The quarterback battle to replace Cody Clements just got interesting at La Habra.
Clark Livingston, the expected starting quarterback for Orange Lutheran, has transferred to La Habra and could push senior Cole Wolterman for the starting job.
Livingston threw for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns last season.
He still needs to be approved by the CIF-Southern Section office to be eligible to play this season. La Habra coach Fank Mazzotta’s comments
On Livingston enrolling at La Habra: “It’s something you don’t expect. You don’t expect to get a transfer this late, especially a high-profile one.” On how this effects senior QB Cole Wolterman and junior Sean Sparling, who have been the frontrunners all summer: “The kids are working hard. They are still our guys. But we want to give a young man an opportunity.” On eligibility process: “It’s a simple thing. They had to move and they moved into this area.”
By Steve Ramirez
LA HABRA - Cole Wolterman is sort of the missing link for the La Habra High School football team.
The Highlanders, who have won four consecutive CIF-Southern Section titles, appear to have nearly everything in place for their drive to five.
The question mark is at quarterback, where Southwest Division Player of the Year Cody Clements is gone.
Enter Wolterman, who understands the task at hand.
“Quarterback is already a tough position as it is, especially to follow someone like Cody,” Wolterman said. “It’s a big challenge, but I’m not that worried about it. I believe I can do it.”
On the surface, Wolterman appears to be the perfect fit for La Habra. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, he’s able to combine physicality with speed and has enjoyed success at the position while leading the junior varsity two years ago.
But the learning curve for him will be on the mental side. He must get up to speed for the complex reads – both passing and runs – that are required in coach Frank Mazzotta’s offense.
Mazzotta likes what he’s seen so far.
“He’s really worked hard and done a nice job getting ready since fall camp started,” Mazzotta said. “He’s fast, and he’s a good runner, which are the strengths that are really going to make him the right quarterback for our offense.
“He’s getting better at the decision part. In our offense, not only is he making pass decisions, but there are a lot of run reads that he has to make. He’s doing that. (Our) quarterback is the point guard. He needs to find the right guy to get the ball to.” Continue reading →
By Steve Ramirez
SANTA FE SPRINGS – The book on the St. Paul High School football team is supposed to begin and end with senior running back Michael Ortega.
But the Swordsmen are far from a one-man team.
Ortega, who rushed for nearly 1,200 yards, leads the show, but there is also senior fullback David Cabral, who ran for 828; speedster Marcus Garcia; sophomore Elijah Carter and Savanna transfer Jamari Thompson.
“Everyone of those guys can run and they can fly,” St. Paul coach Marijon Ancich said Tuesday. “It’s rare to have five guys like that. This is the fastest group of guys I’ve had and they might be the fastest group in the history of the school.
“We have five guys who all can run about 4.5 seconds (in the 40-yard dash), which is fantastic for a high school team. It makes a huge difference because they can make a big play. Normally, it would be a 3-yard gain, but they have the ability to explode and they are up field. That’s the key to the thing (this season), their speed and whether we can play defense.” Continue reading →
For most of the past few decades, the Del Rio League has been about Santa Fe. But the Chiefs have tasted from the league championship cup in three years. Is this the year they end the trend?
They are the obivious choice, with deep roster and athletic players like quarterback Christian Mahlstede and receiver/wrestler Joey Davis.
But the running attacks of El Rancho and Pioneer could make this race interesting. There’s also the question if La Serna can recover from graduation losses and can California bounce back from last year’s injury-riddled season.
I think it’s the Chiefs year. But what do you think?
By Steve Ramirez
PICO RIVERA – There was a time when the El Rancho High School football team was king of the Del Rio League.
The Dons have shown steady improvement under fourth-year coach Rick Zepeda and are expected to continue that trend this year. And part of the reason is the backfield duo of Ronnel Lone and Josh Lopez, who come into the season as one of the better running-back tandems in the era.
Lone, who combines power with speed, is El Rancho’s Mr. Inside, with Lopez handling the outside chores. Together, they have the Dons thinking about a possible Del Rio League title, which has been elusive in recent years.
“We have a lot of talent coming back,” Lone said. “For this team, we have to win everything. I don’t believe there is a team that should beat us.
“We’ve gotten better each year, improving our win total. This year, we just have to peak. It’s time for it.”
We continue our tour of some of the area’s football fall camps. Today we look at El Rancho.
The Dons, who lost in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs last year, begin the season as one of the favorites in the Del Rio League.
Here’s what I wrote in today’s paper:
There will be nothing complex about how the El Rancho High School football team attacks opposing defenses this season.
The Dons, armed with two of the better running backs in the area, will run, run and run some more.
“We’ve got a good group of backs,” El Rancho coach Rick Zepeda said. “I have a combination of senior kids and some young guys coming up.
“There’s some speed, and they’re mature and know what to do with the football.”
It starts with senior Ronnel Lone, who rushed for 613 yards and two touchdowns last season, but the Dons also have Josh Lopez, who’s a nice complement to Lone. Lopez rushed for 221 yards during the Dons’ first three games last season before suffering a season-ending injury. Together, they’re one of the better tandems in the area.
“It’s exciting,” Zepeda said of the Dons’ prospects this season. “We have enough guys to push everybody. We’re pretty excited. We can’t wait for the season to start.”
The Dons, who were just 6-5 last season and ended the year with a 41-21 loss to Burroughs in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs, are expected to be one of the top teams in the area this fall, and the chief challenge to rival Santa Fe in the Del Rio League.
The team already is off to a quick start in fall camp.
“This is our second week in pads,” Zepeda said. “The boys are coming along. I like what I’ve seen so far.”
El Rancho begins the season Sept. 2 at Los Altos.
The Whittier Host Lions Club will pay tribute to the upcoming Del Rio League football season with its third annual kickoff dinner.
The event, which will feature comments from each of the six league coaches, is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25, at the Whittier Radisson Hotel, 7320 Greenleaf Ave.
Cost for the dinner is $15 in advance, and $20 at the door. The dinner features a Mexican-style buffet. Presale tickets are available at California, El Rancho, La Serna, Pioneer, Santa Fe and Whittier high schools.
he deadline for reservations for a dinner to honor former El Rancho High football coach Ernie Johnson has been extended to Monday.
Those interested can contact the school’s activities office at 562-801- 5314.
The dinner is scheduled for Aug. 27 at 5:30 p.m.
Johnson coached at El Rancho during the 1950s and ’60s and compiled a record of 108-31-5. He also won nine league titles and three CIF-Southern Section championships, the final one in 1968.
The 1966 Dons team, which also won a CIF-SS title, is considered the top team in area history. It won a national title.
Santa Fe High School’s football team began practice this week in what it hopes translates into a Del Rio League championship and a CIF- Southern Section Southeast Division title.
The Chiefs, though, are motivated for another reason – coach Jack Mahlstede, who’s retiring at the end of this season after 34 years.
“I think it is big for (coach Mahlstede),” senior receiver Joey Davis said. “He’s changed a lot in how he acts around us (this year). He’s more laid back.
“I think it will be really good in his last year. We want to play well for him. He’s been here 40-50 years, I don’t even know, but we want to send him out on top.”
Mahlstede, who’s 228-134-5, is treating it like another of his previous seasons, but he also recognizes that it will be special as well.
“It will be interesting,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of time in.
“I don’t know what I will do next year. I have a grandson at Sonora (and one at Santa Fe). I’m sure Christian (Mahlstede, the Chiefs’ quarterback) will play college ball somewhere. It’s going to be different this year, but it will be fun.”