About Steve Ramirez

Steve Ramirez has covered prep sports for San Gabriel Valley Newspapers since 1989.

Football Rankings: La Mirada still the one; Santa Fe rises to No. 6

1. La Mirada (6-2) — The Mats are rolling and breezing through the Suburban League. You can pencil them in as the CIF-SS Division 3 top seed, because they aren’t losing the rest of the regular season. I also don’t see them challenged until at least the division semifinals.
2. La Habra (4-3) — The Highlanders have ruled the Freeway for more than a decade, but Buena Park believes that’s its over. Is it? We find out Friday when La Habra travels to the land of Knotts Berry Farm. Will they enjoy the ride? I think so. The Freeway League belongs to the Highlanders until someone takes it away from them. I don’t think that time has come just yet.
3. La Serna (4-3) — The Lancers, after going 2-3 in a tough nonleague slate, are starting to flex their muscles, opening Del Rio League play with two blow-out wins. It gets a little more tougher in the next few weeks with games against El Rancho, Cal and Santa Fe, the latter of which could be a first-place showdown, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the blowouts continue.
4. Montebello (6-1) — The Oilers have been solid on defense all year and are still in first place in the Almont because of it following a 14-7 win over rival Schurr. There is still some work to be done, but I see a fourth league title in their future.
5. St. Paul (3-4) — The Swordsmen rebounded in a big way by routing Harvard-Westlake on the road. They will need a similar effort this week at La Salle. St. Paul also likely needs to win the next two weeks — Friday at La Salle and next week at Salesian — to make the postseason.
6. Santa Fe (3-4) — We heard good things about the Chiefs coming into the season. And after a slow start, they are starting to make an impact with a couple of close wins to begin the Del Rio League slate. Are they yet in La Serna’s class. But right now, they are looking good.
7. Whittier Christian (5-3) — The Heralds have been an offensive juggernaut all season, but their defense stepped up in a big way in last week’s win over Maranatha. Can they continue the trend? They’ll need it
8. Schurr (4-3) — The Spartans took Montebello to the wire before losing last week. They are still alive for a share of the league title, but will need to beat a fast-rising Bell Gardens in two weeks, then become fans of the Lancers in Week 10.
9. Whittier (3-4) — The Cardinals were dealt the task of opening Del Rio League play against the arguably the league’s top two teams. Now it’s all downhill, right? Not exactly, but don’t count these guys out yet.
10. El Rancho (2-5) — The Dons have improved under Adrian Medrano and are in the running for a playoff spot.
Others: 11. California (4-3), 12. Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary (2-5), 13. Pioneer (0-7), 14. Sonora (0-7).
lm takes the field

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Email

Friday Final: Montebello beats Schurr, 14-7; Whittier Christian bounces back; Santa Fe gets big win over El Rancho

Montebello Oiler Brandon Gonzalez escapes the tackle of Schurr's Noah Rangel in an Almont League prep football game between crosstown rivals Schurr and Montebello high schools on October 14, 2016 at Schurr High School. The game was tied 7-7 at halftime. (Correspondent photo by Chris Burt)

Montebello Oiler Brandon Gonzalez escapes the tackle of Schurr’s Noah Rangel in an Almont League prep football game between crosstown rivals Schurr and Montebello high schools on October 14, 2016 at Schurr High School. The game was tied 7-7 at halftime. (Correspondent photo by Chris Burt)


MONTEBELLO — The start was shaky, but the finish was spot on for the Montebello High School football team.
Despite falling in an early hole that could have been worse than it was, the visiting Oilers rode their defense to a 14-7 win over crosstown rival Schurr on Friday in a key Almont League game for both teams.
Montebello improved to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in league. The win puts the Oilers in good position to repeat as league champs, but that likely won’t be determined for certain until they play Bell Gardens in Week 10. Schurr fell to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in league.
Opponents only get so many opportunities against Montebello’s stingy defense, which entered Friday’s game allowing just 7.8 points per game. Schurr looked like it would have more success than most after it raced to a 7-0 lead on its first drive thanks to a 10-yard touchdown run by Noah Rangel.
The Spartans appeared set to add to the lead after getting to the Montebello 2-yard line later in the first half, but a fumble ended the drive with no points.
Montebello quickly seized momentum by driving 99 yards to tie the score, capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Gabriel Tapia.
The score was tied 7-7 at halftime, but the Oilers wasted little time after the break, taking their first lead on a 12-yard touchdown run by Tapia. From there, it as about riding the defense that has thrived so much this season.
Schurr quarterback Miguel Aguero was under constant duress and couldn’t get anything going due to the Oilers’ pressure. Montebello looked like it was going to be able to run out the clock with just under two minutes to play, but a fumble gave Schurr one more chance.
But as the Spartans approached midfield, Aguero lost the football while scrambling and Chris Rodriguez was able to pounce on it to secure the win for the Oilers.
— Aram Tolegian
WHITTIER — After two big losses in a row, the Whittier Christian High School Heralds turned the tables and cruised to a 47-14 victory over visiting Maranatha High School Friday night at Whittier College in an Olympic League game.
Heralds junior quarterback Quinn Commans threw five touchdown passes, three of which were over 67 yards, to even Whittier Christian’s league record at 1-1 and its overall record 5-3.
The five touchdowns by Commans brought his season total to 38.
Maranatha, which has been decimated with injuries this season, fell to 2-4-1 overall and 0-2 in league.
Commans threw for 356 yards, completing 9 of 17 passes. Junior wide receiver Cade McGee caught three touchdowns and senior tight end Nico Albertini had two for the Heralds. One of Albertini’s touchdowns was a 40-yard interception return.
McGee’s three TDs were 13, 78 and 84 yards to give him 17 this season.
Whittier Christian coach Sergio Gradilla: “It was a good win and we’ve worked so hard defensively this past week. Tonight it was a step in the right direction.”
— John Sherrard

Fernando Buenabad kicked a 24-yard field goal with four seconds to play to give Santa Fe High School a 30-27 Del Rio League football victory over El Rancho on Friday night at Pioneer High.
The Chiefs (3-4, 2-0) got the ball with 2:32 to play at their own 18-yard line. Quarterback Chris Ramsey converted a key 20-yard pass to Javier Valdivia on third-and-11 from midfield to keep the drive alive.
El Rancho (2-5, 1-1) trailed 20-7 in the first half and rallied to take a 27-20 lead, helped by the play of wide receiver Gabriel Huerta, who returned a kickoff 98 yards for a TD and caught six passes for 171 yards, including scores of 35 and 54 yards.
The Chiefs tied the score at 27 with 7:21 to play when quarterback Jaquari Levett scored on a 2-yard run.
— Angel Gutierrez
The Highlanders built a 50-0 halftime lead and cruised to their 47th consecutive Freeway League victory in a matchup of the two public La Habra schools.
La Habra improved to 4-3 overall and 2-0 in league play. The Raiders, who have not beaten La Habra since 2001, dropped to 0-7 overall and 0-1 in league.
— Staff reports
The Matadores won their 16th consecutive Suburban League game with their third shutout in their last four games. La Mirada (6-2, 4-0) had shut out Cerritos and Norwalk in league games. The host Buccaneers fell to 1-6, 1-2.
— Staff report
Almont League

Bell Gardens 41, Keppel 0
Del Rio League
La Serna 49, Whittier 13
Angelus League

St. Paul at Harvard-Westlake, 7 p.m.
Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary vs. St. Genevieve at L.A. Poly, 7 p.m.
1. La Mirada (6-2) def. Bellflower, 48-0
2. La Habra (4-3) def. Sonora, 56-0
3. La Serna (4-3) def. No. 8 Whittier, 49-13
4. Montebello (6-1) def. No. 5 Schurr, 14-7
5. Schurr (4-3) lost to No. 4 Montebello, 14-7
6. St. Paul (2-4) at Harvard-Westlake, Saturday, 7 p.m.
7. Santa Fe (3-4) def. No. 10 El Rancho, 30-27
8. Whittier (3-4) lost to No. 3 La Serna, 49-13
9. Whittier Christian (5-3) def. Maranatha, 47-14
10. El Rancho (2-5) lost to No. 7 Santa Fe, 30-27

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Email

Thursday Final: Christopher Lowden, defense lead Cal over Pioneer

California's Christopher Lowden (25) outruns Pioneer's Eddie Matta (21) in their Del Rio League game at Sandy Thorstenson stadium in Whittier on Thursday October 13, 2016. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)

California’s Christopher Lowden (25) outruns Pioneer’s Eddie Matta (21) in their Del Rio League game at Sandy Thorstenson stadium in Whittier on Thursday October 13, 2016. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)

WHITTIER — It was now or likely never Thursday for the California High School football team, which needed a win to stay in the hunt for the Del Rio League title chase and stay alive for a CIF Southern Section playoff spot.
The Condors passed the test.
Christopher Lowden rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns and Robert Guillen had three interceptions and recovered a fumble to lead host California to a 38-14 victory over Pioneer.
California forced seven turnovers, including five interceptions, to improve to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in league play. Davon Benjamin accounted for 94 yards and two touchdowns for the Titans, who slipped to 0-7 and 0-2.

Cal, keyed by four turnovers, led 24-7 at halftime.
Lowden rushed for 136 yards in the first two quarters for the Condors, who scored on their first two drives and their last two of the half.
Cal coach Kyle Trudell: “We’re really banged up. But the kids rallied. We challenged the (offensive line) and they stepped up. That’s all you can ask for. We still have a long road ahead of us, and Santa Fe next week. But it was a much-needed victory for the Condors.”
Christopher Lowden: “That 26-yard run to the 1 — I peronally thought it should be a touchdown. The other one, I should have got by knees up. I want to thank my line; I want to thank my teammates for making me who I am and getting me fired up everyday, for practice and for games.”
— Stephen Ramirez

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Email

Football Rankings: La Mirada stays at No. 1 after easy win; El Rancho joins the fun at No. 10

St. Paul High School, led by Nick Redick, dropped to No. 5 in this week's area football rankings. (Correspondent photo by Chris Burt/Sports)

St. Paul High School, led by Nick Redick, dropped to No. 5 in this week’s area football rankings. (Correspondent photo by Chris Burt/Sports)

1. La Mirada (5-2)
Dominating in Suburban
Last Week: 1
Next: At Bellflower, Friday
2. La Habra (3-3)
Preps with rival before next week’s showdown
Last week: 2
Next: Vs. Sonora, Friday
3. La Serna (3-3)
Routed Pioneer in league opener
Last week: 3
Next: Vs. Whittier, at Cal HS, Friday
4. Montebello (5-1)
Schurr awaits
Last week: 5
Next: At Schurr, Friday
5. Schurr (4-2)
Is it ready for Montebello?
Last week: 7
Next: Vs. Montebello, Friday
6. St. Paul (2-4)
Swordsmen look to rebound after 40-0 whitewash
Last week: 4
Next: At Harvard-Westlake, Friday
7. Santa Fe (3-3)
Stepping up at right time
Last week: 10
Next: Vs. El Rancho, at Pioneer, Friday
8. Whittier (3-3)
Got the bad draw from league scheduling master
Last week: 6
Next: vs. La Serna, at Cal HS, Friday
9. Whittier Christian (4-3)
Done in by defense last week
Last week: 8
Next: Vs. Maranatha, at Whittier College, Friday
10. El Rancho (2-4)
Here come the Dons
Last week NR
Next: vs. Santa Fe, at Pioneer, Friday

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Email

Whittier Christian sets the tone for Touchdowns Against Cancer; Heralds are national leader

Whittier Christian was the top school in the MaxPreps and Pledge It charity campaign, “Touchdowns Against Cancer.”
The Heralds were the national leader, receiving pledges of $11,052.50 during the month-long campaign.
It’s a campaign that hits close to home for the Heralds. Their classmate, Abbey Schemmer, succumbed to cancer this summer, just a few months from beginning her senior year at Whittier Christian. Schemmer’s brothers, Ryan and Kenny, played for the Heralds in recent seasons.
“We’re playing for more than a football game and the score,” Whittier Christian coach Sergio Gradilla said earlier. “We’re playing for something that’s much more important. We’re raising awareness for cancer and really we’re playing for the Schemmer family and what they’ve meant to the football program.”

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Email