A Schurr Hire

As was reported last week, Montebello High School alumnus Ben Negrete was named head coach of the Schurr football program, much to the acclaim of several Spartans’ backers.

Here’s some info listed on Coach Negrete on the Claremont-McKenna Athletics website.

Ben has been with the Stags since 1998. This year he will coach the outside linebackers/safeties and help coordinate the defense. He has been coaching football for 27 years, on both the college and high school levels. He has coached two C.I.F. Championship squads at Schurr High School and Upland High School. Ben is a graduate of Montebello High School and Cal State Los Angeles. He teaches Social Studies and Health at Schurr High School in Montebello.

Here’s Roger Murray’s Story -


Now it’s your turn to place AD? If your school had an opening at the head coaching position, what would you be looking for? What would entice you to chose one coach over another? How important are factors like tradition and experience? Is it preferable to hire someone from within the system or from outside?

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Soccer Coming Down the Home Stretch

It’s coming down the home stretch for a few league titles, like the Girls Almont League and Del Rio League while the Suburban League was settled last Friday. The boys Suburban League title will likely be decided today while the Del Rio League title might be settled this week. Who’s going to pull out the big wins? Here’s the WDN latest rankings.

Caption: La Habra High’s Jonathan Prieto, left, and Sonora High’s Armando Cortez jump for a head shot Jan. 24, 2008. (SGVN/Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb/SWSPORTS).

Boys Soccer

1. El Rancho (12-4-3, 6-0-1)
Last Ranking: 1
League Standing: First in Del Rio
CIF Ranking: Coming Soon

Whether its offense or defense, El Rancho is starting to pull away in the DRL race. The Dons outscored their two opponents last week by a margin of 9-3 and could clinch a league title by the end of the week.

2. La Habra (16-2-2, 4-1)
Last Ranking: 2
League Standing: Second in Freeway
CIF Ranking: Coming Soon

It’s no secret the Highlanders are the area’s most talented team. However, they’re still taking halves off like they did last Thursday against Sonora, before blowing away their city rival by a score of 6-0. Should be a coast in league until Friday against Fullerton.

3. La Mirada (13-4-3, 8-0-1)
Last Ranking: 3
League Standing: Tied for First in the Suburban League
CIF Ranking: Coming Soon

The Mats haven’t lost in nearly a month and can decide the Suburban League title on Wednesday afternoon at Bellflower. The Bucs forged a late tie in the last meeting. Who will take the title?

4. Schurr (7-4-1)
Last Ranking: 5
League Standing: Second in Almont
CIF Ranking: Coming Soon

The Spartans have had back-to-back games canceled due to the rain. Their contest against Montebello, scheduled for today at 3:15 p.m., was moved to Wednesday.

5. Cal-Hi (10-2-6, 3-1-2)
Last Ranking: 4
League Standing: Second in Del Rio
CIF Ranking: Coming Soon

Can’t understand the Condors. How do you tie with Whittier? A team fighting for a league title can’t have a silly result like a tie. The path to a DRL title in now out of their hands.

Still Alive in Playoff Hunt:
Santa Fe (6-5-2, 3-3-1); La Serna (6-9-2, 3-3-1); Whittier Christian (6-11-2, 3-1-1) and Montebello (10-6, 4-2).

Barely Breathing:
Pioneer 5-7-5, 1-4-1.

Girls Soccer

Caption: La Serna’s Jordan Dolbin (#6) leaps above Santa Fe’s Nayeli Meza (#7) to head the ball during their Girls Varsity Soccer Game at Santa Fe High School Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008. La Serna beat Santa Fe 4-0. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger/Sports)

1. La Serna (18-3, 7-0)
Last Ranking: 1
League Standing: First in Del Rio
CIF Ranking: Coming Soon

Survived another great effort from El Rancho and only have Cal-Hi standing in their way on Thursday. Lancers offense has been the class of the league and area.

2. Cal-Hi (13-6-2, 6-1)
Last Ranking: 3
League Standing: Second in Del Rio
CIF Ranking: Coming Soon

Condors have been playing great and did play the Lancers to a 1-0 deficit last time before a second-half collapse, due in part, to the injury to Gloria Gonzalez. Can the Condors offense generate enough offense to compete? They host Pioneer today.

3. La Mirada (10-9-4, 4-2-1)
Last Ranking: 2
League Standing: Second in Suburban
CIF Ranking: Coming Soon

We’ll give the Mats a break after suffering a tough 5-1 loss to Mayfair on Friday. La Mirada still sits comfortably in the driver’s seat for second place in the Suburban League and possibly a first-round home game in the playoffs.

4. Santa Fe (15-5-3, 4-3)
Last Ranking: 4
Standing in League: Third in Del Rio
CIF Ranking: Coming Soon

Perhaps no one can attest to the growing strength of the Del Rio League than coach Fernie Fernandez. It had been quite some time before Santa Fe was last 3-3 in league. The Chiefs did rebound for a good 2-0 win over Whittier last Thursday.

5. Montebello (7-6-3, 3-1-1)
Last Ranking: NR
Standing in League: Second in Almont
CIF Ranking: Coming Soon

The Oilers have also had to deal with rain cancellations. Montebello has hung around in the Almont League and get back into the title race with a road win over league-leader Bell Gardens (12-3, 6-0) on Tuesday.

Still Alive in Playoff Hunt:
Pioneer 9-10, 2-5; Whittier Christian 8-9-1, 3-2-1.

Barely Breathing:
El Rancho 10-8-3, 2-5; La Habra 5-6-4, 1-3-1.

Agree or Disagree with the Rankings? Who’s going to survive?

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Ready for Round 2…

Caption: Santa Fe’s Regyna Garcia (#3) and La Serna’s Stacie Cervantes (#5) battle for the ball during their girls soccer game at La Serna High School on Tuesday, January 8. La Serna beat Santa Fe 2-0. Cervantes received a red card and Garcia received a yellow card on the play. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger/Sports)

From 2-4, the WDN rankings have shuffled with La Mirada and Cal-Hi establishing themselves and El Rancho and Santa Fe having struggled. No movement up top as La Serna might just win out. But it’s too early to tell.


1. La Serna (16-3, 5-0)
Last Ranking: 1
League Standing: First in Del Rio

If anyone is going to catch La Serna it will happen sooner rather than later. First, the Lancers travel to hostile Santa Fe before taking on El Rancho and Cal-Hi. So far La Serna has been the cream of the crop and a let up is unlikely.

2. La Mirada (10-6-1, 5-1)
Last Ranking: NR
League Standing: Second in Suburban

This senior-laden bunch is playing up to the form most expected earlier in the year. La Mirada will face an incredible challenge this week in the form of CIF-Southern Section, Division III No. 1-ranked Mayfair at home on Friday. Can the Mats survive?

3. California (11-6-2, 4-1)
Last Ranking: 5
League Standing: Second in Del Rio

The Condors appeared headed for a severe reality check after a 3-0 loss to La Serna on Monday. Then they silenced their critics (including this reporter) with impressive wins over Santa Fe (2-0) and El Rancho (1-0). Expect these birds of prey to go 6-1 in league before a brutal final three-game swing against the above three teams. The loss of Gloria Gonzalez is huge and may be tough to overcome.

4. Santa Fe (14-4-2, 3-2)
Last Ranking: 2
Standing in League: Third in Del Rio

It can’t be all defense for the Chiefs. Santa Fe is going to have to find a way to get some goals and fast. The defense kept them in the game against La Serna last time both teams played but the offense could only muster two shots. An upset of La Serna would thrust Santa Fe back into the Del Rio League race.

5. El Rancho (10-6-3, 2-3)
Last Ranking: 3
Standing in League: Fourth in Del Rio

The Dons are on the outside looking in. First it was a two-goal loss to La Serna and then even closer defeats to Santa Fe and Cal-Hi. Like Santa Fe, El Rancho presents a stifling defense that has trouble putting shots on goal. The Dons get La Serna on Thursday. Let’s see how they do.

On the Bubble:
Montebello (6-6-3, 2-1-1), La Habra (5-5-3, 1-3), Pioneer (8-8, 1-4).

Still Alive in League:
Whittier Christian (7-8-2, 2-1-1).

Agree with the rankings? Disagree?

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A tough week for some…

The WDN’s top two teams suffered disappointing home losses in league showdowns. However, some other squads are beginning to make their push, including the new (and possibly surprising) No. 1.


1. El Rancho (10-4-3 overall, 4-0-1 in league)
Last Ranking: 5
League Standing: First in Del Rio

First it was nagging injuries and then the Christmas break that was slowing down the Dons. Now El Rancho appears to be on a roll and might not be challenged again until Feb. 6 against Cal-Hi.

2. La Habra (15-2-2 overall, 3-1-1 in league)
Last Ranking: 1
League Standing: Second in Freeway

I know, I know. How can the Highlanders drop after losing to the No. 4-ranked team in the division? Well, La Habra already knew how Fullerton would play since they had met earlier and still were shutout.

3. La Mirada (10-4-3 overall, 5-0-1 in league)
Last Ranking: 4
League Standing: Tied for 1st in Suburban

The Mats were three minutes away from a win over fellow Suburban League-leader Bellflower before they allowed a tough goal. Despite the tie, La Mirada has a 6-game unbeaten streak going.

4. California (10-2-4 overall, 3-1-1 in league)
Last Ranking: 2
League Standing: Second in Del Rio

It was back-to-back freaky Fridays for the Condors, who followed up a surprising 2-2 tie against Pioneer, that easily could have been a loss, with a disappointing 2-0 defeat to El Rancho.

5. Schurr (6-4-1)
Last Ranking: 3
League Standing: N/A

On the Bubble:
Santa Fe (5-5-1, 2-3),

Still Alive in League:
Whittier Christian (4-11-2, 2-1-1), St. Paul (3-10-2, 2-2).

Agree with the rankings? Disagree?

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Upon Second Review, What About that Schedule?

I was talking to Pioneer coach Ramon Juarez (below) earlier this week when the topic of his team’s upcoming nonleague schedule popped up. Juarez, like many others in the Pioneer program, is aware of the criticism of Pioneer’s yearly easy preseason.

So in 2008, the Titans will take on such opponents as St. Paul (Western Division Champ), Cypress (Southern Division Champ) and Charter Oak (Southwest Division Semifinalist).

But was the Titans’ 2007 nonleague schedule really so flimsy?

Upon second review, the Titans were in the middle of the pack in preseason schedule difficulty strictly going on records alone, which begs at least a couple of questions?

How difficult should a preseason be? And how much does a nonleague schedule matter for league and the postseason?

Here are the overall records and winning percentages of the preseason schedules of our local schools this past season.

1. *Whittier Christian (39-17-1) .690
2. *La Mirada (30-19-1) .610
3. *St. Paul (47-34) .580
4. *Schurr (30-27) .530
5. *La Habra (27-29) .480
6. Pioneer (26-29). 470
7. Montebello (26-30) .460
8. *Santa Fe (25-29) .460
9. *El Rancho (24-31) .440
10. Whittier (22-31) .420
11. *La Serna (18-34) .350
12. *California (18-35) .340
13. *Cantwell-Sacred Heart (21-42) .333

* signifies playoff team

Any surprises?

PS – I heard Coach Juarez was taking over the girls softball team. Maybe he can show off the moves he displayed at a recent Whittier College reunion game. Good Luck coach!

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The Latest Girls Soccer Rankings

Let the Games Begin…

As the Del Rio League season commences this Tuesday, here are the latest girls soccer rankings.

Santa Fe High’s Angelica Silva collides with a Chino High defender during the North Orange County Girls Soccer Tournament at Downey High School Dec. 27, 2007. (SGVN/Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb/SWSPORTS)

1. La Serna (11-3)
Last Ranking: 2

The Lancers offense continues to plow through the opposition. The defense has been inconsistent, however, which may be a concern.

2. Santa Fe (10-2-2)
Last Ranking: 1

The Chiefs defense, led by goalie Shelby Magallon, has been stifling at times. Santa Fe will be tested this Tuesday at La Serna.

3. El Rancho (6-1-3)
Last Ranking: 3

It was another strong showing by the up-and-coming Dons at the North Orange County Classic as El Rancho went 2-1-1. It will be interesting to see how the Dons do as league play unfolds.

4. La Habra (5-3-3)
Last Ranking: 4

Will a large layoff affect the Highlanders, who haven’t played since Dec. 20? We’ll find out Tuesday when La Habra hosts Troy.

5. California (7-5-2)
Last Ranking: NR

Maybe no team was as happy to get past the NOCC than Cal-Hi. The Condors hope a 3-0 win over Whittier Christian will carry momentum over into Del Rio League play.

On the Bubble:
La Mirada (6-6-4), Whittier Christian (6-7-7).

Montebello (3-5-1), Whittier (2-4-1).

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Ringing in the New Year With Some Boys Soccer Rankings

Here’s the first Boys Soccer Rankings of the Season.

Here a South Hills defender tries to take down a Cal-Hi striker. The Condors have had a strong start to the season but are they the area’s best team?

1. La Habra (13-1-1)
Preseason Ranking: 1

Wow. Coach Steve Aanderud said the returning champs would be strong this year but I’m not even sure he expected this.

2. California (5-1-3)
Preseason Ranking: NR

The rematch with La Habra never came to fruition. It’s too bad since the first game between these two titans ended in a 3-3 tie.

3. Schurr (6-4-1)
Preseason Ranking: NR

The Spartans have played a tough schedule that has included Long Beach Cabrillo (10-1-1), Mater Dei (9-2-2) and Buena (8-3-3).

4. La Mirada (3-3-1)
Preseason Ranking: 2

The Mats lost a close contest to La Habra (1-0) and tied Cal-Hi earlier in the year 1-1. La Mirada did score a good Suburban League win over Mayfair, 2-0, and await Cerritos on Friday.

5. El Rancho 3-2
Preseason Ranking: 3

Maybe more than any other area team, El Rancho has had to do much subbing early due to the winter break, leaving coach Dominic Picon with little time to evaluate and improve his squad.

On the bubble:
Pioneer (3-1-2), La Serna (3-5-1)

Montebello (1-4), Santa Fe (1-5-2), Whittier Christian (2-8-1).

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Something to think about …

For the football fanatics:
Here’s a pre-preseason 2008 top 5 for area high school football programs:
Defending Southeast Division champions graduate eight of their 10
All-CIF selections from their 13-0 season, but the other two, division
Offensive Player of the Year running back Ronald Hillman and safety
Randall Nygren, along with postseason honors candidate running back/defensive back Joshua Quezada,
are back for coach Frank Mazzotta to build around. Nygren is the likely
heir apparent at quarterback, and the Highlanders’ unbeaten freshman and
junior varsity teams should provide some quality replacements. Add
Mazzotta’s workplace environment and attitude and a well-entrenched
approach to the game’s physical aspects (i.e. hitting), and it all puts
the familiar favorite’s target on the Highlanders’ backs.

The defending Western Division champions’ only offensive position that
might have been questioned this season, quarterback, returns all of the
participants – starters Paul Lopez and Andrew Canales and backup Chris
, as well as Gabriel Encinas, who switched from QB to wide
receiver, and all of whom would probably start on most other area
programs, who will be a year older, wiser and more experienced and
playoff tested. Not a bad starting point. Replacing key lineman on both
sides of the ball will be paramount, but then, that was true this season,
and look how that turned out. The big plus defensively is the return of
coordinator Gilbert Jimenez.

The Chiefs will have been smarting for nearly a year from a
disappointing 5-6 season that featured both promise and frustration,
and that should take care of any motivational concerns. QB is a question
mark, but Alex Flores should begin his junior season with the inside
track. Postseason honors candidate Aaron Turner returns at running back,
and while coach Jack Mahlstede’s 2007 program lacked marquee linemen,
several of the returners have 2008 marquee potential. Santa Fe’s junior
varsity and freshman programs were a combined 7-1 in league play, a
reminder that the Chiefs’ player pool is never empty and rarely shallow.

Ronnie Palacios, arguably the area’s best returning quarterback and
speedy running back Matt Botello give the Titans explosive potential on
offense. And coach Ramon Juarez says there is enough talent among
returning personnel and newcomers to perhaps open up the offense even
more than usual. Defensively, many of the players who received
considerable game time out of necessity as sophomores and by earning it
as juniors the past two seasons should be ready as seniors to make some
noise come league play.

Thanks to the return of quarterback Ben Burke, the Lancers head a list
of at least three teams that could break into the Top 5 early on in
2008. A gifted runner and improving as a passer, he will shoulder much
of the offensive responsibility for gaining yards and scoring points.
Replacing graduated players is commonplace, but replacing the special
ones is critical. Coach Margarito Beltran has a challenge in finding
someone to fill the many shoes that were worn by Rudy Jordan, a standout
Running back, receiver, defensive back and return specialist.

Other teams to watch:
California - Defending Del Rio League champion was one of the season’s
bright spots, but losses at too many key positions may preclude Condors
from making it back-to-back titles.

El Rancho - 2007′s Cinderella team. New coach Gene Parsons led the Dons
back from 2006′s 0-10 campaign to a respectable 5-6 record that included
a berth in the Southeast Division playoffs. Program
definitely on move in right direction, but may need more time to become
a true contender.

Whittier – Cardinals return one of the area’s top three running backs in
Daniel Enriquez, which give them a leg up on most area teams. Finding
him a complementary support group will be the key.

Please be specific, short and to the point … and kind.

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