Breaking News: Joe Kanach out at Alhambra, AD Jerry DeSantis in

By Keith Lair, SGVN

Football coach Joe Kanach has been let go at Alhambra High School.
“He is no longer a teacher or a coach,” athletic director Jerry DeSantis said.
The athletic director said he was instructed not to make any other
statements or give a reason for his dismissal. Neither school
principal Brad Walsh nor Kanach returned phone calls on Thursday.
Kanach did not attend last Friday night’s 30-13 Almont League loss
defeat to Bell Gardens and DeSantis said the decision to no longer
have Kanach on staff happened on Tuesday.
DeSantis will coach the Moors for the remaining four regular-season
games, including tonight at Keppel.
DeSantis said the position will open up at the conclusion of the
“The kids took it well,” DeSantis said. “I think we’ll be playing a
good game this week. The boys are up.”
DeSantis was an assistant coach for longtime Moors coach Gil
Ruedaflores and for Lou Torres, who resigned after to seasons last
“I’m going to let the coordinators run the game, but I’ll make the
big decisions,” DeSantis said. “We’ve changed a few things. We’ll be
back to Alhambra football.”
Alhambra, which returned the most experienced team in the Almont, is
2-4 on the season.
DeSantis said that the Moors could have won the league opener at Bell
Gardens. The Moors were stopped at the 1-yard line with Bell Gardens
ahead, 10-7, in the fourth quarter.
“Then the dam broke,” DeSantis said. “If we get into the end zone,
it’s 14-7 with six minutes play.”

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Thursday Night Final: Maranatha keeps rolling; routs Desert Christian, 38-7

TWO IN A ROW: Maranatha’s Omar Younger rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns to help the Minutemen to their second consecutive victory with a 38-7 win over visiting Desert Christian Thursday night.Staff photo by Keith Birmingham

By Keith Lair, SGVN

PASADENA - Omar Younger admits he’s small. But he’s not miniscule.
The senior is 5-feet, 7-inches and 170 pounds. However, in the first five Maranatha High School football games, that size wasn’t big enough to squeeze through the smallest of holes.
But suddenly, the holes that the Minutemen are creating are plenty big. Younger rushed for 181 yards and Maranatha scored its second consecutive victory, after opening the season with five defeats, with a 38-7 win over visiting Desert Christian on Thursday night.
It was the coldest night of the football season, but there was not a drop of rain during the nonleague game.
“It’s helped me a lot,” Younger said of the newfound holes. “Before there weren’t as many holes. We struggled. We tried to push and power through, but I’m not that big. I gave it my all.”
Younger rushed for two touchdowns, scoring from 62 and 33 yards out in the first half.
“The biggest difference is our offensive line is starting to play really well, which is opening things for Omar,” Maranatha coach Peter Karavedas said. “Omar struggled early, but it is more about our offensive line starting to put it together. Now they’re starting to play together and opening holes.”
It was a season-high rushing game for Younger, who had for 1,300 yards last season but has yet to hit 600 yards this season.
“The line has definitely improved,” Younger said. “We got help from (Blair transfer) Logan (McClain) and everybody else has stepped it up. It definitely has helped getting some lanes to pick and choose so I can get through.”
That was evident on Thursday’s game-changing play.
The Knights, trailing 3-0 after the Minutemen scored on the game’s opening drive, had the ball on the Maranatha 24 after a 48-yard run by Caleb Holifield. But he fumbled the ball and Errick Lee recovered.
On second down, Younger went to the outside, found one of those new holes, did a stutter-step and then a zig-zag on the defenders, and went 62 yards untouched for a touchdown to make it 10-0.
Maranatha scored on its first four possessions and led, 24-0, at the half. The Minutemen took advantage of four turnovers in the game.
Four plays after Younger’s long TD run, Josh Johnson came up with a Kurt Jolin fumble at the Knights 16. Sophomore quarterback Eli Snyder scored on a sneak to make it 17-0. Michael Cornell picked off a Steven Horner pass and two plays later, Younger was in the end zone on a 33-yard run.
Snyder threw two second-half touchdown passes, both 14 yards to Niko Dobbs. Dobbs had five receptions for 69 yards and Snyder completed six of 12 passes for 85 yards.
“When the line is playing as good as it is, it helps our young quarterback, too,” Karavedas said.
Darron McWhorter returned a Horner interception 45 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but it was called back because of an illegal block. Snyder engineered the final TD drive, hitting Dobbs for the score to make it 38-7.
The Knights only threw four passes, of which two were intercepted. Horner completed one pass for no yardage.

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RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB: La Salle quarterback Austin Wallis has
passed for 805 yards and nine touchdowns this season for the Lancers.
(Keith Birmingham / Staff Photographer)

By Keith Lair, SGVN

PASADENA - When the 2012 football season began, who the starting La Salle High School quarterback would be was very much up in the air.
Russell Gordon could stick with Austin Wallis, whose 2011 season was tenuous. Or the new coach could install Man Berg, who came to the Lancers from Campbell Hall, where Gordon was the coach last year.
“When I first looked at Austin, I did not know if he could be my quarterback,” Gordon said. “All three of my previous quarterbacks eventually played in college. But Austin taught me again to not judge a book by its cover.
“He’s a smart kid. He understands that he learns from his mistakes.”

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PrepXtra Rewind: La Salle coach Russell Gordon and QB Austin Wallis. Plus, the Scouting Guru breaks down the Serra League …

La Salle coach Russell Gordon, “We feel like we can play with anyone in the San Gabriel Valley.”

Opening: La Salle coach Russell Gordon and quarterback Austin Wallis. The Lancers are 6-0 after winning one game in two previous seasons. Gordon’s thinking big, hoping to schedule the area’s best next season, and that includes anyone, including Monrovia, St. Francis, Muir or even some of our heavyweights on the East side.

18:30 mark: The Scouting Guru joins us to talk about the Serra League, plus two-minute drills on Bishop Amat-Alemany, Bonita-West Covina, South Hills-Charter Oak and Gladstone-Duarte. In the segment Aram tells you why Bishop Amat and Charter Oak are so much better than everyone else, and I tell you why El Monte should let QB Brandon Martinez chase every record imaginable.

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STAR-NEWS RANKINGS: Monrovia stays on top, San Marino up to No. 2 as St. Francis drops to No. 4 after another close loss; La Salle, Gabby hold ground

1. Monrovia (4-2) — The Wildcats are back in their comfort zone, showing their might with a 53-14 victory over previous No. 7 South Pasadena. It’s the first of what should be a sweep through the Rio Hondo League and perhaps the CIF-SS Mid-Valley Divsion.
2. San Marino (6-0) – The Titans, off to their best start in recent memory, move up a notch after another blow-out win. They should continue their march until a late-season showdown at Monrovia at the end of the month.
3. Rio Hondo Prep (5-1) — The Kares also take advantage of St. Francis’ loss and take the No. 3 spot. This is another team that might not lose the rest of the way. It’s Prep League title and Northeast Division championship for bust for Rio Hondo.
4. St. Francis (3-3) – The Golden Knights could easily be 6-0, instead they are 3-3 and now in danger of missing the postseason, sans upset wins over Serra and Chaminade in the next few weeks. It’s time to worry in La Canada.
5. La Salle (6-0) — The Lancers’ turnaround just keeps getting better every week. They’ll likely play for the eventual Del Rey League title next week. But first a battle at Mary Star (2-1 in league) awaits.
6. Gabrielino (6-0) – The Eagles continue to fly, beating Mountain View convincingly last week. Will it continue against South El Monte?
7. Muir (3-3) – The Mustangs continue to climb the ladder after opening the season with consecutive losses. They get Burroughs this week before a Pacific League showdown against Burbank next week.
8. Duarte (4-2) – The Falcons long road back to the top of the Montivew League rests with a first-place showdown against Gladstone on Friday.
9. South Pasadena (4-2) – The Tigers were no match for Monrovia, but who is? They will be back in their realm this week, and still have a shot to finish in the Rio Hondo League’s top three.
10. Pasadena Poly (3-1) – The Panthers, who were idle last week, need to take care of business agaisnt rival Flintridge Prep on Saturday. But the Prep League showdown agaisnt Rio Hondo Prep looms.
The rest: 11. Arcadia (2-4), 12. Rosemead (3-3), 13. Pasadena (2-4), 14. Temple City (3-3), 15. *San Gabriel (1-5), 16. Alhambra (2-4), 17. Flintridge Prep (3-3), 18. Maranatha (1-5), 19. La Canada (1-5), 20. Bosco Tech (1-5), 21. Marshall (3-4), 22. Keppel (0-6), 23. Blair (0-6).

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Duarte preps for showdown against Gladstone

RENEWING THE RIVALRY: The last time Duarte and Gladstone met
with high stakes, the Falcons scored a 34-3 victory. The two resume
that rivarly Friday with first place in the Montview League at state.

By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN
Duarte High School football coach Jason Martin knows all about the warm, fuzzy feelings area fans have for Gladstone coach Albert Sanchez.
The Gladiators (6-0, 3-0 Montview League) are off to their best start in school history in what could be Sanchez’s final year as head coach after 13 years in charge.
But don’t expect the Falcons (4-2, 3-0) to be sentimental when they line up against the Gladiators with sole possession of first place on the line Friday at Citrus College.
Duarte already has crashed one party. It ended Azusa’s 27-game league winning streak by crushing the four-time league champs, 40-14, in the league opener.
Duarte beat Gladstone 17-14 last season, and with a win over Azusa in the bank the Falcons are looking to take another big step toward their first league title since 2006.
“First off, hats off to coach Sanchez and that coaching staff,” Martin said. “Their quarterback (Kevin Amezquita) is a stud, and if you give him a chance to beat you he’s going to beat you.
“What impresses me about them, and this goes back to last year, is their continuity.
“They were a team on the verge last year and you see them putting it all together.”
The Falcons have noticed the Gladiators have started slow in almost all of their games. They’ve come from behind in five of their six wins.
Duarte has been just the opposite in starting fast and finishing slow.
“Finishing games has been a big concern to us, and obviously they’ve shown they’re great finishers,” Martin said. “You always want to jump on top of a team, but regardless of whether you have a lead or you have to come from behind, you need to learn how to finish strong.
“That’s a characteristic that they have that we’re trying to get.”

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Star-News Pick’em: This week’s all about Duarte-Gladstone…I like the Falcons

WILL THE FALCONS FLY?: Gotta go with Duarte over Gladstone in the teams’ Monteview League showdown at Citrus College on Friday.
Staff photo by Keith Birmingham

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 (13-5); Lair (14-4)
Season: Ramirez (79-36); Lair (80-35)

Last week:Keith and I had a pretty good week, with Keith edging me by one. He correctly tabbed Burbank over Pasadena, while I had the Bulldogs.
This Week: The big game this week is Duarte calling on Gladstone at Citrus College on Friday. The winner has a free road to the Montview League title. Duarte has been putting up big numbers in recent weeks and I think the Falcons offense to continue to be in high gear against the Gladiators, who eked by last last week. Other key battles this week are a first-place tilt between El Monte at Rosemead in the Mission Valley League; St. Francis at Harvard-Westlake; Gabrielino at South El Monte; San Gabriel at Montebello and Burroughs at Muir. I can’t see the Panthers corralling Brandon Martinez and the Lions, so go with El Monte. I also like St. Francis over Harvard-Westlake, Gabrielino over South El Monte and Montebello over San Gabriel.

This week’s schedule and predictions:
Note: Keith Lair will provide his picks later

Desert Christian at Maranatha, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Maranatha); Lair (Maranatha)
Duarte vs. Gladstone at Citrus College, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Duarte); Lair (Gladstone)
El Monte at Rosemead, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (El Monte); Lair (Rosemead)
Burroughs at Muir, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Muir); Lair (Muir)
St. Francis at Harvard-Westlake, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (SFrancis); Lair (Harvard-Westlake)
La Canada at Monrovia, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Monrovia); Lair (Monrovia)
Gabrielino at South El Monte , 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Gabrielino); Lair (Gabrielino)
Temple City at South Pasadena, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (South Pas); Lair (South Pas)
Hoover vs. Pasadena at Glendale, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Pasadena); Lair (Pasadena)
Glendale at Arcadia, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Arcadia); Lair (Arcadia)
Bosco Tech at Cantwell-Sacred Heart, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Cantwell); Lair (Bosco Tech)
Mary Star of the Sea vs. La Salle at Daniels Field, San Pedro, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (La Salle); Lair (La Salle)
San Gabriel at Montebello, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Montebello); Lair (Montebello)
Blair at San Marino, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (San Marino); Lair (San Marino)
Alhambra at Keppel, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Alhambra); Lair (Alhambra)
Rio Hondo Prep at Chadwick, 3:30 p.m. — Ramirez (RHP); Lair (RHP)
Flintridge Prep at Pas Poly, 2 p.m. — Ramirez (Poly); Lair (Poly)
Marshall vs. Windward at Palisades HS, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Wind); Lair (Wind)

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Friday Night Final: St. Francis comes up short; Monrovia, Muir romp as San Marino, La Salle and Gabrielino stay perfect with easy wins

Staff photo by Keith Durflinger

Another Friday Night Lights is in the books, and it was almost business as usual. Monrovia, Muir, San Marino and Rio Hondo Prep all had huge victories and St. Francis had another close loss to the second consecutive week. Rosemead also got a little revenge and San Gabriel got shocked late. San Marino, La Salle and Gabrielino all improved to 6-0.

Here’s a brief look at Friday’s area games:
No. 1 Monrovia 53, No. 7 South Pasadena 14 – The Wildcats, getting four touchdowns and 142 yards rushing from Ge Vontray Ainsworth, got its first blowout win the Rio Hondo League. There will be others.
Cathedral 42, No. 2 St. Francis 40 – The Golden Knights got 372 yards passing and five touchdowns from Jared Lebowitz, but they couldn’t slow down the Phantoms, who showed they are for real, rallying for a 14-point deficit. Cathedral got 272 yards passing and five scores from Hayden Rettig.
No. 3 San Marino 42, La Canada 10 – The Titans continued their hot streak, rushing for more than 300 yards to stretch their record to 6-0. When do they
play Monrovia?

No. 4 Rio Hondo Prep 42, Webb 0 – The Kares, getting two TD passes from Colby Rivera, steamrolled Webb.
No. 5 La Salle 65, Verbum Dei 7 – The Lancers just keep on rolling, improving on their best season in recent memory with a rout. Quarterback Austin Wallis passed for 170 yards and four touchdowns,

No. 6 Gabrielino 28, Mountain View 11 – Still now buying the Eagles? You might have to after Gabrielino improved to 6-0 with an impressive win. QB Elijah Peters threw for 118 yards and two scores.
No. 8 Muir 37, Glendale 0 – The Mustangs, getting two TDs from Joshua Muema and a 60-yard fumble return from Tony Claxton, continue look like the class of the Pacific League. All signs are pointing to a first-place showdown against Burbank in a few weeks.
No. 10 Duarte 49, Workman 0 — Tylik Mason scored a pair of TDs as the Falcons set up a Montview League showdown against Gladstone next week with an easy victory over the Lobos.
Burbank 34, Pasadena 8 – James Williams rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns as Burbank dealt the Bulldogs quest for the Pacific League title a near-fatal blow. Pasadena, hoping to get back Brandon Cox in two weeks, now trails Muir and Burbank by two games in league play.
Rosemead 21, South El Monte 6 — The Panthers (3-3) got four field goals from sophomore Stephen Cansino and outstanding special teams play en route to victory.
Arcadia 49, Hoover 6 — Zachary Yee threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a touchdown as the Apaches stayed in the Pacific League race with an easy win.
Schurr 16, San Gabriel 15 – The Matadors’ quest for an Almont League repeat were dealt a blow as Estevan Tonche kicked a 46-yard field goal with five seconds to lead the Spartans over San Gabriel.
Temple City 48, Blair 0 – Look who is riding a three-game win streak? It’s the Rams, who got two touchdowns from junior Nick Starling.
Maranatha 40, Heritage Christian 7 – Omar Younger rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries and Reid Pike caught four Eli Snyder passes for 100 yards and two touchdown as the Minutemen scored their first win of the season.
Bell Gardens 30, Alhambra 13 – The Moors, the preseason favorite in the Almont League, is starting to free fall after losing their second consecutive game.

Montebello 34, Keppel 6 – Oilers senior quarterback Matt Saenz completed 11 of 17 attempts for 165 yards and touchdown passes of 19 and 20 yards.

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Thursday Night Final: Big plays lead Bishop Montgomery over Bosco Tech in Del Rey League showdown

LEADING THE WAY: Steven Barron of Bosco Tech leads the blocking during Thursday’s 35-14 loss to Bishop Montgomery on Thursday. Correspondent photo by Larry Goren/Sports

By Keith Lair, SGVN

SAN GABRIEL — Big plays came at the right time for Bishop Montgomery High School on Thursday night.
The Knights scored four touchdowns of 26 yards or more en route to a 35-14 victory over Bosco Tech in a Del Rey League game at Gabrielino High.
“Give them credit. Those big plays, they killed us,” Bosco Tech coach Chris Shockley said. “Take those away and it was a much closer game.”
It certainly was not the short, grind-it-out type of football that decided the outcome. Because of the defensive play by both teams, neither team ran the ball effectively, although Bosco Tech’s David Fuentes did have 167 yards and two TDs on 32 carries.
It was the Knights, undefeated in league play, and 6-1 overall, who came up with the big plays. Right from the start. Bryan Paredes returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.
“A couple of big plays and we broke it open,” Bishop Montgomery coach Ed Hodgkiss said.
After the Knights stopped the Tigers (1-5, 1-1), Robert Rodgers returned a Fuentes punt 35 yards to the Bosco Tech 45-yard line.
Bishop Montgomery got as close as the 17, but the Tigers held and Jonathan Kim missed his first of three field-goal attempts. The Knights immediately forced a Fuentes fumble, but the Tigers, who held the Knights to 32 yards rushing in the first half, were stopped again, and then Kim missed again.
Paredes then broke through the Tigers again, taking a reverse 26 yards, untouched, for a TD and a 14-0 lead.
“The first half we were shooting ourselves in the foot and it was still only 14 points,” Shockley said.
On the Knights’ first play of the second half, quarterback Louie Soto went over the middle to tight end Alex Hernandez for 27 yards and Robbie Hou went off tackle on the next play for a 27-yard TD to make it 21-0.
“It’s frustrating because you think you’re in the game, but you’re giving away things like that,” Shockley said. “You take those things away and you’re right there.”
The Tigers finally seemed to get their offense going. They ran off 17 plays, including a pair of fourth-down runs. But Cameron Hughes stepped in front of a Brady Martinez pass along the sidelines and went 70 yards untouched to make it 28-0.
The Tigers’ first scoring drive did not take as long. Two helmet-to-helmet personal fouls on a pair of eight-yard runs helped. Fuentes scored from the 4.
“Our offense sputtered,” Shockley said. “We could not get the third down (conversion). We were keeping it close, but we couldn’t convert. We couldn’t get a rhythm going on offense.”
Hou then made it 35-7, the Knights finally beginning to find a running game. He scored on a 7-yarder.
Michael Turner led the Knights with 62 yards rushing on nine carries and Hou had 51 yards on 10 carries.
“Both defenses played really well,” Hodgkiss said. “Our offense was going off like we usually do.”
Fuentes scored on a 23-yard run with 2:05 to play, the Tigers’ longest play from scrimmage. It was set up by an Alejandro De La Torre interception.
Turner then had the ball stripped and Edward Osorio recovered on the Bishop Montgomery 21.
The Tigers got to the 1-yard line. With fourth down and 6seconds to play, Martinez’s pass was knocked down on what appeared to be a broken play.

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Boys water polo: La Canada too much for San Marino

NO MATCH: La Canada High School, helped by Bryce Hopkins, center routed San Marino, 21-6, in a home game on Tuesday. Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

By Keith Lair, SGVN

LA CANADA-FLINTRIDGE – The La Canada High School boys water polo team has gone through half a dozen coaches the past five years.
But the Spartans still manage to flourish. They currently are the top-ranked team in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 and opened Rio Hondo League play with a 21-6 victory over visiting San Marino on Tuesday.
Head coach Devon Borisoff is the secret to the team’s success, said senior Symeon Stefan, one of Spartans’ top players, and assistant coach Kristen Dronberger.
“He sort of has been a constant,” Stefan said. “(The coaching changes) have not been that dramatic. But Devon has been sort of the common thread throughout.”
Ironically, Borisoff was unable to make his league debut after receiving a red card in the Spartans’ previous match. That led to Dronberger coaching the team and getting her first varsity boys victory. She began coaching the Spartans girls team last year.
“It was a lot quieter,” Stefan said. “Usually he’s yelling. He’s been a key to our success this year and it’s kind of odd not having him on deck.”
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