2011 WDN All-Area Football Team: Porter, Medina and Jones top first team list; Santa Fe’s Mahlstede is coach of the year

Above: Player of the Year Aaron Porter of La Habra (Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)
To read Aaron Porter’s Player of the Year story, along the La Serna duo of OJ Medina and Craig Jones receiving offensive and defensive player of the year honors, and Santa Fe’s Jack Mahlstede being named Coach of the Year, along with the first and second team lists, click the thread.


Player of the Year – Aaron Porter, La Habra, Sr.
Coach of the Year – Jack Mahlstede, Santa Fe
Offensive Player of the Year – OJ Medina, La Serna, Sr.
Defensive Player of the Year – Craig Jones, La Serna, Sr.
Paul Telles, St. Paul, Jr.
RB: Joey Davis, Santa Fe, Sr.
RB:OJ Medina, La Serna, Sr.
AP: Corey Collins, Cantwell, Sr.
WR:Brett Bartolone, La Habra, Sr.
WR: Dallis Shipp, La Mirada, Jr.
TE: Tyler Carrillo, St. Paul, Sr.
OL: Cristian Garcia, St. Paul, Jr..
OL: Spencer Fox, La Mirada, Sr.
OL: Pete Morales, La Habra, Sr.
OL: Spencer Long, La Habra, Sr.
OL: Isaiah Osorio, La Serna, Jr.
PK: Sean Wale, La Habra, Sr.
Abraham Torres, Cantwell, Sr.
DL: Tony Casados, La Habra, Sr.
DL: John McFarland, La Serna, Jr.
LB: Kevin Romo, St. Paul, Sr.
LB: Craig Jones, La Serna, Sr.
LB: Miguel Cardiel, California
LB: Willie Blauser, Santa Fe, Sr.
DB: Daniel Abernethy, Whittier Christian, Sr.
DB: Cedrick Franklin, La Habra, Jr.
DB: Andy Gramajo, La Mirada, Sr.
DB: Christian Mahlstede, Santa Fe
P:Daniel Chacon, Whittier Christian, Sr
Second Team
Frankie Palmer, La Serna, So.
RB:Johnny Hills, La Mirada, Jr.
RB:Ryan Morales, Whittier Chr., Sr.
AP: Michael Ortega, St. Paul, Senior
WR: Zach Ramsey, St. Paul, Senior
WR: Cody Bronkar, Whittier Christian, Jr.
WR: Adam Aguirre, Cantwell, Sr.
OL: Carlos Tovar, Santa Fe, Jr.
OL: Paul Governale, St. Paul, Sr.
OL: Cris Cisneros, La Mirada, Jr.
OL: Andrew Sagaio, La Habra, Sr.
OL: Memo Monreal, La Mirada, Sr.
PK: Eric Amezquita, California, So.
Daniel Servin, Montebello, Sr.
DL: Omar Luna, Whittier, Jr.
DL: Mario Bonilla, Santa Fe, Sr.
DL: Tyler Luatua, La Mirada, So.
LB: Eric Magos, Schurr, Sr.
LB: David Cabral, St. Paul, Sr.
LB: Austin Ybarra, La Habra, Sr.
DB: Jacob Alaniz, Cantwell, Sr.
DB: Grant Escobar, Whittier Chr., Sr.
DB: Marcus Garcia, St. Paul, Sr.
DB: Lawrence Gomez, California, Sr.
P: Jordan Rincon, Santa Fe, Sr.

When it comes to area high school football, La Habra
has set the standard, winning 10 consecutive Freeway League titles
and six CIF-Southern Section divisional championships since 2002.
The Highlanders strength lies in their personal, which has featured
the area’s best for much of the past 10 seasons, and that’s no
different this season where senior Aaron Porter was a cut above the
Porter, the latest star for La Habra, which in past seasons also
included quarterback Cody Clements, now at Washington State, and
running back Ronnie Hillman, now at San Diego State, is Whittier
Daily News Football Player of the Year.
La Serna running back OJ Medina is Offensive Player of the Year, with
the Lancers linebacker Craig Jones Defensive Player of the Year.
But this was the year of Porter.
“Overall, he’s probably the top player I’ve ever had,” La Habra coach
Frank Mazzotta said. “I’d put him in that category with Cody Clements
and Ronnie Hillman. All those guys had talent, with incredible work
“They all worked extremely hard, knew they had a world full of talent
and weren’t going to squander it.”
Porter, who committed to UCLA in the summer, is the latest to fit the
He had already proven himself as one of the top linebackers on the
West Coast. But this season, due to injuries, added the role of
running back to his resume, and the results keyed La Habra to another
Freeway League title and to the Southwest Division semifinals.
The senior, who led the team with eight sacks and 23 tackles for a
loss, was just as dominant on offense, rushing for 865 yards and 17
touchdowns. He also had three receiving scores to finish with 20
touchdowns, while averaging nearly nine yards per carry.
His postseason honors including being selected Freeway League MVP and
All-CIF-SS Southwest Division Player of the Year. He was also
All-Orange County Defensive Player of the Year.
“I thought we had a good season, up until the end,” said Porter of
the Highlanders, who went 5-0 in the Freeway League, but saw their
CIF-SS title quest end with a semifinal loss to El Toro. “We played
hard. It just didn’t turn out the way we wanted.
“There was definitely some pressure, trying to live up to the seniors
last year. You always want to win to keep that tradition going. We
let them down, but we had a good season.”
It was a very challenging one for La Habra, which 9-4 campaign
included three tough losses to Trinity League stalwarts Servite
(24-16), Orange Lutheran (30-24) and St. John Bosco (41-6).
Porter, who was expected to be a change-up option in the backfield
this season, was pushed into the role as the hammer of the offense
when Alex Ybarra was injured during the middle of the season.
He closed the season by rushing for 641 yards and 14 touchdowns in
his last five games, including going for 165 and four scores in La
Habra’s 47-41 loss to El Toro in the semifinals.
Porter ended his career as the top defender in school history, with a
record 388 tackles, with 26 sacks and 54 tackles for losses.
“I love carrying the ball,” he said. “Scoring touchdowns, it’s always
fun to do that. I like having it, putting my team on my back and
carrying them.”
Which is what he did. But his success, according to Mazzotta came not
from his raw ability and stature, which includes his 6-foot-2,
235-pound frame, but from what it carries around inside.
“He did it all for us,” Mazzotta said. “He was the catalyst on both
sides of the ball. No matter what he asked, he did it.
“It’s not so much his talent, but how hard he works. He sets an
example for everyone else on the team. He never takes a break.”
Porter is expected to bring that energy and commitment to the college
ranks, where he is expected to sign with UCLA in February. He is
still committed to the Bruins, who replaced Rick Neuheisel with Jim
L. Mora, a defensive coach.
Medina and Jones were the key factors in La Serna backing up last
season’s run to the Southeast Division semifinals with a trip to this
season’s finals.
Medina was the big player on offense, rushing for 1,625 yards and 21
touchdowns. He keyed the run to the finals, rushing for 465 yards and
seven scores in the playoffs. The senior was Del Rio League Offensive
Player of the Year.
Jones was the glue on defense, leading the Del Rio League with 82
tackles. Jones was league co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Both players were the only two starters from last season’s run to the
divisional semifinals.
It was a fitting conclusion to one of the
more-storied coaching careers in the area.
Santa Fe High School football coach Jack Mahlstede, who had
previously announced the 2011 season would be his final one walking
the sidelines for the Chiefs, went out in a style — with a Del Rio
League title.
For his efforts, both this season and throught out a career that
dates back to the 1970s, Mahlstede is 2011 Whittier Daily News Coach
of the Year.
“We played really tough teams, which is what we planned on doing,”
said Mahlstede, whose Chiefs rebounded from a 1-4 start to go
undefeated in the Del Rio League before losing to Muir in the first
round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs. “We
made a big trip to Arizona, played some really tough ball clubs (in
nonleague play) and just tried to get ready for league. It paid off
for us, because we went undefeated in league.”
The road to the title was not any easy one for the Chiefs. Santa Fe
had to endure three tough losses in September after playing arguably
the top team in Arizona (Hamilton, of Chandler), one of the better
teams in the Pac-5 Division Trinity League (St. John Bosco) and the
eventual Sierra League champion (Charter Oak).
The Chiefs lost all three by a combined 150 points. But molded them
into a strong unit down the stretch.
There were questions, after Santa Fe’s pourus start, about whether
the Chiefs, despite their talent level, could put those setbacks
asside and regroup for the battles that awaited them in the Del Rio
The answers came quickly.
Santa Fe, combining the speed of senior running back Joey Davis, with
the athleticism of receiver/defensive back Christian Mahlstede and a
solid defense, ruled league play.
The Chiefs opened with a 39-21 victory over El Rancho, then clamped
down defensively, giving up 27 points over their final four league
games en route to victories over California (31-10), La Serna (23-8),
Whittier (26-6) and Pioneer (42-3).
The season ended with a 39-7 loss to Muir in the first round of the
“We didn’t really have to tell the kids anything,” Mahlstede said.
“They know when they play (teams like that), they are playing tough
(teams), and they have to be ready mentally to play.
“I think playing teams like that helps you in league, because they
are used to getting up for a (big time opponent. Plus, we got better
(during the season). From game one to game six, we improved a whole
lot. We improved because we realized our shortcomings and were able
to overcome them and get the best out of our kids, who repsonded
really well.”
It’s a philosphy that has worked well for Mahlstede, who after
finishing 6-5 this season, ended his career at Santa Fe with 234
victories, 139 losses and five ties.
Part of his success over the years, which includes traditionally
being one of the top teams in the area, is due to consistency, not so
much on field, but how he teaches and a staff that has had very
little turnover in his 34 years at the Santa Fe Springs school.
“My coaching staff was tremendous this year,” Mahlstede said. “They
did a great job, and have for several years. One of the reasons is
because they’ve been with me for a long time.
“It’s not like a bunch of rookies out there. Some have been with me
for more than 20 years. They did a really good job.”
Now Mahlstede, who had the pleasure of coaching his grandson
Christian at Santa Fe the past few years, will concentrate on the
good life, which will include watching his other grandson, Kyle, who
will be a senior quarterback at Sonora.
“As I look back, the best moments have been working with the kids, my
coaching staff and my family involvement,” Mahlstede said. “All my
boys played for me, coached for me, watching my grandkids play. It’s
been a great run.
“I’ll be able to watch (Kyle) play at Sonora, Christian in college.
It will be a very interesting situation.”

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  • Aaron

    Is this a lifetime achievement award for Jack…because SF did nothing this year in a down year for the division.

  • Steely Don

    To all my wonderful blogging buddies who jumped on me to say that Mahlstede’s ‘Coach of the Year’ accolades were restricted to Del Rio League output, I submit this ALL AREA coaching award as proof positive that Jack is being given, in effect, a ‘lifetime achievement award’ here, not a merited designation for excellence THIS YEAR.

    Indeed, we are being told by the Whittier Daily News that Malhstede’s senior-heavy team, which was projected to be phenomenal, yet got blown-out big-time in the preseason and lost its very first playoff game to a third-place team, was the best-coached squad in the area!! I had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fool’s day!

    If the Whittier Daily News wants to congratulate Jack on a fine career and wish him well, that’s great, but DON’T tell me that his performance this year outpaced that of Frank Mazzotta and Margarito Beltran…that’s a slap in the face.

  • concerns

    This first team defense is a joke. No disrepsect to the kids, but if there arent linebackers in the area with more than 40 tackles then something is wrong. Also, Abernethy from whittier Christian isnt a DB hes a mlb. Im not sure what your basing this off of because if it is stats you definately did not do your job very well. 20 tackles and 3 interceptions for defensive backs? really? Recognizing a La Habra secondary that continually was roasted throghout the season? This is terrible.

  • Jesus Christ

    Malhstede coach of the year? This blog has very little credibility left, if any at all after this selection.

    Most people assume Coach of the Year goes to the person who did the best job as a Head Coach, not Underachieved.

    He had a nice career, but were not talking Ancich numbers. Hell, why not give it to Ancich if you are just giving it to someone as a career award.

    Every coach that underachieved this season has an argument for Coach of the Year now. Legitimately.

    I am going to revise the Bible and add this as one of the original sins… Ignorance.

    Why don’t you just apologize and give recognition where it is due, send that award or $5 gift certificate to Subway down La Serna way and pretend this never happened.

    Don’t let that loss to West Covina in the CIF title game Fool you. You know, it’s not like Santa Fe didn’t get their buts handed to them this year, and La Serna actually made it to the Championship, defeating the very team that eliminated Santa Fe in the FIRST ROUND.

    what a joke.

  • anonymous


  • The Chef

    Congratulations to all of the players that have received recognition for their OUTSTANDING performances this year. Football is Ultimately a TEAM sport and without excellent performances from all members of the team individual excellence can not ever be recognized so congratulations are also due to all of the team members not noted here. To the man, without these team members we will not have this list. I also want to express my sincere appreciation to all of the young football athletes in the WDN area for giving so much blood sweat and tears for the entertainments of your greatest fans. By your hard work and sacrifice you have made truly proud all of the Fathers, mothers, grandparents, siblings, and friends that have come out in heat and cold and rain and shine to see you do what you love. Great thanks is also owed to all of the coaches in the WDN area. You have also sacrificed time with your families and loved ones to lead and teach this fine group of men. These young men honor you greatly with their performance on the field and even more with their performance in their lives. I have seen so many former area athletes come back with academic and career success and attribute that success to lessons learned in sports. My Christmas wish is for all you Seniors the very best in all you do and for all the rest of you stay healthy and safe because Fall will be here before you know it and I cant wait. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good life.

  • Steely Don

    First, I’d like to load everyone up with all the obligatory well wishes for this holiday season. I also echo what my culinary commentator (the Chef) said about teamwork and gratitude to everyone…bravo.

    With that out of the way, it needs to be noted that this All-Area list is most likely the handiwork of Ramirez alone, a man who in the short time he has been at the Whittier desk has revealed many personal biases and irregular judgements.

    Having recently exclaimed that Cal High stadium was “the right choice” for a CIF Championship game, he now props-up an aged, perrenially underachieving Santa Fe coach whose 2011 squad failed spectacularly to meet preseason expectations, and tells us that THIS MAN is “Coach of the Year” for the entire area. The only way he could top that joke would be to declare HIMSELF “Writer of the Year” for the area.

    But hey, it’s Christmas, so “have a good one,” Steve.

  • Stop the Hate!

    Stop the Hate! Forgive me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Santa Fe pound La Serna? Hard to vote for someone who who lost to the guy who won. As for the rest of the team, if there’s not a better player than Aaron Porter..who is better?

  • loves hs football

    Are you kdding?? Mahlstede coach of the year maybe for once again underachieving and once again choking in the playoffs- fopr that he would certainly be coach of the year- but if you really want to honr the coach that did the best job it should have been the LS or La Mirada coaches – Steve I know you this is only your first year as Whittier sports editor but please try to cover the teams equally not just your selected favorites- and maybe try to give a liuttle coverage to boys basketball- try to find out the schedules for the local teams and try to actually come out to cover games at all the local schools.

  • hs football fan

    Are you kdding me?? Mahlestede coach of the year?? maybe if you are talking about an underachieving team thatr once again coached in the playoffs? I believe that the LS or La Mirada coach should have bveen top coach. Steve try to cover all the local teams not just your selected favorites. And how about some coverage for the local Boys basketball teams?? why not check the schedules for the local teams and actually try to get out and cover the games?

  • Jesus Christ

    Hey, “Stop the Hate!”

    Do you consider losing in the First Round of the Playoffs a better job than losing in the Championship Game?

    Ignorance truly is bliss.

    BTW, I wasn’t throwing my full support behind L.S. I was only showing that if Malhstede is Coach of the Year then anyone can be. There is no room for sentimentality when you lack credibility. Someone needs to start a new Blog or a Message Board where we can express ourselves unimpeded and don’t have to be slaves to a Rag like this.

    Mahlstede wins because he is leaving. Let’s just make it a Co-Coach of the year award with everyone else that got Fired. I’m sure they are nice enough fellows.

  • Steely Don

    If Ramirez wanted to pay homage to Jack Mahlstede for his long coaching career, a simple article titled something like WHY I LIKE JACK would have been appropriate. Instead, he robbed the Coach of the Year award from the man who earned it, and in the process diminished the value of the honor.

    This has nothing to do with me “hating” Jack; I hardly even think of the man, except in cases of such obvious injustice. In the wake of this scandal, I will forevermore see Jack not as a guy who bumbled through 40 years of limited success, but as a complicit knave, worming his way into a position of undeserved notoriety.

  • Sane Parent

    First off you people should back off the sports writers because they are doing the best they can with the limited resources they have. 2nd stop bashing Jack Malstede so much I saw them play twice and I didn’t see much talent on that team and he was undefeated in league right? almost every sport award in the world, high school to Pro’s is a regular season award. for example Tom Brady won mvp last year not Rodgers, Derrick Rose won Mvp not Dirk, and coach of the year is the same way look it up, they have separate awards for post season. Lastly everybody has bias but the truth is only La Habra has championships so they should get the most coverage and respect. True we got to the finals but we took the worst beating ever and truthfully I was a little disappointed by our defense the entire playoffs and thats supposed to be Beltran’s specialty not to mention the 84 pts. Im happy with Margarito and thankful for him overall but I think this year losing to a Santa Fe team that we were better then and a Cal team that was running our offense was very disappointing. Also FYI St Paul is falling apart financially and they will lose support with this new coach we have many friends that feel betrayed by the choice. also I heard the new SF coach is also from out of town some where in the valley? I was told the guy is a nice guy??? gee that sounds great! usually when the first thing you hear is a coach is nice that tells me enough this league title may be your last for a while so enjoy SF. We open our doors to any swordsman or chiefs that want to change it up. Go Lancers

  • Steely Don

    I have no problem with somebody saying they like Mahlstede. I have no problem with somebody saying they like Obama. The problem occurs when you give Coach of the Year FOR THE ENTIRE AREA to Mahlstede this year. It’s like Obama supporters getting their man put on Mt. Rushmore. Both constitute the degradation of a high honor.

    Ramirez lavished this award on Jack not once but TWICE, this last ALL AREA award being the most outrageous instance of cronyism. When you say Steve is “doing the best he can with limited resources”, are you referring to the man’s mental capacities?

  • Steve Ramirez

    This is all I will say on the subject, but felt I had to say something. I talked to five coaches in the area, including coach Beltran, who was not only good with the selection of coach Mahlstede for coach of the year, but agreed with it, and recommended coach Malhstede.
    If that upsets people, it upsets people. And also, just to address Mr. Steely Don, who in my opinion, has an “anti-bias” toward some programs in the Del Rio League, I have no tie ins to have a bias toward anyone program in the area, having covered these schools just two falls and one spring, and didn’t grow up in the area. It should be noted, I saw all but one of each team in the area at least once.

  • Jesus Christ

    I don’t think Ramirez has bias against certain programs, I think he has bias against common sense.

    And this pathetic reasoning of “Well I spoke with Coach X, Y and Z and they agreed”. This is High School sports, I have never heard a coach promote themselves over someone else as a Coach of the Year candidate. I’m sure if you mentioned most names other than the teams at the bottom you’d get a favorable response. It just isn’t done.

    You’re supposed to look at the entire body of work, not just 5 LEAGUE GAMES.

    Since Ramirez got his feelings hurt I would like to nominate him for Prep Sports Blogger of the Year, can I get a Yeh or Neh?

    Maybe I can resurrect Murray back from the dead to bring some common sense and sanity back to this page.

    i’ll do my best.

  • Steely Don

    Fun is fun, but this I say in all candor: Steve Ramirez has brought the value of our annual Coach of the Year award into question. Henceforth, an asterick will be attached to the title. That asterick will denote that considerations OTHER THAN coaching abilities MAY HAVE BEEN operative in the selection process. The thing about keeping honest things honest is that even the appearance of impropriety will poison the whole pot.

    I’m a huge believer that nobody gets away with anything; they only try to fool themselves. Ramirez, Mahlstede, you, me, EVERYBODY (and their Uncles) knows this selection was rigged. The guilty parties here can disavow any ill intent, but to what avail? It’s not going to make anyone feel proud, only secretly ashamed.