Daily News Pick’em: Your picks and ours

Friday is the opening day of the 2012 high school football season. Each week, I will make my picks for each game. We have seven games this week. Here are my picks for this week:

Friday, Aug. 24
Nonleague
St. Paul at La Mirada, 7 p.m. — St. Paul
El Dorado at at La Habra, 7 p.m. — La Habra
Roosevelt at Montebello, 7 p.m. — Montebello
La Serna vs. Rancho Christian, 7 p.m. — La Serna
El Rancho vs. Marina, 7 p.m. –El Rancho
Whittier Christian at Mammoth, 7 p.m. — Whittier Christian

Saturday, Aug. 25
Nonleague
Godinez vs. Santa Fe, 7 p.m. — Santa Fe

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The third annual PrepXtra Football Preview Magazine is available Thursday

If you have a home subscription to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News or Whittier Daily News, you’ll find the 111-page PrepXtra Football Preview Magazine in your newspaper Thursday morning. The Magazine is also available with a copy of your paper at newsracks and will be sold at our home offices at the Tribune, Star-News and Whittier Daily News, so don’t miss it.

PREPXTRA PREVIEW DAILY NEWS TEAM STORIES AVAILABLE HERE, ALONG WITH PRE-SEASON ALL-AREA TEAM

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St. Paul quarterback Telles looking to help Swordsmen get off to a good start

By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer

SANTA FE SPRINGS – St. Paul High School senior quarterback Paul Telles has come a long way since winning the starting job as a sophomore.

Telles is now hoping to finish his prep career on a high note. St.Paul opens its season at 7 p.m. on Friday at La Mirada.

“The first game is crucial for our season,” Telles said. “If we come out victorious, I believe we can beat anyone. We’re looking really good right now and I think we can beat anybody.

“(Monday’s) practice went very good. Every day is a crucial step for our preparation – for us to get better individually and as a team. With each day we look to get better and hopefully by Friday, we’ll be in perfect form.”

Telles believes his leadership skills have grown in his three seasons as St.Paul’s starting quarterback.

“Going into my senior year, I believe I developed into a leader that my team can depend on during crucial game situations,” Telles said. “I have built friendships on this team, especially with the linemen. And I owe my gratitude to them. They have done the dirty work for me to be successful. I’ve grown not only as a player but as a person.”

St. Paul head coach Elijah Asante said of Telles: “He brings maturity and veteran leadership. He’s like a compass – he never loses direction. He’s always calm. He is our leader.”

Read more: St. Paul quarterback Telles looking to help Swordsmen get off to a good start

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Hello and allow me to introduce myself

My name is Eric Terrazas, and I am the new Daily News prep sports editor. I am replacing Steve Ramirez, who is now the Star-News prep sports editor. Before becoming the Daily News prep editor, I worked as the weeklies sports editor.
The Whittier area is a place I know very well. I grew up and went to school in Whittier. While serving as the weeklies sports editor, I also frequently helped out with the Daily News prep sports coverage.
If you have any questions or want to touch base with me, you can call me at 562-698-0955, ext. 3060, or e-mail me at eric.terrazas@sgvn.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter@WhittierPreps. I look forward to hearing from you.

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St. Paul has special concerns in practice …

By Keith Lair
Staff Writer

PHOTOS: ST. PAUL PRACTICE

SANTA FE SPRINGS – The St. Paul High School football team is loaded with players bound for college football programs.

So when the Swordsmen open practice every day, many of those standout players are watching from the sidelines.

First-year St. Paul coach Elijah Asante brought out the punting team at the start of Tuesday afternoon’s drills, just like he does at every practice.

“Every game starts with special teams,” Asante said. “Have you ever seen a game that starts without a kickoff?”

The Swordsmen took punt after punt before breaking down into offensive and defensive drills. They began their team meeting on Tuesday afternoon discussing special teams, just like they always do.

“We put a heavy emphasis on special teams,” Asante said. “We want everybody to know how important special teams are to us. If we put special teams at the end of practice, you kind of diminish it and we don’t want to diminish it.

“It’s where you win or lose the game the most often.”

Asante has been with St. Paul – he had previously coached at Carson – since December and he was able to put his offensive and defensive schemes in place long ago.

“It’s going smooth,” senior quarterback Paul Telles said. “We’re just trying to get ready for La Mirada (on Aug. 24). We caught on pretty quickly to what he wants to do.”

But Asante said he will never entirely be sure how his team is faring until that Aug.24 game.

“It appears they have adapted,” he said. “You really don’t know. It’s an experiment that hasn’t been tested yet and the test is on the 24th against La Mirada. We’ll have to see how we adapt to someone with another jersey on.”

It probably won’t happen on Friday night either, in the Swordsmen’s annual intrasquad scrimmage.

“You know what happens at this time of the year,” Asante said. “Everyone looks good because they’re going against themselves. If your offense does well, did they do well because your defense did poorly? Or did they do well because they’re good? And the same thing about the defense. Did they do well because the offense didn’t do well or did they really do well?”

“You really don’t know.”

Asante does know he has a solid quarterback in Telles, who passed for roughly 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns the past two seasons.

“There is no pressure,” Telles said. “The senior class had this pressure since our sophomore year. We’re up for the challenge.

“For me it comes down to making the right reads.”

Telles can hand the ball off to junior Kurt Scoby or pass it to three 6-foot or taller receivers, including returnee Zach Ramsey and newcomers Darrell Cloy, who was at Garfield last year, or Alec Dana, who was at Norco last year. Asante said Dana is the Swordsmen’s fastest player.

“We have some nice receivers and Paul is looking great,” Asante said. “Right now we’re just getting our chemistry and timing down.”

Players who have surprised Asante are lineman Jonathan Gravini and backup quarterback George Reyes.

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St. Paul transfer duo Scoby, Franklin get approval from CIF-SS, eligible to play

St. Paul, under first-year coach Elijah Asante, has brought in some high-profile transfers, and two of them – junior running back Kurt Scoby and senior defensive back Cedric Franklin – received the OK from the CIF-SS office. Each was cleared as change of address transfers. No word yet on receiver Darrell Cloy, who came over from Garfield, of Los Angeles.
Scoby had been a standout back at Charter Oak, of Covina, each of the past two years, including rushing for more than 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. Franklin came over from area power La Habra. He was first team All-CIF-SS Southwest Division last season.
The Swordsmen open their season at La Mirada on Aug. 24.

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