El Rancho chooses Trabuco Hills’ Lopez as new football coach; veteran succeeds Rick Zepeda

I just received an e-mail that El Rancho has hired former Trabuco Hills and Santa Margarita run game coordinator Venencio Lopez as its new football coach.
Lopez replaces Rick Zepeda, who resigned at the end of the 2011 season.
Lopez was also defensive coordinator at Rancho Alamitos High School.
“Coach Lopez brings a wealth of football knowledge to our student-athletes,” wrote El Rancho principal Sam Gennis in an e-mail to his staff on Monday. “(He) understands the expectations of the El Rancho community.
“Philosophically, he uses football to develop young men rather than using young men to develop a football program. He is a dedicated coach who will implement policies that are clear and consistent.”
I will have more after I can talk to coach Lopez and principal Gennis directly.

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CIF State playoffs: Cantwell boys, St. Paul girls bascketball teams receive No 11 seeds in basketball brackets; CIF-SS finalists El Rancho and La Serna shutout in soccer


State Bound: Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary received the No 11 seed in Division IV for the CIF State basketball championships. (Staff Photo by Watchara Phomicinda)

The CIF State pairings for boys and girls basketball are out, and both the Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary boys and the St. Paul girls received No. 11 seeds in their respective Division IV brackets.
Cantwell (25-6), which lost 65-42 in its first trip to the CIF-Southern Section divisional finals last Thursday, will travel to No. 6 La Jolla Country Day (20-9) in the first round.
St. Paul (17-14), which lost in the 4A semifinals to Brentwood, will travel to No. 6 The Bishops, of La Jolla, in the first round.
Both games are scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The second round is scheduled for Saturday, with the regional finals slated for March 17 at Colony High School in Ontario. The CIF State championships are March 23-24 in Sacramento.
In pairings released for the CIF State Southern California Regional soccer championships, the El Rancho boys and La Serna girls, who both lost respective divisional championships games, were shut out and did not receive bids.
The snub for El Rancho is a big surprising since the Dons, who won their first 26 games, were the highest ranked California team in ESPN national rankings for much of the year. But CIF’s hands were tied to their seeding rules, which gives first priority to division champions per each enrollment division.

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GIRLS SOCCER: La Serna’s title hopes dashed in 2-1 overtime loss to Downey


No Title: La Serna’s Jen Reed stands dejected after Downey defeated the Lancers 2-1 in overtime in the CIF-SS Division 5 championship game at Mission Viejo High School on Saturday. (Keith Birmingham / Staff Photographer)


By John Sherrard
MISSION VIEJO -
The third time was a charm for Downey High School’s girls soccer team.
Downey, twice a runner-up, defeated La Serna, 2-1, in sudden-death overtime in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 championship Saturday morning at Mission Viejo High.
The Vikings lost last year’s title game to Desert Christian of Lancaster and in 2008 to Oaks Christian.
Downey (18-7-4) qualified for the Southern California Regionals, which begin Tuesday.
The winning goal was scored in the 85th minute by sophomore midfielder Maritza Acuna.
She picked up the loose ball and got by the defense and easily put it past La Serna goalkeeper Penny Roman.
“It’s so great, so great,” Downey coach Rachel Godfrey said. “It’s so good to score and it’s over. The third time was a charm for us and we made history for our school with our first championship.”
San Gabriel Valley League champion Downey scored only six minutes into the second half on a long kick by senior forward Claudia Lopez. The ball sailed just over the head of Roman.
Trailing 1-0 late in the second half, La Serna rallied to tie the score in the 69th minute.
Freshman forward Elizabeth Fernandez passed the ball to senior defender Savannah Francis, who scored over Downey goalkeeper Adrianna Salazar into the left corner. Francis, who is right-footed, scored with her left foot. Francis, headed to UC Santa Barbara in the fall, was moved up to play forward late in the first half.
“We worked hard as a team and I felt like we could’ve definitely won this game,” Francis said.
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CIF State Wrestling Championship Saturday: Davis repeats; Cruz takes sixth

[BYNAME]By Steve Ramirez Staff Writer

BAKERSFIELD — Joey Davis, like he does against most opponents, took down history Saturday.
Davis earned his spot in area wrestling lore, scoring a 12-4 victory over Newark Memorial’s Victor Pereira to score his second consecutive state title during Saturday’s CIF State championships at Rabobank Arena.
The 160-pound competitor, who beat Pereira for the 152-pound title last season, is the second area wrestler to win back-to-back state titles, joining Santa Fe alum Lyndon Campbell, who pulled the feat in 1986 and ’87 at 119 and 126 pounds.
Davis was joined on the podium with La Habra’s Elder Cruz, who took sixth at 195.
But Saturday was reserved for Davis and history.
“It feels good,” said Davis, who improved to 55-1, with the only loss coming on a controversial default two weeks ago. “I trained so hard for it.
“Last year felt a little bit better, it being my first. The second one feels good. But this one was just a mission.”

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El Rancho’s unbeaten streak ends in CIF-SS title game


Above: El Rancho goal keeper David Lopez sits alone as Crescenta Valley celebrates winning 3-0 during a CIF-SS Division 4 championship soccer match at Warren High School in Downey. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham)
By Keith Lair
DOWNEY –
The El Rancho High School boys soccer team’s stellar season ended with a thud.
Crescenta Valley was able to take advantage of its opportunities and stymie the Dons en route to a 3-0 victory in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 championship game on Friday evening at Warren High.
“It’s amazing,” El Rancho senior Francisco Lara said. “We didn’t expect this. We came out expecting to win, but you never know what happens.”
The loss ended the Dons’ 34-game unbeaten streak (26 this season), and also ended their hopes at winning a second consecutive CIF-SS title.
Now all they can hope for is a potential invitation to the CIF State Southern California regional playoffs.
“You have to give credit to Crescenta Valley,” El Rancho coach Dominic Picon said. “They made the most of the littlest of opportunities. They are a very formidable team.”
Crescenta Valley remains unbeaten at 20-0-7.
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CIF State Wrestling: Davis, Cruz advance to semifinals

BAKERSFIELD – If Santa Fe High School’s Joey Davis is to make history tonight, he’s going to do it with a bold statement.
The senior, looking to become only the second area competitor to win back-to-back state titles, was dominant during the first day of the CIF State wrestling championships at Rabobank Arena.
Davis, who won at 152 pounds last year, went 4-0 at 160 on Friday, three by fall, to storm into today’s final day. He will be joined in this morning’s semifinals by La Habra’s Elder Cruz (195). Santa Fe’s Kioni Villalobos went 2-2 before being eliminated with a loss in consolation round four.
The meet concludes today with consolation and semifinal bouts scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The finals are slated for 7:15 p.m.
“(Davis is) on another level right now,” Santa Fe coach Sal Garcia said. “He’s trying to prove that he’s the best wrestler in California.”
Davis made a strong case Friday.
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CIF-SS D-4 Boys Soccer Championship: El Rancho looking to be crowned again


Can El Rancho do it again?

El Rancho High School, ranked No. 5 nationally by ESPN, is one of the top boys soccer teams in the country and arguably the No. 1 team in the state.
But are the Dons the best in CIF-Southern Section Division 4?
The answer comes today for El Rancho, which looks to score its second consecutive CIF-SS title when it faces Crescenta Valley at Warren High School in Downey for the division crown at 5 p.m.
“I’m proud of the kids and the way they’ve played this season,” El Rancho coach Dominic Picon said. “They’ve overcome a lot of adversity and despite all the accolades haven’t gotten too high, or two low. They’ve been pretty even keel.
“I expect the same (today). They’ve played in big games the past few years and I just hope they don’t get overwhelmed with all pageantry of the game.”

El Rancho seeks repeat

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Boys Basketball 4A Championship: Poor second-half dooms Cantwell in 65-42 loss to Pacific Hills


(Staff photo by Keith Birmingham)

ANAHEIM – There may be a time when the Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary may look back at Thursday and reflect on the thrill of making school history by playing in the Cardinal’s first trip to the CIF-Southern Section boys basketball finals.
But not today.
Brandon Taylor scored 23 points and Namon Wright had 14 and top-seeded Pacific Hills ended Cantwell’s dream of championship glory with a 65-42 victory in the 4A title game at Anaheim Arena.
The Bruins, who beat five opponents by an average of 29.2 points en route to the title, improved to 28-4. Cantwell, getting 19 points from super junior Jose Estrada, slipped to 28-5. The Cardinals are likely to receive a bid to the CIF State playoffs when pairings are released on Sunday.
“The time for reflection will definitely come,” Cantwell coach George Zedan said. “The kids have a lot to be proud of, and the school. The buzz around on our campus today was, in my mind, similar to a college environment, so those are memories, those are moments that you kind of live for, you coach for.
“I think they are something these guys will never forget. Obviously, you want to win. But the process and the ride (to the championship game) was a lot of fun. This is a disappointment. But overall, it wasn’t like we weren’t trying. They are a pretty good team.”
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