Rob Rassmussen is coming home…Former Poly star goes to Dodgers in minor-league trade with Astros

Former Pasadena Poly standout pitcher Rob Rasmussen, who also helped UCLA to the College World Series in 2010, is coming home. He was traded by the Houston Astros to the Dodgers for Triple-A pitcher John Ely on Wednesday.
In three minor league seasons, Rasmussen is 21-20 with a 3.88 ERA. He split last season between Jupiter in the Florida League, a Single-A league, and Corpus Christi, of the Texas League, a Double-A league. Rasmussen was 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA for Jupiter. He was 4-4 with a 4.80 ERA for Corpus Christi.
There has been no announcement where he will be assigned to by the Dodgers.

Here is J.P. Hoornstra’s story

By J.P. Hoornstra, Staff Writer

Rob Rasmussen is coming home.
The former Pasadena Poly and UCLA standout was acquired by the Dodgers in a trade with the Houston Astros on Wednesday. The Astros received right-handed pitcher John Ely.
Rasmussen was driving from his home in Santa Monica to his parents’ home in Pasadena when Astros assistant general manager David Stearns called to deliver the news.
“I loved being there,” he said of the Astros’ organization, “but it’s hard to contain your excitement when you get traded to the only team you ever wanted to play for.”
The 23-year-old left-hander was chosen in the 27th round of the 2007 draft by the Dodgers but chose to attend UCLA instead. Rasmussen said there was very little choice in his mind — he
already told major-league teams that he intended to go to college — but he said that Dodgers scout Chuck Crim “thought I deserved to have my name called.”
Crim is now the Dodgers’ bullpen coach.
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San Gabriel football coach Jude Olivia resigns

From Aram Tolegian:

Jude Oliva resigned as San Gabriel High School varsity football head coach on Monday after three seasons. He was 17-17 at the school.
Oliva cited health, career and family reasons for his decision to step down. Oliva suffered from gout and kidney issues this season, which caused severe joint pain.
He and his wife just welcomed a newborn daughter. Oliva was not a full-time teacher at San Gabriel and will look for more gainful employment while also not ruling out a return to the sideline.
“I just had a brand new baby girl and that gave me perspective on some things,” Oliva said. “I’m looking for a teaching job and trying to get some things lined up for myself.
“I’m still looking to coach. I don’t have a timetable on it. If the right opportunity presents itself, of course, I would love to get back into coaching football. It’s something I’m not ready to give up and something my family doesn’t want me to give up.”
Oliva, a 1998 graduate of San Gabriel, had his best season in 2011 when he led the Matadors to a 9-5 record, Almont League championship and an appearance in the Mid-Valley Division championship game.
Following the season, Oliva was named Pasadena Star-News Coach of the Year. He was also chosen to coach the West team in last summer’s National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame’s annual all-star game.
“When we were able to beat San Dimas (in last year’s semifinals), for me, that was the pinnacle of what our program was about,” Oliva said. “It was one of those great moments where we got beat up pretty bad the first time we played (San Dimas) and in the second game we were able to overcome a slow start and show what kind of character we had.”
Oliva replaced former longtime Matadors head coach Keith Jones in 2009 after serving as an assistant coach on Jones’ staff for eight years.
San Gabriel was unable to parlay its 2011 success into 2012. The Matadors went 3-7 and were on the bad end of several hard-luck losses. San Gabriel missed the postseason after narrow losses to league foes Schurr and Montebello came back to haunt.

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South Pas girls soccer coach Randy Lilavois moving on

Flintridge Sacred Heart’s Hannah Armendariz controls the ball as South Pasadena’s Sloan Bergstresser approaches during Thursday night’s nonleague game at at South Pasadena. The Tologs won 4-1.
(Sarah Reingewirtz / Staff Photographer)

By Keith Lair

SOUTH PASADENA – South Pasadena High School girls soccer coach Randy Lilavois amped up the Tigers’ schedule in anticipation of a defense of its Rio Hondo League title and a hoped-for second consecutive long run into the postseason.
But he will have to watch the outcome from afar.
Lilavois, who led the Tigers to the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 semifinals last year and coached the Pasadena City College women’s program to its first state playoff appearance in seven years last month, is leaving the South Pasadena program to take over at Grissom High in Huntsville, Ala.
He will remain the PCC coach.
“It’s really hard for me to leave, but family is more important,” he said.
Lilavois’ move is strictly family-related; for his family to be near other family members. The Grissom season is not until next spring.
His body might be 2,000 miles away, but Lilavois’ heart will be with a team he has coached for six years.
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La Canada’s Brandon Hempstead playing well through personal tragedy

By Aram Tolegian, SGVN

La Canada’s Brandon Hempstead has been playing with a heavy heart, but you’d never know it judging by his recent performances.
Hempstead’s father Todd passed away last Friday after losing his battle with cancer. That night, Hempstead, a sophomore sharpshooter, led the Spartans to a win in the semifinals of the Arroyo Tournament.
The next night, the Spartans lost in the finals, but Hempstead was named to the all-tournament team. On Monday, Hempstead and his teammates buried his father, then went out that night and beat Besant Hill in the La Canada Tournament with Hempstead leading the way with 29 points.
“It was totally up to him,” La Canada coach Tom Hofman said about Hempstead’s desire to play. “I think for him, it was a good release to distract him from everything that’s going on. And his dad was a huge basketball fan and loved watching him play.
“So I think he was pretty much playing in his dad’s honor and wanted to make his dad proud. We told him he could do what he needed to do and that the decision to play was totally up to him, but I think being around his teammates was good therapy for him.”
Wednesday’s loss by the Spartans to Hart has La Canada likely playing in Saturday’s third-place game at 6 p.m. against the loser of Friday’s game between St. Francis and Bonita. There is a small chance the Spartans could be in the championship game, but that would require an Arcadia upset of Hart on Friday night.

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State Playoffs: Monrovia’s dream dashed by Madison of San Diego

Here’s some video highlights from last night’s game.

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

MONROVIA – There may be a time when Monrovia High School will look back at the 2012 football season and have good thoughts about arguably the best year in the program’s history.
But not today.
Instead, the Wildcats can only reflect on what might have been.
Lee Walker returned a kickoff 91 yards for the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter, Jamie Gomez scored two touchdowns and had two interceptions and Madison of San Diego ended Monrovia’s hope for a CIF State championship with a 21-17 victory over the host Wildcats on Saturday in the CIF State South Region Division III Bowl.
Madison improved to 13-1 and will face Marin Catholic for the Division III state championship next Saturday at noon at Home Depot Center.
Monrovia, getting 194 yards passing and a touchdown from Blake Heyworth and 118 yards rushing from Darione Jones, finished 12-3. The Wildcats won their third consecutive Southern Section Mid-Valley Division title a week earlier.
It looked like they would have a shot to add a state championship to their resume after Heyworth threw 16 yards to Anthony Craft for a 17-14 lead with 5:44 left.
But it was wiped out in a blink of an eye.
Walker went up the middlefor 91 yards on the ensuing kickoff to put Madison ahead at 21-17 with 5:29 left.
Monrovia, which had two scoring chances end with missed field goals in the first half, had two chances in the final five minutes. But the Wildcats gave the ball back on downs at the Madison 44 on an incomplete pass and Michael Garner intercepted Heyworth on a long pass inside the Warhawks’ 20 with 10 seconds left.
Gomez gave Madison a 14-7 lead early in the third quarter with a 25-yard interception return.
Mason Bryant countered with a 28-yard field with 3:39 left in the quarter.
Monrovia also had a shot to take the lead, but Gomez intercepted Heyworth in the end zone on a third-and-goal pass at the 8 early in the fourth quarter.
The first half was as tight as anticipated, with each team taking its shot.
Monrovia, which had been averaging close to 300 yards rushing in the playoffs, had 132 during the first two quarters, including 44 in an 80-yard drive on their third possession that gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead.
Heyworth had completions of 18 and 24 yards before Bryant and Craft followed with runs of 10 and 11 yards to get Monrovia inside the Warhawks 10.
Ainsworth, who had 61 yards in the first half, then took it in from the 7 with 4:52 left in the quarter.
Madison, which had 109 total yards in the first half, took advantage of Monrovia fumble to tie it early in the second half.
The Warhawks, after getting the ball following a fumble by Darione Jones at the Monrovia 27, needed just six plays to get even and tied it at 7 on a 3-yard run by Gomez with 10:42 left in the first half.
Monrovia had two chances to reclaim the lead. But Bryant’s 26-yard field goal try hit the upright with 3:20 left in the half, and a 54-yard attempt with six seconds left was short.

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State Playoffs: Rio Hondo Prep falls short in CIF regional bowl game

Here’s a short video clip from Friday’s game. Due to the deadline, I didn’t have time for post-game interviews, but wanted to show a little bit of the game, especially what the fog looked like.

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

SAN DIEGO – There will be no CIF State football championship-game appearance for Rio Hondo Prep.
But the Kares were oh-so-close.
Jerry Harper scored on a 1-yard run with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter and Hunter Vaccaro rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns as Santa Fe Christian ended Rio Hondo Prep’s dream with a 30-28 victory in the South Region Division IV Bowl at Del Norte High School.
The Eagles, also getting two touchdowns from Harper, improved to 11-3 and will face Central Catholic of Modesto – which beat McClymonds of Oakland 42-12 – in the Division IV Bowl on Friday at 4 p.m. at Home Depot Center.
Rio Hondo Prep, getting 127 yards rushing and a touchdown from Ty Loomis and 169 yards passing and a touchdown from Colby Rivera, finished 12-2.
The Kares, without running back Nate Tayco – who was injured in last week’s 28-21 victory over Mission Prep in the Southern Section Northeast Division championship game – had one last chance. But Slater Howe intercepted a tipped pass at the Santa Fe Christian 44 with just over a minute to play.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Rio Hondo Prep coach Ken Drain said. “They played like we have all year, it just came down to one play. We needed to tackle the guy (Vaccaro) one time, and we missed him.”
The play in question came late in the fourth quarter after Rivera scored on a 1-yard sneak for a 28-24 lead with 5:44 left.
Santa Fe Christian then faced fourth-and-3 from the Rio Hondo Prep 45 with just over three minutes to play. Vaccaro, as he showed all night, cut back from a tackle and ran 37 yards to Kares’ 8.
Tony Miro, who rushed for 71 yards, took an inside dive to the 1 before Harper swept in from there for the 30-28 lead with 2:20 to play. The PAT kick was blocked.
Rio Hondo Prep utilized its usually physical offense, with some trickery, to take a 21-14 lead in the first half.
The Kares, who scored more than 500 points during their first 13 games, looked like they might run away with the game, scoring back-to-back touchdowns early in the second quarter for a 14-0 lead.
They went 85 yards on their second possession. Loomis had runs of 20, 11 and 8 yards to the Santa Fe Christian 5 before going up the middle from there for a 7-0 lead on the second play of the second quarter.
The Kares then caught the Eagles napping, using a flea-flicker for a 59-yard pass from Rivera to Jake Holguin for a 14-0 advantage with 8:47 left in the half.
But Rio Hondo Prep pushed its luck a bit too far, trying an onside kick that the Eagles recovered on their 46. Vaccaro then burned the Kares, sweeping 45 yards on a keeper to make it 14-7.
The Eagles tied it after forcing a fumble on the Rio Hondo Prep 48. Harper had a 21-yard run to the 20 before Vaccaro followed with a 19-yard run make it 14-14 with 53 seconds left in the half.
The Kares weren’t quite finished.
Holguin and Loomis had runs of 14 and 11 yards to the Eagles’ 26 before Rio Hondo Prep took one last crack at the end zone. This time Rivera threw a backward pass to Holguin, whose Hail Mary attempt was tipped in the end zone before Christian Torrico grabbed it for a 21-14 lead as time expired.

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Star-News Pick’em: Who advances to the state finals?

Keith is on vacation this week, so as an added feature, I thought I would pick all five CIF South Region bowl games, including going with Monrovia over Madison and Santa Fe Christian over Rio Hondo Prep.

Division IV

Rio Hondo Prep (12-1) vs. Santa Fe Christian (10-3) at Del Norte HS — Santa Fe Christian
Division I
Clovis North (12-1) vs. Long Beach Poly (11-3) at Veterans Stadium — Long Beach Poly
Division III

Madison (12-1), San Diego, at Monrovia (12-2) — Monrovia
Open Division
Narbonne (14-0) vs. Corona Centennial (13-1) at Cerritos College — Corona Centennial
Division II
Serra (12-2) vs. Edison, Huntington Beach (13-1) at Orange Coast College — Serra

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Stating Monrovia’s case: CIF State officials made the right call in choosing the Wildcats over Wasco

STATING THEIR CASE: Did Monrovia deserve the nod over Wasco? Yes, when you take the bias out and examine the facts.
Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

Of the 20 teams selected to play in this weekend’s CIF State regional bowls, no choice was more controversial than Monrovia getting one of the two bids for South Region Division III. The Wildcats will host Madison, of San Diego, in the South Division III Bowl on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
It basically came down to the Wildcats or Wasco, which is near Bakersfield, which went 13-0 and won a Central Section title. Monrovia is 12-2 and won its third consecutive CIF-SS Mid-Valley title.
Wasco AD told the Bakersfield Californian that “it’s a sad day for small, rural communities throughout the state of California. We won everything outright, and it means nothing.”
But in reality, this came down to strength of schedule, and at the end of the day, Monrovia’s slate, especially what it had to do over the final two weeks made the Wildcats the obvious choice.
Wasco went 13-0 while facing teams that compiled a 74-72 record. The Tigers faced two teams with at least 10 wins. Monrovina, meanwhile, went 12-2 against teams that compiled a 89-70 record. The Wildcats faced four teams with at least 10 wins, including two with 11 wins (San Dimas and Sierra Canyon) and one with 12 victories (Paraclete).
The procedure CIF uses for picking teams are only section champions are eligible and uses the criteria of strength of schedule (your opponents’ combined record), record, head-to-head, if it applies, and common opponents, if any apply. In this case, you can throw out head to head since the teams did not play, and common opponents since both come from different sections and played teams within their section. That leaves record, which Wasco wins and strength of schedule, which Monrovia wins (8.8-4.4, if you go by Cal Preps’ schedule ratings). I personally think officials looked what Monrovia had to do the past two weeks as opposed to what Wasco did in its championship game. The Tigers beat a team, Bakersfield Christian, 29-22 for its section title. They beat that team, 49-10, earlier in the season. Monrovia, on the other hand, beat Cal Hi Sports’ Division IV No. 1 Sierra Canyon (42-31) and Division III No. 1 Paraclete (23-7) by a combined 27 points. Those are two impressive wins that could not be overlooked, and are likely what pushed the Wildcats in.

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CIF State Regional Bowls: There’s no time to relax for Monrovia

MARCHING ON: Monrovia, after 3-peating in the CIF-SS Mid-Valley Divsision, looks to add to its already historic season.
Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz

By Aram Tolegian
Monrovia High School football coach Ryan Maddox had little time to celebrate his program’s third consecutive CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship.
He had more important things to do Saturday, like drive to Escondido to scout an opponent his team may or may not play in a bowl-game qualifier this week. Turns out, it was a good call.
When Monrovia hosts Madison (12-1) of San Diego on Saturday night, Maddox should have his team well-versed in what an unfamiliar opponent like the Warhawks likes to do. The winner plays either Marin Catholic (13-1) or Sutter (13-0) next Saturday in the State Division III bowl game at Home Depot Center in Carson.
“We actually went down on Saturday morning and watched Madison play against St. Augustine,” Maddox said. “We watched it and filmed it. We didn’t know for sure that we were going to be chosen, but there was a chance that we were so we went down and scouted them.
“I guess we didn’t have to go because we were going to exchange films, but you get a chance to go see them live and get a feel for the speed and the size. There’s a lot of stuff you can see live that you can’t necessarily pick up on film. It’s hard when you know nothing about the teams they play.”
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Maranatha High School to host second annual Chris Rix Christmas Football Combine Dec. 15

The second annual Chris Rix “Christmas Football Combine” scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 15 at Maranatha High School from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Rix, who starred at quarterback for Bishop Amat and Santa Margarita high schools and later played for Bobby Bowden at Florida State, is a college football and NFL analyst for Fox Sports. But he has maintained his ties in the San Gabriel Valley, where he continues to mentor several of the area’s top quarterbacks.
The Christmas Combine is comprised of two divisions, the “Top Guns” division for high school and college players, and the “Young Guns” division for players ages 7-13.
“Whether your team’s season ended in early November or this past Saturday, this will be one more chance for passionate football players of all levels to compete one more time on the field before Christmas,” Rix said.
The camp is free for participants who bring a new unopened toy or Christmas gift (Between $25-$40) that can be donated to a shelter or needy family.
Otherwise, the camp is $40 for prior registration and $50 on the day of the camp, and includes a shirt. There are discounts for larger groups. To register early or ask questions, call 626-581-7016 or email

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