About Steve Ramirez

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

Edison runs over La Mirada to win CIF-SS D-3 football title

La Mirada's Chad Wilson (10) reacts after losing to Edison in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship football game at La Mirada High School in La Mirada on Friday December 2, 2016. Edison defeated La Mirada 44-24. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)

La Mirada’s Chad Wilson (10) reacts after losing to Edison in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship football game at La Mirada High School in La Mirada on Friday December 2, 2016. Edison defeated La Mirada 44-24. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)


LA MIRADA >> There will be no repeat CIF State title for the La Mirada High School football team.Jack Carmichael rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns and Edison gave coach Dave White a nice retiring gift with a 44-24 victory over the Matadores in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 title game Friday night at La Mirada High School.Griffin O’Connor accounted for 290 yards and three touchdowns for the Chargers, who improved to 13-1 and advanced to next week’s state regional bowls. It’s Edison’s sixth CIF-SS title.Tristan Meyer threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns and Nick Hernandez rushed for 162 yards for La Mirada, which finished 11-3.Edison appeared to clinch it when Barrett McCade returned an interception 91 yards for a 34-10 lead early in the third quarter. But as La Serna found out two weeks ago in the quarterfinals, the Matadores are never out of a game.La Mirada again proved the point, scoring on consecutive drives to cut the deficit to 34-24 going into the fourth quarter.
Meyer tossed 13 yards to Jeremy Clark to cut it to 34-18 with 4:30 left in the third quarter before the Matadores recovered an onside kick and cut it to 34-24 with a 19-yard pass to Clark at 3:15.
La Mirada, after Edison’s Jack Morrell made it 37-24 with a 30-yard field goal early in the fourth, drove inside the Chargers’ 10, but Meyer misfired on consecutive passes to turn it over on downs with less than five minutes left.
Edison head coach Dave White shares with his team the Championship trophy after defeating La Mirada in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship football game at La Mirada High School in La Mirada on Friday December 2, 2016. Edison defeated La Mirada 44-24. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)

Edison head coach Dave White shares with his team the Championship trophy after defeating La Mirada in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship football game at La Mirada High School in La Mirada on Friday December 2, 2016. Edison defeated La Mirada 44-24. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)


O’Connor followed with a 90-yard pass to David Atencio before scoring on a 5-yard run to put it away at 44-24 with just over three minutes to play.
Edison led 28-10 at halftime.
The Chargers gashed the Matadores for 291 yards during the first two quarters and scored four of their seven possessions, including the final three.
They turned a close game into a rout with scoring drives of 66 and 59 yards to lead by 17 at the break.
Carmichael, who rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the half, keyed both marches. He had a 72-yard run to the La Mirada 6 before running it in from there for a 21-10 advantage with 2:54 left in the half.
Edison, after stopping La Mirada on five plays to force a punt, finished off the half to go up 28-10. Carmichael had a 25-yard run to the Matadores’ 28. O’Connor then finished it off with consecutive runs of 11 yards for a 18-point lead at halftime.

Both teams opened the game with turnovers. Edison followed a La Mirada fumble with a 64-yard drive and took a 7-0 lead on a 21-yard run by Carmichael at 9:13 of the first quarter.
La Mirada countered with a 75-yard drive that led to a Brandon Petruescu’ 22-yard field for a 7-3 deficit at 3:51.
The teams then traded touchdown drives.
O’Connor, who was 10 of 21 for 96 yards passing in the first half, gave the Chargers a 14-3 lead with a 14-yard pass to EJ Ginnis with 7:31 left in the second quarter.
La Mirada countered with a 65-yard drive. Meyer, who was 12 of 17 for 99 yards in the first half, then tossed 22 yards to Elijah Hicks to the 1. Meyer followed with a 1-yard run to cut it to 14-10 at 3:45.
The Matadores then appeared to recover a fumble at their 34 on the kickoff. But it was later overturned. Edison then scored on its next two drives for a 28-10 lead.
La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti: “We got whooped. We got beat. We got out-coached, didn’t make plays when we had to. Edison’s a good football team. They deserved to win. Congratulations to coach (Dave) White on a great career and going out a winner.”

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Friday Gameday Countdown: La Mirada looks to repeat, faces Edison for Division 3 title

lm-cif
By Stephen Ramirez
La Mirada High School’s road to repeat has included seven consecutive wins with a running clock, a quarterfinal scare and a dominant win in the semifinals.But now comes the Matadores’ biggest test — Edison, which visits La Mirada tonight for the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 title. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised on Prime Ticket on tape delay, beginning at 8 p.m.La Mirada (11-2), which won the Southeast Division title en route to a CIF State Division III-AA championship last season, is seeking its fourth section crown and is in the title round for the 11th time. Edison is seeking its sixth CIF-SS title.
The winner advances to next week’s regional bowls.

“It always feels better (to do it again),” said La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti, whose Matadores have won 10 consecutive games since losing to Division 1 finalists St. John Bosco and Mater Dei in consecutive weeks in September. “This is the goal, this is the dream to get to this point in the season. Our kids have done a great job. We’re just really grateful and humbled that we’re here.”
But Moschetti also knows the task at hand won’t be an easy one.
Edison (11-2) has been equally as impressive reaching the finals. The Chargers have won eight consecutive games since a loss to Mater Dei in late September. They have advanced with three solid wins in the playoffs, including a 38-21 victory over Freeway champion Buena Park in the quarterfinals.
Edison features quarterback Griffin O’Connor, who has thrown for 2,985 yards and 33 touchdowns, and running back Jack Carmichael, who has rushed for 845 yards and 10 touchdowns. Kenny Carmichael leads the defense with 85 tackles and 15 sacks.
“(Edison has a) physical offensive line, playmakers at the skilled positions,” Moschetti said. “The quarterback battles, the defense plays really hard. We’re going to have to play our best football game to have a chance to win it this week.”
The same challenge is in store for Edison. La Mirada, sans having to rally for a 32-31 win over La Serna in the quarterfinals, has looked nearly unstoppable since losing to Mater Dei in late September. The Matadores dominated Division 2 finalist San Clemente (43-14) before winning seven consecutive games with a running clock. They beat Los Alamitos 36-20 in the semifinals last week.
“(La Mirada is a) great team,” said Edison coach Dave White, who is retiring at the end of this season after 31 years at the Huntington Beach school. “We have our hands full. They have so many great players and they are well-coached. They don’t have any weaknesses.
“You just have to try and play your ‘A’ game. They are going to get big plays. You just have to limit them.”
La Mirada is led by senior quarterback Tristan Meyer, who has thrown for 2,208 yards and 35 touchdowns. The Matadores also feature receiver/returner Elijah Hicks, who had a 66-yard punt return for a touchdown vs. Paso Robles in the first round, and an 82-yard kickoff return for a score against La Serna. He has 24 receptions for 419 yards and five touchdowns. Hicks also has five interceptions.
Running backs Nick Hernandez, who is still nursing sore ribs, and Anthony Melendez have combined to rush for 1,224 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Both teams played Los Alamitos, with La Mirada scoring a 16-point win last week and Edison beating the Griffins 17-9 in October.
“We won it last year, so now we have a big target on our back now,” Meyer said. “We just have to go out and play our game. Hopefully, it comes out well.”

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THE BOOK OF MEYER: QB Tristan writing his chapter

La Mirada’s quarterback Tristan Meyer has guided the Matadores to back-to-back CIF-SS title games. (Photo by Libby Cline,SCNG)

La Mirada’s quarterback Tristan Meyer has guided the Matadores to back-to-back CIF-SS title games. (Photo by Libby Cline,SCNG)


By Stephen Ramirez
LONG BEACH —
Tristan Meyer came to La Mirada High School four years ago as Erik Meyer’s little brother.He’ll leave next spring having carved his own niche in Matadore football lore.
The younger Meyer, who leads the Matadores when they host Edison for the CIF Southern Section Division 3 title on Friday, will be the first La Mirada quarterback to start divisional championship games in back-to-back seasons. He’s also only one of three Matadores signal-callers to win a CIF-SS title, joining Daniel Poncedeleon, who did it in 2009, and his coach, Mike Moschetti, who won La Mirada its first CIF-SS title in 1992. Tristan Meyer helped beat La Serna for the Southeast Division championship last season en route to the CIF State III-AA title.
Brother Erik Meyer guided La Mirada to the 2001 Division VI championship game. He then starred at Eastern Washington and the arena league. He also La Mirada’s quarterback coach.
His dad, Kenny Meyer, has been La Mirada’s freshman coach for more than 30 years.

“He’s great,” Moschetti said of Tristan during Monday’s CIF-SS Press Conference and Luncheon at The Grand Event Center. “His dad has been the freshman coach here for three decades. He coached me when I was a freshman. His brother was a great quarterback, so before he (Tristan) was walking, he grew up with a football in his hand, watching film.
“He’s had a great year. He’s a humble kid, a tough kid. He knows what we are trying to do offensively. We’re proud of him, and hopefully, he’s got another good game in him this week.”
Tristan Meyer has had a lot of good games this season and last. He ranks among the passing leaders in the section with 2,208 and 35 touchdowns, and since moving into the starting role early last season, he has thrown for more than 4,000 yards and 62 touchdowns.
He’s added his own chapters to the Book of Meyer.
“My dad as coached me since I was growing up and my brother has played a big part for me and success we’ve had here,” Tristan Meyer said. “He’s been working with me since I was a little kid and has been building me up for moments like this.”
Tristan Meyer’s biggest attribute might not be his physical gifts, but his demeanor, which came into play two weeks ago when the Matadores rallied from a 21-point deficit in the second half to score a 32-31 victory over region rival La Serna in the quarterfinals.
Meyer, with La Mirada trailing by two points, drove the Matadores 52 yards in the final minute to set up a winning 30-yard field goal by sophomore Brandon Petruescu with 12 seconds left. He keyed the drive with two fourth-down completions to Elijah Hicks, the second covering 30 yards to the La Serna 13.
“That was a great game,” Meyer said. “La Serna was a great football team, and just coming back to win that game gave us a lot of momentum for these games (the semifinal win over Los Alamitos and Friday’s title game vs. Edison).
“It gives us the confidence that if we’re down, we know how to react, because we’ve been in that situation.”
It’s type of calmness with confidence that Moschetti likes about his quarterback.
“He’s just a competitor,” Moschetti said. “He’s not the biggest kid in the world, but he’s like a coach on the field. He knows exactly what we are doing offensively, he knows exactly what (the defense) is doing. He’s our leader, he plays injured. He does what he’s supposed to do and leads this team.”
And now he hopes to guide La Mirada to consecutive CIF-SS titles for the first time in school history. In will also be the Matadores fourth CIF-SS crown in 11 final-round appearances.
“It would be awesome (to win back-to-back titles),” said Meyer, who has committed to Sacramento State. “It’s what we’re shooting for, bringing the championship back to La Mirada.”

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Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary’s Jackie Vargas signs with Northwest Nazarene

Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary HS softball player Jackie Vargas signs her Letter of Intent for a scholarship with Northwest Nazarene University (Idaho) at the Montebello campus Nov. 30, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb, SGV Tribune/ SCNG)

Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary HS softball player Jackie Vargas signs her Letter of Intent for a scholarship with Northwest Nazarene University (Idaho) at the Montebello campus Nov. 30, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb, SGV Tribune/ SCNG)


By Stephen Ramirez
MONTEBELLO —
Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary’s Jackie Vargas has been one of the area’s top softball players during the past three seasons, and she was rewarded Wednesday for that success.
Vargas, a senior pitcher/third baseman, made her college choice Wednesday, signing with Northwest Nazarene, of Nampa, Idaho. The campus is close to Boise State University.

“This is my dream come true,” Vargas said during a ceremony at CSHM. “It’s everything I’ve ever wanted, and now that it’s actually happening, it’s probably the best moment of my life.
Vargas has had three solid seasons with the Cardinals. She led CSHM to the 2014 CIF Southern Section Division 6 title game, losing to St. Bonaventure, and earned All-Del Rey League each of the past two seasons. She was also the Cardinals team MVP last spring.
She will join NCAA Division II Northwest Nazarene, which was 17-29 last season while competing in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
“I visited the school and liked that it was a small school,” Vargas said. “It’s a small community and everyone got along. The players are like just one big family, and I really liked that about them.”
Vargas is not looking forward to living far away from home, but she does believe she will transition to that. The Crusaders, who split tournament games vs. Azusa Pacific last season, also have played tournament games in Las Vegas and Turlock, which are a few hours drive from home.
“I think at first it will (bet tough being far from home),” Vargas said. “But after a few months, I think I will be able to adjust and I’ll be OK.”
First, she’s looking forward to her final season with the Cardinals.
“I think we’re going to be better than last year,” Vargas said. “I think we can make the playoffs. Our goal, ultimately, is to make it to the (CIF-SS) championship game this year.”

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And then there was just La Mirada….Mats are only area survivor as La Habra, St. Paul and Montebello end season in semifinals

La Habra quarterback Zach Fogel (15) runs for a touchdown on a keeper as they play Murrieta Valley in their CIF semi-final game at La Habra High School on Friday November 25, 2016. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)

La Habra quarterback Zach Fogel (15) runs for a touchdown on a keeper as they play Murrieta Valley in their CIF semi-final game at La Habra High School on Friday November 25, 2016. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)

And then there was just La Mirada, which was the area’s lone survivor in the CIF Southern Section semifinals.
The Matadores advanced to the title round for the second consecutive year, beating Los Alamitos, 36-20, in Division 2. The rest of the area’s final four wasn’t so fortunate. La Habra was unable to stop Murrieta Valley, which scored a 63-42 victory in Division 2. St. Paul lost 21-7 to Norte Vista in Division 7, with Montebello losing, 42-7, to Valley View in Division 11.


Here’s the recaps for Friday’s games
DIVISION 2 MURRIETA VALLEY 63, LA HABRA 42
LA HABRA — Murrieta Valley High School gave up nearly 500 yards and six touchdowns Friday.
But with an offense that was unstoppable, the Nighthawks didn’t really care.
Hank Bachmeier threw for 319 yards and five touchdowns and Murrieta Valley advanced to its first CIF Southern Section championship game with a 63-42 victory over host La Habra in a Division 2 semifinal.
Olita Palmer rushed for 281 yards and four touchdowns for the Nighthawks (11-2), who will host San Clemente, a 41-35 winner over Valencia, in the finals next week.
Zach Fogel accounted for 302 yards and four touchdowns for La Habra (8-5), which was looking to get to its second consecutive division final after winning the Southwest Division title last season.
The Nighthawks scored on their first nine possessions and finished with 702 yards.
Murrieta Valley, which came in averaging 60 points a game during the first two rounds, led 42-28 at halftime.
— Stephen Ramirez

La Mirada’s Elijah Hicks and the Matadores defense take down Los Alamitos Dylan Laurent as the two teams battle it out in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 semifinals on November 25, 2016. (Photo by Tracey Roman for SCNG)

La Mirada’s Elijah Hicks and the Matadores defense take down Los Alamitos Dylan Laurent as the two teams battle it out in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 semifinals on November 25, 2016. (Photo by Tracey Roman for SCNG)


DIVISION 3 LA MIRADA 36, LOS ALAMITOS 20
LONG BEACH — The La Mirada football team’s road to repeat continued after a stellar physical performance in the CIF-SS Division 3 semifinals on Friday night. At Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Los Alamitos Griffins pulled out all of the stops, but the Matadores answered the bell each time to pull out the 36-20 victory.
The Matadores are headed to their second CIF-SS championship game in a row, looking for their second straight title.
“The state championship has always been our goal, but this will be just another stop,” Moschetti said.
La Mirada used its ground-and-pound offense led by running back Nick Hernandez, who wore down the Griffin defense. Hernandez had three touchdowns on the night including a 3-yard plunge to put the Matadores up by 16 and seal the victory late in the fourth quarter. Hernandez was playing with dislocated ribs in the game.
La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti: “I’m proud of our kids that we’re moving on. We’re going to celebrate this, but we’ll be thinking about a CIF title game when we wake up tomorrow.”
— Paul Slater
DIVISION 7 NORTE VISTA 21, ST. PAUL 7
RIVERSIDE — St. Paul was unable to find the balance it was looking for.
The Swordsmen were limited to just 62 yards in the first half of a 21-7 loss to Norte Vista on Friday night in the CIF Southern Section Division 7 semifinals.
Nick Redick gained 93 yards to surpass 1,000 for the season for St. Paul (6-7), but it wasn’t enough as Norte Vista’s Eric Melesio ran for 249 yards and three scores.
“They have a tremendous offense, and we just couldn’t get it going,” Zepeda said. “My hat is off to them. They did a great job stopping us.”
St. Paul’s offense was slow to start, going three-and-out on its first two drives and held without a first down until its third possession.
Cody Cardenas had a pair of pass completions as the Swordsmen started to mount a drive late in the second quarter, but was sacked for a seven-yard loss before being forced to punt.
Trailing 14-0, the Swordsmen finally scored midway through the third quarter when Alfredo Reyes connected with Martin Carradero on a 10-yard touchdown reception.
Melesio, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior, rushed for touchdowns of 5, 1 and 3 yards for Norte Vista (11-2), which moves on to the Division 7 championship game next week.
St. Paul coach Rick Zepeda: “In all reality we expected this type of game. I really believed we were going to score more points, but they played great defense.”
— Dennis Pope
DIVISION 11 VALLEY VIEW 42, MONTEBELLO 7
MORENO VALLEY — Montebello’s 10-game winning streak came to a screeching halt on Friday night when the Oilers were overpowered by Valley View 42-7 in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 11 playoffs.
Montebello, which made the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, struggled to find its potent offense that led it to the semifinal game and narrowly escaped the shutout by scoring a touchdown from the 1 with 11 seconds to play.
Valley View wasted no time taking control of the game, scoring four times in the first half while holding Montebello to only 35 yards of total offense.
Montebello coach Pete Gonzalez: “We had a great season and overcame a lot of adversity. Valley View executed well, broke the game open early, and they were the better team tonight.”
— Brian Hoss

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