About Steve Ramirez

Steve Ramirez has covered prep sports for San Gabriel Valley Newspapers since 1989.

Friday Night Massacre? Pasadena area football season ends as St. Francis, Monrovia, Muir and Rio Hondo Prep all ousted from CIF-SS semfinals

muir loses

The Pasadena area was propping itself up last week after the area’s top four teams all advanced to the semifinals. A week later all are gone as the football season came crashing down. It’s now shifted to the award season as St. Francis; Monrovia, which looked like a title lock a few weeks ago; Muir and Rio Hondo Prep all lost. Monrovia, which lost 22-21, to Paraclete, lost its chance at a 4-peat, while Rio Hondo’s chance at a 3-peat went crashing down.

FRIDAY’S RESULTS
CIF-SS SEMIFINALS
WESTERN DIVISION

Serra 22, St. Francis 14 – Nothing to be ashamed about for the Golden Knights, who lost close games to arguably one of the top teams in the state.
MID-VALLEY
Paraclete 22, Monrovia 21 – The Wildcats simply made too many mistakes against a good team. They had a fumble lead to the Spirits first score another one cost them a chance at the lead in the first half. Monrovia made a nice comeback, but couldn’t deny the Spirits, who won it on an 18-yard field goal by Andrew Jimenez with 39 seconds left.
SOUTHEAST DIVISION
Norwalk 35, Muir 28 – A tough one for the Mustangs, who behind the play of Dejon Williams, led a 28-14 lead slip away. But another solid season for Muir.
NORTHEAST DIVISION
Salesian 35, Rio Hondo Prep 20 – The Kares chance at a 3-peat came crashing down. Another solid season for Ken Drain’s group.

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Girls Basketball Preview: La Canada, Keppel high schools lead the way

LC HOOP

By Aram Tolegian

While the local boys high school basketball scene is chalk full of several good teams that could all vie for the top spot in the rankings, it’s painfully obvious that the girls scene isn’t nearly as deep.
What you see here below, is basically what you get … at least as far as the top five is concerned.
The area has become top heavy as far as the good teams and programs go. You can bank on Keppel always reloading. You can bank on La Canada coach Tamar Hill always putting a good product on the floor. And you can bank on Pasadena Poly always having a stud scorer.
After that, after the top five or so teams, it’s anybody’s guess and what fans will probably see all season is a revolving door in Nos. 6-10.
La Canada and Keppel put together strong league seasons and deep playoff runs last season. Each looks poised to do so again this year, assuming Keppel isn’t moved to the open division for the playoffs.
It’s still very early, but the thinking here is that the power teams are obvious and won’t change over the next few months.

TO SEE A BRIEF LOOK AT THE TOP TEN, CLICK THE THREAD
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Boys Basketball Preview: Tucker ready to turn Maranatha High School into a Southland boys basketball power

MARANATHA

By Aram Tolegian
The big news of the offseason hit like a ton of bricks.
Pasadena High School coaching legend Tim Tucker resigned after 18 successful seasons and soon after resurfaced across town at Maranatha.
Tucker won two CIF-Southern Section championships at Pasadena and 15 league championships, including nine straight on his way out the door.
In the meantime, Pasadena became the area’s unquestioned power. A mantle it assumed from La Canada. Both are public schools. Both are now looking up at private schools as far as the local power struggle is concerned.
Yes, times are a changing. And they’re changing fast. The top team in the area is San Gabriel Academy. That may be hard to swallow for some area hoops junkies, but that’s the reality. After all, it no longer matters what a school’s enrollment is. If there’s five top-notch basketball prospects walking around on a campus of 100 students or a campus of 2,000 students, the bottom line remains the same.
So get ready for a power shift. Sure, Pasadena High will still be solid. Muir will win its share of games. La Canada and Keppel will be forces in their leagues. But the truly elite teams in the area this year reside at tiny San Gabriel Academy and Maranatha.

TO READ FURTHER AND SEE THE TOP TEN, CLICK THE THREAD
Continue reading

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Star-News Pick’em: Who makes it to championship week? I have Monrovia, Muir and Rio

pickem
Keith and I are matching our knowledge of the area and high school football by offering our picks on the area’s games. We have also added the rest of the brackets that involve area teams.
LAIR: 188-29 (19-1 last week)
RAMIREZ: 184-33 (20-0 last week)

Last week: A perfect week, which including nailing all four local teams who advanced. Keith missed on El Segundo’s win over Carpinteria.

scoby

This week: Well it’s down to the final four for the area, and all four have good shots at making it to the final dance. The odd one out may be area No. 1 St. Francis, which faces state No. 2 Serra. The Golden Knights led by 14 in the first meeting before losing, 35-21. They get the Cavs at home this time, but I’m not sure they can repeat that effort they had in the first half this time. I think it will be close, but give the edge to Serra. The rest of the area’s final four should get it. Monrovia, which is at Paraclete in the Mid-Valley, has a tough task going to the cool air of Lancaster, but this is a team built for these type of conditions Monrovia by two scores. Muir looks like a team of destiny after routing Los Altos last week without its best player. I think they simply have too much speed for Norwalk to handle. The Mighty Mighty Mustangs advance. That’s Rio Hondo Prep, which might have its toughest task of the season, facing Salesian. Yes, the same Salesian that gave Muir all it wanted in August. I trust Ken Drain and Co. to get the job done. The Kares get a chance to 3-peat.
This week’s schedule and predictions
MID-VALLEY DIVISION

Monrovia vs Paraclete at Antelope Valley College — Ramirez (Monrovia); Lair (Monrovia)
San Dimas at Arroyo — Ramirez (San Dimas); Lair (San Dimas)
NORTHEAST DIVISION
Rio Hondo Prep at Salesian — Ramirez (Rio); Lair (Rio Hondo Prep)
Desert at Mission Prep — Ramirez (Mission Prep); Lair (Mission Prep)
SOUTHEAST DIVISION
Norwalk at Muir — Ramirez (Muir); Lair (Muir)
Burbank vs. La Serna at Cal HS — Ramirez (La Serna); Lair (La Serna)
WESTERN DIVISION
Serra at St. Francis, 7 p.m. — Ramirez (Serra); Lair (Serra)
Lompoc at Chaminade — Ramirez (Chaminade); Lair (Chaminade)
ALL GAMES BEGIN AT 7:30 P.M., UNLESS NOTED

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Friday Gameday Countdown: Area’s top four make final four… San Marino, Duarte see their seasons end

It was fitting that St. Francis, Monrovia, Muir and Rio Hondo Prep, all ranked in the area top four all season are the lone survivors going into next week’s CIF-SS divisional semifinals. St. Francis used a dominating second half for the second consecutive week, this time scoring a 42-21 victory Camarillo in the Western Division. Muir, without QB Dejon Williams, routed Los Altos, 27-2, to advance in the Southeast, while Monrovia and Rio Hondo Prep took care of business, respectively, in the Mid-Valley and Northeast. San Marino and Duarte weren’t so lucky. Their seasons came to an end with blow-out losses.

sfrancis cam

FRIDAY’S RESULTS
WESTERN DIVISION

St. Francis 42, Camarillo 21 – Bring on Serra! Tyler Gangi accounted for 337 yards and three TDs and the Golden Knights outscored the Scorpions by three TDs in the second half to advance to the semifinals. The win sets up a rematch against top seed Serra, who rallied for a 35-21 victory over St. Francis on Nov. 1. All the Golden Knights wanted was a second shot. They’ve got it!
SOUTHEAST DIVISION
Muir 27, Los Altos 2 — The Mustangs showed they are more than a 1-man team, routing the Conquerors without QB Dejon Williams, who was suspended for this game after being ejected last week. Muir hardly missed a beat, controlling Los Altos from the start. Taeon Mason was the offense star, enjoying a huge game. Next up is top seed Norwalk. I’ve got Muir.
MID-VALLEY DIVISION
Monrovia 41, Montebello 7 – The Wildcats just march on. Kurt Scoby rushed for 233 yards and four TDs as the defensive-minded Oilers prove to be no match. I don’t see any team in the division stopping the Green Machine, which makes the trip to Paraclete next week.
San Dimas 56, San Marino 28 – Defense has been the Titans’ Achilles’ heal all season and it proved to be their downfall Friday as the Saints’ scoring machine continued its recent stretch. All in all, another good season for San Marino, which advanced to the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season.
NORTHEAST DIVISION
Rio Hondo Prep 46, Excelsior 7 – The Kares take care of business to reach the semifinals for the second consecutive year. The two constants in the area the past few seasons have been Rio Hondo Prep, which got more than 200 yards rushing and four TDs from Nate Tayco.
NORTHWEST DIVISION
Bishop Diego 41, Duarte 7 – The Falcons were no match for the Cardinals, who rolled in the final four. A good season for Duarte, which made it further than any Montview League team.

NEXT WEEK’S SCHEDULE
WESTERN DIVISION

Serra at St. Francis
SOUTHEAST DIVISION
Norwalk at Muir
MID-VALLEY DIVISION
Monrovia at Paraclete
NORTHEAST DIVISION
Rio Hondo Prep at Salesian

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BREAKING NEWS: Aram reporting that Muir’s Dejon Williams is ineligible for Friday’s quarterfinal game vs Los Altos

wiliams
Our football writer Aram Tolegian is reporting that Muir’s Dejon Williams ruled ineligible for Friday’s game vs. Los Altos:

Muir standout quarterback Dejon Williams is ineligible to play in Friday’s quarterfinals playoff game against Los Altos after being ejected toward the end of last week’s win over La Mirada.
Williams, one of the top players in the Southeast Division, was ejected for receiving two taunting penalties in Friday’s win over La Mirada. Under CIF-Southern Section rules, any player who is ejected from a game must sit out his team’s next game.

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Who wins the Star-News Heisman? Who wins the S-N coaching award?

Well, with just six games left in the season, I thought it would be a perfect time to see who you guys think should receive some of the postseason awards, mainly player of the year and coach of the year.
Below are the frontrunners, in no particular order

SCOBY

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Tyler Gangi, St. Francis –
The senior has played big part in the Golden Knights enjoying their best season in nearly a decade. He has thrown for nearly 2,500 yards and has accounted for 33 TDs while leading St. Francis to a 9-2 record and spot in Friday’s quarterfinals
Kurt Scoby, Monrovia – Has lived up to the expectations, rushing for 1,796 yards and 29 TDs to top the area in rushing. He has keyed the Wildcats run to 10-1 and has them as favorite in the Mid-Valley Division.
Dejon Williams, Muir – He’s the glue of the Mustangs, accounting for nearly 300 yards a game. He’s helped Muir to a 10-1 season and a third consecutive trip to the quarterfinals. If Muir wins the Southeast Division, which is a possibility, his odds go up considerably
Nate Tayco, Rio Hondo Prep – The senior, who was offensive player of the year last season, has kicked it up a notch lately, rushing for 16 TDs in the past four games. His numbers are 1,231 and 25 scores. If Rio Hondo Prep 3-peats, you know Tayco had a heavy hand in the title.
BONDS2

COACH OF THE YEAR
Jim Bonds, St. Francis –
Annually one of the top coaches in the area, and you know he helped turn around last season’s disappointing 4-7 campaign. The Golden Knights have already doubled their win total from a year ago, and if they make the semifinals, it will be their first in nearly a decade.
John Hardy, Muir — The Mustangs are having another stellar year under Hardy, who has taken the program to another level in just his second year. They haven’t lost a league game since 2011, and are in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year under him. If Muir wins the Southeast, it will be hard to pick against him.
Ryan Maddox, Monrovia — For Maddox, it’s like when Pat Riley or Phil Jackson coached the Lakers, all the success he achieves is expected, so he gets bypassed for such awards. But make no mistake, Monrovia is where it is because the Wildcats are very well-coached. Yes, they have more talent than their opponents, but they get coached up as well. If Monrovia, which is 10-1 and the top seed in the Mid-Valley, runs the table, and wins its fourth in a row, and gets back to a regional bowl, how can you not look in this direction?
Ken Drain, Rio Hondo Prep – Talk about doing the most with a little? It’s Drain, who despite coaching at the smallest school in area, continues to win. This year, he scored another Prep League title and has the Kares riding an 8-game winning streak at 10-1 and a shot at another title.
Jude Oliva, Maranatha – One the factors in a coach of the year is his ability to change the culture somewhere, and make the biggest jump from one year to the next. Oliva fits the mold at Maranatha, which after missing the playoffs a yeat ago, won the Olympic League in his first season. The Minutemen also feature one of the area’s better passing attacks, which is usually the case for Oliva-coached teams.

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