Putting up a good front: La Mirada line lives up to tradition

Above: From left, offensive linemen Chris Cisneros, Nathan Rodriguez, Nofo Tii, Memo Monreal, Hugo Correa and Spencer Fox have helped lead La Mirada deep into the CIF-SS Southeast Division playoffs. (Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)

LA MIRADA – An offensive lineman’s world doesn’t change much.
It consists mainly of an imaginary three-yard box, and it doesn’t matter if the ball rests near the opponent’s goal line, on the 50 or inside his team’s own 10.
Success from this view comes from attitude and work ethic, and that’s what La Mirada High School’s starting front thrives on.
Quarterback Gerry Myres and running backs Johnny Hills and Andy Gramajo have received most of the glory for the Matadores, but the difference-makers have come up front where seniors Spencer Fox (6-foot-5, 265 pounds), Memo Monreal (6-0, 250) and Nathan Rodriguez (6-3, 260); juniors Hugo Correa (6-2, 245) and Chris Cisneros (6-2, 235) and sophomore Nofo Tii (6-2, 300) have paved the way for the Matadores’ rebirth from an 0-3 start to be within two games of the program’s second CIF-Southern Section Divisional title during the past three seasons.
“It’s a good group of kids,” said La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti, whose Matadores host top-seeded and 2010 champion West Covina at 7 p.m. on Friday in a Southeast Division semifinal. “They don’t speak two words, but they just show up and work. That’s who they are. They want to be the guys who show up and work and don’t want a lot of publicity.
“They’ve done well all year long. There was a concern going into the year about the offensive line. But the more you practice, the more you work, the better you are going to get. And they’ve jelled and gotten better. They are by no means a finished product. We made a ton of mistakes last week. But they are the type of kids who get into the film room and want to learn and get better.”
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Porter sticking with Bruins..for now

The status of La Habra linebacker/running back Aaron Porter, who committed to UCLA
over the summer, hasn’t changed in the wake of UCLA firing coach Rick Neuheisel Monday.
The senior, considered one of the top linebackers in the CIF-Southern Section, still is on board with the Bruins.
“Nothing has changed,” La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta said. “He just wants to wait and see who they hire.”
Porter, who rushed for 141 yards and made nine tackles in the Highlanders’ 28-21 victory over Brea Olinda on Friday, will lead La Habra (9-3) in the Southwest Division semifinals when it hosts El Toro (11-1) at 7 p.m.
The Highlanders are seeking the school’s fifth consecutive CIF-SS title and seventh overall.

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Football: Whittier’s Scott resigns

The list of area football coaching openings continues to grow.
Walter Scott, Whittier High School’s coach the past 18 seasons, has resigned from that position, the school’s assistant principal Juan Anzaldo confirmed Tuesday.
Scott, who graduated from Whittier, was 61-121-2 in a tenure that goes back to the early 1990s. His Cardinals, who were 0-10 in 2010, were 5-5 this season. They finished fourth in the Del Rio League with a 2-3 record.
“He’s been associated with Whittier the past 23 years,” Anzaldo said. “This is my first year (here) and he told me when I came aboard that this was likely his last season.
“He was excellent and always did a great job. He’s very knowledgable and his athletes had no problems and always had the highest (grade-point average) at the school. He developed a great team of coaches and the teachers really like him.
“He left the program in good hands. Most of our players were juniors this year and we should return 85 percent of the team.”
Anzaldo said the school is expecting to fill the position by January.
“We’re looking for a coach with previous head coaching experience or one who is a defensive or offensive coordinator from a powerhouse school with a consistent winning record,” he said. “We’ve already had 40 (applicants).”
Calls to Scott were not returned.

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Football: Juarez out at Pioneer, but will remain as AD

Ramon Juarez, in his 15th season at Pioneer High School, has been relieved of his coaching dutes, Pioneer principal Monica Oviedo confirmed Monday.
Juarez, who will remain as the school’s athletic director, was 65-88-1, including finishing last in the Del Rio League this season at 1-9.
Oviedo refused to answer any questions directly, but referred to an e-mail statement in which she said:
“It is with mixed feelings that we share with you that after 15 seasons, Ramon Juarez will no longer serve as head football coach at Pioneer High School. Ramon began his coaching career at Pioneer High School as an assistant in 1991, and was later promoted to head coach in 1997. His coaching legacy includes a Del Rio League championship in 1998, 2 CIF quarterfinal appearances in 1998 and 2002 as well as Del Rio League/All Area Coach of the Year honors in 1998 and NFL (high school) Coach of the Week honors in 1998 and 2003. Ramon is a man of tremendous character and integrity, who thrived in building positive relationships with countless young men and women through his role as head football coach. His knowledge of the game and respect from his peers in the coaching ranks is unparalleled. Ramon’s effort, resilience, and commitment to the football players at Pioneer High School are deeply appreciated.”
Calls to Juarez have yet to be returned.

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WDN Touchdown Table: Your Predictions and ours

This season, I will give my 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.
Record (season total, last week): Ramirez (78-43, 3-2)
Last Week: It was a decent week. I let it ride too long on Cantwell. But who saw La Mirada’s upset of Arcadia?
This week: We’re down to the elite 3, with La Habra, La Mirada and La Serna still alive. All three, as you would expect, have tough games in the semfinals. I like La Habra against El Toro in the Southwest, but the Chargers are no pushover. La Mirada and La Serna, both in the Southeast, will be up against it. La Mirada gets top seed and 2010 champion West Coviina, which is still the heavy favorite to repeat. La Mirada already shocked one team in Arcadia, can they do it again? There’s a chance with the way the Mats line is playing, but you have to go with the favorite and so will I, but it could be close. La Serna also has to play a perfect game. Remember, Muir destroyed Santa Fe, which beat the Lancers. My heart says to take La Serna, but after watching Muir take apart the Chiefs and seeing a 48-0 score over Diamond Ranch, makes me go with the Mustangs.
Here are this week’s predictions:
Friday, Nov. 25

Southwest Division
El Toro (11-1 at La Habra (9-3), 7:30 p.m. — La Habra
Southeast Division
West Covina (11-1) at La Mirada (8-4), 7:30 p.m. — West Covina
Muir (8-4) at La Serna (9-3) at Cal HS, 7:30 p.m. — Muir

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Final three ready for the Final Four – La Habra, La Mirada and La Serna all at home for the semifinals

It will be home sweet home for the area’s final three when they play in next week’s CIF-Southern Section divisional semifinals. All three area teams — La Habra in the Southwest and La Mirada and La Serna in the Southeast — will be at home in their respective final fours.
La Habra, seeking its fifth division title and seventh overall, will host El Toro. It should be noted that Highlanders also received a break if it advances to the final, because their expected chief challenger – No. 1 Villa Park, was upset in the quarters, losing 35-7 to Tustin.
La Mirada, back in the semifinals after a year hiatus, host No. 1 West Covina, with La Serna, back in the semifinals for the second consecutive season, hosts Muir, which has outscored its first two playoff opponents, 87-7, including beating Del Rio League champ Santa Fe, 39-7, in the first round.
Who gets in? And what should be our feature game? I’m heavily leaning toward West Covina at La Mirada.
Here’s next Friday’s schedule:
Southeast Division

West Covina (11-1) at La Mirada (8-4)
Muir (8-4) at La Serna (9-3)
Southwest Division
El Toro (11-1) at La Habra (9-3)
All games are tentatively scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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Friday Night Recap: The LAs have it as La Habra, La Mirada and La Serna advance to semifinals; Whittier Christian and Cantwell go down

What at night!
It paid Friday night if you’re an area high school team with a name that begins with ‘La,’ as La Habra, La Mirada and La Serna all advanced to the semifinals with close victories in the quarterfinals. La Serna rallied in the final moment to beat Los Altos, 42-38; La Mirada held off Arcadia, 31-28; and La Habra, seeking its fifth consecutive divisonal title, won a surprising close game in a 28-21 victory over Brea Olinda. Whittier Christian and Cantwell bowed out with losses of 67-21 to Monrovia and 49-22 to Lompoc/Cabrillo, respectively.
Here’s a brief rundown of each game.
La Serna 42, Los Altos 38 –
Sophomore quarterback Frankie Palmer continues to play like a senior, accounting for 304 yards and four touchdowns, including scoring the game-winner with a 5-yard run with 1:06 to play. The Lancers, who lost to Bonita in the semifinals last season, held off a Los Altos drive at the end forcing a fumble inside their own six. They will host Muir at California High School on Friday. The Mustangs, who entered the playoffs as an at-large entry, followed up last week’s victory over No. 2 Santa Fe by beat Diamond Ranch, 48-0.
La Mirada 31, Arcadia 28 – Johnny Hills wasn’t the Matadores No. 1 running back when the season began, but he showed his worth by rushing for 219 yards and two touchdowns as La Mirada advanced to the semifinals for the first time since winning the Southern Division in 2009. The Mats, who rallied back from a 28-10 deficit, will host top-seed and 2010 division champion West Covina in next week’s semifinals. The Bulldogs routed Pasadena, 55-12.
La Habra 28, Brea Olinda 21 – It’s back to the semifinals for the Highlanders, who used two third-quarter interceptions before holding off a furious rally against Brea Olinda. La Habra, seeking a fifth consecutive divisional title and its sixth overall, will host El Toro, which routed Yorba Linda, 58-20. Aaron Porter rushed for 114 yards and quarterback Sean Sparling threw for 115 yards to lead the Highlanders.
Monrovia 67, Whittier Christian 21 – The Heralds were no match for the 2010 divisoin championships, who led 21-0 after the first quarter, 41-7 at halftime and 61-14 after three quarters. De’Shawn Ramirez ran for 129 yards and scored four touchdowns, including a 98-yard interception return, to lead Monrovia. Joel Rhone rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown in garbage time to lead Whittier Christian.
Cabrillo/Lompoc 49, Cantwell 22 – For the second consecutive season, a team from Lompoc did in the Cardinals. Cantwell, after committing five turnovers, where never in it, trailing 35-0 by halftime and 49-0 in the third quarter.Tim Walsh threw for 109 yards to lead the Cardinals.

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PrepXtra Live Postgame Rewind: The boys bid farewell to some and congratulate others …

Above: Whittier Christian doesn’t want to see this tonight. (Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)

It’s getting down to the nitty-gritty of CIF-Southern Section football with five area teams looking to punch their tickets to next week’s semifinals with quarter-final match-ups tonight. In the Southeast, La Mirada and La Serna take to the road, with games at Arcadia and Los Altos, respectively. La Habra, seeking its fifth consecutive divisional title, is also on the road, traveling to Brea Olinda, a team it beat 55-2 in Septemeber. Can the Highlanders repeat? Two area teams are at home: Cantwell Sacred Heart hosting Cabrillo of Lompoc in the Northwest and Whittier Christian getting 2010 champ Monrovia at Whittier College in the Mid-Valley, which is where I will be and tweet scoring plays and quarter updates. You can track all the scorers from our SGVN scoreboard and Mike Robledo will be at the Azusa-San Dimas Mid-Valley game at Citrus College with his weekly Cover-It-Live, where reporters will tweet from their games, including Tyler Drohan from the La Serna-Los Altos game. Below you will find links to the scoreboard and the Cover-It-Live.
PREP XTRA LIVE POSTGAME SHOW: Don’t forget to tune in to the postgame show, with host Aram Tolegian and crew, where we look at the games and try to explain what happened.

Quarter-by-quarter updates

Tonight’s schedule and predictions:
Southwest Division

La Habra (8-3) at Brea Olinda (9-2), 7:30 p.m. — La Habra
Southeast Division
La Mirada (7-4) at Arcadia (9-2), 7:30 p.m. – Arcadia
La Serna (8-3) at Los Altos (8-3), 7:30 p.m. – La Serna
Mid-Valley Division
Monrovia (8-3) vs. Whittier Christian (7-4) at Whittier College, 7 p.m. – Monrovia
Northwest Division
Lompoc Cabrillo (9-2) at Cantwell-Sacred Heart (8-3), 7:30 p.m. — Cantwell

And here’s a little tip from Rocky Balboa of what to do tonight when it gets tough!

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