Friday Night Final: Monrovia, Rio advance to Final Four; Muir, San Marino, Flint Prep come up short

San Marino’s Ryan Wood (2) is taken down by San Dimas during the first half of Friday night’s game at San Dimas High School.
(SGVN/Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)


Monrovia and Rio Hondo Prep began the season as the area’s best hope for a CIF-Southern Section divisional title, and after Friday, the dynamic duo are the area’s only hope for a division championship, each surving in convincing fashion. Monrovia, getting 149 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Ge Vontray Ainsworth, rolled to any easy win over South El Monte, 43-6. Rio Hondo Prep, meanwhile, was equally impressive on the road at Desert in Lancaster, cruising to a 47-0 victory. Muir, lost a tough one, 21-19 to two-time defending champ West Covina in the Southeast; San Marino gave up the lead late and lost to San Dimas, 31-28, while Flintridge Prep proved to be no match for Northeast top seed Mission Prep, losing 49-14. And now there were two, with Mid-Valley No. 2 seed Monrovia vs. No. 3 Sierra Canyon at Granada Hills High, with Rio back on the road at St. Monica.

Friday’s Results
MID-VALLEY DIVISION
Monrovia 43, South El Monte 6
MONROVIA – There were those who believed South El Monte High School had a shot to upset two-time defending Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia on Friday night.
It didn’t take long for the Wildcats to squash those hopes.
Ge Vontray Ainsworth rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns and host Monrovia held the Eagles to minus-49 yards rushing and coasted to a 43-6 victory in a CIF-Southern Section second-round game.
Monrovia, also getting 129 yards passing and a touchdown from quarterback Blake Heyworth and touchdown runs from George Frazier V and Darione Jones, improved to 10-2. The Wildcats will face Sierra Canyon, a 28-20 winner over Arroyo, next Friday at Granada Hills High.
South El Monte, which defeated El Monte to earn a piece of the Mission Valley League crown two weeks ago before defeating Covina last week in its playoff opener, finished 7-5.
The Wildcats scored on their first five possessions to put it away by halftime and took a 29-0 advantage into the break.
Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox: “We played a well-rounded football game tonight. We were firing on all cylinders. We pride ourselves on finishing, and I think we did that tonight. Ge Vontray and Darione Jones played a great ball game, our offensive line did the job up front and our defense did an incredible job. It was an excellent game all the way around.”
San Dimas 31, San Marino 28
SAN DIMAS – Hollywood endings usually are reserved for Denzel Washington, not Denzel Mitchell.
But not even Hollywood could have scripted a better ending on Friday night for Mitchell, a running back/defensive back on the San Dimas High School football team.
Mitchell made the game-turning interception, then moments later scored the game-winning touchdown as San Dimas handed visiting San Marino a 31-28 defeat in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs.
The win sent San Dimas (11-1) to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive season. The Saints will play at top-seeded Paraclete next Friday. San Marino finished 10-2.
The Titans twice had 11-point leads in the second half, but costly interceptions and a Saints offense that kept grinding proved to be the difference. San Marino went ahead 28-17 with 3:37 left in the third quarter on Ryan Wood’s 32-yard touchdown run.
San Dimas answered right back with a 46-yard touchdown run by Andrew Espinoza to make it 28-24. Espinoza ran for 187 yards on just five carries.
Denzel Mitchell: “I kept telling my team that we’ve got to make plays and it was just me who made the plays. I was thinking somebody else (would get the ball), but when my name gets called, I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do for my team.”
SOUTHEAST DIVISION
West Covina 21, Muir 19
Defending CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division champion West Covina isn’t done yet.
After needing to win its final game in the Hacienda League to make the playoffs, the Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals with a 21-19 victory over third-seeded Muir that was full of clutch calls from Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore.
West Covina (8-4) will face second-seeded La Serna at California High in next week’s semifinals. La Serna (11-1) is the same team the Bulldogs defeated 84-21 last year
or the title while setting a CIF-SS record for points in a championship game.
With Bulldogs quarterback Jon Najera on crutches with an injured ankle, junior Henry Tarin platooned with Antonio Hull at quarterback.
Tarin wasn’t asked to do much, but clinging to a one-point lead, he delivered a 28-yard pass to Sidney Jones at the 10 that eventually set up Aaron Salgado’s 4-yard scoring run to go up 21-13 with 6:53 left.
However, Muir’s Andreece Brown returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards to the 5 and later scored on a 3-yard run, but the Mustangs (8-4) came up short on the two-point conversion try to trail, 21-19.
West Covina, using a key first down on fourth and 3, then ate up most of the clock before holding off Muir to advance.
NORTHEAST DIVISION
Rio Hondo prep 47, Desert 0
The Rio Hondo Prep offense had an off game Friday night.
But the Kares’ defense was just fine, holding host Desert scoreless for a 47-0 victory in a CIF-SS second round game in Lancaster.
The Kares (10-1) will travel to St. Monica Catholic of Santa Monica in next week’s semifinals. The Mariners scored a 19-16 victory over Boron, preventing another Rio Hondo Prep-Boron semifinal game.
Nate Tayco rushed for two scores and Colby Rivera, who did not practice all week because of a leg infection, threw scoring passes to Jake Holguin and Kevin Horton.
Rio Hondo Prep coach Ken Drain: “We did not play very well. We had more turnovers than any game all year.”
Mission Prep 49, Flintridge Prep 14
Patrick Laird rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a 27-yard scoring pass to lead the Royals.Stefan Smith had 118 yards for Flintridge Prep.
Flintridge Prep coach Antonio Harrison: We’ve done something no team at Flintridge Prep has done in almost 10 years. That’s to make it out of the playoffs and out of the first round. I do not want the kids to be upset at all. I told them the tradition is coming back.”

NEXT WEEK’S SCHEDULE
FRIDAY
MID-VALLEY DIVISION

Monrovia vs. Sierra Canyon at Granada Hills HS
NORTHEAST DIVISION
Rio Hondo Prep at St. Monica

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  • New York

    Congratulations to San Marino and Muir on great seasons. You lost close games to great programs. I am surprised, though, by the way San Marino’s lost. Those interceptions are not characteristic of your season nor of your run first and often identity…Tough way to go out.

    • GP AKA Green Machine

      Very true…Monrovia has turned it’s focus to running the ball, with short quick passes. That’s how we keep it in 3rd and short.

      • Phillyb

        Monrovia, is going to whoop Sierra canyon. I can’t wait.

        • New York

          I agree.

  • Eastern Avenue

    Sound fundamentals and hard nosed. Rio Hondo Prep keeps moving on.

    San Marino had a great year they should have gone farther.
    Muir had a solid year tough non league schedule was brutal.
    La Salle played well but my eyes were never sold on them.
    They really did look like a Campbell hall squad, and finished like one.

    Monrovia is poised to do great things, good coaching has them rolling!
    Monrovia will win this week and moves on!

    Rio Hondo wins a closer game than people think.
    St. Monica has good size are healthy and have good stout athletes.

    The Kares will move on in the tournament to play a championship game at home!

    Monrovia and RHP will both be playing football in December!

    Good luck to both schools. Have fun everyone!

    “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.” Bill Shankly

    Maranatha Oh Magoo!

    • Steve_Ramirez

      Eastern Ave., Red Sanders: “Beating ‘SC is not a matter of life or death, it’s more important than that.” Very similar to your quote. I wonder who said it first. Sanders came before the ’55 UCLA-USC game.

      • Eastern Ave.

        He was the legendary manager of Liverpool’s football club from 1949 to 74. So right around the time same. It applies.

        The exact quote is…’Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.’

    • Eastern Ave.

      Ooops, football in late Nov. Nov 30 to be exact!

  • Eastern Ave.

    Steve you ever going to show up to an RHP game?