Friday Night Final: It’s down to the fantastic five as St. Francis, Muir, Monrovia, San Marino and Rio are only survivors

St. Francis, Muir, Monrovia, Rio Hondo Prep and San Marino were the area top five for most of the season, so it’s no surprise that those are the five remaining football teams in the area. St. Francis twice rallied from two touchdowns down to win its Western Division opener while Muir rallied past La Mirada in the Southeast to advance. Monrovia and Rio Hondo Prep had blow-out wins in the Mid-Valley and Northeast, while San Marino won a shootout against Bell Gardens in the Mid-Valley.

ST. FRANCIS 45, CULVER CITY 28

CULVER CITY — There are those who believe that St. Francis High School is at its worst the third-best football team in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs.
When it mattered most, the Golden Knights looked the part Friday.
Tyler Gangi accounted for 323 yards and four touchdowns and St. Francis shut out host Culver City in the second half to lead the Golden Knights to a 45-28 victory over the Centaurs in a first-round game at Culver City.
Gangi threw for 244 yards for St. Francis, which improved to 9-2 and will host Camarillo in the second round next week. The Golden Knights also received 117 yards rushing and a score from Joe Mudie.
Amani Rodgers threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns for Culver City, which finished 6-5.
St. Francis coach Jim Bonds: We were only down a touchdown and we hadn’t played Golden Knight football. We said to ourselves, just come out and play Golden Knight football, and we’ll be just fine. And we were. It was good to get back on the winning side. It did take about a half to realize that we did play teams this good. I was happy with the way we responded in the second half.”
St. Francis’ Ty Gangi: “It wasn’t St. Francis football in the first half. But I was proud of my team the way we just kept fighting. We came back, made adjustments and just picked up the energy.”
– Stephen Ramirez, @steverramirez on Twitter

MUIR 53, LA MIRADA 35
PASADENA –
The star power may have belonged to La Mirada High School, but Muir’s Dejon Williams stole the show Friday night.
Williams threw five touchdown passes and had two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, as Muir pulled away late from La Mirada for a 53-35 win in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs.
The Mustangs improved to 10-1 and will host Los Altos in next week’s second round. La Mirada concluded a disappointing season with a 4-7 record.
Muir will host Los Altos next week.
Muir’s Dejon Williams: “I had a lot to prove. Me and my receiver Taeon Mason had a lot to prove tonight.”
– Aram Tolegian, @aramtolegian on Twitter

OTHER RESULTS
MID-VALLEY DIVISION

Monrovia 62, Sierra Canyon 10 – Still doubting the Wildcats as the dominant team in the Mid-Valley? A 52-point win says it all. Kurt Scoby rushed for 198 yards and scored five touchdowns in an easy win. Get used to it, it’s the first of four.
San Marino 51, Bell Gardens 34 – This one was closer than expected. In fact, if you’re San Marino if you have to be concerned giving up 34 points to Bell Gardens. If the Lancers can score that much against you, what’s scoring machine San Dimas going to do next week?
Pomona 45, Rosemead 14 – A tough loss for the Panthers, but all in all, a good season for the Marc Paramo clan.
San Dimas 48, Gabrielino 6 – The Eagles were no match for the Saint’s Blue and Gold machine, which led 48-3 by halftime. But its all about taking steps, and getting back to the postseason was a positive for Gabrielino.
Paraclete 54, La Canada 3 – This was a bad matchup for the Spartans. But for La Canada, making the playoffs was the goal, and you can say mission accomplished.
NORTHEAST
Rio Hondo Prep 62, St. Monica 28 – The Kares opened their title defense with an impressive win. They’ll likely get another next week before a much-anticipated meeting against Salesian in the semifinals. We’ll see.
St. Genevieve 28, Pasadena Poly – The Panthers end the season with three consecutive losses, but after missing the postseason last year, making this season was a positive.
NORTHWEST
Carpinteria 31, La Salle 23 – The Lancers again fall in the first round. But it’s hard for them to be disappointed after winning their second consecutive league crown. Russell Gordon has La Salle on the right track.
Duarte 27, Maranatha 17 – The Falcons found away to shutdown Maranatha’s high-powered offense. Duarte was the lone Montview League team to advance. The Minutemen’s season ends after a strong run to the Olympic League title.
NEXT WEEK’S SCHEDULE
WESTERN DIVISION

Camarillo at St. Francis
MID-VALLEY DIVISION
Monrovia at Montebello
San Dimas at San Marino
SOUTHEAST
Los Altos at Muir
NORTHEAST
Rio Hondo Prep vs. Excelsior at Victor Valley
All games are tentatively scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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  • Eastern Ave.

    The only real enigma of the 5 teams remaining is…
    San Marino.

    I can’t see them winning again next week. But let’s hope they do.

    Muir is the story of the year in SGV. No disrespect to the team in La Canada, but football is better in THE SGV when Muir is good. They play on talent and guts.

    They sent La Mirage back down the 5 freeway to re-edit a failure of a season.

    La Mirage might want to re think pre-season promo’s and colorful Uniforms. Muir was the better team.
    Go Muir!

    Monrovia, enough said!

    RHP continues to roll. A slow start for the O line and a break down on special team hurt them early. Then RHP played like RHP. RHP has some depth issues. A deep run will be tough but they will win next week.

    Will the the boys up the hill,

    representing the Franciscan Order win again next week?
    Methinks…Yes!

    La Salle and Maranatha thanks for playing, your parting gifts are at the door.

    Maranatha Oh Magoo!

    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

    • Steve Ramirez

      What’s your problem with Maranatha?
      Yes, it’s good when Muir is performing, but also when St. Francis is as well.

      • 626

        To be honest, it’s much better when both Muir AND PHS are performing. It sucks that the Bulldogs are as bad as they are.

        • woanelly

          I agree with you 626, this area feels better when local schools perform and for us former public school kids it really means a lot when the new “David” slays the giant. Good Luck Mustangs, Wildcats, Titans. Love the Knights also they play in a helluva division. Coach Hardy and staff at Muir are doing a great job and I wish them well this week, hope the community and students come out to support.

          • Eastern Ave.

            Go Muir!

      • Eastern Ave.

        Steve, I have no issue with the minutemen.
        I do think it’s funny how you fawn over them.

        Muir plays tough football, better story.
        Rio plays solid football better story.
        Monrovia and St. Francis play superior football better story.
        Even La Salle plays tougher than Maranatha.

        Have Fun, Enjoy November! :D

        • Steve Ramirez

          I think it’s a neat story, what a job Jude Oliva has done there. He takes San Gabriel to a CIF-SS title game, and turnaround Maranatha, which you have to admit was down the past two years.

          • Eastern Ave.

            Fair Enough. Taster’s Choice.
            But the Public School Muir doing so well with there smallish enrollment;
            Rio doing what they with less than 100 kids total is amazing.
            They win championships beyond just league titles.
            Playing deep into November consistently with far less resources the kids at the ambassador college campus in my opinion is more much more interesting.
            When I think of Maranatha sports, I think baseball and girls cross country, not football.

            Have fun everyone! Enjoy November!
            Go Muir!

    • 626

      “La Mirage.” Lol. Good one.

  • observantcat

    Would Love to see the Stangs grab that Southeast Div. Championship this season it would make the Star News area going forward much more significant in future seasons. I’m sure a lot of those Altadena parents would reconsider where they send their children and maybe try and put some fire underneath the PUSD to step up their programs.

    • woanelly

      Well said, and maybe it will make the alemany recruiters job that much tougher. Come on Muir has three former pac-12 players on their coaching staff. Muir does have a tough road and this has been a good season for them, but to make it to where nobody wanted them to go and win it, OMG!!! HUGE!!!

      • New York

        A lot of people have been waiting for Muir to win this Southeast. Just a few years ago Muir was in the Central. Before that, Muir was in the Western Division. We are not talking about 20-30 years ago either, not even 10 years ago!

        • Conq ’76

          Just sayin’ as a Los Altos fan, I kinda hope Muir remains focused on winning the championship game while possibly overlooking the team right in front of them…

          • New York

            This is certainly and intriguing matchup. I think Muir has the *potential* to make it a blowout, but Los Altos seems to be very well coached.

            How does this Los Altos program compare to the Gano era? Is it more balanced, and less dependent are a star-studded cast?

          • Conq ’76

            Hey New York, yes without Cody or Harwell, LA would have been a slightly better than average team and would not have won those championships. They would have been competitive but Charter Oak and OLU would have beaten them in the championship games IF LA had even advanced that far. This years squad, led by Marcos who has proven his worth and is a tough, “little” runner, (dare I say in the style of Binky Benton or Matt Aney?, (Throw-backto the mid-seventies)), is clearly more balanced. I am impressed with their line play and consider it their over-all strength on both sides of the ball. Our QB, it is rumored, has some shoulder problems which forced them to primarily run against Paramount, but they did throw some and it was effective.

          • New York

            I assume they are a bunch of tough, hard-nosed kids and well coached. How fast is the team? They will find out this week.

          • Conq ’76

            probably not as fast as Muir, although Marcos himself has outrun a bunch of Hacienda League defenses this year…

          • woanelly

            Conq ’76, will be a good game, Mustangs fast and can strike quickly so LA will need to control the ball and cash in on opportunities.
            Go Mustangs!!

    • New York

      Shoot. How about Monrovia parents demanding a more competitive arena/division? These running clocks don’t do anything to help our kids stretch themselves.

      • observantcat

        I agree, the competitiveness has fallen off so much that we may have to seek refuge elsewhere, as soon as gas prices begin to tumble maybe they should put us in the Foothill league.

        • New York

          Foothill would certainly be a stretch. Simply swapping with Hoover would be a great start.

  • http://www.jugarjugar.net/ Jugar Jugar

    Why is there no reference to the team’s success so my favorite. Sadly

  • New York

    If Muir wins the Southeast, they should have a great shot at a Regional Bowl, yes?

    • Steve Ramirez

      Very doubtful, NY. Muir is not ranked in Cal-Hi’s top 15 in Division II, so I can’t see them getting a bid with a win. Now being a top of Cal-Hi’s rankings are not a free invitation to the bowl games, but they are a tool used by the selection committee. Monrovia has the best shot at No. 4, but likely needs two teams ahead of them to lose. Two are CIF-SS teams — Corona del Mar and Oak Park. Best shot, if you go by the rankings, is La Habra, which is No. 3 behind Serra and Chaminade in DII, so if they win the Southwest, they should be No. 2. But again, that’s for the committee to decide.

      • New York

        Why is Muir in the D2 Bowl division? They have only about 1,000 students according to Cal Preps. Why are they not in a lower Bowl Division?

        • Steve Ramirez

          They might be in III or IV…they are not in any of Cal-Hi’s rankings, so either way, they likely really don’t have a good shot if they win the Southeast. As I look at it more close, Rio is 7th, but in a way they are four, because four teams in the top 7 are in the same division. They would need two of those teams to not win the division, which isn’t likely.

          • New York

            I assume that if Muir wins out, beating the remaining teams, then Muir would be a small school with a significant SOS rating. I think winning the next three playoff games would really catapult Muir in the bowl rankings.

          • Steve Ramirez

            It’s just going to be very difficult for a team not ranked at this point to jump over 10-15 teams to get to a bowl game.

          • 626

            Steve, they’re actually DII, as noted in the post above where I replied to NY. If they were in DIII, they’d easily be in the Top 10.

    • 626

      NY–the Bowl Games are no longer based on enrollment as of 201o, and instead they are based on which division a team is in. Which sucks for Muir because that put them in DII, even though their number is VERY low. Lowest in the Southeast BY FAR.

      “The California Interscholastic Federation on Monday changed the way it will place the State Bowl participants in football for its five-game championship weekend, Dec. 17-18, at Home Depot Center in Carson.

      No longer will the bowl games be enrollment based, as they were the first four seasons of the Bowl Series.

      Now they will be based on competitive equity, with champions from the strongest divisions in each section competing in State Division I, the next tier of section champions in State Division II, and the next tier in State Division III.

      Bowl participants must be section champions. The top teams from the North and South will continue to meet in the Open Bowl and can come from any division.

      The Division II Bowl representative will be drawn from the Southern Section’s Central, Southwest, Western, Eastern and Southeast divisions; City Section Division II; San Diego Section Division II and III; and Central Section Division II and III.

      The Division III Bowl representative will be drawn from the Southern Section’s Mid-Valley, Southern, East Valley, Northeast and Northwest divisions; San Diego Section Division IV and V; and Central Section Division IV, V and VI.

      The Division IV Small School Bowl representative must have an enrollment of 500 or less, and can come from a Division III champion that fits the enrollment requirement.”

      • New York

        Thanks for the explanation. It is hard to imagine any team from the Southeast ever making it to a bowl game if they are lumped into Division 2. Prior to reading the new/current bowl division criteria, I always felt that Muir would be the most likely candidate from the Southeast, but within Bowl Division 3.

      • New York

        Well, taking Serra and Chaminade out of the Western might open it up for other teams within Division 2, but I have a feeling the Western will always have some juggernaut that would make a selection from the Southeast seem unlikely.