Flintridge in first-place tilt in the Prep League

CAN THEY DO IT?: La Salle looks to make its turnaround compete when it faces Bishop Monty in a Del Rey League showdown on Friday. I like the Lancers.
Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

Keith Lair and I will go head-to-head in the Star-News Pick’em. Here is this week’s predictions along with how we did last week.

Last Week: Ramirez (12-6); Lair (12-6)
Season: Ramirez (91-42); Lair (92-41)
Last week: Keith and I both went 12-6, missing on a few upsets — Flintridge Prep over Pasadena Poly and Temple City over South Pasadena.
This week: It’s championship week with three games featuring league title implications. The biggest one might be La Salle, which has gone from 1-9 last year to 7-0 this fall. The Lancers face their toughest battle to date, a trip to the South Bay and Bishop Montgomery for Del Rey League supremacy. I like La Salle to prevail. I also like Muir, and its quick-strike ability to beat Burbank and a first-place showdown at home in the Pacific League. The Mustangs have just too much. The other first-place battle comes in the Prep League, where Flintridge Prep, coming off a surprise win over Pasadena Poly, hosts Rio Hondo Prep at Occidental College. I like the Kares. All three games are Friday night under the lights.

This week’s schedule and predictions:
Keith Lair will have his picks on Tuesday.

Serra at St. Francis, 7:30 p.m. — Ramirez (Serra); Lair (TBA)
Monrovia vs. Blair at Muir HS, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Monrovia); Lair (TBA)
Sierra Canyon vs. Marshall at Pasadena HS, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Sierra Canyon); Lair (TBA)
La Salle at Bishop Montgomery, 6 p.m. — Ramirez (La Salle); Lair (TBA)
Burbank at Muir, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Muir); Lair (TBA)
Arcadia at Pasadena, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Arcadia); Lair (TBA)
Gabrielino at Rosemead, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Rosemead); Lair (TBA)
Duarte at La Puente , 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Duarte); Lair (TBA)
San Marino at Temple City , 7 p.m. — Ramirez (San Marino); Lair (TBA)
Flintridge Prep vs. Rio Hondo Prep at OCC, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (RHP); Lair (TBA)
Maranatha vs. Whittier Christian at Whittier College, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (WC); Lair (TBA)
South Pasadena at La Canada, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (SPas); Lair (TBA)
Schurr vs. Alhambra at Moor Field, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Schurr); Lair (TBA)
Keppel at San Gabriel, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (SGabriel); Lair (TBA)
Bosco Tech vs. Mary Star of the Sea at Daniels Field, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Bosco Tech); Lair (TBA)
Pasadena Poly vs. Webb at Damien, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Poly); Lair (TBA)

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FRIDAY NIGHT FINAL: Duarte loses Montview League battle royale; La Salle and San Marino stay perfect; Gabrielino goes down and Muir stays atop Pacific League after 21-14 squeaker over Burroughs


CLIPPED: Duarte quarterback Denzel Talifero accounted for more than two
touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough in a 34-18 setback to Gladstone Friday in a battle
for first place in the Montview League. Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

Well, another Friday Night Lights has come and gone. The highlight was in the Montview League where Duarte’s shot at a league crown were dealt a blow with a 34-18 setback to host Gladstone. The night also saw San Marino and La Salle stay unbeaten, while Gabrielino dropped its first game. Muir stayed in first in the Pacific League with a closer than expected win over Burroughs.

Here’s a brief recap of Friday night’s results and scores.

No. 1 Monrovia 49, La Canada 3 — Sparta was no challenge for the Wildcats, who mauled their second consecutive Rio Hondo League opponent.
No. 2 San Marino 86, Blair 0 —
The Titans kept pace with Monrovia, with an easy win, which saw San Marino take a 37-0 lead while running just 11 plays in the first half.
No. 3 Rio Hondo Prep 52, Chadwick 6 — The Kares might be as dominant in the Prep League as Monrovia is in the Rio Hondo and showed it for the second consecutive week.
Harvard-Westlake 41, No. 4 St. Francis 36 — The fall continues for the Knights, who are 0-2 in the Mission League and saw the their playoff hopes go from slim to nearly non-existent. And traditional power Serra comes to town Thursday.
No. 5 La Salle 47, Mary Star 6 — Another impressive win for the Lancers. Next up is a first-place showdown at Bishop Montgomery, and I live La Salle.
South El Monte 22, No. 6 Gabrielino 9 — Six was enough for Gabrielino, which should be hard-pressed with encounters against Rosemead, El Monte and Arroyo left on the docket.
No. 7 Muir 21, Burroughs 14 —
The Mustangs had to work, but they stayed on course for a Pacific League title. Next week is the battle for first when they host Burbank.
Temple City 42, No. 8 South Pasadena 35 – The rise of the Rams continues, who have going scoreless the first three weeks have yet to be stopped. The win puts Temple City on course for a playoff spot.
Gladstone 34, No. 9 Duarte 18 — The Falcons were clipped by the Gladiators. But they at worse look like the second-best team in the Montview League.
El Monte 50, Rosemead 34
Hoover 37, Pasadena 8
Arcadia 49, Glendale 7
Cantwell 8, Bosco Tech 7
Montebello 48, San Gabriel 41, OT
Alhambra 53, Keppel 20


By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

GLENDORA – Gladstone High School didn’t win a league title Friday night.
But the Gladiators took a major step.
Senior quarterback Kevin Amezquita accounted for 196 yards and scored four touchdowns and Gladstone took over first place in the Montview League with a 34-18 victory over visiting Duarte at Citrus College.
The Gladiators, also receiving 72 yards rushing and a touchdown from senior Aaron Sanchez, improved to 7-0 for the first time in school history and 4-0 in league play.
Duarte, which got 213 total yards from quarterback Denzel Talifero, slipped to 4-3 and 3-1.
“This is no different than all the other weeks,” said Gladstone coach Albert Sanchez, who is not ready to crown his team just yet. “We just take it one week at a time, and honestly, I can’t say I’ve been involved with a team like this one that battles to that.
“It’s just week to week, that’s what we go with.”
It worked Friday, although after scoring on its first drive, Gladstone had to withstand a Duarte rally in the third quarter before Amezquita, who rushed for 99 yards and passed for 97, made some big plays in the fourth quarter to seal it.
The senior, after Talifero’s 4-yard run made it 21-12 with 1:46 left in the third quarter, sparked a 55-yard march to extend the lead. He had a completion of 17 yards to the Duarte 38 before Aaron Sanchez ran 23 yards to the 20.
Amezquita then scored from the 2 for a 27-12 lead with 5:36 left in the fourth quarter.
The senior then sealed it, forcing a Duarte fumble at the Gladstone 40 and returning it 60 yards to push it to 34-12 with 4:51 left.
Duarte cut it to 34-18 on a 14-yard pass from Dyran Adams to Tylik Mason with 1:59 left. But Gladstone’s Eduardo Cortez, who had a 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter, recovered the onside kick.
Gladstone then ran out the clock.
“Things didn’t go our way,” Duarte coach Jason Martin said. “It’s hard to swallow this one, because we didn’t take advantage of some of our opportunities.
“I could say that some calls didn’t go our way and that affected us. But it’s football. We just have to move on to next week. We have La Puente and they’re another one-loss team in our league and it’s going to be a competition.”
Gladstone, which had been starting slow in recent weeks, made sure that wasn’t the case Friday.
The Gladiators scored on their first drive before following an interception with a 37-yard march for a 21-6 lead at halftime.
Sanchez made it 7-0 in the first quarter with a 17-yard run. Cortez, after Duarte cut it to 7-6, returned a kickoff 89 yards for a 15-6 lead with 4:10 left.
Amezquita then scored from the 1 for the 21-6 half-time lead.
“We made some big plays,” Albert Sanchez said. “It was a hard-fought game. Our guys played four quarters and that’s what we needed.”
Duarte, which had just two first downs for much of the first half, found it’s rhythm during the third quarter, putting together 47-yard drive to cut it to 21-12 on Talifero’s 4-yard run.
The Falcons then had a chance to trim the deficit a bit more. But George Ramirez intercepted a Talifero pass on fourth-and-4 from the Gladstone 34 and returned to his 45, setting up Amezquita’s 2-yard touchdown run that pushed it to 27-12 with about five mintues to play.
Talifero was injured after a 32-yard run to the Gladstone’ 48 late in the fourth quarter and did not return.

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