About Steve Ramirez

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

Jeremiah Martin is St. Francis’ X-Factor

St. Francis' QB Jerimiah Martin during football practice at St. francis High School in La Canada, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2014. (Photo by Libby Cline / Pasadena Star-News)

St. Francis’ QB Jerimiah Martin during football practice at St. francis High School in La Canada, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2014. (Photo by Libby Cline / Pasadena Star-News)

By Stephen Ramirez

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE >> Senior Jeremiah Martin is the X-factor for the St. Francis High School football team.
The Golden Knights enjoyed one of the better seasons in the program’s history last year, and have enough impact returners to add to the glory this fall.
But the missing link is at quarterback, a void left by the graduation of Star-News Player of the Year Ty Gangi that Martin hopes to fill after sitting out last season.
”I definitely feel a little bit of responsibility,” Martin said earlier this week after practice. “This team is going to go where I take them. I feel that pressure, but I’m ready to live up to that.”

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St. Francis’ Jim Bonds takes the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS, calls out Maranatha’s Steve Bogan, Oaks Christian’s Bill Redell

The Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS made a stop at St. Francis High School today. Golden Knights’ coach Jim Bonds accepted by challenge from Wednesday and received his ice bucket shower. He then called out Maranatha coach Steve Bogan and Oaks Christian’s Bill Redell, his mentor.

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Steve Ramirez receives the #IceBucketChallenge, calls out St. Francis coach Jim Bonds!

The #IceBucketChallenge for ALS started on Monday at San Dimas High School and Wednesday the tour took us to Northview, where sports writer went to his alma mater to take the the challenge and he was joined by Vikings’ coach Marcel Perez, who both took the bath.
After Ramirez called showed “some love” to the Westside, calling out St. Francis coach Jim Bonds to take the challenge. Perez did the same to his former coach Greg Gano, who is now the head guy at Wilson. You guys have 24 hours to take the ice bucket or dig in to your pocket, all for a good cause.

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Steve Bogan-Maranatha: A perfect fit

Former South Hills coach Steve Bogan returns to coaching this fall, resurfacing at Maranatha. (Keith Durflinger/Pasadena Star News)

Former South Hills coach Steve Bogan returns to coaching this fall, resurfacing at Maranatha.
(Keith Durflinger/Pasadena Star News)

By Aram Tolegian, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Everyone has heard the phrase “God made me do it.”
But rarely do you hear those words uttered so often when it comes to football than when they fly off the lips of new Maranatha High School football coach Steve Bogan.
Want to know how one of the Valley’s best-ever coaches winds up at tiny Maranatha? He prayed on it. Wondering whether a four-time CIF champion coach like Bogan is truly concerned about adding another ring to his pile? It will happen if God wills it.
Those are the themes of Bogan’s sentiments as he starts what very likely will be the final chapter of a career that’s seen him win more CIF titles than most of his colleagues can dream of, more league titles than one man deserves and enough games to ensure area fans will remember his name for a long time.
“For me, it seemed like the lord was saying ‘Go do this,’” Bogan said while winding down after holding one of the first fall practices of what he hopes will be a productive tenure at Maranatha based on winning and spirituality.
“It’s been a really enjoyable experience, so far. No negatives, so far.”

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A look at the 2014 football week by week schedule, include early Games of the Week

Staff photo By Sarah Reingewirtz

Staff photo By Sarah Reingewirtz

Here is the 2014 week by week schedule, plus an early summer Games of the Week. The latter list will obviously change as the season gets underway and games become more and less important. But it kicks off in Week 0 with Monrovia visiting San Dimas.

WEEK 0: Monrovia at San Diams, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.
WEEK 1: Mission Prep at Rio Hondo Prep, Sept. 5, 7 p.m.
WEEK 2: Maranatha at Azusa at Citrus College, Sept. 11, 7 p.m.
WEEK 3: La Salle at Maranatha, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.
WEEK 4: Los Altos at Monrovia, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.
WEEK 5: Burroughs at Muir, Oct. 3, 7 p.m.
WEEK 6: San Marino at Monrovia, Oct. 10, 7 p.m.
WEEK 7: St. Francis at Cathedral, Oct. 17, 7 pm.
WEEK 8: Crescenta Valley at Muir, Oct. 24, 7 p.m.
WEEK 9: La Salle at St. Francis, Oct. 31, 7 pm.
WEEK 10: Muir vs. Pasadena at Rose Bowl, Nov. 7, 7 pm.
Note: Based on schedules provided by Calpreps.com
COMPLETE SCHEDULE IS AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading

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Looking ahead: An early-summer football top five

BONDS2

We are in the midst of putting together our SGVN PrepXtra football preview magazine. As we gather information, I thought there is no better time to look at a possible area top five. It includes the usual suspects.

Mid-Summer Area Top 5
1. St. Francis (10-3 in 2013) –
The Golden Knights, with Dylan Crawford and John Carroll returning are the biggest benefactor of the re-leaguing and the new divisional alignment. St. Francis will be the favorites in the new Angelus/Serra League and the Southeast Division. Yes, they have key losses, but Jim Bonds usually just reloads.
2. Muir (10-3) – The Mustangs, with returner Taeon Mason, are also in the catbird seat. They are the class of Pacific League and don’t be surprised with a Muir-St. Francis final in the Southeast.
3. San Marino (9-3) – The Titans will battle Monrovia in the Rio Hondo, and you have to tab San Marino, which returns four pretty good skill players, including all-area first teamer Tyler Spitzer.
4. Monrovia (11-2) – The ‘Cats lose their top two producers from a year ago, and now have a new coach. They’ll battle San Marino in the Rio Hondo League, and right now, it looks like their reign is over.
5. La Salle (9-3) – Russell Gordon has won 19 games in two seasons at La Salle. His Lancers take a step up in class this season. But there is a solid nucleus back.

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Blue beats the streak, ends seven-year losing skid to Red in San Gabriel Valley All-Star baseball game; Monrovia’s Nick Esparza is MVP

Diamond Ranch's John Picazo (#13) tries for a fly ball as they play in the annual San Gabriel Valley All-Star Game at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Monday June 9, 2014. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Diamond Ranch’s John Picazo (#13) tries for a fly ball as they play in the annual San Gabriel Valley All-Star Game at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Monday June 9, 2014. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
WALNUT —
The Red team has held the advantage over its Blue counterparts in the annual San Gabriel Valley All-Star baseball game.
Until now.
The Blue team, which hadn’t won since 2006, broke the streak Monday at Mt. San Antonio College.
Diamond Bar’s Alek Jimenez beat out a ground ball for an RBI single in the second inning and Charter OaK’s Kory Brown and Monrovia’s Nick Esparza had RBIs in a three-run sixth to lead the Blue to a 4-3 victory before an over-flow crowd at Mazmanian Field.
“We definitely were thinking (of the streak),” said Esparza, who was game MVP. “I came out here wanting to win, have fun.”

The Red team tied it at 1-1 in the sixth, but Blue scored three runs in the bottom of the inning for a 4-1 advantage. Los Altos’ James Mendez led off with a single and the Blue then loaded the bases on back-to-back fielding errors. Charter Oak’s Kory Brown hit a sacrifice fly to right for a 2-1 lead. Esparza singled with two outs for a 3-1 advantage and a wild pitch made it 4-1.
“I was just trying to get an RBI there and break the game open,” Esparza said. “I got it done.”
La Canada’s Johnny Selsor doubled in two runs with two outs in the top of the eighth to cut the lead to 4-3. Diamond Bar’s Chris Sanchez struck out Baldwin Park’s Christian Barraza to end the threat.
The Blue earlier took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Pasadena’s Alex Baer singled with one out, stole second and scored on an infield hit by Diamond Bar’s Alek Jimenez. Baer was running on the play and scored easily as Jimenez beat the throw to first.
The Red tied it in the sixth. La Canada’s Justin Lewis led off with a single and Shun Tsunoda followed with an infield single, but a three-base throwing error allowed Lewis to score, with Tsunoda taking third.
La Salle’s Jordan Rodgers got the next three batters to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Former area coaches Kevin Smith of South Hills and John Romano of Nogales were inducted into the San Gabriel Valley Coaches Hall of Honor before the game.
Smith, now head coach at Mt. SAC, won almost 500 games and two CIF-Southern Section titles in a 35-year career.
Romano, who retired at Nogales this season after 37 years in coaching, won 635 games, including 621 with the Nobles.
Game awards were received by Diamond Ranch’s John Picazo (Defensive MVP), La Verne Lutheran’s Layne Henderson (Pitching MVP), La Canada’s Selsor (Most valuable hitter) and Esparza (MVP).

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USC offers St. Francis’ WR Dylan Crawford

I just got out of Sunday mass and received a text from St. Francis coach Jim Bonds announcing that USC has offered Golden Knight receiver Dylan Crawford.
Crawford, a sophomore, was first team All-Area after helping St. Francis to a 10-3 record and a trip to the CIF-Southern Section Western Division semifinals. Crawford had 54 receptions for 993 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013.

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CIF State boys basketball playoffs: Santa Margarita rallies past St. Francis, 74-66


By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA –
St. Francis High School’s best season ever is over, but the Golden Knights proved to be a tough out Saturday night.
Devonte Klines scored 22 points and Joe Furstinger had 19 and host Santa Margarita rallied for a 74-66 victory over St. Francis in a CIF State Southern California Regional Division III second-round boys basketball game.
Santa Margarita, also getting 10 points from Scott Wieserski, improved to 25-8 and will travel to Cathedral, an 82-52 winner over La Mirada in the regional semifinals on Tuesday.
St. Francis, which previously had never advanced to the CIF-Southern Section semifinals, finished 20-13, with a trip to the divisional finals and the state playoffs. Kyle Leufroy and Evan Crawford led the Golden Knights with 20 and 19 points, respectively.

For a while, it looked like the Golden Knights’ dream season might continue. They opened the second half with a 16-7 surge for a 54-48 lead late in the third quarter, and took a 55-52 advantage into the fourth. But eventually Santa Margarita’s size advantage, which features four players 6-foot-6 or higher, including Furstinger at 6-8, took it’s toll.
Wieserski made it 55-54 with two free throws at 7:47 before Klines hit a 3-pointer for a 57-55 lead 6:46, St. Francis’ Markar Agakanian made a layup to tie it before Santa Margarita put together a quick 7-0 blitz off turnovers and missed shots to go up 64-57 at 4:48 following a Furstinger putback, a 3-pointer by Yifan Shou and a fastbreak layup by Wieserski.
Wieserski and Furstinger made inside shots to push it to 70-59 with 2:23 left to all but clinch it. Crawford hit a 3-pointer to make it 72-66 with 37 seconds left, but Klines countered with a quick layup for a 74-66 lead with 29 seconds to play.

St. Francis co-head coach Ray O’Brien: “It was a great year. You saw the effort these kids putout tonight. We ended up coming up short in total points, but we probably played one of our best games of the year against a (CIF-SS) champion. They had a size advantage, but it didn’t kill us because of the effort these kids had and it was the same effort we’ve had all year. That’s why they have 20 wins, because of the effort they put out.”

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Wrestling: Wick brothers score Masters titles; San Marino takes eighth


By Stephen Ramirez, @SteveRRamirez on Twitter
ONTARIO –
The road to the CIF State wrestling championships didn’t run through the San Gabriel Valley on Saturday. It just seemed that way.
The area, led by brothers Evan and Zander Wick, of San Marino High School, scored four individual titles and had 19 competitors qualify for next weekend’s state meet in Bakersfield after putting together solid performances at the CIF-Southern Section Masters championships at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena.
The area champions were the Wicks, who won titles at 120 and 26 pounds, respectively; San Dimas’ David Gonzalez (106) and Northview’s Ricky Padilla (152). All followed up divisional championships last weekend with Master titles on Saturday.
Northview, whith a section-best six state qualifiers, won the team title, with San Marino, which qualified three, finishing eighth.
Also qualifying from the area were Northview’s Richard Casillas (106, sixth), Vincent Parra (113, third), John Rivera (132, third), Anthony Martinez (182, eighth) and Bryan Salinas (160, second); Rowland’s Miguel Juarez (106, seventh) and Mario Lopez (138, fifth); Bishop Amat’s Nigel Ruiz (145, second); San Marino’s Julian Flores (132, second); Bonita’s Seth Morales (170, third); Damien’s Kaulin Garcia (182, ninth); Diamond Bar’s Dandrell Johnson (220, fourth); Arroyo’s Lois Hernandez (220, eighth); Charter Oak’s Joseph Alexander (132, fifth) and Glendora’s Guillermo Padilla (285, fifth).
Northview, with a section-best six state qualifiers won the team title.

For Zander Wick, Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Riverside King’s Kristian Vasquez, was all about redemption. Vasquez eliminated him at Masters last season.
He got some revenge after using two takedowns for a 4-1 lead before winning, 4-2.
“It was a drive from last year, because I didn’t make state,” Wick said. “Really, it was just me wanting to come back and win this, because last year I didn’t place.”
Evan Wick, who qualified for the state meet last season, but didn’t place, gets a second chance after wins by fall and technical fall and two decisions, including a 6-2 victory over West Torrance’s Yoshito Funakoshi in the finals.
“It’s definitely good,” Wick said. “I hadn’t had a Masters title under by belt yet. It’s good to come here, win CIF, win Masters. It’s good momentum for state.”
Gonzalez, ranked in state top 10 earlier this season, won against a higher-ranked opponent for the second consecutive week. Last week, he beat Northview’s Casillas, who was sixth in the state, for the Central Division title and followed it up with a 2-0 win over Alta Loma’s Zander Silva, who was rated No. 2. He scored a takedown with three seconds left in the first period than withstood a switch attempt by Silva in the final seconds.
“It feels really great,” Gonzalez said. “Last week, I had a tough match against Casillas and won, and this week against Silva. It’s a great to win a CIF belt, then a Masters belt. State is up next.”
Padilla, ranked No. 11 state, was dominant in winning at 152. He jumped out to leads of 3-0 and 7-1 before beating Hemet’s Caleb Wilson, 14-6.
“It’s great just to be here,” Padilla said. “I’m just looking forward to continuing that at state and placing.”
Nigel, who lost to Corona Santiago’s Justin Thomas, 7-2, is Amat’s first state qualifier since 2008.
Salinas, ranked No. 1 in the state, lost in an upset at 160.

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