We should have a new No. 1 next week, and it will be a familiar name as St. Paul, taking advantage of La Habra’s blunder on Thursday, rallied to be beat Ayala. Other big wins on Friday were La Serna getting back in the win column with a victory over Warren and Whittier Christian winning for the second-consecutive week. Also, Whittier fell from the unbeatens, with a loss to Paramount. There was also a big loss, with Santa Fe losing, 49-0, to Charter Oak. It’s the Chiefs’ third blow-out setback in five weeks.
Here’s the Friday night roundup:
No.2 St. Paul 30, Ayala 27 – Do the Swordsmen have the look of the top team in the area? You bet. While this was closer than I thought, nothing beats 4-0, so you can expect St. Paul to come on up, especially following La Habra’s 41-6 loss to St. John Bosco on Thursday. Paul Echeverria rushed for 96 yards to lead the Swordsmen, who face Schurr next week before opening Mission League play in two weeks.
No. 3 Whittier Christian 29, Salesian 14 – That’s two in a row for the Heralds, who are starting look like the team that went to the Mid-Valley Division finals last season. Whittier Christian, getting 259 yards and three TDs from quarterback Daniel Chacon, led 26-0.
No. 4 California 27, Schurr 0 — You can throw the Condors in the mix for the Del Rio League chase after blitzing the Spartans. California, keyed by Nick Gonzalez, forced five fumbles and had six sacks to coast in a nonleague game. Running backs Gabriel Lozano, Justin Dankert and jAaron Garcia combined to rush for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Bellflower 21, No. 5 La Mirada 7 - Just when we think the Mats are about to step up, they fall back. Bellflower had an 82-yard interception return for a TD and a 54-yard fumble return to set up another score to beat La Mirada in the Suburban League opener.
Charter Oak 49, Santa Fe 0 - Boy the Chiefs are difficult to figure out. This is their third blow-out loss in five games. But all against the best. The question is how this will effect their psyche. Coach Jack Mahlsted says it won’t. But you still have to wonder.Running back Joey Davis rushed for 98 yards.
La Serna 21, Warren 7 – The Lancers are beginning to look like the Del Rio League favorite after beating the Bears. O.J. Medina rushed for 147 yards and two scores to lead La Serna.
St. Bernard 27, Cantwell 24 - This one will hurt. The Cardinals, getting 150 yards rushing and a TD from junior Jared Gonzales, looked like they were on their way for a win in the Del Rey League opener, leading 21-6 at halft. But the Vikings showed why they are one of the favorites after rallying.
Paramount 24, Whittier 14 - Whittier’s chance at at perfect season ended against the Pirates, who led 17-0 after three quarters.
Huntington Park 17, Pioneer 13 - It was close, but the Titans fall to 0-4.
La Habra, the top team in the area all season that looked so impressively despite losses to Pac-5 Division stalwarts Servite and Orange Lutheran, laid a big egg Thursday, dropping a 41-6 setback to another Pac-5 team, St. John Bosco,
The visiting Braves had nearly 500 yards total offense, including 228 during the first half as they took advantage of three Highlander turnovers to lead 21-0 at the end of the first quarter and 28-0 by halftime.
Royce Moore had 162 total yards and scored two touchdowns and quarterback Rene Medina threw for 221 and accounted for three scores as St. John Bosco improved to 4-1.
La Habra, getting 102 yards rushing from Nick Serrato, slipped to 2-3.
The Highlanders, who lost to Trinity League members Servite and Orange Lutheran by a combined 14 points the past two weeks, lost their sixth consecutive game to teams from the Pac-5 Division League. They also went 0-3 against those three last season.
The final quarter was played with a running clock.
La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta: “They’re good and we didn’t play well. We didn’t execute, we
didn’t take care of the football. We didn’t do the things our football program normally does. But they had something to do with that. They’re a very good football team. That’s the reality of it. That’s a good group of football players.
Here’s my story on one of the good guys, Whittier football coach Walter Scott, who won the ABC7 NFL High School Coach of the Week award for the third time on Wednesday.
WHITTIER – Walter Scott is a legacy at Whittier High School.
He played there and for the past 23 years has been the Cardinals’ football coach. His dedication to the school and community is widely known, and Scott was rewarded for his work this week when he earned the ABC7 NFL High School Coach of the Week award.
It marked the third time he won the award, making him the fourth coach to be so honored. He received the award Wednesday.
The presentation will air Saturday on KABC’s Sportszone Show about 9:15 p.m.
“It’s all about these kids,” Scott said. “Whittier High School is a special place. Hopefully, (winning this award) puts them in that special category.
“Around here, it’s about the kids. Hopefully that translates to them, and it did. I’m kind of humbled that they chose me again. I was really surprised when they called. But because our season was so difficult last year, it was important that the same message was being sent, and that being those life skills that we are trying to give these kids.”
The message has been transmitted and received.
Whittier was winless in 2010 but has opened this season with three consecutive victories. It joined St. Paul as the area’s only undefeated teams.
Part of the change is another year of growth for many of the players, but also what Scott always taught them – to keep pushing forward.
“He’s a great coach,” quarterback Gio Hernandez said. “He’s great to play for.
He didn’t give up on us after last year. He’s always been here for us.
“He’s very positive all the time, about us just getting better and trying to improve.”
Whitter Daily News Football Rankings
Rk (PR) Team (Record)
1. (1) La Habra (2-2) – There’s no doubt after watching the Highlanders bring Servite and Orange Lutheran, both Pac-5 Division powers, to the brink. that deserve to stay at No. 1. I’ve never been one to reward a team just for playing a top upper-division team. They have to play them, and play them well. And La Habra has exceeded that expectation. It just wouldn’t be fair to drop them after they’ve proven they can compete against the CIF-SS’ best. Adding to the argument was that St. Paul and La Habra are also both No. 1 in their respective divisions.
2. (2) St. Paul (3-0) - If anything, the Swordsmen are close to their counterparts from the east. St. Paul, after starting 3-0 and pounding one of the better City Section teams in Garfield, at least forced a decision of who’s No. 1. I’m just not ready to put the Swordsmen ahead of the Highlanders. But oh, would I love to see them meet!
3. (7) Whittier Christian - Why it’s there is discussion of who should be No. 1, it’s clear there is separation between the the rest of the top two and the rest of the area’s 13 teams. The Heralds get the No. 3 spot, mainly because they won convincingly the week before. But this is still a team that seeks consistency. If they get it, they might stay in this slot for another week.
4. (8) California (2-1) - The Condors, taking advantage of some big losses, make the big leap after routing Sonora last week. They should stay there with a trip to Schurr this week.
5. (9) La Mirada (1-3) - It’s hard to rank a 1-3 team this high, but the Matadores are the best 1-3 team in the area, if not the CIF-SS. They lost to St. Paul 24-7 in a game that was close until the fourth quarter, lost to La Habra by nine points and pounded previously unbeaten La Serna, 31-0. The only bad outing was a 49-14 loss to Amat. La Mirada’s four opponents are combined 11-4, and three of those losses are to teams ranked in the Pac-5 top10.
Others: 6. La Serna (3-1), 7. Santa Fe (1-3), 8. Cantwell (2-1), 9. El Rancho (3-1), 10.Whittier (3-0), 11. Montebello (2-2), 12. Pioneer (0-3), 13. Schurr (0-3).
Above: La Habra’s Aaron Porter is the Highlanders’ defensive force. (Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)
By Steve Ramirez
Football is considered the ultimate team game, where each player’s success or failure relies on everyone else on that side of the field.
But there are exceptions, and for La Habra High School, that individual is senior linebacker Aaron Porter.
He’s considered to be that good, a player whose impact can be game-changing.
Porter demonstrated that ability recently, playing a major part in the Highlanders taking two of the top teams in the CIF-Southern Section – Pac-5 Division stalwarts Servite and Orange Lutheran – to the brink before close losses.
The Highlanders didn’t win, but Porter – and also the team – certainly earned respect from the Division I powers, including Servite coach Troy Thomas, who was simply, glad the Friars won’t have to face La Habra or Porter for the rest of the season.
“He’s incredible,” said La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta, who is impressed by what he’s received from Porter, a four-year starter. “He played against two of the best teams Orange County has to offer and dominated, just dominated.
“He was simply the best player on the field. It’s not like they didn’t know who he was. It’s just hard to stop him. He’s a force out there.”
Here is some area tibbits, leading with El Rancho improved to 3-1 after an opening-week loss:
By Steve Ramirez
One game usually doesn’t define a football season. But one loss appears to be a motivator for El Rancho High School.
The Dons, who opened with a surprising setback to Los Altos, have rebounded to win their past three and might now look like the team that most thought could challenge for the Del Rio League title.
Los Altos, which has since improved to 4-0 and is ranked No. 3 in the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division, beat El Rancho, 49-36.
“I think after we lost to Los Altos, we lost a little faith,” said El Rancho coach Rick Zepeda, whose Dons responded with victories over Northview (13-10), Bell Gardens (27-26) and Montebello (22-7). We were young that day.
“It was an eye-opener for us. We just got back to the fundamentals and just concentrated on doing what we do best.”
This season, our high school football columnist Aram Tolegian and I will go to head-to-head in giving our predictions for all the area games from week to week. Want to play? Just add your projections and keep your tally and see how you match up.
Records (season total, last week): Ramirez (25-16, 6-5); Tolegian (28-13, 8-3).
Last Week: Aram got a little breathing room by picking Pioneer over Sunny Hills and La Mirada, while I had Pioneer and La Serna in those games. We both missed on La Habra’s near-win against Orange Lutheran and El Rancho surprising Montebello.
This week: The big game on the docket is La Habra hosting St. John Bosco on Thursday. It’s the final encounter of the Highlanders’ Trinity League trilogy. They made good account of themselves against OLu and Servite, and I banking they can get over the hump, especially returning to the friendly confines. Friday has some good matchups, with Charter Oak traveling to the area to face Santa Fe, and St. Paul hosting Ayala. I still don’t have a solid read on Santa Fe, but on the surface it doesn’t appear like they have what it takes to tackle Charter Oak, which might have one of its better teams in recent memory. Over at St. Paul, how can you not take the Swordsmen, who have looked solid the first three weeks.
Aram will provide his picks later.
This week’s games:
St. John Bosco at La Habra, 7 p.m. – Ramirez (La Habra); Tolegian (SJB)
Charter Oak vs. Santa Fe at Pioneer HS, 7 p.m. – Ramirez (Ch.Oak); Tolegian (Charter Oak)
Ayala at St. Paul, 7:30 p.m. – Ramirez (SPaul); Tolegian (San Pablo)
Cantwell-Sacred Heart at St. Bernard, 7 p.m. (St. Bernard); Tolegian (St. Bernard)
Bellflower at La Mirada, 7 p.m. – Ramirez (La Mirada); Tolegian (La Mirada)
Whittier vs. Paramount at California, 7 p.m. – Ramirez (Whittier); Tolegian (Paramount)
California at Schurr, 7 p.m. – Ramirez (CalHi); Tolegian (Cal)
La Serna at Warren, 7 p.m. – Ramirez (La Serna); Tolegian (La Serna)
Whittier Christian at Salesian, 7 p.m. – Ramirez (WC); Tolegian (Salesian)
Pioneer at Huntington Park, 7 p.m. – Ramirez (HB); Tolegian (Pioneer)
So who’s No. 1 now?
Friday saw area power La Habra jump on Orange Lutheran only to lose to another Trinity League foe, dropping a painful 30-24 setback in overtime, while No. 2 St. Paul routed what some thought was a good Garfield team, 31-8. And how to you explain La Mirada, which was 0-3 and coming off a thrashing by Bishop Amat, scoring a 31-0 over previously-unbeaten La Serna.
Here’s a brief look at how the area fared:
Orange Lutheran 30, No. 1 La Habra 24 – What can you say? This is one the Highlanders appeared to have. La Habra, getting two first-half touchdowns from Brett Bartolone, led 24-8, only to see the Lancers rally for two second-half touchdowns before winning it when Brady Roelofs recovered Jabari Wilson’s fumble in the end zone. If anything, the Highlanders proved they can go toe-to-to with the top teams in the section.
No. 2 St. Paul 31, Garfield 8 – Paul Telles threw for 219 yards and two TDs and fullback Paul Echeverria scored two TDs and the Swordsmen laid claim to the top spot after routing a team that traditional-power Bishop Amat beat at home, just 14-0. Are they worthy?
La Mirada 31, No. 3 La Serna 0 – I finally jump on the Lancers’ bandwagon, and this is the thanks? But a big win for the Mats, who got 120 yards passing from Gerry Myres and 114 rushing from Adam Carraco. I can see La Mirada making a big jump in the rankings.
El Rancho 22, No. 4 Montebello 7 – The Dons, getting 95 yards rushing from Ronnel Lone, finally lived up to those pre-season expectations, gaining an impressive win over the Oilers.
Esperanza 21, No. 5 Santa Fe 19 – This was one i thought the Chiefs could win. It won’t get easier next week as Charter Oak, one of the top teams in the East San Gabriel Valley, comes to town.
Whittier Christian 28, St. Margaret’s 7 – The Heralds, getting 169 yards from quarterback Daniel Chacon, bounced back from last week’s loss to Kern Valley.
Cantwell 21, Bell Gardens 20 — The Cardinals, getting a late TD from Jared Gonzales, edged the Lancers, who lost by one point to an area team for the second consecutive week.
California 33, Sonora 14 – An impressive win for the Condors over the Raiders, who advanced to the Southwest semifinals last season. A monster game from Miguel Cardiel, who had 23 tackles and a key fumble recovery. Aaron Garcia also had 146 yards rushing for California, who are looking like a team capable of cracking the top five.
El Toro 48, Schurr 0 – It’s beginning to look like a long season for the Spartans, who got routed for the third consecutive week.
Whittier 27, L.A. Roosevelt 20 – Look who is 3-0! An impressive win for the Cardinals on the road.