Nine area teams will begin their quest for CIF-Southern Section glory on Friday. Of those nine, four received a top-four seed, so which of those nine do you think will wear a crown. I think we’ll double-dip, with Monrovia winning the Mid-Valley for the third consecutive year to earn a state bowl berth, and Rio Hondo Prep going back-to-back in the Northeast.
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 (9-3); Lair (10-2)
Season: Ramirez (126-52); Lair (129-49)
Last week: It came down to Gabrielino-Arroyo, and I missed on the Knights win over the Eagles.
This week: It’s playoff time, so the pickings are slim, but we also have some intriguing matchups. I like five teams to survive. I like Muir over California, Rio Hondo Prep over Bell-Jeff; San Marino over Schurr; Monrovia over Viewpoint and La Salle over Centennial, of Compton. Arcadia, Flintridge Prep, Temple City and St. Francis appear to be in over their head.
Here’s this week’s schedule and predictions:
California at No. 3 Muir — Ramirez (Muir); Lair (Muir)
Arcadia at No. 1 La Mirada — Ramirez (La Mirada); Lair (La Mirada)
Bell-Jeff at No. 2 Rio Hondo Prep — Ramirez (RHP); Lair (Rio Hondo Prep)
Flintridge Prep at Ribet Academy — Ramirez (Ribet); Lair (Ribet)
Temple City at Paraclete — Ramirez (Paraclete); Lair (Paraclete)
Schurr at San Marino — Ramirez (SMarino); Lair (SMarino)
Viewpoint at No. 2 Monrovia — Ramirez (Monrovia); Lair (Monrovia)
Centennial/Compton at No. 3 La Salle — Ramirez (La Salle); Lair (La Salle)
St. Francis at No. 1 Lompoc — Ramirez (Lompoc); Lair (Lompoc)
The CIF-Southern Section announced its pairings for the divisional playoffs Sunday and there were a few surprises.
The big one was St. Francis receiving an at-large bid in the Western Division. But as expected, Monrovia, Muir, Rio Hondo Prep and La Salle all got seeded in their respective divisions.
The only surprise was Muir being No. 3 in the Southeast. The Mustangs, who have won seven consecutive games, were ranked No. 4 to begin next week, but benefited from a three-way tie in the San Gabriel League, which dropped Paramount down a peg. Muir will host California on Friday. The Condors pushed No. 2 seed La Serna last week before losing in overtime.
Arcadia is also in the division, but will have its hands full against top seed La Mirada.
Monrovia, as expected received the No. 2 seed in the Mid-Valley. The Wildcats, who host Viewpoint, are seeking their third consecutive division title, trying to match Temple City’s reign during the 1970s. Monrovia, if it wins a division title, will likely play in a state bowl game.
Rio Hondo Prep, seeking to repeat as a division champ, is the No. 2 seed in the Northeast. The Kares host Bell-Jeff in the first round. La Salle, which has gone from 1-9 last year to 10-0 this year, is No. 3 in the Northwest and will host Centennial/Compton.
St. Francis, despite being 4-6 and finishing fifth in the Mission League, received the second of two at-large bids in the Western Division. The Golden Knights are at No. 1 seed Lompoc in the first round.
Here’s the playoff schedule for area teams:
California at No. 3 Muir
Arcadia at No. 1 La Mirada
Bell-Jeff at No. 2 Rio Hondo Prep
Flintridge Prep at Ribet Academy
Temple City at Paraclete
Schurr at San Marino
Viewpoint at No. 2 Monrovia
Centennial/Compton at No. 3 La Salle
St. Francis at No. 1 Lompoc
The CIF-Southern Section girls volleyball pairings are out, and La Salle, which advanced to the 2AA finals last season, losing to St. Lucy’s, received the No. 2 seed in the 1A Division, behind, you guessed it, the Regents. A match of interest in the first round will feature Pasadena Poly traveling to Maranatha in the 2A Division. Below are pairings for area teams.
CIF-SS VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS
All matches are scheduled for 7 p.m.
Tustin at Pasadena
Sonora at Westridge
Flint. Sacred Heart at Valencia
Simi Valley-Saugus winner at La Salle
San Marino at King
Paramount at La Canada
Monrovia at Downey
Alta Loma at South Pasadena
Sultana at Mayfield
Pas Poly at Maranatha
Rio Mesa at Arcadia
LaQuinta/Westminster at Gabrielino
Whitney at San Gabriel
San Bernardino at Rosemead
Duarte at Pacific Chr. — top seed
Lone Pine at San Gabriel Academy
The dominoes tumbled in the right order for some area teams, in the wrong order for others, who were likely eliminated. I use likely for schools like Alhambra, San Gabriel, Pasadena Poly, South Pasadena and Gabrielino, who finished the regular season without an automatic playoff spot. But all under new CIF-SS rules can apply for an at-large bid. CIF-SS has done away with the .500 margin elgibility. But we do know that Rio Hondo Prep is the Prep League champion and is likely the No. 2 seed for the Northeast Division. Monrovia is No. from the Rio Hondo and might receive a No. 2 seed in the Mid-Valley. San Marino clinched a playoff spot by routing South Pasadena, and Flintridge Prep is in with RHP’s win over Poly, which must play the waiting game. The clock likely struck midnight for South Pasadena, Gabrielino, Alhambra, San Gabriel, Maranatha and Duarte, whose record doesn’t appear to be good enough. I like Poly’s chance to get in in the Northeast.
San Gabriel 15, Alhambra 9 — The Matadors, who were eliminated when Schurr beat Montebello, ended the season by also knocking out the Moors. San Gabriel got 145 yards and two TDs from Joseph Mayorga.
Crescenta Valley 23, Arcadia 7 — The Apaches needed to win to get in, but caught a break when Burbank took second in the Pacific by beating Burroughs, which also pushed Arcadia in.
San Marino 43, So. Pasadena 8 — The Titans clinched second with the win, knocking out South Pas, who at 6-4 might get an at-large bid.
Village Chr. 36, Maranatha 0 — The Minutemen’s quest to recover from an 0-5 start to make the playoffs ended with the loss to the Crusaders.
RH Prep 49, Pasadena Poly 0 — The Kares clinch the Prep League and are looking good for a divison title. Poly will play the waiting and hoping game.
Monrovia 35, Temple City 14 — Monrovia cinches the Rio Hondo League and will be a player in the Mid-Valley. Win that, and a state bowl could be in its future. Temple City takes third and will make the playoffs.
La Salle 73, Bosco Tech 3 — The Lancers complete an undefeated regular season and now take aim at a Northwest title.
St. Francis 34, St. Paul 14
Duarte 41, Bassett 30
La Canada 42, Blair 0
Here are your area playoff teams
Monrovia (RH champ)
RH Prep (Prep champ)
La Salle (Del Rey champ)
Muir (Pacific champ)
Possible at-large entries
South Pasadena (6-4)
Pasadena (Poly 6-3)
SAN GABRIEL 15, ALHAMBRA 9
By Steve Ramirez, SGVn
ALHAMBRA – San Gabriel High School is likely out of the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.
The Matadors’ fate was sealed when Schurr beat rival Montebello on Friday. But there wasn’t any disappointment in San Gabriel’s camp after Joe Mayorga scored two touchdowns, the second one in the middle of the fourth quarter, to give San Gabriel a 15-9 victory over Alhambra in a Almont League game at Moor Field.
San Gabriel, getting 145 total yards from Mayorga, improved to 3-7 overall and 2-3 in league. Alhambra, which also was knocked out of an automatic bid, slipped to 4-6 and 2-3. Both teams are, in theory, eligible to apply for an at-large bid.
Ezra Broadus had 106 yards rushing to lead Alhambra.
“You (finish) on a high note,” San Gabriel coach Jude Olivia said. “All we could do, and I told the kids that all we can do is control what we can control, and that’s the result of our game. We didn’t want to worry about what everybody else was doing, but what we did.
“We talked about getting this (win) to propelling us into even the spring of next year. I’m proud of them. Yeah, it’s tough knowing your season’s over, but I’m proud of the guys tonight.”
Mayorga, who had 99 yards receiving and 46 rushing, proved to be the difference. He had a 4-yard run for a 7-6 lead during the middle of the third quarter, then after Alhambra took a 9-7 lead on a 31-yard field goal by Jorge Campos with 8:03 left, gave the Matadors the lead back.
This time he caught a pass from Marqus Valenzuela and turned it into a 73-yard catch and run for a 15-9 lead with 5:49 left. Rigoberto Sanchez caught a pass from Valenzuela on the 2-point conversion.
“We just pushed it,” Mayorga said. “We had to do all we could. It was a good play for us.
“I did a good arrow route and broke it outside. I’m just proud of my team. We’ve had a hard season, but we pushed it.”
Alhambra, which would have clinched a playoff spot with a win, looked like it might pull it out. Jermey Maresca returned the kickoff 24 yards to the Moors’ 45 and following a personal foul on San Gabriel, Alhambra was set up at the Matadors’ 40.
But Steven Garcia caught a tipped pass for an interception on the next play to give the ball back to the Matadors.
San Gabriel, most on runs by Mayorga and Garcia, then drove inside the Alhambra 25 to run out the clock and seal it.
“We gave it our shot,” Alhambra coach Jerry De Santis said. “Our offense just couldn’t get going tonight. Our defense played great. It’s not how we wanted to end up, but our kids played tough.”
The first half was a near stalemate, with Alhambra taking a 6-0 lead on an Armando Amaya 3-yard run during the middle of the second quarter.
The Moors, who held San Gabriel’s usually-potent offense to 97 yards during the first two quarters, finally got a field-position opportunity and took advantage of it in the second quarter.
Broadus, who rushed for 56 yards in the first half, had five runs for 22 yards to give Alhambra a first down at the San Gabriel 12. He then followed with runs of 6 and 1 yards to the 3 before Amaya plunged in on fourth-and-1 for the go-ahead score with 4:34 left in the half.
The Matadors’ only chance in the first half was after taking a punt at Alhambra’s 47. But San Gabriel gave it up on downs at the 34 when Valenzuela threw incomplete on fourth and 10.
By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
PASADENA - The Victory Bell isn’t going anywhere.
Muir saw to that Thursday night at the Rose Bowl.
Joshua Muema-Washington threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns and the Mustangs held Pasadena to 72 yards and three first downs to score their 14th consecutive victory in the annual Turkey Tussle, this one 37-7 over the Bulldogs in a Pacific League game.
Muir, also getting 72 yards receiving and a touchdown from senior Lamarr McDaniels, improved to 7-2 overall and 7-0 in league. The Mustangs, who lead the series 40-17-2, likely will be the No. 4 seed in the Southeast Division when the CIF-Southern Section releases its playoff pairings on Sunday.
Pasadena, which scored on a 79-yard interception return by Brian Williams, finished 1-9 and 1-6.
Muir, which had 348 yards in total offense, blocked two punts, one for a touchdown, and put the game away with two second-half touchdown passes from Muema-Washington.
But for a brief moment, Pasadena looked like it might shock the West Valley, taking a 7-3 lead late in the first half when Williams stepped in front of a Muema-Washington pass and returned it 79 yards for a score with 5:15 left in the second quarter.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, who were held to 29 yards and one first down in the first 24 minutes, it was their only highlight of the night.
The half was dominated by Muir, which quickly responded for a 17-7 lead at halftime.
The Mustangs followed the interception return with a 58-yard scoring drive to take the lead for good.
Muema-Washington set up the go-ahead score with a 23-yard completion to McDaniels at the Pasadena 28 before throwing six yards to Mark Samuels to the 9.
Tyshawn Goodwin followed with runs of 4 and 5 yards for the 10-7 lead with 1:16 left.
Dejon Williams then set up Muir for its final score of the half by blocking a punt at the Bulldogs’ 24 with 15 seconds to play.
A pass interference penalty moved it to the 12 with 11 seconds remaining before Muema-Washington pushed the lead to 17-7 with a 12-yard pass to Samuels with seven seconds left.
The Mustangs led 3-0 after the first quarter after getting a 29-yard field from Jorge Castro to cap their opening drive with 7:45 left.
Pasadena had two scoring chances during the first two quarters, each after forcing turnovers.
But the Bulldogs had a three-out at its 27 after recovering a fumble late in the first quarter, and failed to get a first down after Alfred Robinson returned an interception 14 yards to the Muir 31.
McDaniels ended the chance with a sack at the 39 on a fourth and five at the 26.
Here’s a brief recap of Thursday’s other games
Arroyo 28, Gabrielino 0 — Peter Aholoka threw for 200 yards and four touchdowns as the visiting Knights locked down the Mission Valley League’s final playoff spot. Gabrielino, which finished the regular season 7-3, can still gain entry as an at-large team.
Rosemead 35, Mountain View 28 — Steven San Miguel had two key receptions in the fourth quarter, including the game winner with 1:49 and the visting Panthers likely ended their season with a victory. Rosemead is still eligible for an at-large entry to next week’s playoffs.
By Keith Lair, SGVN
PASADENA - The big man on campus was not supposed to be the running back.
Pasadena High School’s 2012 season was supposed to revolve around the quarterback.
And why not? Brandon Cox can pass the ball with the best players in Southern California. He is as fast as some of his fellow running backs and receivers and he had the experience of two full seasons as the starter for the Bulldogs.
Pasadena head coach Randy Horton envisioned the Bulldogs making a deep CIF-Southern Section playoff run behind the play of Cox.
But Cox, who recently decided to verbally commit to a scholarship offer to play at Utah instead of Arizona, suffered a stress fracture to his foot in the second week of the season. He has not played since.
Running back Kylon Fleming, who was supposed to be just a small piece in the Pasadena offensive machine, suddenly was one of the Bulldogs’ focal points.
“It was a big adjustment for all of us,” Horton said of the loss of Cox. “I definitely now know how an NFL (coach) feels when they lose their starting quarterback. WThe Bulldogs (1-8) head into tonight’s Turkey Tussle against crosstown rival Muir with a five-game losing streak. Pasadena defeated Glendale, 35-0, in its Pacific League opener. The Bulldogs have not beaten the Mustangs since 1995 before some of the current players were born. Muir will be the outright league champion with a victory.
“It has been tough,” said Fleming, a 6-foot-3 senior. “We’ve had our ups and downs.
“It was hard at the beginning, but we have stayed together as a team. We weren’t together at first, but we have come together as a team.
“We haven’t given up yet.”
Fleming did not play much in previous seasons because of school work, but Horton said Fleming’s work ethic in the classroom and on the football field have made him the big man on campus.
He has rushed for approximately 700 yards and nine touchdowns this season, including an 82-yarder against Crescenta Valley. He broke off a 79-yarder and had 168 yards in only six carries in the win against Glendale and then broke off a 70-yarder against Burroughs last week.
“It’s been pretty good running the football,” Fleming said. “When my blockers block, it’s all when we lost Brandon, we lost a lot of things we were able to do with him.”