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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