Everybody up for the kickoff!

It’s finally here! Prep football season is upon us, with Week 0 contests beginning Thursday.

Here’s this week’s schedule for Whittier-area teams, and a prediction on the outcome of each from me. I’ll do this every week and keep a running tally as the season progresses.

See you this weekend!


Pioneer vs. Sunny Hills at Buena Park High, 7 p.m. – Sunny Hills


Marina at El Rancho, 7 p.m. – El Rancho

Buena Park at St. Paul, 7:30 p.m. – Buena Park

Santa Fe at Ontario Christian, 7 p.m. – Santa Fe

Whittier vs. Sonora at La Habra High, 7 p.m. – Sonora

La Mirada at Tesoro, 7 p.m. – La Mirada

La Habra vs. El Toro at Trabuco Hills High, 7 p.m. – La Habra

La Serna vs. Vista at San Diego Cathedral High, 5 p.m. – La Serna

Whittier Christian at Bishop, 7 p.m. Whittier Christian

Montebello at Diamond Bar, 7 p.m. – Montebello


Montebello, Cantwell-Sacred Heart, Schurr

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La Mirada, La Habra each earn No. 2 preseason CIF rankings

The football teams from both La Mirada and La Habra drew No. 2 rankings Monday when the CIF Southern Section released its preseason polls for all 13 playoff divisions.
La Mirada trails only defending champion Downey in the Southeast Division, and two-time defending Southeast finalist La Serna is ranked No. 3. Santa Fe, which reached the Southeast semifinals a season ago, is ranked No. 8.
In the Southwest Division, La Habra is second behind Edison.
Whittier Christian is ranked No. 8 in the Northwest Division and Montebello is No. 10 in the Mid-Valley Division.

Here’s a look at the ranked teams in each division involving area teams.

Mid-Valley Division
1. Monrovia 2. Sierra Canyon 3. Paraclete 4. San Dimas 5. San Mariino 6. Bell Gardens 7. Arroyo 8. Northview 9. South El Monte 10. Montebello

Northwest Division
1. Bishop Diego 2. Nordhoff 3. North Torrance 4. Compton Centennial 5. El Segundo 6. Carpinteria 7. La Salle 8. Whittier Christian 9. Oak Park 10 Sierra Vista

Southeast Division
1. Downey 2. La Mirada 3. La Serna 4. Nordhoff 5. Diamond Ranch 6. Los Altos 7. Muir 8. Santa Fe 9. West Covina 10. Paramount

Southwest Division
1. Edison 2. La Habra 3. Villa Park 4. Foothill 5. Los Alamitos T6. Huntington Beach T6. Placentia Valencia 8. Newport Harbor 9. Tustin 10. Yorba Linda

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La Serna’s Duarte scheduled for Sunday surgery for broken leg

La Serna High senior receiver Macenzie Duarte suffered a fracture of his left tibia and fibula during Saturday’s scrimmage with La Habra, La Serna coach Margarito Beltran confirmed Sunday.
Beltran said Duarte was scheduled to have surgery later Sunday. He added Duarte will likely miss the entire season, but was more concerned that Duarte recover properly from the injury.
“The bigger picture is that he gets better and moves forward and can live a physically normal life,” Beltran said.
Duarte was injured early in the scrimmage, and was treated by the training staff of both schools before paramedics arrived. His left leg was immobilized and he was wheeled off the field to an awaiting ambulance.
Beltran called his team a “pretty tight group” and is confident it will move forward despite the loss of Duarte, who started both his sophomore and junior seasons.
“I really believe this is gonna make us stronger, make the kids rally and come together. … We’re up to the challenge.”
The Lancers open their season Friday at Vista of the San Diego Section.

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La Serna senior Duarte suffers leg injury in scrimmage with La Habra

La Serna High’s football team suffered a significant blow Saturday night when senior Macenzie Duarte suffered a left leg injury during the Lancers’ scrimmage at La Habra.
Duarte, a starter at wide receiver as a sophomore and junior for La Serna, was injured early in the scrimmage and was treated by the training staff of both teams before an ambulance arrived. As he lay in pain on the field, an assistant coach held Duarte’s hand. Once paramedics arrived, his left leg was immobilized and he was wheeled off the field on a stretcher as players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans from both sides applauded.
La Serna coach Margarito Beltran didn’t know the severity of the injury at the time.
After a delay of about 30 minutes, the scrimmage resumed and both teams seemed to put the injury behind them. La Serna senior quarterback Frankie Palmer looked poised in the offense, and running back Bryce Oliver had several long carries against La Habra’s starters. Late in the scrimmage, sophomore defensive back Johnny Rojas made a nice hustle play to run down a La Habra receiver who had broken away, saving a touchdown in the process.
“It’s a learning process,” said Beltran, who was pleased with the team’s overall effort and poise. “Some things we did well, but we have lots of things to work on. … La Habra is a good team, and they expose your weaknesses.”
La Habra played without starting offensive linemen Casey Martin and Paul Soto and Boise State-bound defensive lineman Greg Gaines, who are all nursing injuries. Sophomore quarterback Eric Barriere showed off a strong arm while on the field and connected with Elijah Carter for a long TD pass.
“He’s gonna be awesome,” La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta said.
Danny Uribe added an interception off a deflected pass against La Serna’s starters, and senior linebacker Alex Bush had a big hit to break up a screen pass early.
La Habra opens its season Friday against El Toro at Trabuco Hills High. La Serna will visit Vista of the San Diego Section for its opener.

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