Does El Monte have a shot against Arroyo?

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
It’s not often that El Monte High School is playing for the Mission Valley League football championship in Week 9, but that’s exactly the case for the Lions this season.
El Monte (4-4, 3-0) has won its first three league games to put itself in position to take over sole control of first place if the Lions can beat defending league champion Arroyo (7-1, 3-0) on Friday.

“It’s just exciting,” El Monte coach Joel Sanchez said. “It’s something we saw on our schedule, the way everything was going to lay itself out. We knew if we took care of business that we were going to have an opportunity in Week 4 (of league).”

Deciphering whether the Lions are legitimate challengers to Arroyo’s crown isn’t easy.

El Monte’s league schedule set up perfectly with the Lions playing the bottom three teams in league. Now games against traditional powers Arroyo and Rosemead await.

Nonetheless, it’s a pretty nice spot to be in considering El Monte was 1-9 last season. And with Friday’s game for first place, Arroyo coach Jim Singiser said El Monte has his full attention.

“You thought that (it was over) after we beat Rosemead,” Singiser said when asked if he was surprised his team still has a threat left on its schedule. “I was the one saying it wasn’t going to be that way, because I’ve been here before.

“El Monte is not a 1-9 team this year. I saw this coming. We’re not good enough, believe me, to take anybody lightly. There’s just too many variables.”

El Monte hasn’t beaten Arroyo since a 30-0 win in 1990. If the Lions are to end the streak, they’ll need another big game out of running back Michael Jimenez, who has 1,341 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.

Aside from being shut out by Covina on Sept. 17, the Lions have had little trouble scoring this season. El Monte is averaging 25 points per game. But defense has been another story. The Lions are allowing 26 points per game and have to handle Arroyo’s one-two punch of quarterback Steven Rivera and running back Mikey Vasquez.

“They’re a typical Arroyo team,” Sanchez said. “They don’t make a lot mistakes, which is key. I don’t think they do anything where I say `Man, we’re not going to be able to stop this.’

“All their teams are kind of the same. They can always run and throw the ball, but they also always have those guys who are football savvy and they have that little bit of an edge on their opponents.”

El Monte’s best defense might be its offense, if the Lions can stay mistake-free and get Jimenez rolling while keeping the ball away from Rivera and Vasquez. At least that’s how Sanchez sees it.

“We have a running back who is able to run the ball on pretty much anybody we play this year,” Sanchez said. “It’s not like we have to shut teams out to win games. We can move the ball. We have a lot more weapons this year.”

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  • Arroyo Knight

    El Monte will go 0-2 the next two weeks they dont even make the playoffs. MT. View, Gabby & South EM! The weakest teams of any division I think Rio Hondo prep would beat these teams. The bread and butter has always been Arroyo and Rosemead and always will be.

  • Back When

    My Father, who played in ‘1939’,where the shopping center on Ramona and Valley meet.This is where the first football stadium was located. He shouts____ Go lions!

  • Knights86

    Typical Arroyo, that’s right ! since 1984 we have been playing our brand of football, hard-nose defense and discipline on offense. I got a chance to see the Knights against Rosemead and I liked what I saw. Nothing has changed, we play hard, and the 4th quarter belongs to Arroyo. Keep it up boys and good luck in the play-offs.
    Remember that we expect to win league every year, it’s what you do in the play-offs that counts for us. Go Knights

  • victor

    Don’t make us laugh knights86, you’re right though, nothing has changed, arroyo gets 95% of all the “El Monte” jets players and you still can’t win a cif championship. Every year you win league with 1 or 2 losses and for what? To choke in the playoffs as you’ve been since 1984! Give us a break!! Your “brand” of football managed only a fieldgoal against Hart, a team that arroyo was phyically eaqual to, but not mentally ready for. What a joke… get over yourself!
    By the way, Rosemead won the CIF championship in 83/84…GO GET’EM LIONS!!!

  • Knights86


    You sound angry, I don’t think Arroyo get’s 95 percent of the Jets, that seems a bit high, it’s not our fault that El Monte and Mt. Dew are Futbol schools. Since 84 is right STUPID.

    85-86 CIF CHAMPS
    86-87 CIF FINALS
    Not completely sure of the other years, but we lost another CIF FINALs to Corona, and at least 3 other SEMIS, making the playoffs every-year since. Not bad huh Dicktor…..

  • Knights86

    Correction to my last comment,

    I messed up the dates trying to run out for lunch:
    84-85 Semis
    85-86 Semis
    86-87 Champs
    87-88 Finals

    Go get them Lions, that’s not going to be enough, as for you comment on Hart, our QB did not play, that changes everything. But no excuses, that’s not how we are. We’ll leave that up to the Lions.

  • victor

    Not bad at all, for a Div. 11 school (that’s eleven not two idiot). I’m not angry… I’m laughing at you, you’re a joke! You get all the football talent in the city of El Monte and you can still only muster uno championship in 25 years!
    That’s not disciplined!
    That’s not hard-nosed D!
    That’s not playing hard!
    That’s not high expectations!

    READ… what you’re writing idiot. Your “brand” of playing football is a disappointment. You will choke again this year in the playoffs!
    Now “discipline” yourself and no more name calling! GO GET’EM LIONS!!!

  • What talent in El Monte??

  • Lil cisco

    Oh my god the jets have been a joke if they had gd coach maybe they would have one i think river was a line back a kid from rosemead with a lot of hart an chinse phil Qb an did want 2 play that steve an derik are at rosemead an u got 2 say it coach when kids are young that when u want a kid 2 l gd player in sgv league in youth its a joke what a sham because there are some gd kids an player that are learning the gm in hs. El monte u lose big fri u just got by mt view an they look like thy jets playing rosemead an after u lose fri rosemead going to beat u guy buy 20 four sure maybe next year EL MONTE AND I DONT THINK SO.

  • Lil cisco

    Oh my god the jets have been a joke if they had gd coach maybe they would have one i think river was a line back a kid from rosemead with a lot of hart an chinse phil Qb an did want 2 play that steve an derik are at rosemead an u got 2 say it coach when kids are young that make gd player in sgv league in youth its a joke what a sham because there are some gd player that are learning in hs. El monte u lose big fri u just got by mt view an they look like thy jets playing rosemead an after u lose fri rosemead going to beat u guy buy 20 four sure maybe next year EL MONTE AND I DONT THINK SO.

  • Knight86


    That’s uno more than the Lions, who can barely make the playoffs once every ten years, not so sure about the Jet’s comment either, when the kids get to Arroyo they need to be coached-up. In those finals and Semis, we played Charter Oak, Diamond Bar, Cajon, South Hills, Corona and other teams form the IE. Not bad, considering most of those teams moved up to divison two. I never said we are in division two ! You’re not angry, you’re an Idiot and probably pissed becasue somewhere down the line Arroyo kicked your ass. Good luck with your Lions, or is it Panthers. Either way you loose, you would think you guys would be used to it by now. It’s only been 25 years like you said. Stick to Soccer

  • limits set low

    i cant believe both of you hold the same view on the el monte jets. I have had the pleasure of watching a few games i got invited to from friends bragging how good their kids are. Same offer from parents who have their kids in kare youth football. same parents bragging about how good of a baseball player they are playin for lambert or pioneer. All those stlyles of play and its organizations are stuck in the 80’s. if your kid is any type of an athelete they will be able to compete with any oppenent at any level. Now coaching is a different story. what seperates our kids from being D-1 atheletes is the type of coaching they are given and the type of upbringing they had. No kids have no limits on what they can do on or off the field,its the way we guide and lead our kids that makes the difference . Arroyo and El monte cut out of the same mold. Coaches are the difference . Joel has no business coaching any sport. i have watch him play and now coach. 0-10 and 1-10 running the same style year in and year out….get rid of him those kids deserve better

  • No LImit to Your Ignorance

    Here’s guessing that the great coaching at Arroyo isn’t impacted by having the starting Mt. View QB (Rivera lives across the street) and the kid who’d be backing up Jimenez (yes Vasquez belongs to El Monte) at their school. Just like Arroyo complained about Cogburn being stolen by South El Monte, transfers do make a difference. El Monte wins Friday because they are more physical up front and that’s the reality. Rivera, Vasquez, Miller are all very good football players, Singiser and Macmillan are very good coaches and the Knights will be very well prepared, but the difference is in the line play. As for the two staffs, Jim’s situation and Joel’s are completely different. Arroyo has a 30 year tradition of being Champions, El Monte does not. Maybe you believe for the past 30 years El Monte has hired bad coaches, but changing a losing culture takes time. If you really follow Joel as you claim to, then you would know that the 6000 fans that will be their tomorrow have a lot to do with the program he has built and the pride the community has for Lion Football since he has taken over.

  • limits set low

    Ouch someone eyes are starting to rain,guess that comes with old habits being a Joel sanchez groupie. 6000 fans u say huh. Don’t tell me that has been your average attendance through the season. It happens once due to homecoming and now it’s a normal thing at El monte. Please u must be at a different game see in a darker blue and gold colors with a capital A on the helmets. El monte has to cure it’s cancer and remove the coaches that live their lives through inflating their egos with wearing that head set. I have been on both fields for over 20 years have seen el monte evolve into my views twin. So don’t dry your eyes keep them moist cause the knights will give all of u believers a quick reality check and place the L deep into your skin

  • limits set low

    Here’s too the blogger “No LImit to Your Ignorance” well the Elmonte football athletes were an impressive sight. Until the game started then the truth was reveiled and boy do I hate being right I honestly wish for that coaching staff gets replaced next year. Now Joel sanchez well results speak his ability and knowledge of highschool sports and coaching. I want to hit Joel sanchez in his testicles Everytime I see a lion football player kill himself on the field trying to do the best he can only to loose due to an incompetent head coach. El monte has all the tools in players. Speed,size atheletism and beyond the need of playing wit heart. Great job lions boooooo to your coach. Replace him now and rebuilt your tradition Joel legacy is a fake and baseball well his just as effective baseball coach in that area too. El monte had the key to become a powerhouse beyond their own expectations but that will never be leadership is the key so show Joel Sanchez the door. Or maybe at the next huge game they over hype with arroyo I just might go to the sideline during the game and kick joel Sanchez in the plums just as hard as your #6 was hit by arroyos #2 in the 4th quarter. Good luck and allow change to happen it’s for the better

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