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Game Story: Not until the driving rain storm stopped late in Saturday’s fourth quarter did San Dimas secure its grip on a CIF title that’s been slippery enough to evade Monrovia in nine trips to the championship game.
San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow
“We worked our butt of for it. Our kids played hard, we knew what was at stake and we learned a lot from the first game. Nobody said it could be done, but we showed a lot of effort. They (Monrovia) had a big monkey on their backs, I don’t know how that played into it, but I’m proud of our kids, they executed the game plan. We came out with the no huddle and made plays.”
Monrovia’s Nick Bueno
“They got way better. We couldn’t get it done tonight. It hurts, I don;t know what else to say.”
San Dimas’ Ryan Kohler with 108 yards, as four Saints had 60 or more yards rushing for 217 yards from scrimmage.
“We had to keep running hard, we couldn’t let up.They’re an awesome team, we had to keep playing hard, none of this was easy, it was a battle.”
Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox
They brought a great game plan, hats off to them, they beat us up front. They completely took us out of our offense. We struggled all night.”
Mid-Valley Division scoring updates
San Dimas 3 7 0 0 — 10
Monrovia 0 0 0 7 – 7
SD: Dillon Corona 35-yard field goal, 7:02
SD: Jordan Taylor 27-yard touchdown (Corona kick)
MO: Nick Bueno 11 run (kick good)
By Fred J. Robledo Staff Writer
The drive for five sped into history without a glitch, proving once again that defense wins championships.
The smothering and physical dominance that the Charter Oak High School football team showed during four straight shutouts during the Miramonte League showed up again in the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division championship game against league foe Diamond Ranch on Friday at Ayala High School.
Brandon Golden had two interceptions, and Dennis Rufus had another, and with running back Adam Muema providing the finishing touches with 177 yards and two touchdowns, Charter Oak won its first back-to-back championship in school history with a 21-0 victory over the Panthers.
“We started the season with a motto to make sure you keep your swag caps on,” said Golden, who also scored on a 41-yard touchdown run with 2:15 left to provide the exclamation point. “We started a little shaky in the first half, but our swag caps were tight in the second half. It’s history man, our coaches talked about it all year, making history at Charter Oak and we did it.”
For Chargers coach Lou Farrar, it was his fifth championship, making him second all-time in Valley history behind Los Altos’ Dwayne Despain.
The Chargers finished 13-1 and were 26-1-1 over two years as the Panthers finished 7-7 after winning six straight to reach the final. But it was the Panthers’ second straight defeat to the Chargers in the championship.
“Look, it’s been a decade of dominance with Charter Oak and they punctuated it tonight,” Panthers coach Roddy Layton said. “The way their coaching staff gets their players prepared for championships is a testament to Big Lou. I’m proud to say I coached against him, he’s moved on to legendary status.”
The Chargers’ defense hounded Panthers quarterback Gus Viramontes, sacking him five times as he finished just 6-of-14 for 94 yards and three interceptions. Running back Amari Staten finished with just 41 yards.
“Their defense played well, we couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Layton said. “If you put your defense on the field long enough a good team like that is going to score.”
Farrar soaked it all in during the moments that followed.
“Five and I’m alive,” Farrar said. “The kids were unbelievable. The coaching staff was unbelievable, that was a heck of a team over there and to get our fifth shutout against another Miramonte League team, I don’t know what to say. Give a lot of credit to Roger (Lehigh, defensive coordinator) and the kids, they really wanted to finish this strong and they did.”
The Chargers fumbled on their first possession at their own 32, but the Panthers couldn’t take advantage, missing on Jeff Stamps’ 56-yard field goal attempt with 7:44 left in the first quarter.
The lone points of the first half came on the Chargers’ 13-play, 60-yard drive that included two pass interference penalties, the second giving the Chargers a first down at the Panthers’ 12.
After Leon Youngblood’s 2-yard run and Golden’s 9-yard run to the one, Muema finished it, scoring from a yard out to give the Chargers a 7-0 lead as the first quarter expired.
It was more of the same in the second half.
After the fifth sack on Viramontes, the Chargers got going offensively behind Muema, who followed a 38-yard run with a pair of 11-yard runs to the Panthers’ 2-yard line. A couple plays later, Muema finished it, scoring on a one-yard touchdown, his second of the night, giving the Chargers a 14-0 lead with 11:11 left.
“It feels good to be part of history,” Muema said. “My line did an amazing job, it’s the best feeling ever. To be the first Charter Oak team to ever go back-to-back … I can’t think of a better way to finish my career.”
Muema simply wore the Panthers down in the second half.
“The kid is a horse, he’s a beast,” Farrar said. “He’s going to make somebody very happy next year playing on Saturday’s. I’m going to miss him, he’s the best back we ever had.”
Corner A.J. Powell made big play after big play, and thought about Monday’s banquet as he walked off the field.
“(UCLA coach Rick) Neuheisel said you’re going to remember this for the rest of your life, I know what he means now,” Powell said. “This is indescribable. I don’t have words for it.”
Charter Oak 7 0 0 14 — 21
Diamond Ranch 0 0 0 0 — 0
CO: Adam Muema 1 run (Robert Poage kick), 0:00
CO: Muema 1 run (Poage kick), 11:11
CO: Brandon Golden 40 run (Poage kick), 2:17
By Fred J. Robledo
Get ready for Charter Oak-Diamond Ranch II
The Chargers fulfilled their end of the bargain on Saturday, beating visiting California 38-10 in the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division semifinal to set up a rematch in the Southeast championship on Friday against Miramonte League rival Diamond Ranch, a 31-27 upset winner over South Hills on Friday.
Chargers back Adam Muema battled food poisoning and had an upset stomach, but he took it out on the visiting Condors (9-3-1), rushing for 134 yards and four touchdowns as the top-ranked Chargers (12-1) moved a step closer to their first back-to-back championship in school history, and coach Lou Farrar’s fifth title at the school.
“If that’s what Adam does with an upset stomach, imagine what he can do when he’s healthy,” Farrar said.
Travis Santiago threw for 149 yards and a touchdown as the Chargers erased an early 10-7 deficit in the second half. After beating the Panthers in the championship last year, Farrar knows he’s going to get an inspired Panthers team that has never beaten the Chargers in the short history of their school and rivalry.
“This is the way I thought it was going to happen all along,” Farrar said. “Call me a gypsy or whatever, I kind of felt it was going to be this way. They’re the best football team in the division. They’re hot right now and did a number on South Hills. We know we’re going to have our work cut out, but it’s great to be playing for another championship. We’ll show up and see if we can get this done.”
California’s dynamic back Terris Jones rushed for 167 yards, but he was all they had as Condors quarterback Adam Contreas completed just 2-of-12 for ten yards.
“There were more weapons on their side than our side,” Cal coach Jim Arnold said. “They were everything we expected them to be. They will be a tough team to beat next week.”
The Condors took a 10-7 lead on Jones’ 19-yard touchdown with 9:36 left in the third quarter. But the Chargers came right back three plays later. Santiago found Dennis Rufus all alone over the middle, and Rufus took it the rest of the way, going 77-yards for the touchdown and a 14-10 lead with 9:36 to go in the third.
After a Robert Poage 20-yard field goal, Rufus came up with a big interception at the Condors’ 34, and on the next play, Muema scored his second touchdown, racing up the left side for a 34-yard score and a commanding 24-10 lead with 1:21 to go in the third.
After briefly taking a break, Muema returned and put the game away for good, scoring from 20-yards and a 31-10 lead with 9:16 left. He later scored his fourth touchdown with 3:48 to go on a seven-yard run.
After a scoreless first quarter, Santiago completed a 27-yard pass to Rufus along the right side to the Condors’ 27. A couple plays later, Muema scored on a spectacular 22-yard run, shaking off at least five tacklers to give the Chargers a 7-0 lead with 8:52 left in the half.
Edison 37, Lakewood 29
Chaparral 43, Corona Centennial 35 (OT)
Mira Costa 51, Palmdale 27
Moorpark 40, Valencia 14
Los Osos 28, Rancho Cucamonga 21
La Habra 35, Cypress 21
Charter Oak 38, California 10
Monrovia 35, Whittier Christian 32
Rio Hondo Prep 20, Salesian 14
Mid-Valley Semifinal: San Dimas 50, Azusa 24
By Steve Ramirez Staff Writer
Either way, one team was going to make history at San Dimas High School on Friday night. The only question was which team. The answer proved to be the host Saints.
Ryan Kohler rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns and the San Dimas football team advanced to the school’s first CIF-Southern Section divisional championship game with a 50-24 victory over Azusa in a Mid-Valley Division semifinal..
The Saints, also getting 117 yards and two TDs from Dillon Corona and 99 yards and a TD from Jordan Taylor, improved to 12-1 and will face either top seed Monrovia or Whittier Christian in next Saturday’s championship game at a site to be determined. The Wildcats host the Heralds tonight.
Azusa, making its first trip to the semifinals, finished 11-2. The Aztecs, who led 24-21 early in the third quarter, received 149 yards from running back Kendrec McDade, 121 coming in the first half.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” said San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow, whose team rushed for 476 yards. “I’m just so proud of our kids to be able to do something like this.
“I don’t know how long the school’s been here, but being able to be the first (football team) to do it, it’s pretty special.”
It was well-earned because the Aztecs, taking advantage of their spread-option attack, had the Saints concerned in the first half, jumping out to a 14-6 lead following a 5-yard run by McDade with 8:01 left in the first quarter and a 2-yard run by quarterback John Chavez at 2:01.
Azusa, after San Dimas twice rallied to tie it at 14-14 and 21-21 in the second quarter, then opened the second half with a 63-yard drive down to the San Dimas 4. But it stalled on a third-and-5 run by Steven Blount gained just a yard.
Azusa coach Joe Scherf opted for a field goal and the lead, which he got when Jose Nunez nailed a 21-yard kick for a 24-21 advantage with 4:23 left in the quarter.
“I just felt the way our defense was playing it would be enough,” Scherf said. “We contained them in the first half and I thought we would be able to stop them. But they were just better than us.”
The Saints proved it the rest of the half.
Kohler broke off a 59-yard run for a 28-24 lead on the next series before Taylor followed with a 46-yard TD burst and a 36-24 advantage with 38 seconds left in the quarter. Kohler and Evans then sealed it with TD runs of 3 and 18 yards for a 50-24 advantage with 1:43 left in the game.
Southeast Semifinal: Diamond Ranch 31, South Hills 27
By Fred J. Robledo — Staff Writer
While South Hills contemplates the crucial call that went against them, Diamond Ranch proved again that it doesn’t matter how you play in September, it’s what you do in December that matters most. After starting 1-6 and advancing to the championship game last year, the Panthers did it again, erasing a 1-6 start to reach the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division title game with a come-from-behind 31-27 victory over South Hills at Covina District Field on Friday.
Panthers quaterback Gus Viramontes helped the Panthers overcome a 14-0 deficit by throwing for 213 yards and two touchdowns, and running for another as the Panthers won their sixth straight to face the winner of tonight’s other Southeast Division semifinal between Charter Oak and California next week.
South Hills had a chance to take the lead trailing 24-21 in the fourth quarter when Geoffrey Vaughns scored on a nine-yard run, but a late flag came over the middle — an offensive face mask on the Huskies — and they would eventually miss a 31-yard field goal with 8:32 left.
After Viramontes connected on a 33-yard pass to Ryan Gibson on a third-and-13 to the Huskies’ one, Chase Price scored from a yard to make it 31-21 with 3:12 left, and they held on after a late Huskies touchdown.
“We talked about Gus at the beginning of the year, people don’t give him enough credit,” Layton said. “A quarterback is defined by his leadership and wins, and this is a guy who has taken his team to two straight championship games.”
For Bogan, the face mask call that would have given them the lead was was a difficult one to stomach.
“That’s the first time I have ever had that called on us, an offensive lineman called for face mask,” Bogan said. “It’s hard when you’re in a game like this to have points taken off the board, but you don’t want to let it take away from how yard you battled.
“My hats off to Diamond Ranch, and for us, this is an opportunity to suck it up and grow as men and learn that life isn’t always going to go your way when you give everything you have. You only lose when you quit and we didn’t quit.”
The Panthers might be the first team ever to start 1-6 in consecutive years and reach the championship in both seasons, which Layton says is a reflection of his teams character.
“This is what we do,” Layton said. “We don’t worry about the preseason. I know a lot of teams that were 5-0 in the pre-season and they’re in the stands watching right now.”
Huskies quarterback Jacob Shirley threw for 162 yards, opening with a 13 yard touchdown to Andrew Roddy followed by a Vaughns nine-yard touchdown to give the Huskies a 14-0 lead, but the Panthers scored 18 unanswered points to take an 18-14 halftime lead.