Nogales earns first boys water polo title in history, defeats Santa Ynez 15-8 for Div. 7 title

Photo gallery of Nogales’ first boys water polo title in school history. We will post the story later tonight.
Below: Nobles celebrate by pushing head coach Alex Matal into the pool.

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Saturday Morning Quaterback: Stunning endings for Bishop Amat and Azusa; San Dimas scores in final minute to beat Arroyo; West Covina, Bonita win big; Only six teams left in playoffs!

For quarter-by-quarter updates of tonight’s games, click thread.

Tonight’s Results
Tesoro 31, Bishop Amat 21
— Quarterback Rio Ruiz had a tough night, committing four turnovers in the second half. The Lancers rallied from 14-0 down to tie the score at half and it was 21-21 going into the fourth, but three turnovers in the fourth quarter were too much to overcome. It’s going to be a long off-season for the boys in blue, who watched their 17-game home win streak come to and end.
San Dimas 21, Arroyo 14
– The Saints scored with 54 seconds left for the go-ahead touchdown. Arroyo scored on a trick play with no time left, but it was ruled an illegal pass, the defending champs moving on.
Village Christian 31, Azusa 24 – The Aztecs gave up more points than they had all season combined. An excruciating ending for the three-time Montview League champs and the Mid-Valley’s top seed.
Covina 42, La Canada 14 — The Valle Vista league champs jumped to a huge halftime lead and never looked back.
Rosemead 49, Temple City 36 – This was wild from start to end, the Panthers doing just enough to survive and advance.
Maranatha 41, La Puente 28 – The Minutemen one of three Olympic League teams to advance, proving what everyone thought about the Olympic having the best league in the division.
Schurr 31, Baldwin Park 7 – The Braves never had a shot, falling behind 31-0, the only Valle Vista league team to lose in the first round.
Monrovia 41, Gladstone 3 – The Wildcats proved why they’re the real Mid-Valley favorites, winning easy at home.
Southeast Division
Bonita 51, California 6
— The Bearcats scored like crazy, but now they get upset-minded Muir on the road next week. That should be a dandy.
West Covina 49, Bellflower 0 – The Bulldogs showed why they’re the division’s top seed, getting a shutout to boot.
Mayfair 25, Diamond Ranch 20 — The postseason magic is over for the Panthers, who advanced to the previous two Southeast title games.
La Serna 13, Walnut 10, OT — The Mustangs almost pulled off a shocker, giving La Serna all it could handle before falling in overtime.
Inland Division
Vista Murrieta 28, Charter Oak 7 – The Chargers won’t be practicing on Thanksgiving for the first time in years.
Chino Hills 70, Corona 42 – The Huskies jumped out to a huge lead, Corona came back, then the Huskies stretched their legs again.
Roosevelt 28, Claremont 21 — The Wolfpack ended their season with three straight losses after a promising start.

CIF-SS Quarterfinals
Friday, Nov. 19
Mid-Valley Division

Rosemead at Village Christian
Covina at Whittier Christian
Maranatha at San Dimas
Schurr at Monrovia
Southeast Division
Santa Fe at West Covina
Burroughs at Mayfair
Bonita at Muir
La Serna at Norwalk


Highlights and interviews with the Inland Insider, Tom Kiss

Highlighs of Amat’s 31-21 loss to Tesoro …Continue reading

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Water scare at Bishop Amat … The Lancers forced to practice at Charter Oak, probably the closest they come to playing each other

They might not meet during the regular season, but Bishop Amat and Charter Oak were eye-to-eye on Wednesday. A mix-up on Bishop Amat’s watering schedule flooded the field on Wednesday, forcing the Lancers to practice at Charter Oak, adjacent to where the Chargers were preparing for their first-round game Friday. A caller insisted Kiefer was flooded ankle high, but coach Steve Hagerty said that was not true, that they didn’t want to practice on it in fear of tearing the field up. Hagerty said he has no concern Kiefer will be in tip-top shape come Friday.

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Azusa’s defense speaks louder than words, but you have to love what they’re saying too

I love the confidence I read from Azusa players, and that’s what it is, plain old confidence, don’t confuse it with anything else. That belief is what gives them an opportunity to go a long way. They understand their situation, why they have skeptics, and when one of your team leaders, Edwin Garcia says, “Anything less than a CIF championship would be a disappointment. We want to earn respect because we know we’re lacking that respect,” it tells me they get it and are ready for the journey that lies ahead. I still don’t know if they’re talented enough to win it all. None of us do, that remains to be seen. But I know this, you can’t win it if you don’t believe you can win it first, and these boys believe they can. That’s half the battle right there.

Above: Azusa High defensive line left to right: Luis Nunez, Alex Tapia, Edwin Garcia and Nick Valverde ( Photo by Keith Birmingham)

By Aram Tolegian
- 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. (To continue click thread).

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Let’s play the over/under game

With no football in town tonight, I thought I would play Aram’s over/under game for the first round of the playoffs. It’s real simple I’ll put out a number to a corresponding stat or situation and then give my take…You can give yours

Charter Oak’s chances of knocking off second-seed Vista Murrieta
OVER/UNDER: 25 percent
Fred’s bet: UNDER — still not buying it

Bishop Amat’s 50-50 amount on Friday Night
OVER/UNDER: $2,500
Fred’s bet: OVER — I’ve seen it climb to $2,800 before.

Number of teams from the Montview and Mission Valley League left after the first-round of the Mid-Valley.
Fred’s bet:
OVER – Some think Azusa and Arroyo aren’t slam dunks, so the rest must be in deep trouble. I have them both winning, however.

Number of times we quote a coach in the paper on Saturday blaming the ref’s for what happened.
Freds bet:
UNDER — Though I have witnessed it too many times before.

Number of yards quarterback Steven Rivera throws for against San Dimas
Fred’s bet:
UNDER — They need to mix up the run and pass.

Number of times Aram reports “Breaking News” before Monday.
Fred’s bet:
OVER — I would hate to have his phone bill.

Total rushing yards for Amat running back Jalen Moore against Tesoro’s powerful D-Line
Fred’s bet: UNDER — He gets his 100, but they need to air it out too.

Number of total rushing yards for West Covina against Bellflower
Fred’s bet: OVER — Seen it too many times against better teams

With 16 area football teams in the playoffs, how many will be left after Friday’s first round?
Fred’s bet: OVER — I like the favorites, plus a couple upset.

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Former Bishop Amat, UCLA Star Sciarra to speak at Pasadena Quarterbacks Club on Friday

When the question of who was the best football player in the San Gabriel Valley comes up, John Sciarra’s name usually is near the top of the discussion.
The former Bishop Amat High School star, who is in the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame and played in the 1981 Super Bowl for the Philadelphia Eagles, was that good.
Sciarra will reflect on his career Friday when he speaks at the Pasadena Quarterbacks Club at Brookside Golf Club.
The weekly luncheon, which begins at 11:30 a.m., costs $25 for members and $30 for non-members.
This is the final meeting of the season for the 66-year-old organization, and it may have saved the best for last.

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Boys Water Polo: Damien, Nogales dance into the CIF-SS finals; Bonita comes up short

The area will have two boys water polo teams in Saturday’s CIF-SS Ford Championships.
Here’s Wednesday’s results:

Division 3
Damien 11, Palos Verdes 9 -
The Spartans used a five-goal surge to rally for a victory at William Woollet Aquatic Center. Damien will face Laguna Beach in the finals there at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Division 5
La Serna 9, Bonita 8 –
The Bearcats fell behind La Serna 6-2 and could never quite catchup, although they had chances, before losing at Mt. San Antonio College. Bonita had two shots blocked in the final 12 seconds. The Bearcats also had a goal wiped out when officials ruled it had not crossed the goal line.
Division 7
Nogales 7, Nipomo 3 –
Nogales will make its first trip after beating Nipomo in a Division 7 semifinal at Arroyo Grande High School. Raul Castaneda had three goals and Nick Estevez two. The Nobles will face top-seeded Santa Ynez at 9:20 a.m. on Saturday.

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Pac-5 Division Prediction: Mission Viejo and Servite are the safe bets; but Amat and Alemany have a shot if they’re at home in the semifinals

The Lancers will need their fans more than ever, especially if they’re fortunate enough to get a home game against Mission Viejo in the semis.

Fred’s explanation: This is the only division where the seeds will likely play out until the end with Mission Viejo over Servite in a undefeated Pac-5 final — the game everyone not in the SGV (and Amat haters) is hoping for. The only chance Bishop Amat has of advancing to play for its sixth championship is if they get Mission Viejo in a home game where they haven’t lost in three years. That’s why Amat needed to lose the second-round coin flip because Mission Viejo lost its coin-flip too, so both will be on the road in the semifinals should they advance. There’s no guarantee the Lancers beat Mater Dei or Long Beach Poly on the road in the second round, but if you’re thinking big picture, the Lancers’ only chance is being at home in the semis, so take the road in the quarters with the hopes of winning the coin flip of all coin flips to get a home game in the semifinals. If that happens, could you imagine the scene at Kiefer should Mission Viejo come to town. Alemany’s road to the semi’s looks pretty good too, but like Amat, they would need to get Servite at home to have a shot in that tiny stadium in Mission Hills, where the hometown refs are unfriendly to visiting teams, and the school unfriendly to the visiting press. I still haven’t forgiven them them for telling us they had no room in their press box only to see several empty seats while we did our work from the visiting stands. Unreal.

Pac-5 Division Predictions
Top Seeds:
1. Mission Viejo (10-0), 2. Servite (10-0), 3. Alemany (9-1), 4. Bishop Amat (9-1).
Unseeded Sleepers: Lakewood, Long Beach Poly, San Clemente, Mater Dei.

Pac-5 Division
Top Bracket

Long Beach Wilson (5-5) at No. 1 Mission Viejo (10-0) — Mission Viejo
Edison (7-3) vs. Santa Margarita (8-2) — Santa Margarita
Mater Dei (6-4) vs. Long Beach Poly (8-2) — Mater Dei
Tesoro at No. 4 Bishop Amat (9-1) — Bishop Amat
Bottom Bracket
Newport Harbor (6-4) at No. 3 Alemany (10-0) — Alemany
San Clemente (8-2) at Lakewood (9-1) — San Clemente
Crespi (7-3) vs. Los Alamitos (8-2) — Crespi
Long Beach Jordan (6-4) vs. Servite (10-0) — Servite

Top Bracket

Mission Viejo over Santa Margarita
Bishop Amat over Mater Dei
Bottom Bracket
Alemany over San Clemente
Servite over Crespi
Mission Viejo over Bishop Amat
Servite over Alemany
Mission Viejo over Servite

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Mid-Valley Notebook: San Dimas, Arroyo is the most exciting first-rounder in the playoffs

“They’re 9-1. They do a lot of fun stuff on offense. They’re tough on defense. They have 2,200 students, we have 1,300. It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Saints. We’ll rise to the challenge, I hope.” San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow on facing Arroyo.

“At some point we’re going to have to get through tough teams. You get who you get. It would be nice to be rewarded for being 9-1 instead of having to prove we deserve to be 9-1.” Arroyo coach Jim Singiser

By Aram Tolegian
San Dimas football coach Bill Zernickow has heard the talk all week about how his Saints caught a break in drawing Arroyo in Friday’s first round of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs, and he’s not buying it. (To continue reading, click thread).

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Pac-5 Notebook: Amat facing toughest defensive front all season; Shay not expected back

“When this group become seniors, I truly believe we could have one of the best teams in the country. Our front seven on defense is pretty special.” Tesoro coach Brian Barnes on the Titans’ defensive front.

“I think any kid who has to cover a receiver for eight seconds would be in trouble. There were probably a dozen times where we had our arm on him (Adams), but that’s not enough; you have to get him down, and we didn’t do that.”Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty on the Lancers’ secondary, noting they gave Alemany QB Vernon Adams too much time to beat them last week.

By Fred J. Robledo
If fourth-seeded Bishop Amat (9-1) doesn’t take care of business against visiting Tesoro (7-3) in Friday’s first- round CIF-Southern Section Pac-5 Division opener at Kiefer Stadium, the Lancers better hope they avoid the Titans in the near future. The Titans start nine sophomores and have a defensive front that Lancers coach Steve Hagerty says is the best they will have faced all season – and he won’t get an argument about that from Titans coach Brian Barnes. (To continue click thread).

Here is a look at raw footage of Chino Hills 14-13 win over Tesoro earlier this season.

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Inland Division Prediction: This is easy, Corona Centennial will cruise to the championship

For the first time in years, don’t expect the Chargers to be practicing on Thanksgiving, not with a first-round game at No. 2 Vista Murrieta.

Fred’s explanation: A lot of folks will tell you that with all due respect to Pac-5 powers Mission Viejo and Servite, Corona Centennial is the best team in the Southland with a no-huddle that’s unstoppable because of their giant, mobile, offensive line and QB Michael Eubank. That means you can eliminate whoever stands in their way, like Upland in round two and Redlands East Valley in the semifinals. That’s right, I’m taking Redlands Easy Valley to eliminate the Huskies in round two for a couple reasons. One, Redlands East Valley would have the home game and two, Chino Hills beat them on the road in October, 14-3, and I’m sure a return trip won’t be as kind. For Claremont and Charter Oak, I’m afraid the road ends in the first round, though Claremont has a realistic chance of advancing while the Chargers is a long shot.

Inland Division Predictions
Top Seeds:
1. Corona Centennial (10-0), 2. Vista Murrieta (9-1), 3. Rancho Cucamonga (9-1), 4. Chino Hills (8-2).
Unseeded Sleepers: Norco, Redlands East Valley, Upland, Claremont.

Inland Division
Top Bracket

Yucaipa (6-4) at No. 1 Corona Centennial (10-0) — Centennial
Chaparral (4-6) at Upland (7-3) — Upland
Etiwanda (5-5) vs. Redlands East Valley (8-2) — Redlands East Valley
Corona (5-5) at No. 4 Chino Hills (8-2) — Chino Hills
Bottom Bracket
Murrieta Valley (6-4) vs. No. 3 Rancho Cucamonga (9-1) — Rancho Cucamonga
Claremont (7-3) at Corona Roosevelt (8-2) — Roosevelt
Norco (8-2) at Redlands (7-2-1) — Norco
Charter Oak (6-4) at No. 2 Vista Murrieta (9-1) — Vista Murrieta

Top Bracket

Centennial over Upland
Redlands East Valley over Chino Hills
Bottom Bracket
Rancho Cucamonga over Roosevelt
Vista Murrieta over Norco
Centennial over Redlands East Valley
Vista Murrieta over Rancho Cucamonga
Corona Centennial over Vista Murrieta

Charter Oak is a defending champion and if they believe they’re champions this is a speech they should keep close to the chest in Friday’s first-rounder that nobody thinks they can win.

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Boys Water Polo: Damien, Bonita and Nogales hope to punch tickets to title games

Above: Damien High’s Austin Miller shooting a shot earlier this season.

By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
Damien High School has been here before. The Spartans have advanced to the CIF-Southern Section boys water polo semifinals each of the past two seasons, only to see their season end in heartache. Damien hopes to change the recent trend when it faces Palos Verdes today at 2 p.m. in a Division 3 semifinal at William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center in Irvine. The winner advances to Saturday’s championship match.

Boys Water Polo
Today’s Semifinals
Division 3

Palos Verdes vs. Damien at William Woollett Center in Irvine, 2 p.m.
Division 5
Bonita vs. La Serna at Mt. SAC, 6 p.m.
Division 7
Nogales vs. Nipomo at Arroyo Grande HS, 3 p.m.

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Girls Volleyball: The rubber match is set, St. Lucy’s and Chino Hills advance with semifinal victories, will meet for third time in championship

Breaking News: Chino Hills, St. Lucy’s Division 2AA Volleyball championship at Cypress College, Saturday, 1 p.m.

“This means everything to us,” Chino Hills coach Dana Buzzerio said. “And to play St. Lucy’s in the final, that’s exactly how we would want it to be.”

“Reaching the finals is what we’ve dreamed of for a long time now,” St. Lucy’s senior Alissa Young said. “Now we get a chance to win a crown against our league rivals.”

Above: St. Lucy’s and Chino Hills tied for the Sierra League title and split the season series, Chino Hills sweeping at home and St. Lucy’s winning in five at their place. After winning semifinals matches on Tuesday, the two will meet again for the Division 2AA crown Friday or Saturday at Cypress College. CIF’s finals schedule will be announced Wednesday.

Girls Volleyball
Tuesday’s Semifinal results

Division 2AA
St. Lucy’s def. La Salle 25-18, 25-16, 25-16
Chino Hills def. Oaks Christian 20-25, 25-14, 26-24, 25-18

Highlights: The Inland Insider was at Chino Hills’s victory over Oaks Christian, sending the Huskies to their first championship ever.

Girls Tennis
Tuesday’s quarterfinal results
Division 2

Arcadia 11, Diamond Bar 7
Division 5
Aquinas 11, Wilson 6

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Southeast Prediction: Nothing will stop West Covina, not even a rematch against Bonita

Note: Inland and Pac-5 predictions on Wednesday.

Fred’s explanation: With all due respect to No. 2 La Serna, a 9-1 giant just like West Covina and Bonita, I’ll take our side of town against their side of town on any given Friday. It’s as simple as that. Am I taking a 6-4 Burroughs seriously at the No. 4 seed? Not really, I have them falling in the second round. Am I taking a 7-3 La Mirada seriously as the No. 3 seed? No, I’m taking Muir in a first-round upset after the way the Mustangs handled PHS in the Turkey Tussle, plus the Mustangs are great in this situation, almost knocking off No. 1 Charter Oak in the first round last year. I am taking the team that should have been seeded, Bonita, whose only loss came against West Covina and should be at least the No. 4 seed. Heck, if Amat could get a No. 4 seed over league champ Long Beach Poly because of strength of schedule, then why aren’t the Bearcats No. 4 with a win over Claremont and only loss to the top team? In any case, that’s why I like West Covina and Bonita to meet in the championship again, they’re the two best after the way Bonita took care of Diamond Ranch in the finale, and they also have everyone healthy. But in the end, West Covina has too many horse’s. What happened in October (a 55-21 win over Bonita) will happen again in December, sort of like waiting for a Charter Oak-Diamond Ranch rematch and knowing what the outcome will be. Normally I would like La Mirada’s chances, but this isn’t one of their great teams, and they’ve had great teams. La Serna is always tough too, I just like Bonita’s nine wins better than La Serna’s nine wins.

Southeast Division Predictions
Top Seeds: 1. West Covina (9-1), 2. La Serna (9-1), 3. La Mirada (7-3), 4. Burbank Burroughs (6-4).
Unseeded Sleepers: Diamond Ranch, Muir, Bonita, Walnut, Arcadia

Southeast Division Division
Top Bracket

Bellflower (Suburban 4) at No. 1 West Covina (9-1) – WCovina
Burbank (7-3) at Santa Fe (6-4) — Burbank
Diamond Ranch (5-5) at Mayfair (6-4) — Mayfair
El Rancho (6-4) at No. 4 Burroughs (6-4) — Burroughs
Bottom Bracket
Muir (6-4) at No. 3 La Mirada (7-3) — Muir
California (3-7) at Bonita (9-1) — Bonita
Norwalk (6-4) at Arcadia (7-3) — Arcadia
Walnut (6-4) at No. 2 La Serna (9-1) — La Serna
Top Bracket

West Covina over Burbank
Burroughs over Mayfair
Bottom Bracket
Bonita over Muir
La Serna over Arcadia
West Covina over Burroughs
Bonita over La Serna
West Covina over Bonita

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