La Mirada is its own worst enemy in opener

Well, that didn’t take long.
La Mirada, the top-ranked team in the Daily News’ preseason football poll, was thoroughly thumped by Tesoro on Friday night, 43-14. The Matadores turned the ball over three times and were flagged for 22 penalties in the loss.
Tesoro took advantage of excellent field position all night and kept La Mirada’s defense on the field far too long. Tesoro began five drives inside La Mirada territory.
“If you turn the ball over and have 22 penalties, you have no chance to win,” said La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti. “We have to do a better job as coaches to get the kids ready.”
The Matadores, ranked No. 2 in the first CIF-SS Southeast Division poll, will host La Habra on Friday. The Highlanders opened the seeason ranked No. 3 in the preseason Daily News poll and No. 2 in the CIF-SS Southwest Division.

Lancers answer early test on the road
Kevin Ramos had a 92-yard touchdown run for La Serna in Friday’s 27-10 victory over Vista of the San Diego Section.
The visiting Lancers made plenty of mistakes, as head coach Margarito Beltran said he expected in the season opener, but also made big plays when needed. Tony Ceron and Jalen Thompson each recorded an interception, and senior quarterback Frankie Palmer contributed with both his arm and his feet.
“It was definitely a first game,” Beltran said, “not necessarily the prettiest … but overall we were pleased with how our guys maintained their poise.”
The Condors, ranked No. 2 in the Daily News’ preseason Top 10, will host Los Osos on Friday at Cal High.

Cardinals stay the course in victory
Things could have gone terribly wrong for Whittier High on Friday night.
Just minutes into their season-opening game against Sonora, the Cardinals trailed by 13 points. And after fighting back to take a halftime lead, Whittier saw Sonora score on its first drive of the second half for another advantage. At different points in the game, Sonora blocked a field goal, a punt and recovered a fumble.
The Cardinals, however, were patient with their running attack and eventually pulled out a 28-21 victory at La Habra High. Eddie Orta scored three touchdowns on the ground, and Jacob Cervantes scored the game-winner when he recovered a fourth-quarter fumble in the end zone.
“We just kept attacking,” said second-year Whittier coach Visko Ancich. “The kids did a good job and answered. We got really physical and kept attacking.”
Against Sonora’s option offense, defensive linemen Enrique Rabelo and Andres Garcia each played well.
The Cardinals will play Azusa next week at Citrus College.

How the Top 10 Fared

1. La Mirada: Lost to Tesoro 43-14
Next week: Friday vs. La Habra

2. La Serna: Defeated Vista 27-10
Next week: Friday vs. Los Osos at Cal High

3. La Habra: Defeated El Toro 26-3
Next week: Friday at La Mirada

4. Santa Fe: Defeated Ontario Christian 34-21
Next week: Friday vs. Esperanza at El Rancho High

5. Whittier Christian: Defeated Bishop 41-20
Next week: Friday at Cantwell-Sacred Heart

6. Cal: Bye
Next week: Thursday vs. Montebello

7. St. Paul: Lost to Buena Park 40-20
Next week: Thursday vs. Mater Dei at Santa Ana Stadium

8. El Rancho: Defeated Marina 49-19
Next week: Friday at Diamond Ranch

9. Schurr: Bye
Next week: Friday vs. Buena Park

10. Montebello: Lost to Diamond Bar 44-10
Next week: Thursday at Cal

Other Week 0 games

Sunny Hills 28, Pioneer 20
Whittier 28, Sonora 21

Cantwell-Sacred Heart

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Friday’s Top 10 schedule

Here’s Friday’s schedule for the Whittier Daily News’ Top 10 football teams.

All times 7 p.m. unless noted.

1. La Mirada at Tesoro

2. La Serna vs. Vista at S.D. Cathedral HS, 5 p.m.

3. La Habra vs. El Toro at Trabuco Hills HS

4. Santa Fe at Ontario Christian

5. Whittier Christian at Bishop

6. Cal bye

7. St. Paul vs. Buena Park, 7:30 p.m.

8. El Rancho vs. Marina

9. Schurr bye

10. Montebello at Diamond Bar.

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Willig finds positives in Pioneer’s season-opening loss

The mistakes made by Pioneer High in Thursday night’s 28-20 loss to Sunny Hills had nothing to do with a lack of talent or an unwillingness to play physical football.
Instead, the Titans’ problems stemmed from youth and inexperience. They had a pair of touchdowns called back because of penalties – including a beautiful double pass in the second half – and settled for field goals instead of TDs on two other drives as well. On defense, an encroachment penalty on fourth-and-four extended a Sunny Hills drive in the third quarter.
“The things that were the difference in the game are all fixable things,” said second-year coach Chuck Willig. “Our inexperience hurt us, but (the mistakes) are fixable.”
Pioneer held a 17-14 halftime lead, and extended it to 20-14 early in the fourth quarter. Senior quarterback Jonathan Jimenez threw a pair of touchdown passes and finished with 168 passing yards. On his first TD, a 6-yarder to Julio Reynoso, Jimenez extended the play by rolling to his right and showed great patience before lofting it for the taller receiver. On his next, Jimenez fooled Sunny Hills cornerback Brian Chiang with a great pump fake that allowed Matthew Rodriguez to get behind the defense for a 67-yard score.
“He’s only gonna get better,” Willig said of his quarterback. “We’re really excited about his growth and leadership.”
Pioneer’s special teams played well also. Christian Red blocked a first-quarter punt that led to the Titans’ first score, and senior kicker Michael Cano had a perfect night with two field goals (31 and 32) and two PATs.
“We played really hard on defense and we played physical and we matched a lot of (Sunny Hills’) energy,” Willig said. “It’s just a matter of growing.”
Eventually, Sunny Hills’ power running game wore the Titans down and led to a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Senior Patrick Murano rushed for 200 yards and one score, and Brandon Vizcaya ran for 102 yards and three TDs. The Lancers ran the ball on all 21 plays in the fourth quarter and threw just three times all night.
“That’s a heck of an offense to face with a really young defense,” Willig said.
Pioneer returns to action next Thursday against John Glenn at La Mirada High.

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