La Serna expecting big year from LB Daniel Campos

La Serna football player Daniel Campos during practice at the Whittier campus on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ Whittier Daily News)

La Serna football player Daniel Campos during practice at the Whittier campus on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ Whittier Daily News)

By Stephen Ramirez
WHITTIER >> La Serna High School’s run to a fifth consecutive CIF-Southern Section semifinal last season was due in large part to its run game and defense.Senior Daniel Campos played a major role in the latter, and he will be key this season for the Lancers, who are expected to keep their postseason string going.“We’re looking for him to step in right where he left off,” La Serna coach Margarito Beltran said of Campos. “He does a good job of putting kids in the right spot. He’s basically like another coach on the field. We have high expectations of him.”

Campos is just a monster on defense. He was All-CIF Southeast Division his sophomore season and despite missing most of the regular season still managed 117 tackles in six games. He had 17 in a 24-21 win over Dominguez in the first round before getting 19 in 41-36 loss to Crescenta Valley in the semifinals.“I love defense,” Campos said. “I always try to make the reads and get there at the right time. I just follow the hips and backs of the guard. We learn that every day. Our coaches get that in our head every day.”

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CIF-SS moves toward dramatic change in football playoff system

La Serna head coach Margarito Beltran holds up the championship plaque as La Serna's Frankie Palmer (9) reacts with his teammates after defeating Norwalk in double over-time 41-38 during a CIF-SS Southeast Division championship football game at Cal State Fullerton stadium in Fullerton, Calif., on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

La Serna head coach Margarito Beltran holds up the championship plaque as La Serna’s Frankie Palmer (9) reacts with his teammates after defeating Norwalk in double over-time 41-38 during a CIF-SS Southeast Division championship football game at Cal State Fullerton stadium in Fullerton, Calif., on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

A CIF-Southern Section high school football postseason in which playoff divisions are determined by teams, not leagues, got one step closer to becoming a reality on Thursday.The Southern Section Executive Committee agreed to move forward with the concept of creating playoff divisions for football based solely on the competitive equity of teams. The concept will soon become a proposal made to the Southern Section Council at its Oct. 6 meeting. That would be followed by a vote of league representatives in January. The new format could be in place by the 2016-17 school year.“We want to make a difference,” CIF-Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod said. “If you’re in a leadership position, it’s your job and responsibility to make a difference. And I firmly believe this could be one of the biggest differences made in the Southern Section in our over 100 years of history. I really believe that.“This is a major change from what we’ve been doing.”

Steve’s take: I like it. This should pave the way for more-balanced playoff brackets. Also when a team dominates in a division, the entire league doesn’t have to suffer when CIF-SS decides that team should play in a more-challenging division. Teams, over a two-year period, will be placed in a division that is equal to their talent level. It looks all positive.

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2015 Football: Return of Isaac Mendibles has Montebello thinking of Almont League 3-peat

Montebello High's running back Isaac Mendibles at the Montebello campus on Wednesday, August 12, 2015. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ Whittier Daily News)

Montebello High’s running back Isaac Mendibles at the Montebello campus on Wednesday, August 12, 2015. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ Whittier Daily News)

By Stephen Ramirez
MONTEBELLO >> The offensive game plan for the Montebello High School football team was pretty simple last season.It included strong doses of running back Isaac Mendibles, who has been arguably the area’s top back the past two seasons, and more is expected from the senior this season.“Isaac’s our leader; our guy,” Montebello coach Pete Gonzalez said. “He’s been one of our best players for two years now. We depend on him a lot and he gets us going.“Obviously, it’s great to have a guy who has made All-CIF for two years; a guy who carries the ball, carries the load for us. He provides a great run game and hopefully we can mix in a good passing game along with that.”

But the key is Mendibles, who has gained more than 3,000 yards the previous two seasons. He rushed for 1,775 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore and followed it up with 1,943 yards and 24 scores in 2014 to lead the Oilers to their second consecutive Almont League crown and a spot in the Mid-Valley Division quarterfinals.
Last season, despite being a marked man, he rushed for a 100 yards in 10 of the team’s 12 games, including a school-record 336 yards vs. Mark Keppel.
Mendibles knows opposing teams will scheme to stop him this season, but those game plans did little last season.

“I know my teammates have my back, so I feel safe out there,” Mendibles said. “If I’m a target, I know my teammates will always help me.
“I know if they just key on me, we have so many other things that we can do. I know that my team will be able to do it.”
The Oilers have been able to do a lot the past two years, and Mendibles believes it can be even better this fall.
“Our expectations are high,” he said. “We plan on going to CIF. We’re going to work hard and try to fulfill that accomplishment.”
Don’t forget in Ryan Rivera
Although Montebello features a nearly 2,000-yard rusher, the Oilers are hardly a one-man team.
Their attack also includes quarterback Ryan Rivera, who is back after a solid season in 2014.
He was Almont League co-Offensive Player of the Year, and should again be steady with so many opposing defenses making Mendibles the focal point of their scheme.
“It’s huge. Again, our goal is to be balanced,” Gonzalez said of having a key player like Rivera back at such a key position. “We want to be able to run and throw the ball. We just can’t give the ball to Isaac. It’s not who we are. Ryan brings that part to the game.
“We’re excited to have him back. He had a great junior season and we’re hoping he has a bigger senior season.”

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PrepXtra Preview: 2015 Whittier Daily News All-Area team

Montebello High School's Isaac Mendibles, coming off a banner year, leads the 2015 Whittier Daily News preseason All-Area Football selections (Photo by Keith Durflinger/San Gabriel Valley Tribune).

Montebello High School’s Isaac Mendibles, coming off a banner year, leads the 2015 Whittier Daily News preseason All-Area Football selections (Photo by Keith Durflinger/San Gabriel Valley Tribune).

Here is your 2015 Whittier Daily News All-Area football team:
OFFENSE
QB — Eric Barriere, La Habra, Sr.
RB — Isaac Mendibles, Montebello, Sr.
RB — Sei-J Luago, La Mirada, Sr.
WR — Isaiah Araujo, El Rancho, Sr.
WR — Prince Ross, La Habra, Jr.
WR — Delonte Taylor, La Mirada, Jr.
ALL — Phillip Garcia, Pioneer, Sr.
OL — Franky Earl, La Habra, Sr.
OL — Richard Arias, La Habra, Sr.
OL — Cole Denning, La Mirada, Sr.
OL — Adam Tourville, La Habra, Sr.
OL — Luis Lopez, Montebello, Sr.
K — Alexander Vasquez, La Serna, Sr.
DEFENSE
DL — Keanu Salepaga, La Mirada, Sr.
DL — Joe Gallardo, St. Paul, Sr.
DL — Malachi Allen, El Rancho, Sr.
LB — Jake Colacion, La Habra, Sr.
LB — Josh Quiroga, Montebello, Sr.
LB — Daniel Campos, La Serna, Sr.
LB — Cameron Carr, La Mirada, Sr.
DB — Jaquill Ruffin, Cantwell, Sr.
DB — Jon Ceballos, La Serna, Sr.
DB — Micah Croom, La Mirada, Sr.
DB — Anthony Garcia, La Serna, Sr.
P — Eli Anderson, La Habra, Jr.

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