With seniors C.J. Cooper going to UTEP and Bruce English going to Loyola Marymount, La Verne Lutheran’s big underclassmen made their intentions known over the weekend. Trojans 6-foot-9 junior forward/center Grant Jerrett and 6-foot-4 sophomore Eric Cooper Jr., both committed to Arizona — giving the Trojans four division one players in their starting lineup.
I bet Monrovia is thinking they should be 3-0 against these guys. They won the first of three encounters last season 36-17 and lead 77-64 in total points over three games. But the Saints beat them 12-7 in the pouring rain for a championship and again with a fourth quarter come-from-behind 35-34 overtime win in September. Maybe the ‘Cats are just unlucky, they’ve lost nine straight championship games. Still, they looked so good when I saw them against South Hills, I just can’t imagine them losing to the Saints again. In any case, this is what the playoffs needed, a spicy rematch.
CIF-State Southern California playoffs
Tonight’s regional semifinals
St. Lucy’s def. Downey 25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 25-15
Troy def. Chino Hills18-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-21
Next: St. Lucy’s will face Troy on Tuesday in the Southern California Regional finals at the University of La Verne, 7:30 p.m. If the Regents win again, they play for the state title in San Jose on Saturday.
I’m rarely hard on the refs because I realize it’s a thankless job and we need those guys to keep the local circuit going, but what happened tonight at Muir was a fiasco. It’s just ridiculous to have that many flags in one game. Every other play, there was a flag. Sometimes these guys let the game get away from them and it becomes this cycle of flag after flag after flag. Terrible. — Aram’s comment on Saturday Morning QB
There were so many flags and the game was so long Aram and I had to change our plans in the middle of the Bonita-Muir game. I hope I get a final tally, but there was easily over 30 flags, maybe closer to 40. Instead of writing a game story and having Aram write a column — Aram left at halftime and bolted to the office, where I called in scoring updates and quotes from coaches to him. Without a press facility or place to write from the field, this was all we could do, the game ending at 10:45, right on deadline. Aram sent his story soon after I sent comments from coach Podley and Howard to him. It was that kind of night, and unusually cold too. My poor cousin Mike, he finished his live blog shaking on the chilly tower at Muir, learning first-hand these nights aren’t always as comfortable as an Amat press box. Gotta love winter football.
Bonita game story: The Bonita and Muir high school football teams entered Friday’s Southeast Division second-round playoff game playing their best ball of the season, and naturally, nothing was decided until the fourth quarter.
Bonita 49, Muir 25 — It was one of the ugliest, coldest and longest regulation game I’ve ever covered. There must have been more than 30 penalties and at least 20 against Muir alone. Bonita scored twice in the final minute to make the score look lopsided, but it was back-and-forth for most of the game. Muir’s Howard Vaughn scored on fourth and goal from the one to cut Bonita’s lead to 30-25 with 4:49 left, then Muir recovered the onside kick. But after Bonita’s K.C. Huth sacked Mustangs QB Jeffrey Davis for a loss, Muir threw a desperation pass on fourth-and-16 from their own 45 and didn’t get it, then drew an unsportsmanlike for throwing a helmet – which gave the Cats a first down at the Mustangs’ 30. Giomani Johnson scored two plays later on a 30-yard touchdown to make it 37-25, then Johnson scored again with eight seconds — his third touchdown of the fourth quarter to make it 43-25. Bonita scored again on the final play of the game with Muir trying to flea-flick the ball around to make something happen. Johnson rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns and QB Garrett Pendleton threw for 161 yards. Muir’s Davis passed for 118 yards and rushed for 50.
West Covina 47, Santa Fe 7 — The Chiefs were as close as 14-7 late in the first quarter, but stopping the Bulldogs four quarters seems impossible these days.
Village Christian 34, Rosemead 0 — If you thought Village Christian’s win over Azusa last week was a surprise, then you probably weren’t surprised this week to see how easily they disposed of the Panthers.
Whittier Christian 28, Covina 17 — You knew the Valle Vista league champions had a tough game on the road. The Heralds are no joke, a legitimate threat to win the division.
San Dimas 56, Maranatha 20 — The Saints are looking like last years championship team again, leading 42-0 at half. Next up, a rematch at home with Monrovia.
Chino Hills 45, Etiwanda 21 — The Huskies move on to take on top seed Corona Centennial, who many believe are the best team in all of Southern California.
Whittier Christian at Village Christian, 7:30 p.m.
Monrovia at San Dimas, 7 p.m.
West Covina at Mayfair, 7:30 p.m.
La Serna at Bonita, 7 p.m.
Corona Centennial at Chino HIlls, 7 p.m.
The Inland Insider reports from Chino Hills’ win over Etiwanda, setting up the Huskies’ home game next week with powerful Corona Centennial.