The Rings fit! Monrovia, Rio win CIF-SS titles…is a regional berth next?

Monrovia and Rio Hondo Prep believed they were the best teams in their respective divisions and showed it Friday, each beating top seeds to win CIF-Southern Section titles. For the Wildcats, it’s their third consecutive Mid-Valley crown to become the first area team since Temple City in 1978 to three-peat, beating Paraclete, 23-7. Rio Hondo Prep added to its already crowded CIF-SS title trophy case, winning title No. 14 with a 28-21 win over Mission Prep, which handed the Kares a 47-14 defeat in August. Now comes the question have the two earned spots in the regional bowls, slated for next week. I believe they have, CIF decides Sunday.

3PEAT!: Monrovia celebrates their CIF-SS Mid-Valley football championship as they beat Paraclete at Monrovia High School Friday night.
Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz


Move over area coaching legend Bob Hitchcock and Temple City, you have company.
Ge Vontray Ainsworth rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown and host Monrovia held Paraclete to 124 yards to become the first area team to win three consecutive CIF-Southern Section titles since Temple City in 1978 with a 23-7 win Friday over the Spirits for its third straight Mid-Valley Division championship.
The Wildcats, which held usually productive Paraclete to nine yards rushing and three first downs in the second half, improved to 12-2 and could be selected for a CIF State regional bowl when pairings are announced on Sunday.
Paraclete, seeking its third division title since 2008, finished 12-2.
Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox: “This is the result of the dedication of this coaching staff and players. We don’t talk a lot about three-peats, just getting better each week and being the best you can be. It’s an incredible feeling, but we have to stay humble and continue to work.”
Monrovia’s George Frazier V: “We just made adjustments to what they were doing. They came out and did things they hadn’t done all year. But we’re a second-half team.
Monrovia’s Anthony Craft, who caught an 85-yard TD pass in the third quarter: “It was actually supposed to be a run play. The corner came up, so we called fade. Blake (Heyworth) threw it in the right spot, and I caught it.”

BACK TO BACK CHAMPS: Rio Hondo Prep reacts after beating Mission Prep 28-21 to win the CIF-SS Northeast Division championship football game at Rio Hondo Preparatory School on Friday.
Staff photo Keith Birmingham

The CIF-Southern Section Northeast Division championship still belongs to Rio Hondo Prep High School.
Considered by many to be sizable underdogs on Friday night against Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo – the team that blew out the Kares back in August – host Rio Hondo Prep got sweet revenge with a 28-21 win to repeat as division champion.
Running back Nate Tayco ran for 178 yards to lead the Kares, who improved to 12-1. Mission Prep, which beat Rio Hondo, 47-14, in August, finished 11-2.
The Kares won the division for the second consecutive season to win the program’s 14th CIF-SS title, tops in the area. They will find out Sunday if it gets them a CIF State Regional Bowl berth.
Rio Hondo coach Ken Drain: “They just killed us the first time we played them, and tonight we were determined to do our thing. It’s all about improving every week, and that’s what we did. We came back tonight and played a great game against a very, very, very good Mission Prep team.”

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Ge Vontray Ainsworth has been a welcome addition for Monrovia

KEY ADDITION: Ge Vontray Ainsworth, a transfer from Covina, has helped lead Monrovia into Friday’s Mid-Valley Division championship game against Paraclete. Photo by Larry Goren / Correspondent


By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

MONROVIA – If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?
Not exactly.
Ge Vontray Ainsworth didn’t transfer from Covina High School to Monrovia to get a shot at a CIF-Southern Section title, but it may work out that way.
Ainsworth, who came to the Wildcats after his family moved into the area from Covina, has been a key contributor for the Wildcats, who look to win their third consecutive Mid-Valley Division title when they host Paraclete on Friday at 7 p.m.
“I’m happy that we even made it this far,” said Ainsworth, who was on the losing side last season when Monrovia beat Covina in the semifinals. “I’m going to be happy if we win it.
“It will be my first ring, and I’ll be able to say I have one.”
Ainsworth, who rushed for 1,464 yards and nine touchdowns for Covina last season, has 1,155 yards and 14 scores for the Wildcats.
He’s also been a dominant force on defense, where he leads the Wildcats with 14 1/2 sacks, including four last week to help Monrovia advance to the finals with a 42-31 victory over Sierra Canyon.
“He’s physical on defense,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “He might be better on defense than he is running the football. He’s an all-around, exceptional football player.
“He does what we ask him to. That might be the best part of what he does. He came (here from Covina), and you’re always worried about how a guy will fit in. But he’s been a coach’s dream. He will do whatever it takes for this team to win.
“He’s not an `I’ guy. It’s about how many times he carries the ball. That’s just the type of young man he is, and as a coach those are the types of young men you want to build your team around.”
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Nate Tayco has Rio Hondo Prep on verge of back-to-back titles

THE MISSING PIECE: Rio Hondo’s Nate Tayco is a big reason why the Kares will play for a second consecutive CIF-SS Northeast Division title against Mission Prep on Friday.
Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz


By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

ARCADIA - Rio Hondo Prep, after winning the CIF-Southern Section Northeast Division football title last season, entered the fall thinking repeat.
The Kares had most of the necessary parts back, including quarterback Colby Rivera, receiver Jake Holguin and a good chunk of the defense that helped Rio Hondo win 13 of 14 games and the division title.
The question mark was in the backfield.
Enter Nate Tayco, who has had all the answers. The junior has filled the void left by older brother Alex Tayco and has the Kares in position for back-to-back titles when they host Mission Prep at 7 p.m. Friday.
“I didn’t want to be a question mark,” Nate Tayco said. “I think I handled that pretty well.
“Trying to match what my brother did is tough, but I think I did a pretty good job.”
For some, Nate Tayco has at the very least matched Alex Tayco, who earned Northeast Division Offensive Player of the Year after leading the Kares to a 13-1 record and a division title.
Nate Tayco solidified the Kares’ rushing attack, running for nearly 1,500 yards and scoring 25 touchdowns.
He has rushed for 562 yards and nine scores in the postseason, including 246 and three touchdowns in a 42-14 victory over St. Monica Cathedral in last week’s semifinals at Santa Monica College.
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CIF Regional Bowl Games: Is it win or you’re in for Monrovia, Rio ? That depends on who you ask….

Monrovia and Rio Hondo Prep will be looking to add to the CIF-Southern Section championship showcase Friday when they each play in division title games. Monrovia is seeking its third consecutive Mid-Valley title, while Rio Hondo Prep is seeking its second consecutive Northeast championship and its 14 CIF-SS title overall.
Both are also in the running for region bowl bids. Cal-Hi Sports believes if both win, their in. Max Preps believes each will be a little more.
If both teams win on Friday, they’ll find out their fate on Sunday when pairings for the five region bowls are announced.

Here’s this week’s Cal-Hi Region rankings for Division III and IV, with some notes provided by Cal-Hi Sports:
1. (1) Paraclete (Lancaster) 12-1
2. (2) St. Augustine (San Diego) 10-2*
3. (3) Monrovia 11-2
4. (4) Wasco 12-0
5. (5) Madison (San Diego) 11-1
6. (NR) North (Torrance) 11-2
7. (6) Nordhoff (Ojai) 12-1
8. (NR) Rim of the World (Lake Arrowhead) 11-2
9. (NR) Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 10-3*
10. (NR) Garden Grove 11-2
*Forfeit win not included.
Drops: Previous No. 7 Laguna Beach lost to Garden Grove 35-21; No. 8 San Dimas lost to Paraclete (Lancaster) 28-20; No. 9 Mission Oak (Tulare) lost to Bakersfield Christian 7-0; No. 10 Brawley lost to Madison (San Diego) 35-18.
Bubble Teams: Banning 11-2*, Brawley 10-2*, Jurupa Hills (Fontana) 8-4*, Laguna Beach 11-1-1*, Mission Oak (Tulare) 9-3*, San Dimas 11-2*, San Marino 10-2**, Salesian (Los Angeles) 11-2*, Valley Center 7-5*.
*Indicates season complete and ineligible for CIF bowl game.
**Indicates forfeit loss not included plus season complete, ineligible for bowl game.
No. 1 Team Result: Paraclete defeated San Dimas 28-20 in CIF Southern Section Mid-Valley Division semifinals.
Cal-Hi Sports Projected Bowl Game Matchup: CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division winner (Paraclete or Monrovia) vs. CIF-San Diego Section Division IV winner (St. Augustine or Madison).


1. (3) Ontario Christian 13-0
2. (1) Bishop Diego (Santa Barbara) 12-1*
3. (2) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 11-2*
4. (4) Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo) 11-1
5. (5) Rio Hondo Prep (Arcadia) 11-1
6. (6) Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) 9-3
7. (7) Francis Parker (San Diego) 8-4
8. (10) Bakersfield Christian 10-2
9. (NR) St. Margaret’s (SJ Capistrano) 10-2*
10. (8) Horizon (San Diego) 8-4*
*Indicates season complete, ineligible for CIF bowl game.
Drops: Previous No. 9 Christian (El Cajon) lost to Francis Parker 27-24.
Bubble Teams: Boron 10-2*, Calipatria 9-3*, Christian (El Cajon) 8-4*, Flintridge Prep (La Canada) 6-5*, La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 7-4*, Windward (Los Angeles) 5-4*.
*Indicates season complete, ineligible for bowl game.
*Win by forfeit not included.
Cal-Hi Sports Projected Bowl Game Matchup: Ontario Christian (if it were to win CIF-SS East Valley title) vs. CIF-SS Northeast Division champion (Mission Prep or Rio Hondo Prep).

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Poly’s Lenz signs with UCLA

Pasadena Poly’s Annika Lenz, who will be seeking her fourth CIF-Southern Section divisional diving championship in the spring, signed with national power UCLA recently.
Lenz has won three consecutive CIF-SS divisional titles. Her member of her family has won a CIF-SS title each of the past six years.

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Star-News Pick’em: Monrovia, Rio Hondo Prep go for repeat titles….can they do it?

THERE GOES FRAZIER: Monrovia’s George Frazier is a key part in the Wildcats’ title game quest against Paraclete.
Staff photo by Michael Owen Baker

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 (5-1); Lair (6-0)
Season: Ramirez (142-56); Lair (146-52)

Last week: Keith enjoyed a perfect weekend, guessing right on all six semifinals of the Mid-Valley, Northeast and Southeast divisions. I missed on the Satan Fe-Downey encounter, going with the Chiefs, who looked so good the week before with the upset of La Mirada.

This week: It’s championship week and the Star-News area again has two teams going for titles. Monrovia is seeking a three-peat in the Mid-Valley, with Rio Hondo Prep going for back-to-back titles. The Wildcats host No. 1 Paraclete in what looks like a pick’em game. Monrovia is averaging nearly 300 yards rushing in three easy playoff wins, including last week’s win over Sierra Canyon. But Paraclete has been ranked No. 1 or 2 most of the season. I like the ‘Cats, mainly because I don’t see Paraclete having an answer for George Frazier V, who is averaging nearly 30 yards a carry with 207 yards rushing during the past two weeks. Championship games are all about big players stepping up big, and G5 looks like the guy for the ‘Cats. Rio Hondo has bigger worries. The Kares are getting the rematch they wanted against Mission Prep, which has been No. 1 in the Division all season. Will that change on Friday? I have hard time picking against a team that beat another, 47-14 the first time. I do think it will be closer, but Mission gets the pick.
Here’s Friday’s championship schedule:
Paraclete (12-1) at Monrovia (11-2), 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Monrovia), Lair (Paraclete)
Mission Prep (12-1) at Rio Hondo Prep (11-1), 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Mission Prep); Lair (Mission Prep)

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Friday Night Final: Monrovia, Rio punch tickets to finals….stay in hunt for regional bowls

The West Valley usally play ssecond fiddle to the East Valley. But no more! While the East counterparts are done, the West will keep on playing as Monrovia and Rio Hondo Prep advanced to the CIF-Southern Section finals with easy wins in the semifinals. Monrovia got 149 yards and two touchdowns from George Frazier V and is a victory away from a Mid-Valley Division 3-peat, while Rio Hondo rolled over St. Monica to set up a rematch with Mission Prep, the only team to beat the Kares, in a Northeast Division tilt. Both games are Friday and both will be home. Below is the short recaps, with links to the game stories.

GRANADA HILLS – George Frazier V might be the best linebacker in the West Valley.
He’s also a pretty good as a running back, and the senior showed why Friday night against Sierra Canyon.
Frazier rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns and Monrovia High School will play for the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division title for the third consecutive season after rolling to a 42-31 victory over the Trailblazers in a semifinal at Granada Hills High School.
Monrovia improved to 11-2 and will host top-seeded Paraclete, which beat San Dimas, 28-20, in next Friday’s title game.
Sierra Canyon, getting 225 yards passing and three touchdowns from Andre Nunez, finished 11-2.
Monrovia, which rushed for nearly 500 yards the previous two weeks, ran for 324 on Friday. Ge Vontray Ainsworth and Darione Jones each gained 90 yards and combined for three scores.
Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox: “We played a great game. Sierra Canyon is a very good football team. I’m proud of my kids. In the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, we muscled it up and put it away with a touchdown drive. We had turnovers tonight, but the defense played well and we ran the ball well.”
George Frazier V: “I just had to run hard. That’s all I tried to do, to do it for the team.”
SANTA MONICA – It’s a rematch that was four months in the making for Rio Hondo Prep.
The Kares, who lost to No. 1 Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo in August, will play the Royals in next week’s CIF-Southern Section Northeast Division final after an easy semifinal victory at St. Monica, 42-14, on a foggy Friday night.
Rio Hondo Prep’s only loss of the season came at the hands of Mission Prep, 47-14.
Rio Hondo Prep will be making its 21st appearance in a CIF-SS championship game since 1972 and will look to defend its Northeast Division crown.
Second-ranked Rio Hondo Prep (11-1) will host Mission Prep, a 56-26 winner over Salesian in the other semifinal, next Friday.
Nate Tayco led Rio Hondo with 246 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Rio Hondo coach Ken Drain: Mission Prep is awfully good. They’re fast, they’re big and their quarterback is fantastic. I think the biggest thing was that we pumped everyone in that first game (against Arcadia) and we had a big letdown the next week. It’s No. 1 against No. 2, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Nate Tayco: “With those holes (created by the offensive line), how can you not run through them?”

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Monrovia, Rio Hondo Prep still chasing state bowl games

SGVN Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

The lastest Cal-Hi CIF State bowl rankings are out, and Monrovia, at No. 3 in the South Division III, is sitting pretty. The Wildcats, who face Division IV No. 2 Sierra Canyon on Friday, will likely get an invite to the Division III South Region bowl if they win the Mid-Valley Division, since Paraclete, which faces San Dimas on Friday, is No. 1 in the rankings and would move into one of the two coveted slots. Rio Hondo Prep, which faces St. Monica Catholic at Santa Monica College in a Northeast Division semifinal on Friday, is also in position to go bowling. The Kares are No. 5 in Division IV and would move into the top three if Monrovia beats Sierra Canyon Friday and Rio Hondo wins the Northeast title, which includes No. 4 Mission Prep in its final four.


1. (1) Paraclete (Lancaster) 11-1
2. (2) St. Augustine (San Diego) 9-2*
3. (3) Monrovia 10-2
4. (4) Wasco 11-0
5. (5) Madison (San Diego) 10-1
6. (6) Nordhoff (Ojai) 11-1
7. (7) Laguna Beach 11-0-1
8. (8) San Dimas 11-1
9. (9) Mission Oak (Tulare) 9-2
10. (10) Brawley 10-1
*Forfeit win not included.
Drops: None.
Bubble Teams: Banning 11-1, Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 9-3*, Garden Grove 10-2, Jurupa Hills (Fontana) 8-4, North (Torrance) 10-2, San Marino 10-2**, Rim of the World (Lake Arrowhead) 10-2, Salesian (Los Angeles) 11-1, Valley Center 7-4.
*Forfeit win not included. **Indicates season complete.

1. (1) Bishop Diego (Santa Barbara) 12-0
2. (2) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 11-1
3. (3) Ontario Christian 12-0
4. (4) Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo) 10-1
5. (5) Rio Hondo Prep (Arcadia) 10-1
6. (7) Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) 8-3
7. (9) Francis Parker (San Diego) 7-4
8. (10) Horizon (San Diego) 8-3
9. (NR) Christian (El Cajon) 8-3
10. (NR) Bakersfield Christian 9-2
Drops: Previous No. 6 St. Margaret’s (SJ Capistrano) lost to Rim of the World (Lake Arrowhead) 28-14; No. 8 La Jolla Country Day lost to Horizon (San Diego) 40-24.
Bubble Teams: Boron 10-2*, Calipatria 9-3*, Flintridge Prep (La Canada) 6-5*, La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 7-4*, St. Margaret’s (SJ Capistrano) 10-2*, Windward (Los Angeles) 5-4*.
*Indicates season complete. **Win by forfeit not included.

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CIF State girls volleyball playoffs: St. Monica advances, La Salle, Alverno come up short

Alverno’s Ali Peterson (3) covers her face as Jessica Hamilton (C) (23) walks away as Calvin Christian scores late in the third game of a CIF State volleyball playoff match at Pasadena High School on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 in Pasadena, Calif. Calvin Christian won 25-23, 26-24, 25-14. (Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Calvin Christian def. Alverno, 25-23, 26-24, 25-14
There will be no CIF State girls volleyball championship for Alverno High School.
But two days removed from making history with the school’s first CIF-Southern Section title, the host Jaguars weren’t exactly fretting after dropping a 25-23, 26-24, 25-14 setback to Calvin Christian, of Escondido, in a Southern California Regional Division V first-round match Tuesday at Pasadena High School.
Christina DenBoer had 15 kills and Brooke Bell added nine to lead the Crusaders, who improved to 25-7 and advanced to Saturday’s second round against St. Monica Academy.
Alverno, getting 14 kills from Jessica Hamilton and 17 assists from Asia Chapa, finished 20-4. The Jaguars, who beat Pomona Catholic for the 5AA Division title on Saturday, lost their first sets of the postseason.
Alverno coach Brent Fabbri: “I just finished telling my girls to forget about this (match). We had one goal this year, and it was to win (a CIF-SS title). I’m proud of my girls. I give it to (Calvin). They are young and they’re good. But we had them in (the first two sets). I’m not disappointed at all. We came into this (match) not nervous, because we accomplished what we set out to. We’re a proud school.”
St. Monica def. Minarets, 25-16, 26-24, 26-28, 25-22
Solid defense propelled St. Monica Academy to the second round of the CIF State Division V playoffs.
The Crusaders rallied from two game-point deficits in the second game and also had two match points in the third game, but could not close it out.
The Crusaders travel to Escondido to play Calvin Christian on Saturday.
Caitlin Hall had close to 30 kills for St. Monica, which lost in the CIF-SS Division 5A title match.
Clovis West def. La Salle, 19-25, 25-23, 25-15, 18-25, 15-11
The Lancers ended their season with a loss to Central Section champion Clovis West. La Salle, getting 16 kills from Haley DeSailes, finished 34-3. Riley Spriestersbach had 12 kills, Katrina Palffy seven, Alyssa Tavera 40 assists and Caroline Knop 40 digs for the Lancers, who won the school’s first CIF-SS volleyball title on Saturday, defeating El Dorado for the 1A championship.

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