Southeast Notebook: West Covina coach Mike Maggiore concerned with La Mirada’s size and football tradition; Muir a game away from a glorious return to the finals

From left, La Mirada offensive linemen Chris Cisneros, Nathan Rodriguez, Nofo Tii, Memo Monreal, Hugo Correa and Spencer Fox will try to show West Covina that hey have big boys too.

Tribune notes on West Covina coach Mike Maggiore setting everyone straight on La Mirada: Things feel eerily familiar around the West Covina High School football team this week. It was at this point in last year’s playoffs that the Bulldogs faced a Mayfair team that pushed them to the brink before earning a hard-fought 28-19 victory en route to a CIF-SS Southeast Division title. Just change the name Mayfair to La Mirada and the Bulldogs’ coaching staff thinks the game they expect on Friday could be a similar fit.
“They’re big, physical and well-coached,” West Covina Mike Maggiore said. “If people think it’s going to be easy for us, I think they’re wrong. They’re going to be similar to Mayfair last year.

Whittier feature on La Mirada’s big offensive line: An offensive lineman’s world doesn’t change much. It consists mainly of an imaginary three-yard box, and it doesn’t matter if the ball rests near the opponent’s goal line, on the 50 or inside his team’s own 10.
Success from this view comes from attitude and work ethic, and that’s what La Mirada High School’s starting front thrives on.

Star-News notes on Muir’s chances at La Serna: It’s what up front that counts, as far as Muir High School football coach Dave Mitchell is concerned.
“I don’t care if you’re running the spread, pro or Wing-T offense, you have to win the battle in the trenches because that’s where games are won,” he said.
Muir (8-4) will have its biggest test to date when it faces a dominant line in La Serna (9-3) in the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division semifinals on Friday at California High.

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Mid-Valley Notebook: San Dimas talks about challenge ahead, Covina sizes up Monrovia and San Gabriel hoping for another big night from all-everything quarterback Andy Guerrero

Above: San Gabriel Quarterback Andy Guerrero

Tribune notebook with reaction from San Dimas’ Bill Zernickow and Covina’s Darryl Thomas: If San Dimas High School wins its second CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division football title in three years, it will do it the hard way. The Saints were without a home field for the 2011 season and played home games at Citrus College or Bonita High School while San Dimas’ football stadium underwent improvements, including the installation of an artificial surface, and will be ready in 2012.

Star-News notebook on how San Gabriel is dealing with rematch against San Dimas.Ever since Andy Guerrero took over at quarterback at San Gabriel High School, there’s been one name that seemingly went into virtual anonymity: Eric Alvarez. Alvarez, a junior who once was the starter at quarterback, was in a fierce competition with Guerrero that started over the summer and didn’t come to an end until midway through the season. They shared duties until Guerrero’s sudden rise at the start of the Almont League season put an end to a two-quarterback system that was producing inconsistent results.

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Prep Digest: Northview’s Treavon Francis with big night, leads Northview with 36 points and 15 rebounds in blowout over Temple City

Each morning I will publish the prep digest, which is a daily round-up of prep results from boys and girls basketball, soccer, and girls water polo, that also appear in the paper. To share your results with us, please call 626-962-8811, ext. 2233 or 2242 or email results to The more that call in and report results, the more we can share with you.

Tuesday’s Results
Bosco Tech Tournament

First round
Mountain View 47,
Bassett 41

Mountain View (1-0) led at halftime 21-15 and finished off Bassett (0-1) in nonleague action. Leading the Vikings in scoring was Elijah Morales with 14 points. Jonathan Zepeda had eight rebounds. Damien Valenzuela was leading scorer for Bassett with 14 points and Samuel Mejia contributed 13 points.
Los Altos 58, Gabrielino 43
Quinten Howell led the Conquerors with 15 points and Vance Valencia added 14.
Top scorer for the Eagles was Tyler Shimamoto with 16 points.
Rose City Tournament
First round

L.A. Marshall 49, Marshall 45
Leading L.A. Marshall was Ishamru with 14 points. Hampton led Marshall 13 points.
Muir 79, Monrovia 40

Sierra Vista-Baldwin Park Tournament
Pool play

Covina 55, West Covina 29
The Colts (1-0) were led by Mike Peters’ 15 points. Matt Hicks chipped in with 10 points and Edgardo Campos had nine rebounds.
Leading West Covina (0-2) was Jared Baldiziez with 12 points. David Kim had nine points.

South Hills 72, Azusa 58
Korey Serna had 23 points and 18 rebounds to lead South Hills (2-0) and Steven Rubin-Woods added 11 points. Azusa (0-2) was led in scoring by Des Reed with 16 points and John Bibat with 14.

Northview 80, Temple City 53
Northview (1-0) took an early 31-15 halftime lead and never looked back.
Treavon Francis led the Vikings with 36 points, 15 rebounds and three 3-pointers and Louis Lauterio had 14 points, including four 3-pointers. James Cunnigan contributed 10 rebounds. Leading the Rams (0-1) was Ryan Cosato with 17 points and Matt Der had 11.
Charter Oak 52, Garey 38

The Chargers (1-0) were led by Kody Brown with 21 points and 15 rebounds, Daniel Gutierrez with eight points and Chris Irei with seven.
Leading Garey (0-1) was Tre Jones scoring 11 points. Jose Olmos had nine.
Gladstone 44, South El Monte 40
Erick Martinez led Gladstone (1-0) with 10 points and Ben Reed had eight.
Leading South El Monte (0-1) was Jordan Vi with 10 points.

Wilson 53, La Puente 35
Justin Chen led the Wildcats (1-0) with 13 points and Bryan Leyva scored nine.

Wilson Ladycat Classic Tournament
First round
Wilson 56, La Mirada 27

Leading the Ladycats (1-0) was Jaimie Hou with 19 points. Kelly Calton had 13 rebounds. La Mirada’s (0-1) top scorer was Kalina Glover with 11 points. [/BODY][SUB1]

Walnut 54, Azusa 23
Leading scorers for the Mustangs (1-0) were Arianne Gin with 12 points, Angela Aie with 11 and Corie Pippit, who had 10. The Aztecs (0-1) were led in scoring by Tonie Jackson’s eight points.

Nonleague Duarte 57, Cantwell Sacred Heart 39
Imari Brown led the Falcons (1-0) with 25 points and Mikayla Tickey contributed with ten points. The Cardinals (0-1) were led by Priscilla Rodriguez with 18 points followed in scoring by Sylvia Garcia with nine points.

Diamond Ranch 3, St. Paul 0
Diamond Ranch led at halftime 1-0 and never looked back for the nonleague win.

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St. Lucy’s dream of a state championship ends

By Damien Secore, Correspondent
Having already gone farther than any other athletic team in school history, the goal for the St. Lucy girls’ volleyball team was to take another step forward. Going on the road to face 2008-09 CIF state champion La Costa Canyon and a lineup that included five players who were at least 6 feet tall proved to be too tall an order, literally and figuratively. The Regents lost a late lead in the match’s pivotal third game and fell in the CIF State Division II Southern California Regional Final for the second consecutive year as host La Costa Canyon parlayed its power and height into a 25-19, 18-25, 25-22, 25-18 victory.

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Boys Hoops: La Verne Lutheran and Pasadena advance to second round in Rose City Classic

In Pasadena’s prestigious Rose City Classic knockout tournament, Star-News No. 1 Pasadena defeated Arroyo Valley 80-52 in the first round while the Tribune No. 1, La Verne Lutheran, ripped Sylmar 94-58. That sets up Wednesday’s quarterfinal showdowns, with a possible dream matchup of Lutheran and PHS looming on Friday.
Wednesday’s quarterfinal games
Corona Roosevelt vs. La Verne Lutheran, 6:30 p.m.
Pasadena vs. Leuzinger, 8 p.m.
Friday’s semifinals
Roosevelt-Lutheran winner vs. Pasadena-Leuzinger winner, 8 p.m.

Rose City Bottom half of bracket
Tonight’s first round

Etiwanda vs. Cleveland, 3:30 p.m.
Canyon Springs vs. Chino Hills, 5 p.m.
Washington Prep vs. Cajon, 6:30 p.m.
Price vs. Birmingham, 8 p.m.

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Covina Running back Gevontray Ainsworth keeps family football legacy going strong

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Football success is nothing new for the Ainsworth family. It’s just that usually it takes place at Monrovia or Duarte high schools. Not Covina. All that changed this season, thanks to the latest Ainsworth to don football pads and entertain the Valley with his gridiron exploits. Gevontray Ainsworth, the son of former Duarte standout quarterback Greg Ainsworth, has made quite a name for himself as the leading rusher at Covina (11-1), which will host Monrovia (8-3) on Friday in a game that may feel a little weird for the Ainsworth family and Monrovia fans with an historical perspective on what that family has meant to their school’s football tradition.
Kickoff for the CIF Mid-Valley Division semifinals showdown is at 7 p.m. at Covina District Field.

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Former San Marino coach Mike Mooney due in court on felony charges of grand theft and embezzlement

Former San Marino High School football coach Mike Mooney is due in court on Dec. 15 to be arraigned on a felony charge of grand theft by embezzlement, officials said Monday. The former San Marino High School assistant principal and football coach – who was placed on administrative leave half way through the 2010 season – declined to comment on Monday. The felony complaint was filed on Nov. 22, and according to the complaint, with the alleged embezzlement occurring during a two-year period from October 2008 to October 2010.

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Say what? Steve Garrison back on Monrovia sideline after coaching at Northview this year …

The straight scoop, Garrison back at Monrovia: Garrison, who coached Monrovia for 15 seasons before resigning following the 2007 season, joined Monrovia’s coaching staff at the start of the playoffs. He recently served as an assistant at Northview and agreed to join Maddox’s staff after the Vikings’ season ended. Maddox replaced Garrison in 2008 and guided the Wildcats to the semifinals in his first season, followed by two trips to the CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division finals. They won in 2010.

Coach Maddox on Garrison: “I talked to Steve towards the end of the season about possibly coming on. He’s glad to be back and he’ll be in charge of our offensive line next year. He’s out there learning and assisting. He’s getting himself acquainted and helping out where he can.”

Former Monrovia coach Steve Garrison, who led the Wildcats to three championship games in the 90s and then stepped aside following the 2007 season after 15 years as the head coach, is back on the Wildcats’ sidelines. Garrison, who spent two years at Damien and this past year at Northview as an assistant coach, is already coaching again at his former school, coach Ryan Maddox confirmed with Miguel Melendez, though Maddox said Garrison’s role isn’t defined yet. Maddox replaced Garrison in 2008 and guided the Wildcats to two consecutive championship games, winning last year. Apparently, Garrison has been on Monrovia’s staff since the first round of the playoffs, a week after Northview’s season ended. When was the last time you heard a coach with two different teams in the same season? In these circumstances? I can’t think of one. It makes sense for Monrovia, Garrison coached against Covina and San Dimas in the Valle Vista league while at Northview, which helps Monrovia with scouting Covina this week and possibly San Dimas in the final. But the question is, should a coach after his team has been eliminated be able to switch to a championship contender in the same season? I don’t think so.

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Tribskin Pick’em, your predictions and ours

Aram and I will go head-to-head in Tribskin Pick’em throughout the season with the loser buying lunch in December.

Last week: Robledo (3-6); Tolegian (6-3)
Season standings: Robledo (191-55); Tolegian (193-53)

Last week: A week after going 15-0, I choked in the quarterfinals, no other way to explain it. I knew I was going out on a limb taking Charter Oak and Arroyo, but I lost all the 50-50 games too. Aram wasn’t the greatest either, but on a week like this, going 6-3 was huge. Give him credit for taking Muir, and all the other favorites, it paid off. I’m two down with two weeks left, let’s see what happens.

This week: The only guarantee is West Covina at La Mirada, though on the road in Whittier strange things happen. The Bulldogs are playing well, but it may take more work to get rid of La Mirada than it did their previous two opponents, but the Bulldogs should advance. Muir looked phenomenal in the first two rounds. I know DRanch had some players missing, etc, etc, but nobody smoked them like that, and that came a week after whipping No. 2 Santa Fe. When Muir is committed and focused, this is what you get, a dangerous team capable of beating anyone. Monrovia-Covina is a super fight in the Mid-Valley. No respect to the bottom half, but this is for the championship. I thought about going with Monrovia after the way the Wildcats dispatched Whittier Christian, but I think this will be Covina’s finest hour, a week before the real finest hour occurs. I’m taking CTown to go to the final. San Dimas is an unbelievable situation. When they beat Azusa, San Gabriel and Monrovia back-to-back-to-back in October, who would have thought they may have to do it again to win a championship. After already beating Azusa in the rematch, now it’s San Gabriel’s shot at the rematch after losing 59-6 the first time. The Matadors will make it closer, but they won’t make up all the difference after a 53-point blowout. And if Monrovia wins, San Dimas would have to pull the trifecta again. Now that would be amazing, especially since the Saints technically didn’t have any “home” games this year. Of course if Covina wins, then it’s San Dimas’ shot at the rematch.

CIF-SS Playoffs
Friday’s Semifinal games and predictions
Southeast Division

West Covina (11-1) at La Mirada (8-4), 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (WCovina); Tolegian (The WC)
Muir (8-4) at La Serna (9-3), 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Muir); Tolegian (Muir)
Mid-Valley Division
Monrovia (9-3) vs. Covina (11-1) , CDF, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Covina); Tolegian (Covina)
San Dimas (10-2) at San Gabriel (8-4), 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (SDimas); Tolegian (Saints)

Take a peak at Muir’s highlights from Friday’s win over Diamond Ranch.

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No Charter Oak, Amat, Arroyo or Azusa, the Final Four’s include favorite’s West Covina and Covina, with San Dimas in semis for third straight year; MTown vs. Ctown on Coveritlive next

Picture: The last time Covina reached the semifinals, it was ousted in the 2006 Northwest Division playoffs by Oak Park, ending the great career of QB Mike McDonough. The Colts are looking to take it a step further on Friday against MTown.

Area supremacy: There is almost equal representation from our three coverage zones in the semifinals, with three from the Tribune and two each from Whittier and Pasadena, leaving them to battle it out for regional supremacy. Call me a homer, but I like the Trib in this fight, West Covina and Covina are still the favorites to bring home the hardware.

Coin Flips: Team with home games in championships can play at home if their home field is big enough, or at a nearby neutral site. In the Mid-Valley, Monrovia will be home if they win no matter what. Covina would be home against San Gabriel and San Dimas would have the home game against Covina. In the Southeast, West Covina would have the home game against Muir, or be on the road at La Serna.

Who’s No. 1 in the Tribune?: That’s up for debate again. If you like the who beats who head-to-head argument, Charter Oak and Amat are in the equation no matter what happens with everyone else. If you like the who is best in their corner of the world argument, West Covina and Covina clearly lead the way.

State Bowl for Covina? Covina was ranked fifth in the Division III South state bowl rankings heading into the week. With Mt. Miguel losing, Covina should go to fourth. What they need to do is win out and hope the others ranked ahead are knocked out, sort of like watching the final weeks of the BCS. It’s a slight chance, but the best chance we have for a state bowl appearance.
Division III South Rankings
1. Lompoc 12-0 — Still alive in Norhern semi’s
2. Washington (Easton) 11-0 — In Central D-4 semis
3. Madison (San Diego) 10-0-1 — In SD D-3 semi’s
4. Mt. Miguel (Spring Valley) 8-2 — lost in SD D-4 semis
5. Covina 11-1 — In Mid-Valley semis

Coveritlive: Is there anywhere else we should be other than Covina District Field on Friday night? MTown vs. CTown …enough said.

CIF-Southern Section semifinals
Friday’s games

Southeast Division
West Covina (11-1) at La Mirada (8-4), 7:30 p.m.
Muir (8-4) at La Serna (9-3), 7:30 p.m.
Mid-Valley Division
Monrovia (9-3) vs. Covina (11-1) , CDF, 7:30 p.m.
San Dimas (10-2) at San Gabriel (8-4), 7:30 p.m.

The aftermath and postgame interviews following Upland’s 51-13 rout of Charter Oak in Friday’s second round with Tom Kiss, the Inland Insider. Tom catches up with Upland coach Tim Salter, Charter Oak’s Lou Farrar and more, check it out.

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St. Lucy’s advances to Division II Southern California regional final after four-set win

By Brian Reed-Baiotto, Correspondent
Saturday’s CIF-SS Division II girls state volleyball showdown between back-to-back CIF-SS champions St. Lucy’s and Downey had all the drama one would expect knowing a berth to the Southern California final was at stake. St. Lucy’s (29-5) weathered several Downey runs and was too good down the stretch as the Regents held off the Vikings 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 25-16 at Damien High. (To continue click thread)

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Damien’s Tom Ebiner leads locals at Cross Country state championships in Fresno

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
Two days after Thanksgiving, Tom Ebiner was thankful for his Damien High School teammates. When the Damien senior appeared to be down and out at last week’s CIF-Southern Section championships at Mt. SAC, it was his teammates who were there to lift his spirits. On Saturday, Ebiner repaid the team by finishing seventh in the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park. (To continue click thread)

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Saturday Morning Quarterback: Covina, West Covina and San Dimas dance to the semifinals; Arroyo and Azusa’s dream season ends; Charter Oak goes down hard at Upland

Highlights from La Serna’s win over Los Altos with TDro

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Charter Oak’s first big test against a CIF-Southern Section Inland Division powerhouse ended with third-seed Upland showing the Chargers they’re not ready for prime time.
Charter Oak, which rolled through opponents and averaged 50 points since a September loss to Rancho Cucamonga, wore down against the Highlanders’ defense, and could not slow their offense. The Highlanders stepped on the gas in the third quarter to go up 38 points, forcing a running clock in the fourth. (to continue click thread)

Tonight’s results
Inland Division

Upland 51, Charter Oak 13 — They were unfortunate to be down 21-6 at the break after moving up and down the field and coming away with nothing but field goals. The second half Upland overpowered them and Kenny Lawler showed why he’s so good.
Southeast Division
West Covina 55, Pasadena 12 — It’s going to take a team playing out of its mind to beat these guys. They have the unstoppable combination of they’re good, and they know they’re good.
La Mirada 31, Arcadia 28 — There goes the dream West Covina-Arcadia matchup.
La Serna 35, Los Altos 30 — There goes the dream Los Altos-Muir matchup.
Muir 48, Diamond Ranch 0 — The at-large Mustangs have been just as dominating if not more than No. 1 West Covina.

Mid-Valley Division
Covina 49, Alhambra 7 — Did I hear that right, Venegas with six touchdowns? It was the first game in the refrigerator on Coveritlive, setting up the game everyone wants next.
Monrovia 61, Whittier Christian 7 — Are you kidding? I don’t care if Covina won by 42, this was a statement. I felt good about picking the Colts prior to the playoffs, I’m not so sure now.
San Dimas 30, Azusa 23 — I got caught up in the Azusa nostalgia after watching that video like everyone else. But give credit to the Saints, it’s not easy beating a good team twice, and now they have to do it again.
San Gabriel 40, Arroyo 38 — The Knights fell agonizingly short of reaching the semifinals, but they went down swinging, and all-everything Steven Rivera will go down as one of the all-time best. Now San Gabriel gets its shot at San Dimas-San Gabriel II.


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Area Colleges: APU, Mt. SAC also seeking playoff success

Our local high schools are not the only ones putting their seasons on the line, Azusa Pacific University and Mt. San Antonio College are also in football playoffs. For Mt. SAC, it’s just trying to continue the status quo as the Mounties host Cerritos at 1 p.m. on Saturday, seeking their fifth consectuve Southern California title. Mt. SAC will be the favorite to advance to the CCCAA title game again after routing Cerritos, 51-0, last season. But both teams have won six consecutive games.
APU, meanwhile, after routing Ottawa, of Kansas, in the first round last week, has a monster tilt at Carroll, of Helena, Mont., in the NAIA quarterfinals. The host Saints have won six national titles since 2002, including last season. This will be APU’s second trip to Carroll in two seasons, losing 35-21, in the first round last year. The Cougars, who have never lost in the quarterfinals, are 0-6 lifetime against the Saints, and 0-2 in the playoffs, also losing 14-10 in 2004, in the semifinals. I guess that means the odds are in their favor, right?
Here’s a little something to inspire the Cougars on the eve of their monumental task. Although it’s not a football speech, the meaning is the same.

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Southeast Division Update: West Covina’s “Noodles” Scouting things out; Los Altos happy to be practicing on Thanksgiving

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Think West Covina High School freshman Antonio “Noodles” Hull isn’t making a contribution to the Bulldogs’ bid for a second consecutive CIF-SS Southeast Division championship? Think again.
With no real way for the Bulldogs to mimic what they’ll see Friday from Pasadena dual-threat quarterback Brandon Cox, head coach Mike Maggiore and staff have turned to Noodles to give their defense some semblance of what to expect when they face Cox this weekend.
Noodles has been doing his best Cox impersonation this week as the scout team quarterback.
“Well, Brandon Cox is about four or five inches taller (than Noodles) and left-handed,” Maggiore said. “He’s been doing a little of it.”
Simulating Cox, even for a future star like Noodles, is no easy task.
Nor will trying to contain Cox on Friday be an easy task for West Covina’s defense.
“Skill-wise, he’s as good as anyone we’ve played,” Maggiore said of Cox. “He’s a threat on the zone read. He runs quarterback counters. Sometimes, he’ll drop back and just take off if there’s nothing else to do.
“There’s not a lot that he doesn’t do well. We just have to do our best to contain him. I think we’re pretty fast on defense and have some guys who can cover. We’re going to have to force him into some uncomfortable plays.”
Facing Cox and Pasadena’s high-octane offense will be major shift from the double-wing offense the Bulldogs had to stop last week against Norwalk. West Covina (10-1) had only 21 offensive plays in last week’s 38-8 win. Drives could have lasted longer, but Bulldogs running back Jimmy Frazier carried five times in the game, scored on three of them and finished with 188 yards.
West Covina’s ground game might be its best defense this week against Pasadena, assuming there are long drives that keep Cox and Co. off the field.
“We’re not going to tell our guys to take a knee if they’re in the open field,” Maggiore said. “But we’re going to run the ball and mix in some play-action. Last week, we scored pretty quick.”

Thanksgiving practice returns

Practicing on Thanksgiving used to be an automatic for the Los Altos football team until recently. It hadn’t happened in any of the past four seasons, but thanks to the Conquerors’ win over Burroughs last week the enjoyment of the holiday while knowing there’s another game to be played will be felt again in Hacienda Heights.

“We’re pretty stoked,” Los Altos coach Dale Ziola said. “We expected to win in the playoffs. No one but us, but that’s worked for us all year long.

“The kids are special. They’ve been through heck. They’ve gone through three different coaches and three different programs. They’ve been kicked on and spit on and now they’re having a great time.

“Those seniors, man. They’re awesome. To get in the playoffs was cool, but to win that playoff game for those seniors was just the coolest thing in the world.”

The Conquerors continue to amaze under first-year coach Ziola. Los Altos was 0-10 last year but enters Friday’s home game against La Serna at 8-3.

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Mid-Valley Division Update: With looming Monrovia-Covina blockbuster in semifinals, teams say they’re not looking ahead

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
With both teams needing one more win to set up the marquee matchup most area fans want to see in the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division football playoffs, Covina and Monrovia high schools promise they won’t be looking ahead on Friday when they play second-round games.

Monrovia, last year’s division champion, and Covina, the division’s top-ranked team,
appear to be on a collision course to meet in the semifinals next week. But first, they must win on the road. For Covina, that means beating Alhambra at Moor Field. For Monrovia, it means beating Whittier Christian at Whittier College.

“That’s for everybody else to talk about,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said regarding a potential game with Covina. “Our kids know Whittier Christian is a good program. They know Whittier Christian can play football, so there’s been no talk around us about Covina at all.

“The kids know we have to play great on Friday night to even think about playing next week.”

Friday’s game will mark the third time in as many seasons Monrovia (8-3) has played Whittier Christian (7-4). Last season, the Wildcats beat the Heralds in the division championship game. Both teams have lost several key contributors from last year’s rosters, but Maddox expects nothing but a good challenge from Whittier Christian.

“I don’t say this to sound arrogant by any stretch, but when you progress in the playoffs like we have and they have each year you’re going to see the same teams,” Maddox said. “They’re doing the right things over there and they do what they do very well.

That’s why they’ve had the success that they’ve had.”

While the Monrovia-Whittier Christian game figures to be competitive, the local punditry doesn’t think Covina-Alhambra will be much of a game.

The only person not buying that is Colts coach Darryl Thomas.

“They’re good, they’re well-coached and they do a whole lot of different things defensively,” Thomas said. “And on offense, they want to confuse you. We have to make sure we bring our `A’ game.”

Ever since Alhambra’s stunning 69-14 loss to San Gabriel, most of the Valley has jumped off the Moors’ bandwagon. But since that game, Alhambra (9-2) has bounced back to beat Bell Gardens and La Puente.

Thomas thinks judging the Moors by one bad game against San Gabriel is foolish for anybody to do, especially his own team.

“They had a bad night,” Thomas said of Alhambra’s loss to San Gabriel.

“San Gabriel had everything bounce their way. For you to score that many points, things have to bounce your way. Other than that, they’ve been a very tough team. I think they gave up almost a quarter of the points they’ve allowed on season just in that one game.”

Covina (10-1) got a scare last week when leading rusher Gevontray Ainsworth injured his ankle in the first quarter against South El Monte and did not return. Thomas said Ainsworth is back practicing and will be ready to go on Friday night.

For Monrovia, early season struggles have given way to a seven-game winning streak with the lowest margin of victory being 12 points.

Defense has been the catalyst for the Wildcats and that stands to reason with super recruit Ellis McCarthy patrolling the line.

Many fans will remember last year’s championship run for the exploits of quarterback Nick Bueno and the offense, but Maddox maintains defense is what got Monrovia a ring last year. He said it will be what gets them another one this year should they win it all.

“I’ll be honest, last year’s team definitely hung its hat on the defense,” Maddox said. “Now we could put up points, but we were spectacular on defense last year. That allowed us to do what we did last year. We’re getting to that point where we’re starting to play how we did last year on defense.”

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PrepXtra Rewind: Chris Rix joins the crew to talk everything from Amat to CO-Upland, The Scouting Guru and the crew discuss several hot-button issues and PREDICTIONS …

Fox Sports Analyst and San Gabriel Valley friend Chris Rix joins the conversation at the 7:45 mark, talking about Charter Oak-Upland, and his thoughts on Bishop Amat’s season and QB Rio Ruiz. Great, great stuff, click the player…

Aram posted this on his blog this morning and I had to share it too. Great video produced by Azusa’s football team, so good it might even make Aztec Pride cry with joy.

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St. Lucy’s advances in state playoffs with four-set win over tired Bonita Vista

By John Honell, Correspondent
Delayed by traffic and no GPS, Bonita Vista High School took more than four hours to drive from Chula Vista for the opening round of the Southern California State-CIF Division II playoff match against second-seeded St. Lucy’s. It will seem like a much longer ride home as the Regents (28-6) defeated the Barons in four games, 26-24, 25-17, 17-25, 25-17 on Tuesday at Damien High. (To continue click thread)

CIF-State Playoffs — Division II
Saturday’s Southern California Regional Quarterfinals

St. Lucy’s (28-6) vs. Downey (27-5), Damien HS, 7 p.m.
La Salle (20-6) at La Costa Canyon (29-8), 7 p.m.

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Girls Hoops Preview: Bishop Amat, Diamond Ranch and Bonita still best of the best

Michelle Yamamoto, left, and Leeah Powell are two of the top players on the Bishop Amat girls basketball team this season. (Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
It’s hard to imagine an encore resembling anything close to last year’s local girls basketball season, but if it happens it probably will be the same teams producing the magic. Last year’s impressive run by Bonita High School is something that won’t soon be forgotten. On their way to a deep run in the postseason, the Bearcats avenged an earlier loss to area stalwart Bishop Amat. Another meeting in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs between those teams won’t happen because of division realignment, but they appear ready to take their fans on another fantastic journey. It won’t be all about the Bearcats and Lancers this season. Duarte returns every key contributor from last year’s record-setting team, and Diamond Ranch is loaded once again. It should all add up to another stellar winter on the hardwood. Here’s how they stack up at the dawn of a new season. (Click to continue top ten story)

Girls Hoops preseason top ten
1. Bishop Amat
2. Diamond Ranch
3. Bonita
4. Duarte
5. Wilson
6. St. Lucy’s
7. Diamond Bar
8. Rosemead
9. Arroyo
10. Walnut

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This has been the year of the coach …

I’ve had a few emails praising area coaches in what certainly has been the year of the coach in high school football. We’ll crown a coach of the year in a few weeks, but has there been a year like this with so many that are deserving. Duarte’s Tip Sanders led the Falcons back after back-to-back 0-10 seasons, leading them to 6-3 and on the brink of a playoff berth. La Puente’s Brandon Rohrer led the Warriors to their best start in school history before finishing 9-2. And look at Azusa’s Joe Scherf, going undefeated his fourth straight year in the Montview, and still alive in the quarterfinals. There is probably no better feel good story than what’s happening at Los Altos, where coach Dale Ziola is 8-3 and in the quarterfinals after the Conqs’ program was left for dead, 0-10 last year with virtually nobody wanting a piece of that job. West Covina’s Mike Maggiore continues to establish himself as one of the Valley greats, gunning for his second straight and third CIF title. And how about Roddy “playoff” Layton. That’s all he does is advance in the postseason. What if this is the year he finally gets the prize. The Valle Vista League is full of contenders. Covina coach Darryl Thomas may finally gets his CIF title in a few weeks, Bill Zernickow is on course to take San Dimas back to the title game and what about Pomona’s Anthony Rice, whose team is now part of the SGV conversation. The Mission Valley league is full of feel good stories too. El Monte and coach Joel Sanchez chased their first league title since 1979, South El Monte’s Ibis Aguilar got the Eagles in the postseason after a miserable 2010, and Arroyo coach Jim Singiser has his first real shot at a title with one of the Valley’s all-time greats at QB. Damien coach Greg Gano’s team finally turned the page in the Sierra when few thought they could and Sweet Lou Pa Farrar is back at it again, winning a Sierra League title and chasing a title in a division that you thought was unthinkable last year. It’s not right we have to pick just one in a few weeks, but no matter who gets it, there are so many others that are just as deserving.

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