10-0, 30 points allowed all season and the only place Azusa gets respect is at the local Taco Bell …

By Aram Tolegian

AZUSA – The Azusa High School football team knows that despite its 10-0 record and No. 1 seed in the Mid-Valley Division playoffs, there are still plenty of doubters around the Valley when it comes to the Aztecs’ validity.

“They haven’t played anyone,” the skeptics say. Others argue that Azusa comes from the weak Montview League.

After allowing just 30 total points this season, there’s one group of Aztecs that’s anxiously awaiting its chance to show the Valley just how real Azusa is, and that would be the defensive line.

“I think it’s the past years, the bad teams, that have people thinking we’re all luck,” defensive tackle Nick Valverde said when asked to explain why Azusa still has its share of doubters.

The Aztecs will get a chance to start proving the naysayers wrong at Citrus College on Friday night, when they host Village Christian in the first round.

Winning is nothing for Azusa. The Aztecs won 21 games the previous two seasons, including an unbeaten run in the Montview that they extended to three years this season.

Last year’s team reached the semifinals of the playoffs before bowing out to eventual champion San Dimas, but until this year’s undefeated run, Azusa had been viewed like the flu – something that could cause a lot of damage but eventually will pass.

That hasn’t happened, though. By being 10-0 and technically the favorites to win the division, area fans are having to view Azusa in a whole new light that some folks don’t seem eager to do.

“I agree with that,” defensive end Luis Nunez said, referring to the argument that Azusa hasn’t played anybody, “but it doesn’t matter; we’ll still show them what we’ve got in CIF.”

Added defensive end Edwin Garcia: “If we had a choice, we’d want to take on a tougher nonleague, too, but we don’t have control over that. All we could do was play who we got and play hard every game.”

Garcia, Nunez and Valverde join forces with interior tackle Alex Tapia to form what coaches consider to be the main reason Azusa’s defense is allowing just three points per game and has six shutouts.

Weight-wise, Tapia is the largest of the group at 250 pounds. The entire quartet doesn’t have a player over 6 feet tall, but nobody weighs less than 190 pounds either. So what you get is an athletic group that can use quickness and strength to subdue bigger offensive lines.

“I think everyone plays a role on this defense,” Tapia said while trying to deflect credit for Azusa’s gaudy numbers. “So it’s basically the whole defense that makes us good.”

It’s true that Azusa boasts two of the best linebackers around in Jose Nunez (101 tackles) and Eric Perez (94 tackles), but without the front four making their job easier, the stats wouldn’t follow.

“If you have a good d-line, it’s easier for the corners and the linebackers to get tackles,” Garcia said. “Since we’re smaller than other linemen, we just have to outwork everybody we see. We play each play like it’s our last one.”

Although the outside world is taking a wait-and-see approach with the Aztecs, Garcia’s noticed in several places he goes that the city is firmly behind the team.

“It’s kind of funny, because I go sometimes to our closest Taco Bell, and there are some past alumni who used to play football at Azusa there and they recognize who I am and they say `What’s up?’ to me and they know who I am,” Garcia said.

“They say we’re doing something great for the city. It feels like every Friday our community comes together and watches our games. It’s not like we’re playing for each other, but the city, too.”

As the Village Christian game nears, the players know that what they do Friday and hopefully over the next four weeks offers them a shot at local infamy.

With their city behind them and most of the outside world waiting for the fall, Nunez, Valverde, Tapia and Garcia are more than happy to make sure anything trying to get in Azusa’s way gets dealt with in the exact same way as the Aztecs’ previous 10 victims.

“Anything less than a CIF championship would be a disappointment,” Garcia said. “We want to earn respect because we know we’re lacking that respect.

“We want to prove people wrong and prove to the Valley that we are legit.

“We believe if we win CIF, there’s no possible regrets that we can have.

  • AZTEC PRIDE

    ARAM! NICE JOB AND YOU WON’T GET ANY ARGUMENTS FROM ME! LOL… This was a story that needed to be told! I’m sure all the people from AZUSA appreciate a little press coverage! Back when my son played for Scherf in 2008, when they won their first playoff game and it was 25 years since they had won. The SGV TRIBUNE placed AZUSA in the front pages, and we definitely put that in our scrapbook!

    So you AZUSA Seniors DEFINITLEY want to cut this article out! This will soon be a great memory with your teammates for years to come! I talk to a lot of explayers that I run into at the games or around AZUSA, and they all say the same thing, that they miss playing and they’re happy for AZUSA!

    I’ll say this, AZUSA always had talent but it was lacking one key ingredient, and that was COACH SCHERF, and everybody is over looking Coach Beltran who is doing a phenomenal job! Coach Scherf brought him up when he took over as head coach, and he was the freshmen coach at the time! Mr. Beltran is an outstanding person and great with the kids! He’s one of those Coaches you want your kid playing for! Never did I once hear him screaming at the kids when my son played for Beltran, and he would always encourage them!

    Beltran, I wish you continued success in your coaching career and I know one day you’ll be a HEAD COACH again, because that’s a great honor to run a HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL program!

    To the rest of the coaching staff and especially Bubba,Bettle, Muncie(DEFENSE) ,, congratulations for winning the Montview League for the third time in a row, and OH YES THEY NOW KNOW WHO THE MONTVIEW LEAGUE IS NOW! I mean how could they not; after CIF made AZUSA the number#1 seed in the SGV and the only remaining undefeated team!

    THATS HOW YOU GET RESPECT BY GOING 10-0, and allowing only 30 points all season long!
    RESPECT IS EARNED WITH HARD WORK, AND NOT JUST GIVEN OUT! GREAT JOB AZUSA AND YOU HAVE DEFINITELY EARNED THE RESPECT OF THE CIF ORGANIZATION!

    GOOD LUCK TO YOU IN YOUR GOAL AND THE CITY OF AZUSA IS BEHIND YOU!
    2008, 2009, 2010 MONTVIEW LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!

    AZUSA FOOTBALL.

    AZTEC PRIDE!

  • SaintsR4real

    Boys Of Fall

    When I feel that chill, smell that fresh cut grass
    I’m back in my helmet, cleats, and shoulderpads
    Standin’ in the huddle, listenin’ to the call
    Fans goin’ crazy for the boys of fall

    They didn’t let just anybody in that club
    Took every ounce of heart and sweat and blood
    To get to wear those game-day jerseys down the hall
    Kings of the school, man, we’re the boys of fall

    Well, it’s turn and face the Stars and Stripes, it’s fighting back them butterflies
    It’s calling in the air, “Alrighty, yes sir, we want the ball”
    And it’s knockin’ heads and talkin’ trash, it’s slinging mud and dirt and grass
    It’s I got your number, I got your back when your back’s against the wall

    You mess with one man, you got us all
    We’re the boys of fall

    In little towns like mine that’s all they got
    Newspaper clippings fill the coffeeshops
    The old men will always think they know it all
    Young girls will dream about the boys of fall

    Well, it’s turn and face the Stars and Stripes, it’s fighting back them butterflies
    It’s calling in the air, “Alrighty, yes sir, we want the ball”
    And it’s knockin’ heads and talkin’ trash, it’s slinging mud and dirt and grass
    It’s I got your number, I got your back when your back’s against the wall

    You mess with one man, you got us all

    “SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBAL RULES”

    “The boys of fall”

    Well, it’s turn and face the Stars and Stripes, it’s fighting back them butterflies
    It’s calling in the air, “Alrighty, yes sir, we want the ball”
    And it’s knockin’ heads and talkin’ trash, it’s slinging mud and dirt and grass
    It’s I got your number, I got your back when your back’s against the wall

    You mess with one man, you got us all
    The boys of fall

    We’re the boys of fall

  • Get ready for the ” I told you So “

    Here Comes the nice Clean up story! Now we are in the playoffs we start finding out how small they are….how the have not played anyone etc… Too late. Your #1. Your supposed to be the best team….Azusa players know they are not the best team! Well listen to this…if you blow it this year Aztecs. You will never get a # 1-4 seed again. The CIF and Valley writers took a big Chance on you, now its time to delivery. If you you don’t go all the way…everyone is going to say I told you so!

  • Aaron

    This is solid work, stuff I want to read.

  • Observantcat

    These guys look like the good guys you dont want to make mad. Good story, Good team, Good Guys and good luck. Make the doubters doubt themselves after this season is over. Although I am a Monrovia fan I always appreciate good football and great compettition.

  • Goldenarm

    Great comments from the line regarding outworking opponents. This is the mentality you want to hear from your line!

    The Aztecs deserve their shot at revenge against Temple City and may get it if the Rams get physical and not mental against Rosemead. Scherf must have spiked the Gatorade with HGH – these are Latinos on a larger scale than recent Aztec teams.

    Good luck Friday

  • Monrovia is Ready!

    It’s Playoff time! There are alot of good teams in this years Mid Valley Tournement. We are proud to be one of them. Not matter what’s happen in the past, today we feel like we are going to roll. I know some people have blogged” We Heard this before”, I ask you, what else are we supposed to say? Monrovia, is going to win it! That’s What Azusa is thinkig, that is want San Dimas, Arroyo,Baldwin Park, Whittier Chistian and Covina are thinking. I would not want to have it any other way! But as for now, we are going to take it, one game at a time. This week, it’s Gladstone. There is a 99% chance we will win that game, but it’s alway the 1% that worries me. We need the 1%, That little extra to get us over the top! No Fumbles, No Flags, No Picks. We Have one of the best players, if not the best player in Nick Bueno. Honestly, you May see him Line up at every position execpt for on the Line. We have other players who are going to make names for themselves in the playoffs. Things are looking good. I am not going to wish anyone good luck. Why would I do that? We are starving for a gridion title. I hope the kids know this. I just hope the games are competitive and everyone of those kids out there play hard, and Injury free,(but injuries are part of the game). No Matter the outcome, just know we are going to battle. Lets Win this for the “CITY Of MONROVIA, CA 91016″.

  • AZTEC PRIDE

    SAINTS4REAL, Is that a LOVE POEM I read in DEAR ABBY’S column? LOL… Just kidding and that’s some pretty good stuff their! I know that didn’t come out of you? Because that’s deep!!!

    I pictured a Norman Rockwell picture when I read it, but I got this uneasy feeling about it though??? OOOHHH I know what it is SAINT, this is an AZUSA ARTICLE only, and I believe your a little lost, but let me see if I can redirect you to a SAN DIMAS story, wait give me minute…

    Let’s play the over/under game:FRED’S ARTICLE TODAY;
    Fred’s bet: OVER – “Some think Azusa and Arroyo aren’t slam dunks, so the rest must be in deep trouble.FRED’S COMMENT: (I have them both winning, however”). THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, LIGHTS!

    SAINTSR4REAL, OOOUUUU THAT’S GOT TO HURT!

    Saint4real, you know i’m just messing around with you! By the way how’s my favorite store over there in San Dimas, LOWES. LOL..Yes I remember SD winning AZUSA in the playoffs and this your way of making your point across and I got you boss! By the way I was at that game, and i’ll say this though. By far we had more AZUSA fans OUT THEIR THAT NIGHT than SD FANS. LOL…

    TAKE IT EASY SAINTSR4REAL! I KNOW THEY STILL HAVE A LOT OF FOOTBALL LEFT IN THEM!

    AZTEC PRIDE!

  • AZTEC PRIDE

    Monrovia is Ready! Let me remind you of that 1%!!!!

    AZUSA wins Monrovia in the Summer passing league and wins the tournament! OHHHH their’s that one percent again!

    You’ve been their 9 times and came up empty! AZUSA has never been, SO WERE EVEN MORE HUNGRIER! Hope AZUSA and Monrovia meet at CITRUS COLLEGE AS PREDICTED by Fred & Aram!

    OOOHHH, THAT’S RIGHT, you played at Citrus last year for all the MARBLES, O O… THERE’S THAT ONE PERCENT AGAIN!

    THE BIG ~A~ WILL BE READY TO PLAY ALSO, YOU CAN SEE THE BIG ~A~, OFF THE 210 FWY, IN THE…

    91702, AZUSA COUNTRY.

    AZTEC PRIDE IS OUT IN FULL FORCE, WHY? PLAYOFFS!

  • We ready!

    Aztec Pride…

    The 1% I am talking about is monrovia not beating themselves. It has nothing to do with the passing league game you won. You are not even in our bracket. Before you step to us you still have to play uhhh Covina or Whittier Christian. I would really be worried about Village Christian first. This will be your first real game! We are not worry about you at moment. We have to take care of business on our side first! Todays article was a great feel good story. Hey you all have been feeling good all year. We have felt the pain of defeat. so we are ready. are you?

  • AZTEC PRIDE

    We ready; I drank to much coffee and was AMP UP, AFTER SEEING THIS ARTICLE.LOL… I was pulling your chain and don’t take it to serious. Matter fact, my friend Coach Schuster, who my son played for and is LONG OVER DUE for a championship, and I do hope he gets one!

    Good LUCK COACH SCHUSTER, AND SOME FANS IN AZUSA WILL BE PULLING FOR YOU!

    SCHUSTER IS GREAT COACH!!!

    AZTEC PRIDE!

  • aztec insider

    all of those kids are doing steroids!!!! good job coaches on saying they work hard!!!!! lol

  • Amat Honk

    Wow – 10-0 w/30 points given up all season! I don’t care what league you’re in, that is OUTSTANDING! Great job AZTECS! Some people don’t know what it is to play a whole season with a bulls-eye on your chest. Everybody brings their A-game and everybody would love to wreck your no-hitter! HA, HA. Good Luck in the Play-offs and DO NOT LET UP! I for one, wish you the best of luck! Be the BEST AZUSA TEAM ever!! Keep the No-No going guys. Go Get’em AZTECS!!!

  • MonroVian

    Hey this is not the first, second nor third time I hear of these Azusa kids using steroids! What is the real story? Are they or what!!!!!!! It should really be looked in to, ya think… I sure hope they aren’t though, that would be really sad! Good luck to everyone, its going to be a great post season! Oh and Aztec Pride. Please, please, please stop mentioning that passing league game. It was passing league GUY! No contact, no COUNT! Seriously bro you look like a tool every time you mention it, just saying… Good luck to all the student Athletes, but more luck to the Monrovia Wildcats!… You don’t want no Green and White! Wess…..

  • uh oh

    all this talk about Azusa. i tell you this much. if they run that basic 5-2 oklahoma defense against us. We will run it off the field. and if they make it far enough to see us you will know who we are

  • bell

    good job aztec insider….iam sure you got your great sources from a Gladstone person!! just because you guys got beat bad stop making excusing!!! Azusa kids on steroids… that is funny, just because the Gstone kids dnt work as hard!! keep putting the kids down, its good fuel for them……Good luck tomorrow AZTECS!!

  • MonroVian

    MTown all day everyday son!!!!!!
    You boys have to go big against Gladstone….. Monrovia Let’s set the tempo for this Mid Valley Dog Fight… You don’t want no Green and White! One Love Mtown, Wess Wess….

  • Aztecs one and done.

    I don’t understand why Azusa is getting this much press, they will likely be done by this time tomorrow. And saying none of your line is smaller than 190 is like saying none of your recievers are shorter than 5’4″ or that your fiance is hotter than rosie o donnel. Seriously? whoever is saying these kids are on steroids clearly doesn’t understand what steroids will do to you! The only perfomance enhancement Azusa is on is their competition! This is easliy a Monrovia vs. Covina Final and any other talk is just Fred and Aram trying to make it seem more exciting than it really is. trust me, Azusa doesn’t make it through tomorrow night, not even close.

  • Norm Crosby

    Aram do you know what “infamy” means?

    If Azusa wins out the next four weeks how does that allow them to go down in “local infamy”?

    Now Scott Petersen and Charles Manson “enjoy” local and national, and indeed, international…”infamy”.

    FDR said it best after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, ” a day that will go down in INFAMY” !!!

    Comparing an Azusa Championship “run” to some measure of “local infamy”…too funny.

    So much for the value of an “decree”…..ouch !!!!

  • Semper Fi

    Enough with who’s # 1 just enjoy all games and good luck to everyone.Are you ready for some football!!!!!!!!!!!

  • FC

    Hey Dolt74…dig in.

    This is going to be a lonnnnnng ride.

    BTW I do know what a “DOLT” means…do you without looking it up?

    Hope that doesn’t make you “enfurnanced” or is that “enfurniated” or is that “enferniated’ of flat out “enurinated” or …you get the picture.

    Dolt74 not picking a fight with “ewe”, (the animal not the language spoken in Ghana…okay I cheated…too funny huh? I mean I knew the animal but who knew about the lingustics???) just trying to illustrate you’re in the deep “in” of the wah wah…..opps was that “end” and is wah wah going to burn out my remaining five brain cells??? when you challenge me to mental gymnastics came with more than Smack Down rejected material.

    Dolt74 even with a life as wild and reckless as I had “before” I settled down I would crush your simpleton beer wet fart drenched brain in my sleep.

    Here’s a riddle Dolt74:

    How many times will you get the better of me?

    Answer:

    NUN !!!

    Now tell me is that clever or what?

    Enjoy the humor or better yet look in the mirror and be awed that you’re chewing gum while standing erect.

    Are “we” done?

    I’m baccc

  • AZTEC PRIDE

    Aztecs one and done;

    YEAH RIGHT! Listen (DOUBTERS) if you got nothing good to say, and are waiting around like some vultures to get on the blog, and SAY I TOLD YOU AZUSA WOULD LOSE. Reminds of a child, with snot all over his nose and walking around ALL DAY with it and doesn’t wipe his nose clean until his mummy wipes it for him! Come on grow up!

    Show some class, because you know these players will be reading their pictured article about them!

    GOOD LUCK TOMORROW AZUSA!

    AZTEC PRIDE

  • FC

    Aztec Pride I met your son at teh Azusa vs Workman game. He’s taller than I imagined for some reason. Maybe you’re right people give Azusa too little respect.

    I will say this, he was extremely polite and very engaging as I asked him about his tiem at Citrus and a few players I knew from tHat team.

    You’re right Azusa nd Citrus don’t get enough credit/ This week I believ is your son’s last game…nothing would be better than seeing him play and watching you see him “one last time”.

    Best of lcuk to the Aztecs and teh rest of teh Azusa community. You’re very fortunate to have a great coaching staff but here in Bloggerville no one, and I mean no one, backs their school with such continued goodwill and positive energy as Aztec Pride.

    You’ve obviously done a great job Mr. Z…best of luck trying to see your son’s last game thru tears of joy.

    Well done.

  • Colt74

    FC….
    God you are funny! I would think that one would have to go to an Kentucky Tea Bagger / River Rat Juggling Festival to find someone with your wit!. Your back? Never knew you were gone! Shows how much you were missed. Hi HK!

  • Anonymous

    What is this talk of steroids? Have any of you seen the picture up there? Two of those kids look like they can barely drag themselves around the field and the other two look like tiny for starting defensive linemen. Does anyone wonder why the camera angle in the photograph has an upward slope? “Nobody weighs less than 190 pounds.” Are you kidding me? One thing is having the quickness to get around blocks and pursue but another thing is the lack of ability to get off a block once engaged. These kids will get pushed around by any strong and mobile offensive line in the division. (Monrovia, Covina, WC) I admire these kids for their accomplishments and passion but there is absolutely no way this team will reach the CIF Finals anytime soon. Mark my words

  • Feel about yourself?

    Anonymous …needs a hug.

    What a douche bag.

  • AZTEC PRIDE

    FC: THANK YOU FOR YOUR GRACIOUS COMPLEMENT! Unfortunately Citrus College played their last game last Saturday, and was that a great game! Citrus lost 31-30 and was a nail biter to the end. I would like to get more in depth, but i’m running out of time.

    Well i’m glad you’ve met my son, he’s had an outstanding season for Citrus, considering he was a Freshmen. Was voted twice as defensive player of the game and was mentioned on the CITRUS COLLEGE.COM internet form, as the leading player on the defensive player against Antelope Valley.

    I can’t say enough also about RAULEY ZARGOZA, who’s probably going to a D1 school. He had quiet a few touch downs and was a key player on offense. Two players that played for AZUSA, our doing quiet well for themselves in College ball!

    Who says AZUSA can’t play FOOTBALL!

    Takecare FC.

  • Ha Ha Ha Haa

    Told you didnt i. you guys are the pits. yes i said it the pits. why go 10-0 and loose in the first round to a 3 seed. wow told you Azusa good night. your season is over

  • Observantcat

    BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!! FROM NOW ON AZTEC PRIDE WILL PAY FOR ALL OF THE TACOS FROM TACO BELL” ARAM WILL HAND OUT TOWELS TO ALL WHO BELIEVED HIM IN AZUSA……NEXT HEADLINE, I’M SORRY, DONT EVER LISTEN TO ME WHEN IT COMES TO WINNERS, HELL WHAT DO I KNOW? I’VE BEEN A CLIPPER FAN FOR YEARS AND LOOK WEAR THATS GOTTEN ME.

    GOOD SEASON AZUSA AND AZTEC FAN….JUST HAVIN A LITTLE FUN NOW WITH THE BIG LETTERS..

  • Olympic League Fan

    Hopefully Now the Olympic League will get some Love from all the critics. All 3 teams advance to the quarterfinals,yet none of them get a top 4 seed. Maybe it’s time for you critics to take a drive and watch the small schools play!(Whittier Christian, Marantha, Village Christian)

  • Its me

    Helloo o o o o o o o o, Helloo o o o o o o. Are you here? AZTEC PRIDE where are you. Oh I Know somewhere in the corner with you tail tucked in you Az(tec). Thats what happens when you go untested in the preseason. And no AZTEC fans its not your fault. Its the ADs. Or the head coach. When you are in a cup-cake league, you have to schedual some adversity during the season to test yourself. I toldd you this would happen. And you know what else.
    , they better be glad they didnt let Valley Christian in. They would have beat either TC or Rosemead, or any other 2 or 3 seed. Probably even Azusa, Covina even. CIF really needds to evaluate the play off entry process,

  • the real blog

    It’s pretty sad how a positive article can get so much negative criticism. Let the kids (D-line) get their moment in this article by congratulating them or keeping it to yourself. If you never watched them play then you have nothing to say. The D-ends are one of the best in the league (I know a weak league) and one of them made it all valley as a junior. Plus, all this steroid talk? what’s up w/ that.
    You know these kids are reading every blog that you guys (Adults) write about them. If you went to the game, you would see it was not the D-line’s faults. And the reason I say this because this article is about them. Azusa just got some unlucky breaks. Village might go far and the bracket or may lose next round, time will only tell.
    Azusa was never known for having a good football program. In the past, Azusa was struggling to win a league game. So let them have their moment of winning league 3years in the a row. The Aztecs had a good season and hopefully this success (in a weak league, I know) continues.

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