Aram and I will go head-to-head in Tribskin Pick’em throughout the season for our annual dinner bet.
Last Week: Aram and I both went 6-3, however we took different paths to get there. We both missed taking Charter Oak over Rancho Cucamonga and La Mirada over Santa Fe, but Aram got me taking North Torrance over Gladstone and I got him back taking San Dimas over San Marino. So, I’m still one back with two weeks to go.
This week: Doesn’t get much better than West Covina’s rematch against La Serna. I’ve seen West Covina enough to know they’re tough, physical, and playing with the heart of a champion. But La Serna is simply better and has been waiting on this one and will get it done in the rematch. In the Mid-Valley I’ve said all along Monrovia will meet Paraclete in the final and there is no reason not believe it won’t happen. I do give San Dimas a great shot at Paraclete, but the Spirits are good enough to get it done.
This weeks games and predictions
West Covina vs. La Serna at California High, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (La Serna); Aram (Frankie)
Santa Fe at Downey, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Santa Fe); Aram (Downey)
Sierra Canyon vs. Monrovia at Granada Hills HS, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Monrovia); Aram (M-Town)
San Dimas vs. Paraclete at Antelope Valley College, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Paraclete); Aram (Norm)
“I guess I’m trying to downplay that part of it. On the bus going home, I said I wished it was 35-14. I didn’t want that to happen, but it’s hard to tell the kids not to play.” — West Covina coach Mike Maggiore on the Bulldogs’ 84-21 win over La Serna in last year’s title game. The 84 points set a CIF record for points in a championship.
By Aram Tolegian, SGVN
West Covina returns to the scene of the crime on Friday night when it takes on La Serna in a rematch of last year’s CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division championship game, in which the Bulldogs put an all-time beatdown on the Lancers with an 84-21 win.
The teams will be back at California High on Friday, but this time there’s no championship on the line. Just major revenge for the Lancers and a chance to play in next week’s title game for both teams.
Although West Covina is a much different team with a much different roster from last season, they Bulldogs are still the two-time defending division champions and represent the culprit in the most embarrassing loss in La Serna’s history.
“I guess I’m trying to downplay that part of it,” Maggiore said of last year’s 84-21 score. “On the bus going home, I said I wished it was 35-14. I didn’t want that to happen, but it’s hard to tell the kids not to play.”
West Covina jumped all over La Serna in last year’s title game behind the likes of Chris Solomon, Jimmy Frazier, Justen Meaders and Dorrin Turner.
All of them graduated in June and the Bulldogs now feature a roster of several guys playing out of position due to a season-long injury bug that’s caused coaches to shuffle the starting lineups on seemingly a weekly basis.
Last week, junior Henry Tarin became the Bulldogs’ third quarterback of the season when he stepped in for injured Jon Najera so that backup quarterback
Antonio Hull could remain at running back. Tarin will likely see considerable time under center again this week.
Although several key cogs from last year’s La Serna’s team have also graduated, there are plenty on the roster who still remember the embarrassment. None more important than junior quarterback Frankie Palmer, who has become arguably the top player in the division.
La Serna has been a force this season. The Lancers are 11-1 and haven’t lost since a setback against Norco on Sept. 21. West Covina is 8-4 and riding a four-game win streak that has seen the Bulldogs knock off league champions Paramount and Muir in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
“They’re much better than they were last year,” Maggiore said of La Serna.
“You can tell they’re much more confident. They’re a great football team and it’s going to be tough.”
By Aram Tolegian
Understanding the magnitude of the situation prior to last Friday’s second-round game between El Monte and Paraclete, Spirits coach Norm Dahlia volunteered the thought of stopping the game to Lions coach Joel Sanchez when/if quarterback Brandon Martinez became the official east San Gabriel Valley single-season record holder for most touchdown passes in a season.
That may not have come as much of a surprise were the game being played in the Valley, but it was played at Antelope Valley College. Nonetheless, Dahlia felt it was important to honor Martinez’s accomplishment.
So when Martinez passed both Pat Haden (Bishop Amat) and Felipe Aguilar (Los Altos) with his 43rd touchdown pass of the season, the game was stopped, the public address announcer told the fans what had just happened and Martinez was congratulated at midfield by both coaches and given a game ball.
“I thought that was awesome on his part,” Sanchez said of Dahlia’s gesture.
“I never thought of doing that just because it’s not bigger than the game, but he (Dahlia) said he thought it was important to recognize the young man and his accomplishment. He said it would be an honor if we’d let them do that.
“I didn’t tell anyone and it was more of a surprise. Brandon was like `What are we doing?’ and I told him `Just come over here really quick.”‘
Martinez later added another touchdown pass and the record now stands at 44. Martinez also is now the entire San Gabriel Valley’s all-time single-season passing yards record holder with 4,243 yards after passing Muir’s Richard Irvin on Friday night.
Unfortunately, Martinez won’t be able to add to either total because the Lions’ season came to an end with a 56-16 loss to the Spirits.
Martinez wasn’t the only Lion to set records on Friday. Receiver Abel Barajas caught his 18th touchdown pass of the season, which gave him the school record for touchdowns receptions in a season. The previous record holder was Ray McNeil (1979) with 17. Barajas is also the school’s all-time single-season and career receiving yardage leader.
GAME STORY: WEST COVINA 21, MUIR 19
By Fred J. Robledo
Defending CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division champion West Covina isn’t done yet.
After needing to win its final game in the Hacienda League to make the playoffs, the Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals with a 21-19 victory over third-seeded Muir that was full of clutch calls from Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore.
West Covina (8-4) will face second-seeded La Serna at California High in next week’s semifinals. La Serna (11-1) is the same team the Bulldogs defeated 84-21 last year
GAME STORY: SAN DIMAS 31, SAN MARINO 28
By Aram Tolegian
Hollywood endings usually are reserved for Denzel Washington, not Denzel Mitchell.
But not even Hollywood could have scripted a better ending on Friday night for Mitchell, a running back/defensive back on the San Dimas High School football team.
Mitchell made the game-turning interception, then moments later scored the game-winning touchdown as San Dimas handed visiting San Marino a 31-28 defeat in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs.
West Covina 21, Muir 19
Santa Fe 27, La Mirada 26
La Serna 29, Compton Dominguez 13
San Dimas 31, San Marino 28
Sierra Canyon 28, Arroyo 20
Monrovia 43, South El Monte 6
Paraclete 56, El Monte 16
Rancho Cucamonga 23, Charter Oak 7
North Torrance 42, Gladstone 34