Thursday Night Countdown: It’s do-or-die statement time for the Hacienda and Mission Valley League

“Come Thursday, it’s going to be the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense and I guess we’ll find out if defense really does win championships. I believe in our defense and I think we have the ability to stop the El Monte offense.” South El Monte coach Ibis Aguilar

Thursday pregame preview: El Monte’s already won its first league title since ’79, now it wants it outright … Rowland wants to win a league title and knock West Covina out of the playoffs. It’s league finale night in the Hacienda and Rowland, read on … You can follow updates on the @sgvtribpreps widget for Rowland-West Covina. I will also keep track of other games with @sgvtrib_Mike and @chemicalAT for El Monte-South El Monte, with JP Hoornstra tweeting updates of Bonita-Diamond Bar at @jphoornstra Rosemead at Mountain will be tweeted by Keith Lair at @KeithLLair Thursday’s games and predictions Hacienda League West Covina at Rowland, 7 p.m. — Robledo (WC); Aram (WC) Bonita at Diamond Bar, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Bonita); Aram (Bonita) Diamond Ranch at Walnut, 7 p.m. — Robledo (DRanch); Aram (DR) Mission Valley League South El Monte at El Monte, 7 p.m. — Robledo (El Monte); Aram (EM) Rosemead at Mountain View, 7 p.m. — Robledo (MView); Aram (Rosemead) Arroyo at Gabrielino, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Gabrielino) Aram (Arroyo)

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Girls Volleyball: Rosemead celebrates first MVL title in 12 years by sweeping Gabrielino

Rosemead-Gabrielino photo gallery

By Keith Lair
Rosemead High School’s volleyball team claimed its first Mission Valley League title in 12 years in convincing fashion on Wednesday afternoon.

The Panthers, who last won the title in 2000 when coach Emily Hausler was a Rosemead freshman, defeated Gabrielino in three games in a league showdown.

“It was like knocking down walls, but we did it,” senior outside hitter Priscilla Franco said. “It feels great. We worked so hard all these four years. We feel we earned it. We knew it would be difficult, but with hard work and dedication and fundamentals, there was no way we could lose.”
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West Covina looking for new wrestling coach after resignation of one of the area’s all-time best, Donnie Stephens

Longtime West Covina High School wrestling coach Donnie Stephens resigned to be part of the U.S. National Wrestling program in Colorado Springs, where Stevens is in the running to take over one of the national programs for girls wrestling. Stephens was one of the area’s top coaches for boys and girls, leading the boys to the CIF-SS dual and individual crown in 2006, and the dual title in 2011. Murphy led the girls to back-to-back state titles in 2011 and ’12. West Covina athletic director Brian Murphy is seeking a wrestling coach to take over the boys and girls wrestling program. Those interested should contact Murphy (951) 212-3724.

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Who will go deeper in the playoffs, Charter Oak in the Inland or Bishop Amat in the Pac-5?

I could have expanded the question for all area teams. This might be the first year in a long time that none of our area teams reach the semifinals in any division. Not sure if or when that happened before, but if Amat or Charter Oak don’t reach the semifinals will anyone in the Hacienda get to the final four in the Southeast? Will anyone in the Montview, Mission Valley or Valle Vista reach the Big 5 in the Mid-Valley? Not sure any Montview teams will be hanging around that long in the Northwest, either. The team with the best chance is San Dimas, and the team with best chance after that, believe it or not, is Charter Oak.

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Why was Tesoro coach Brian Barnes fired? Was it over a cheap shot?

Was Tesoro head football coach Brian Barnes really fired over a controversial play earlier in the season when one of his players took out the El Toro High kicker? That’s one of the rumors floating around, but hard to believe a coach with Barnes’ track record of success would be fired over a cheap shot. Nobody at El Toro is explaining why Barnes was removed with a 6-3 record and chance of making the playoffs. Maybe there is simply more to it, but you can read the Orange County Register story and decide for yourself. I posted the video that caused all the controversy below.

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Charter Oak gets ready for Inland run

“We have talked about that. We would like to have that No. 4 seed and get a home game as a league champion and see who ends up in our bracket. Really, going into that division and not being seeded, you’re at the mercy of some great second- and third-place teams. Any help you can get in terms of seeding and your first one or two opponents is a bonus.”Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar on Inland playoffs

By Aram Tolegian, SGVN

While several area teams will be playing for league championships and/or playoff berths this week, the Charter Oak High School football team will be simply polishing its resume.

And for veteran head coach Lou Farrar, that’s very important.

The Chargers (8-1 overall, 4-0 in league) have already locked up at least a share of the league championship and will go into next week’s CIF-Southern Section Inland Division playoffs as the league’s No. 1 team even if they lose and Chino Hills wins this week.

But Charter Oak is playing to protect a potential No. 4 seed in the division, and less important to Farrar, a second straight sweep of the area’s toughest local league.

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Girls Volleyball: San Dimas earns Valle Vista League Title with straight set win over Northview

PHOTO GALLERY: of San Dimas sweeping Northview 25-22, 25-20, 25-14 to finish undefeated in the Valle Vista League

STORY: San Dimas cruised to its 48th consecutive Valle Vista League girls volleyball win, 25-22, 25-20, 25-14 over Northview on Tuesday.
The Saints’ last league loss came almost four years to the day, Oct. 29, 2008, when they lost to Ganesha.
The Saints (15-3, 12-0) clinched their fourth straight undisputed and ninth consecutive league championship.
A win would have given the Vikings (20-5, 10-2) a share of their first league title since 1992.

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Quotable Bloggers …

I will post some of the best blog comments from time to time …
This one comes from Blogger Mark from the player and coach of the year thread
“There have been some very good players this year in the Valley. It is tough to see a player from say a Bonita or El Monte compare their numbers against a Darren Andrews of Amat. The competition is night and day. But I don’t want to belittle the lower divisions either. The process to pick one player and one coach is flawed, and unrealistic. Maybe there needs to be a couple, having one as a lower tier divisions 4-11, and an upper tier divisions 1-4. You can always ask that question, would that player from the lower division do the same in a tougher division? The answer is most likely not. Again, this question and process is flawed.”

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TRIBUNE SUPER 35 RANKINGS: Bishop Amat and Charter Oak best from start to finish


1. Bishop Amat (7-1-1) — After losing the Serra opener to Alemany, the Lancers rebounded nicely and have a chance to share a piece of the league title with a win at home against Notre Dame. Even better if Loyola beats Alemany. No matter what, Amat’s playoff chances look good.

2. Charter Oak (8-1) – Extremely impressed with Big Lou and the coaching staff. When the Chargers moved to the Inland in 2010, it felt impossible, but also an opportunity for the Chargers to enjoy their finest hour with sucess. I’m starting to believe an Inland run is possible. They’re not ranked just No. 4, they’re act like it.

3. Chino Hills (6-2-1) – Only losses to Tesoro, Charter Oak and a tie to Bishop Amat. They’re clearly the No. 3 team in the area and dangerous. They give the Sierra two legitimate postseason threats. I’ll bet QB Matt Simko goes nuts in the playoffs.

4. South Hills (6-3) — They all but guaranteed themselves a spot in the playoffs by beating Ayala. They can finish second with an upset over Chino Hills, but not matter what, it’s been an incredible turnaround for a team that many picked to finish last in the Sierra.

5. San Dimas (8-1) — With everyone talking about Paraclete, Monrovia and Sierra Canyon, it’s easy to forget playoff-tested San Dimas. They’re as talented as they’ve ever been and will probably show it in a dominating fashion for the VVL title on Friday.

6. Ayala (5-4) — Will probably be the best area team not to make the playoffs. They had their shot against South Hills and came up empty bigtime. They have to hope Damien beats Chino Hills to create a three-way tie for second, otherwise, they’re at home for the playoffs.

7. Diamond Ranch (6-3) — What’s impressive about the Panthers is how close they’re to being 9-0. They’ve lost three games by a touchdown or less. What’s shocking, however, is they will probably need an at-large berth to make the Southeast playoffs. But however they get in, they won’t be a team anyone wants to face in the first round.

8. Bonita (5-4) – - The Bearcats are still in the drivers seat to win the Hacienda League title, but had the swag knocked out of them in a loss last week to Diamond Ranch. Are they a Southeast title contender? Not sure anymore.

9. Gladstone (8-1)– The Gladiators have clinched a share of the Montview League title, their first since 2005. It’s also the best regular season finish during coach Albert Sanchez’s long tenure. They’ve been great at times and as curious as everyone to find out what they can do in the playoffs.

10. Rowland (7-2) — Amazingly, the Raiders can clinch a share of the Hacienda League title and knock two-time defending champion West Covina out of the playoffs with a win on Thursday. Never thought I would write those words. Not in 2012.

The Rest: 11. El Monte (7-2), 12. Northview (7-2), 13. West Covina (4-5), 14. La Puente (7-2), 15. Glendora (3-6), 16. Covina (6-3), 17. Damien (3-5), 18. South El Monte (5-4), 19. Azusa (5-4), 20. Claremont (3-6), 21. Los Altos (5-5), 22. Arroyo (5-4), 23. Sierra Vista (6-3), 24. Duarte (4-5), 25. Diamond Bar (3-6), 26. Rosemead (3-6), 27. Mountain View (3-6), 28. Wilson (3-6), 29. Walnut (1-8), 30. Pomona (3-6), 31. Bassett (3-6), 32. Nogales (1-8), 33. Workman (2-7), 34. Baldwin Park (0-10), 35. Ganesha (0-9).

Check out our Maxpreps Made Easy Widget for Tribune Football Fans. If coaches are posting rosters, updating stats and standings, this is the most useful SGV widget there is. Check it out, makes following your teams and area leaders simple.

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South El Monte on El Monte: “Come Thursday, it’s going to be the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense and I guess we’ll find out if defense really does win championships,” second-year South El Monte head coach Ibis Aguilar said.

By Aram Tolegian, staff writer
While El Monte’s high-flying offense and all-everything quarterback Brandon Martinez have gotten all the headlines this season, nobody can fault the South El Monte defense if it’s feeling a little slighted heading into Thursday’s Mission Valley League showdown against the Lions.

The Eagles are allowing a miserly 9.2 points per game and it’s that defense that has them in position to be league champs and prevent a major celebration by their arch-rival.

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San Dimas not taking Northview lightly, “Playing somebody that will get your temperature up a little bit is a great thing.”

By Aram Tolegian, SGVN
It will be teacher versus pupil on Friday night when the San Dimas High School football team hosts Northview with the Valle Vista League championship at stake.

Saints head coach Bill Zernickow was the defensive coordinator at Northview in 1997 when then-standout linebacker and current Vikings head coach Marcel Perez was in his senior season.

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Two-Minute Drill: Notre Dame at Amat

1. St. Bonaventure (8-1), 2. Mission Viejo (9-0), 3. St. John Bosco (5-4), 4. Mater Dei (7-2), 5. Santa Margarita (8-1), 6. El Toro (9-0), 7. Oaks Christian (8-1), 8. Alemany (7-2), 9. Bishop Amat (7-1-1), 10. Notre Dame (6-3); Others Long Beach Poly (6-3), Westlake (6-3), Crespi (8-2), Orange Lutheran (6-3).

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