Whittier picks 1990 grad/ex-player Mata

Having worked 11 years in security at Whittier High School and being a
1990 graduate and former Cardinal basketball player, Joey Mata is
familiar with, so to speak, the lay of the land.

Recently named the school’s boys basketball head coach, Mata is
replacing Michael Varos, who resigned as both head coach and athletic
director.

“It will be hard filling Mike’s shoes,” Mata said. “He’s a very good
coach.”

Acknowledging the job ahead, Mata is quick to list his No. 1
priority.

“It’s about the players buying into the program and accepting me as
the coach,” Mata said. “The boys know what they want. I hope to keep
much of that going, and keeping the intensity they’ve had.

“Mike and I have two different styles of coaching. He’s very intense,
I’m more laid back.”

Mata was Pioneer’s head coach for eight seasons, posting a 93-125
record. His best year was 2006 when the Titans were 17-11 and finished
second in the Del Rio League.

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Josh Quezada …. and the beat goes on

La Habra’s fine running back continues to draw interest from major universities.
Coach Frank Mazzotta called to say Stanford and Washington offered scholarships today. BYU, Hawaii , New Mexico and Fresno State had offered previously. And Arizona State was on campus Monday and Arizona was on campus today.Once one or two Pac-10 schools offer, the interest from the other conference members picks up.

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Cantwell’s Smolin to take head football job at newcomer Redlands Citrus Valley High School

Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School athletic director and head football coach Pete Smolin confirmed late Friday evening he is leaving the school to become the head football coach at the new Citrus Valley High School in Redlands.
Kim Taylor, the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator, will replace Smolin as head coach.
Assistant athletic director Omar Villalta will move into the athletic director’s role.
“It will be a smooth transition period,” Smolin said. “Everything, everyone is already in place. The (coaching) staff will remain intact.”
Smolin said Citrus Valley will be the third high school school in the Redlands School District and will have an enrollment of about 1,500 students made up of freshmen and sophomores the first year, building to “about 3,000.”
“We’ll play a freelance schedule to start with,” Smolin said, “and eventually we’ll be in Division II (Inland Division).”

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Fuentes’ perseverance pays off

It wasn’t a game-winner or even necessary for Santa Fe’s 10-6 victory over Whittier today, but Francisco Fuentes’ 21-pitch at bat might be evidence of the manner in which the Chiefs have approached the last half of the season.
After struggling early, they’ve regrouped and with a never-say-die attitude, have put themsevles in the thick of the hunt for a postseason playoff spot.
Fuentes’ at bat against the Cardinals’ Daniel Gomez came in the bottom of the six inning with the Chniefs leading, 8-6. It lasted 10 and a half minutes and ended when he hit a two-run home run to dead center field.
“He was down in the count early,” coach Craig Campbell said. “Then he fouled off a couple of pitches, took a ball, fouled off a couple more pitches, took a ball. He finally reached a 3-2 count, and then hit the home run on the 21st pitch.
“It was a great battle on both ends, Gomez and Fuentes doing a great job.”

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Quezada bandwagon

Fresno State University has some company/competition in its efforts to lure La Habra running back Josh Quezada to its program. The Bulldogs made their scholarship offer in January. Now, BYU, Hawaii and New Mexico State have offered scholarships.
California, UCLA and Oregon State reportedly are among school that have indicated an interest but have not yet offered.

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Former Pioneer coach to be honored

Representatives from Pioneer High School’s 1966 and 1967 Suburban
League championship baseball teams will gather Friday to honor the late Howard Pollock
for his contributions as a coach and athletic director in a ceremony
at the school.

A commemorative plaque will be given to Pollock’s daughter, Dana
Hicks, during a ceremony at 2:45 p.m. before the varsity game against
visiting Del Rio League leader La Serna. A plaque also will be placed in
the home dugout.

The festivities will feature comments from event organizer and former
Pioneer player Hal Young along with Anthony Gonzales, a former Pioneer
coach and current California High School physical education teacher who
worked with Pollock, and former team members.
Pollock’s teams won five league championships in eight years, according
to Young, who was a member of the 1966-67 title teams. Ed Thomas was the
CIF Southern Section, Division 3A Player of the Year in 1967, and
several players from those teams went on to play college or
professionally. Another of Pollock’s players, Bill Saunders, earned the Player of the Year honor in 1962. Both Thomas and Saunders reportedly will be present for the ceremony.

Pollock served as the Titans’ coach for 16 years. Gonzales replaced
him and led the program for 17 years. “He was brilliant and very
professional,” Gonzales said. “He was a strategic baseball coach – he
taught me a lot about strategy. I learned so much from him, and I tried
to continue his tradition as coach.”

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Worth the price of admission

If you haven’t seen him, he’s definitely worth an effort to do so.
Bishop Amat third baseman Rio Ruiz is everything and much more that the
hype said he would be when he enrolled at the school. A 6-foot-1,
175-pound (he looks bigger) standout at third base (could probably play
anywhere on the field) and a disciplined hitter with maturity beyond his
years at the plate. And the kicker – he’s a freshman. He is not the Lancers only talented player, but the fact he’s a freshman is what amazes when you watch him perform.

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Heralds’ BSBL games today, Friday postponed

The baseball season just became more difficult for Whittier Christian and Montclair Prep.
Acting on the side of caution, Montclair Prep administrators on Monday postponed games today and Friday between the teams after learning that one of the Mounties’ student/athletes may have contracted swine flu. A person connected with the school said the report was unconfirmed as of Monday afternoon, but said the school has been closed as a precautionary measure.
The loss of this week’s games means the teams will be facing a four-game week as the regular season comes to an end next week. Sure to test both pitching staffs.

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