About Steve Ramirez

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

Southeast Division Preview: The bell tolls for La Serna…but expect a run by Muir


1. Norwalk (10-0), 2. Diamond Ranch (9-1), 3. La Serna (8-2), 4. Muir (9-1).
Darkhorse: La Mirada (4-6).
First Round
Norwalk over West Covina
Dominguez over El Rancho
Los Altos over Paramount
Muir over La Mirada
La Serna over Burroughs
Downey over Diamond Bar
Burbank over Mayfair
Diamond Ranch over Santa Fe
Norwalk over Dominguez
Muir over Los Altos
La Serna over Downey
Burbank over Diamond Ranch
Muir over Norwalk
La Serna over Burbank
La Serna over Muir
Comments: La Serna has been arguably the most consistent program in the division the past three years, getting to the semifinals in 2010 and the finals the past two seasons. This time it’s the Lancers year. Muir has the athletic advantage that no other team in the division can match. But the Mustangs play good, sound football as well. Their biggest challenge before the finals will be Friday against La Mirada, which is more than capable of a title run. But now it’s Frankie Palmer’s time to shine.

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Northwest Division Preview: All signs point to a Bishop Diego win


1. Oak Park (9-1), 2. Nordhoff (9-1), 3. Bishop Diego (8-2), 4. El Segundo (7-3).
Darkhorse: La Salle
First Round
Oak Park over Bishop Montgomery
Cerritos Valley Chr. over La Puente
La Salle over Carpinteria
El Segundo over Santa Paula
Bishop Diego over North Torrance
Maranatha over Duarte
Azusa over Torrance
Nordhoff over Verbum Dei
Oak Park over Cerritos Valley Chr.
El Segundo over La Salle
Bishop Diego over Maranatha
Nordhoff over Azusa
Oak Park over El Segundo
Bishop Diego over Nordhoff
Bishop Diego over Oak Park
Comments: This division should be re-named the Tri-Valley Division. The top three teams come from that league and maybe even the top five. Bishop Diego, from this view, looks to be the favorite, and although the Cardinals are an at-large team this year, they are capable of making a run for the title. La Salle has the best shot of the locals, which also includes Duarte and Maranatha, who meet in the first round, but I can’t see the Lancers getting past the second round.

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Northeast Division Preview: Get ready for Mission-Rio V…Can you say 3-peat?


1. Mission Prep (8-2), 2. Rio Hondo Prep (9-1), 3. Salesian (8-2), 4. Desert (8-2).
Darkhorse: St. Anthony
First Round
Mission Prep over Santa Clarita Chr.
Pasadena Poly over St. Genevieve
Saddleback Valley Chr. over Cal Military
St. Anthony over Desert
Salesian over Chadwick
Capistrano Valley Chr. over Boron
Hamilton over Excelsior
Rio Hondo Prep over St. Monica
Mission Prep over Poly
St. Anthony over Saddleback Chr.
Salesian over Capo Valley
Rio Hondo Prep over Hamilton
Mission Prep over St. Anthony
Rio Hondo Prep over Salesian
Rio Hondo Prep over Mission Prep
COMMENTS: This is a basically a three-team division, with St. Anthony, which routed Poly last week, as the X-Factor. Salesian is new to the division and will be competition for the two Prepsters, but Rio is starting to pick up steam, and again looks capable of a three-peat. The Kares showed it last year, and will do it again.

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Star-News Pick’em: CIF-SS first round winners will include St. Francis, Monrovia, San Marino, Muir…

Keith and I are matching our knowledge of the area and high school football by offering our picks on the area’s games.

LAIR: 161-25 (14-3 last week)
RAMIREZ: 157-29 (12-5 last week)

Last week: Not a very good week. I lost two to Keith, missing on Alhambra’s win over San Gabriel, and Flintridge Prep coming up short against Chadwick. We both didn’t see La Canada beating Temple City to get into the playoffs.
This week: It’s playoff time, and 12 area teams have advanced to the third season. There are some intriguing matchups, most notably, Duarte taking on Maranatha, and Muir hosting La Mirada. I like the Mustangs, who I think can make it to the divisional final four. Duarte is a tough matchup for the Minutemen, who lost by 19 to the Montview League champ Azusa earlier. But Maranatha has improved a lot since, so I like them in a close game.

This week’s schedule and predictions
St. Francis (8-2) at Culver City (6-4) — Ramirez (St. Francis); Lair (St. Francis)
Sierra Canyon (5-5) at No. 1 Monrovia (9-1) — Ramirez (Monrovia); Lair (Monrovia)
Rosemead (8-2) at Pomona (9-1) — Ramirez (Rosemead); Lair (Rosemead)
La Canada (5-5) at No. 4 Paraclete (6-4) — Ramirez (Paraclete); Lair (Paraclete)
Gabrielino (7-3) at No. 3 San Dimas (6-4) — Ramirez (San Dimas); Lair (San Dimas)
Bell Gardens (7-3) at San Marino (8-2) — Ramirez (San Marino); Lair (San Marino)
St. Monica (3-7) at No. 2 Rio Hondo Prep (9-1) — Ramirez (Rio Hondo Prep); Lair (Rio Hondo Prep)
St. Genevieve (7-3) at Pasadena Poly (8-2) — Ramirez (Poly); Lair (St. Genevieve)
Carpinteria (7-3) at La Salle (9-1) — Ramirez (La Salle); Lair (La Salle)
Duarte (6-4) at Maranatha (8-2) — Ramirez (Maranatha); Lair (Maranatha)
La Mirada (4-6) at No. 4 Muir (9-1) — Ramirez (Muir); Lair (Muir)

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CIF-SS Football Pairings: Monrovia, Muir, Rio Hondo Prep receive top four seeds; St. Francis gifted solid road to Western semifinals


Sunday was a pretty good day for area football teams who received favorable draws when the CIF-Southern Section released pairings for its divisional playoffs.
Monrovia, ranked No. 1 in the Mid-Valley Division all season, was awarded the top seed in the division and should make a solid run at a fourth consecutive divisional title. Rio Hondo Prep also looks destined for a three-peat, given the No. 2 seed in the Northeast, while Pacific League champion Muir received the No. 4 seed in the Southeast. St. Francis, ranked No. 1 in the area, did not receive a top four seed, but the Golden Knights were given a good path to make it to the Western semifinal.
The first round is scheduled for Friday. The finals are slated for Dec. 7-8 at selected sites.



St. Francis (8-2) at Culver City (6-4)
Sierra Canyon (5-5) at No. 1 Monrovia (9-1)
Rosemead (8-2) at Pomona (9-1)
La Canada (5-5) at No. 4 Paraclete (6-4)
Gabrielino (7-3) at No. 3 San Dimas (6-4)
Bell Gardens (7-3) at San Marino (8-2)
St. Monica (3-7) at No. 2 Rio Hondo Prep (9-1)
St. Genevieve (7-3) at Pasadena Poly (8-2)
Carpinteria (7-3) at La Salle (9-1)
Duarte (6-4) at Maranatha (8-2)
La Mirada (4-6) at No. 4 Muir (9-1)

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West Covina, Baldwin Park receive CIF-SS at-large bids; Temple City, Crescenta Valley denied

West Covina High School usually plays one of the tougher football schedules in the area. That philosophy paid big dividends for the Bulldogs Saturday.
West Covina, after finishing the regular season 5-5 overall and losing the third-place tiebreaker to Diamond Bar in the Hacienda League, received the lone at-large bid for the Southeast Division when the CIF-Southern Section released the at-large entries for the upcoming divisional playoffs.
The brackets will be released Sunday.
Baldwin Park, which was 7-3 and finished fourth in the Valle Vista League, was the only other area team to receive an at-large bid, getting a spot in the Mid-Valley playoffs.
Bishop Amat, which was hoping for a spot in the Pac-5 Division, and Glendora, looking to make the Inland Division bracket, were denied.

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Friday Night Final: Monrovia, Arroyo, Maranatha bring home league title hardward; Muir rings the Victory Bell again in Turkey Tussle


SAN MARINO – The road to the Rio Hondo League football championship still runs through Monrovia, and Kurt Scoby made sure of it.
The senior running back accounted for 361 total yards and five touchdowns and the visiting Wildcats won the league title for the sixth consecutive season with a 62-21 victory over San Marino on Friday.
Scoby rushed for 241 and three touchdowns to lead Monrovia, which improved to 9-1 overall and 5-0 in league and stretched its league winning streak to 32 games. Monrovia, also getting 156 yards passing and three scores from Deshawn Potts and 113 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Kameron Johnson, is expected to receive the top seed for the Mid-Valley Division when the CIF-Southern Section releases playoff pairings on Sunday.
San Marino, getting 208 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Andrew Ferraco, slipped to 8-2 and 4-1. The Titans still are in the running for a top four seed after being ranked No. 4 in the division this week.
Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox: “(Scoby) was incredible tonight. The offensive line did a great job opening holes for him. (San Marino) had to commit nine guys in the box. When we parted the sea, he was gone.”
Monrovia’s Kurt Scoby: “This feels great. Without God and without my teammates, this wouldn’t happen. I can’t do it without them.”
San Marino coach Mike Hobbie: “It was a combination of things. It was a great running back and an awfully good offensive line blocking well. They are not a team of just Scoby. They can get running backs free to run. I could have run through some of those holes.”
– Steve Ramirez, @steverramirez on Twitter

Monrovia's Kurt Scoby catches a pass for a touchdown against San Marino in the first half of a prep football game at Monrovia High School in Monrovia, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.  (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

Monrovia’s Kurt Scoby catches a pass for a touchdown against San Marino in the first half of a prep football game at Monrovia High School in Monrovia, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.
(Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

1. St. Francis (8-2) lost to Chaminade, 56-35 – The Golden Knights were unable to match the Eagles big plays in the battle for the No. 2 seed in the Western Division. Now the question is whether St. Francis, ranked No. 3 in the division this week, will retain a top four seed. If they don’t, I still like their chances to get the final four.
2. Monrovia (9-1) def. No. 5 San Marino (8-2), 62-21 – Still doubt the Wildcats can cruise through the Mid-Valley Division like a hot knife through butter? One only had to watch Monrovia, behind nearly 500 all-purpose yards and 5 TDs from Kurt Scoby, take apart the division’s No. 4 team. Monrovia had 604 yards and scored on seven of its first eight possessions to win going away.
No. 3 Muir (9-1) def. Pasadena (1-9), 32-21 – This is why the Turkey Tussle is one of the better rivalries in the country. The Bulldogs played it like it was their CIF-SS title game, and nearly pulled off one of the bigger upsets in the series, playing its best game of the season before losing. Muir survived and will have to be more like itself in the playoffs, and I think they will.
No. 4 Rio Hondo Prep (9-1) def. Webb, 46-7 – The Kares got ready for the playoffs with another blow-out win. Anything but a trip to the finals will be a disappointment for the two-time defending Northeast champs.
No. 6 La Salle (8-2) def. Bosco Tech (0-10), 45-14 – The Lancers complete the sweep through the Del Rey League for their second consecutive league crown. Now they hope to redeem themselves in the playoffs after losing in the first round last season.
No. 7 Rosemead (8-2) lost to Arroyo, 17-13 – The Panthers slowed down the Knights, but came up short in their quest for the Mission Valley League title. But this is a team you don’t want to line up against, unless your name is Monrovia.
No. 8 Pasadena Poly (7-2) lost to St. Anthony, 31-7 – A surprising result for the Panthers in a battle of two teams ranked in the Northeast top 10.
No. 9 Maranatha (8-2) def. Valley Christian, 31-28 –Eli Snyder threw for a touchdown pass as the Minutemen completed a phenomenal run to the Olympic League title. Could we get a Maranatha-La Salle playoff battle? Stay tuned.
No. 10 Gabrielino 56, El Monte 28 – An impressive showing for the Eagles, who had already clinched a playoff spot.
La Canada 31, Temple City 7 – The Spartans take the final playoff spot from the Rio Hondo League, which likely gets them a date with Arroyo
Alhambra 36, San Gabriel 25 – The Moors have finished strong…2014 looks promising
Duarte 62, Ganesha 18 – The Falcons did the part…but still no word if they are in.
Chadwick 31, Flintridge Prep 8 – A tough loss for the Rebels, who finish a disappointing season
South Pasadena 35, Blair 0 – The Tigers end the season on a good note

AREA ROUNDUP: Alhambra ends the season with win over San Gabriel

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Thursday Night Final: Crescenta Valley all but eliminates Arcadia; Marshall ends season with a win

arc loses


Crescenta Valley 49, Arcadia 14

Crescenta Valley put Arcadia into at-large mode quicky, leading 42-0 at half before settling for the 49-14 victory at Glendale High School. The loss eliminates the Apaches from receiving one the Pacific League’s three automatic playoff bids. Arcadia drops to 5-5 overall and finishes fifth in the Pacific League with a 3-4 record. The Apaches can apply for an at-large bid, but would be on the low end of the totem pole.
Marshall 34, Campbell Hall 16
The Eagles concluded its season on a high note, taking an early lead they would relinquish.
Marshall finished 3-7.

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Star-News Super 23 Football Rankings: Eight was enough for St. Francis, but the Knights are still Golden among area teams


1. St. Francis (8-1) –
The Golden Knights saw their win streak end at eight. But they keep the top spot after turning some heads in a 35-21 setback to Serra, which is ranked No. 2 in the state. St. Francis, which led 21-7 last week, will need a similar effort vs. Chaminade, with the winner getting second in the Mission League and a top four seed in the Western Division. I say they do it.
2. Monrovia (8-1) – The ‘Cats have just overmatched their Rio Hondo League opponents, outscoring them, 231-0, including a 54-0 victory over Blair last week. They’ll get a challenge this week from San Marino, but this is a team that looks destined to repeat.
3. Muir (8-1) – The Mustangs, sans Friday’s Turkey Tussle, have rolled through the Pacific League. They should be a top four seed in the Southeast, which makes them scary.
4. Rio Hondo Prep (8-1) – The Kares made little work of Pasadena Poly, which strangely enough was ranked ahead of them in the Northeast most of the season. Not anymore.
5. San Marino (8-1) – How good are the Titans, who have averaged more than 50 points a game? We’re about to find out as MoTown comes calling.
6. La Salle (7-2) – The Lancers have taken care of business, winning their second consecutive Del Rey League title. But the acid test comes in the playoffs.
7. Rosemead (8-1) – The Panthers face Arroyo for the Mission Valley League title. But they’ll need a better effort after slipping by Gabrielino, 22-21.
8. Pasadena Poly (7-1) – The Panthers received a wake-up call, suffering a blow-out loss against Rio Hondo Prep. This is a team that should do some damage in a top-heavy Northeast Division.
9. Maranatha (7-2) – The Minutemen have been on a roll since losing to La Salle in October. They face Valley Christian for the Olympic League title on Friday, then take their crack at CIF-SS glory.
10. Gabrielino (6-3) – The Eagles gave Rosemead all it wanted before losing by a point. But the good news is that with El Monte’s loss, they are in the postseason
The Rest: 11. Duarte (5-4), 12. Arcadia (5-4),, 13. La Canada (4-5), 14. Temple City (3-6), 15. South Pasadena (3-6), 16. Flintridge Prep (2-7), 17. San Gabriel (2-7), 18. Pasadena (1-8), 19. Marshall (2-7), 20. Alhambra (1-8), 21. Keppel (1-8), 22. Bosco Tech (0-9), 23. Blair (0-9).
Passing (Comp-Att-Yards-TDs)

1. Eli Snyder, Maranatha, 167-268-2,500-20
2. Tyler Gangi, St. Francis, 112-215-1,855-19
3. Elijah Peters, Gabrielino, 118-220-1,838-19
4. Joey Harmon, Arcadia, 104-176-1,241-7
5. Will Pyburn, La Salle, 67-136-1,119-14
6. Johnny Bolinger, Rio Hondo Prep, 52-88-1059-16
7. Steven Nava, Rosemead, 66-118-1,008-12
8. Nick Giambalvo, Alhambra, 84-182-844-7
9. Michael Bowman, Pasadena Poly, 56-88-943-15
10. Andrew Ferraco, San Marino, 43-76-841-13
Rushing (Att-Yards-TDs)
1. Kurt Scoby, Monrovia, 114-1,353-21
2. Stefan Smith, Flintridge Prep, 127-1,134-13
3. Nate Tayco, Rio Hondo Prep, 147-1,126-23
4. Andrew Ferraco, San Marino, 131-1,098-21
5. Joe Mudi, St. Francis, 118-1037-9
6. Alec Zavala, Rosemead, 130-1,004-8
7. Griffin Carter, Pasadena Poly, 67-840-13
8. Tenny McFarlane, San Marino, 99-802-7
9. Baile McDavid, Maranatha, 88-738-8
10. Milan Acquaah, La Salle, 78-644-8
Receiving (Rec.-Yards-TDs)
1. Xavius Boone, Maranatha, 51-774-5
2. Darron McWhorter, Maranatha, 47-754-7
3. Dylan Crawford, St. Francis, 34-694-7
4. Jared Akins, La Salle, 22-535-6
5. Joe Mudie, St. Francis, 29-491-4
6. Mark Pachorek, Arcadia, 36-472-1
7. Jeremy Franco, Gabrielino, 25-466-9
8. Luis Luna, Rosemead, 22-457-6
9. John Carroll, St. Francis, 30-434-6
10. Tyler Spitzer, San Marino, 23-413-8

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