By Steve Ramirez
LONG BEACH — La Habra, La Mirada and La Serna high schools fielded the top three football teams in the area this season, and all received their just rewards for that success Monday.
The three, who will play in respective division title games this weekend, were part of the 28 football teams honored by the CIF Southern Section as part of its 40th annual Football Press Conference and Luncheon at The Grand Event Center.
La Habra hosts San Clemente in a battle of the top two teams in the Southwest Division on Friday, while La Serna and La Mirada meet to decide the Southeast Division crown Saturday at La Mirada. La Habra’s title game will either be at Cal State Fullerton or Cerritos College.
“It’s really exciting to be here,” said La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti, sporting a shaved head for his team making the finals. “We’re humbled, blessed by this journey this football team has done. I was here in 1992 as a player; 2009 as a coach. There’s a lot of legends, a lot of gurus in this building. It’s truly an honor to be here.”
La Mirada( 10-3) is in the title game after some heart-breaking finishes during the past three seasons. They have won nine consecutive games and advanced with three blow-out wins in the playoffs.
La Habra (12-1), led by quarterback Eric Barriere, running back CJ Taylor and a defense that has shutout three of its last five opponents, is seeking its seventh division crown since 2002.
“It’s fantastic,” said La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta, who is here for the eighth time since 2000. “It’s always great to get to the championship game. The luncheon is always that first day of the week, then you go back to work and get ready for the game.”
La Serna (11-2), led by quarterback John Ceballos and running backs Anthony Garcia and Matt Marshall, comes into the Southeast title riding an eighth game winning streak. The Lancers have scored 141 points in three playoff games. They are making their fourth championship game during the past five years, winning in 2013. La Serna has advanced to at least the semifinals the past six seasons.
TX Body: “This is a terrific event,” La Serna coach Andy George said. “We’re honored to be here. We’re happy to be here with the best of the best. It’s a joyous time to represent La Serna football.”
13th annual Rose City Roundball Classic
At Maranatha High School unless noted
West Ranch vs. Cajon, 3:30 p.m.
Notre Dame vs. St. Augustine, 5 p.m.
Price vs. Diamond Ranch, 6:30 p.m.
Leuzinger vs. Pasadena, 8 p.m.
Highland vs. Westlake, 3:30 p.m.
Oaks Christian vs. Muir, 5 p.m.
Cantwell-Sacred Heart vs. Palisades, 6:30 p.m.
Firebaugh vs. Maranatha, 8 p.m.
West Ranch/Cajon loser vs. Leuzinger/Pasadena loser, , 3:30 p.m.
Notre Dame/St. Augustine loser vs. Price/Diamond Ranch loser, 5 p.m.
Cantwell-Sacred Heart/Palisades loser vs. Highland/Westlake loser, 3:30 p.m.
Oaks Christian/Muir loser vs. Firebaugh/Maranatha loser, 5 p.m.
Notre Dame/St. Augustine winner vs. Price/Diamond Ranch winner, 6:30 p.m.
West Ranch/Cajon winner vs. Leuzinger/Pasadena winner, 8 p.m.
Cantwell-Sacred Heart/Palisades winner vs. Highland/Westlake winner, 6:30 p.m.
Oaks Christian/Muir winner vs. Firebaugh/Maranatha winner, 8 p.m.
Consolation bracket (at Pasadena High School)
Ninth place, 6:30 p.m.
Ninth place, 8 p.m.
13th place 3:30 p.m.
13th place 5 p.m.
First place, 6:30 p.m.
First place, 8 p.m.
Fifth place, 3:30 p.m.
Fifth place, 5 p.m.
Championship, 8 p.m.
Third place, 6:30 p.m.
Fifth place, 5 p.m.
Seventh place, 3:30 p.m.
Consolation final, 2 p.m.
11th place, 12:30 p.m.
13th place, 11 a.m.
15th place, 9:30 a.m.
If you have any scores or stats from any local high school sporting events call them into the desk at 626-544-0992 or 0991 or scores@SGVN
Whittier Christian 54, Brea 38 — Shane Dean had 15 points, Justin Osborn added 13 points and seven rebounds and Christian Alvis-Labadie had 11 points to lead the Heralds (1-0) to win their season opener.
El Rancho 69, Temple City 32 — Amy Navarro had 22 points and eight rebounds and Marissa Ramirez added 11 points for the Dons (2-0) in a South El Monte Tournament win. Nicole Mercado had 10 points and Cassie Fischer had 10 rebounds for El Rancho.
The area’s eltie football teams marched on Friday, each winning to advance to the CIF-SS finals. We get a battle of the Whittier area in the Southeast with La Serna at La Mirada, while La Habra won easily and will host San Clemente for the Southwest title.
strong>LA SERNA 24, ST. FRANCIS 10LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE —La Serna High School believes that no matter the situation, it’s never out of a football game.The Lancers proved it again Friday and it earned them a chance at their second CIF Southern Section Southeast Division title in three seasons.
Matt Marshall and John Ceballos scored second-half rushing touchdowns and La Serna shut down host St. Francis in the second half in a 24-10 semifinal victory.
The Lancers, in the semifinals for the sixth consecutive season, rushed for 144 yards in the second half and held the Golden Knights under 100 yards over the last two quarters to improve to 11-2. They advanced to next week’s championship game and will travel to La Mirada, a 38-7 winner over Cathedral, next Saturday.
St. Francis, which got a 174 yards passing and a touchdown from Miles Bryant, finished 9-4. The Golden Knights were looking to advance to a CIF-SS final for the first time since 1964.
La Serna’s Matt Marshall: “We knew what we had to do. We beat them last year and we knew what we had to do to beat them this year. No one was giving us a chance, but we just had to come out and do it, and get (a shot at the championship), which we think is rightly ours.”
La Serna coach Andy George: “It was about these kids and how much they fight. All they know how to do is fight. That showed in the second half.”
St. Francis coach Jim Bonds: “Our defense was on the field an awful long time. We just couldn’t get anything going, offensively. You can’t do that. You have to give your defense a chance to catch its breath. That’s a good football team. La Serna is a good football program, and they did make some good adjustments at halftime.”
— Stephen Ramirez
LA MIRADA 38, CATHEDRAL 7
LOS ANGELES — La Mirada High ran into next week’s CIF title game with authority on Friday night.
The Matadores powered into the championship round with a strong effort from their offensive line and a big rushing performance from Sei-j Lauago as they beat Cathedral 38-7 in a Southern Section Southeast Division semifinal at Cathedral.
The Matadores (10-3) were paced by Lauago, who piled up 188 yards on 24 carries and found the end zone three times.
Conversely, the Matadore defense put steady pressure on Phantoms quarterback Andrew Tovar and took him down for losses five times.
La Mirada, the Suburban League champion, will meet La Serna for the section title on Dec. 5.
— Mark Carpenter
LA HABRA 42, VILLA PARK 21
LA HABRA — After a four-year absence, the La Habra High School football team is back in the CIF-Southern Section championship game.
A wild, high-scoring game was culminated with the six-time CIF champions defeating No. 5 seed Villa Park, 42-21, Friday night at La Habra in the Southwest Division semifinals.
La Habra, which in 2010 had completed the first CIF title four-peat in school history, will play for its seventh championship on Friday night.
The Highlanders, who won their 10th consecutive game, will host second seed San Clemente (11-2), a 63-34 winner over No. 6 seed Buena Park, next week at a site to be determined.
La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta: “Going to the CIF finals is always special. We had a stretch of semifinals that seemed like forever, but it’s nice to get back to the championship game. What a great high school football game and (senior quarterback) Eric (Barriere) has accomplished so much.”
La Habra’s Eric Barriere: “It means a lot going to the championship in my senior year. This shows everybody that we are still a dominate program. This was a very good opponent (Villa Park).”
CIF-SS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Friday, Dec. 4
San Clemente (11-2) at La Habra (12-1), 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 5
La Serna (11-2) at La Mirada (10-3), 7:30 p.m.
GIRLS BASKETBALL PRESEASON RANKINGS
2. St. Paul
4. La Habra
5. El Rancho
By Stephen Ramirez
Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary felt it let a possible CIF Southern Section girls basketball title slip away last season.The Cardinals, who were upset in the Division 4A quarterfinals, hope to do something about it this season.Cantwell begins the season ranked No. 1 in the area.“I think the disappointment of losing that quarterifinal game and not even getting an opportunity to get into the semifinals, for us to fall short has left a bad taste in our mouth,” Cantwell coach Matt Zamora said. “That’s been kind of our motivation over this whole offseason. For (some players), it’s their last go at it, so they want to make the most out of this year.”
Cantwell’s source of optimism comes in bringing back arguably the best player in the area — junior forward Lily Perkins, who averaged nearly 15 points a game and had 10 rebounds per contest. She’s a versatile talent who can take over games at anytime.
But she’s not alone. The Cardinals return two other impact players in senior guard Sammy Flores, who averaged nearly six a game, and junior center Emily Guerena, who in a limited role averaged seven rebounds and four points a game.
Cantwell is strengthen by transfer Valeria Lizarraga, who averaged nearly 14 points and seven rebounds per game for St. Pius-St. Matthias last season.
“It’s a combination of mixing the new girls in,” Zamora said. “Lily looks way better than she looked last year. We have an opportunity to be very good again.”