College football’s national signing day sometimes can feel like a cross between Black Friday and Christmas.
It felt more like the latter for six area football players who did as expected Wednesday and signed national letters of intent with schools they previously had given oral commitments.
The head of the class was La Habra High School linebacker Aaron Porter, who signed with UCLA, but also includes Highlanders teammates Brett Bartolone and Sean Wale, who signed with Washington State and Boise State, respectively. The La Mirada trio of Spencer Fox, Devon Hall and Jesse Gonzalez signed with South Dakota, North Dakota and Western New Mexico, respectively.
Porter, the 2011 Daily News Player of the Year, was one of the major pieces to UCLA’s recruiting class under new coach Jim Mora Jr., who replaced Rick Neuheisel in December. The senior, who also was CIF-Southern Section Southwest Division Player of the Year, was one of the top recruits in California and ESPN.com’s No. 16 inside linebacker prospect.
“UCLA’s a great school, great education and it’s close to home,” Porter said. “The new coaches are excellent. I think they are way better than (the previous coaches).”
LA HABRA – La Habra High School’s Ryan Hall and Troy’s Taylor Maughan are two of the better boys basketball players in the Freeway League.
The duo showed how good Friday.
Hall won the personal battle, scoring 37 points to to Maughan’s 28.
But the Warriors senior didn’t mind after Ben Stiver hit two free throws with 8.9 seconds left to clinch a 63-61 victory in a league matchup.
La Habra’s Brett Bartolone intercepted an in-bounds pass with two seconds left, but his halfcourt shot glanced off the top of the glass at the buzzer.
Troy, also getting 11 points from Mo Jomaa, improved to 16-6 overall and 3-3 in league play. The Highlanders, also receiving 14 from Alex Imhof, slipped to 14-9 and 3-3.
“(Maughan’s) a great player,” La Habra coach Mark Stewart said. “I thought we did a great job guarding (Maughan). But he elevated over our guys and scored, even though we were guarding them.”
Dave Pierson is coming home.
The veteran football coach, a graduate of Santa Fe High School, was named Friday to take over the Chiefs football program from Jack Mahlstede, who retired after 34 seasons.
“Dave Pierson is a well-respected teacher and coach and we’re thrilled to have him come home to Santa Fe High School as our new head football coach,” Santa Fe principal Kevin Jamero said in a statement released by the Whittier Union High School District. “He has great experience, having worked alongside some of our best coaches in the district, and has strong ties not only to our school but also to the Whittier Union High School District and community.
“Under his guidance we are confident that we will continue our long-standing tradition of athletic excellence and sportsmanship in the football program here at Santa Fe.”
Pierson has been a football coach the past 17 seasons, including the previous seven as head coach at Jurupa Valley. He was 22-48-1 for the Jaguars, including 6-3-1 last season.
He also was an assistant under Mahlstede in 1995-96 and was Kevin La Vigne’s assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at La Serna from 1997-2004.
“Our work begins now,” Pierson said in a statement released by the district. “Obviously this is a great challenge and a great opportunity. It’s like coming full circle, having grown up playing football in the community and at Santa Fe High School.
“There are a lot of great people in the community who mentored me and supported me throughout my life and this is a wonderful opportunity to give back by teaching and coaching the students and athletes at Santa Fe High.”
By Red Williams
LA MIRADA – The pin is the name of the game in high school wrestling.
And Norwalk put six of them on the board to defeat La Mirada 38-35 on Thursday.
With the victory, Norwalk improved to 5-0 in the Suburban League while La Mirada fell to 4-1.
Norwalk took a 6-0 lead when its first two wrestlers, Gonzalo Vargas and Jethro Llamido, scored pins over Alex Powers and Alfonso Aguilar at 106 and 113 pounds, respectively.
“Pins certainly did us in,” Matadores coach Robert Lipeles said. “We put five sophomores and two freshmen on the mat, and it showed.”
By Steve Ramirez
WHITTIER – As far as Santa Fe High School girls basketball coach Matt Zamora is concerned, the success of the Chiefs is all about defense.
Santa Fe showed why Thursday night.
The Chiefs used a solid effort on the defensive end to break away in the second half en route to a 51-41 victory over host La Serna in a key Del Rio League game.
Santa Fe, getting 14 points from Jackie Saiza and 11 rebounds and seven points from Dijonnae Murphy, improved to 13-9 overall and 4-1 in league play. The Chiefs, who travel to El Rancho on Monday, are at league-leader Whittier on Wednesday.
La Serna, which had won six out of its last seven before Thursday, slipped to 9-12 and 3-2. Nannette Beightol had 14 points and Ruby Nichols had 11 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Lancers, who host Whittier on Monday.
Santa Fe, which has won six out of its last eight games, held its seventh opponent in its last eight under 40 points. The exception being Whittier, which scored a 40-33 over the Chiefs on Jan. 13.
“As much as I love offense, we’re just a great defensive team,” Zamora said. “That’s what we’re better at. In the beginning, we started out a little slow.
“But once we started getting settled in, and locked in, I thought our defense took over the game for us in the second half.”