Los Angeles Preps: Arroyo

South: Football All-CIF honors

January, 18, 2012
A list of players and coaches from south Los Angeles County who garnered top honors on All-CIF teams, sorted by division:


Offensive player of the year: QB Steven Rivera (senior, Arroyo)
Defensive player of the year: LB Brett Walsh (junior, Monrovia)
Coach of the year: Ryan Maddox (Monrovia)

Thoughts: No one was more valuable than Rivera, who capped his stellar four-year career by passing for 3,400-plus yards and 38 touchdowns and leading the Arroyo Knights to the Mission Valley League title. By all indications, Walsh beat out teammate Ellis McCarthy, one of the state's most highly recruited players, for top defensive honors. Walsh, a junior, was second in the entire Southern Section with 192 tackles, thriving behind McCarthy's havoc up front. Maddox was recognized for the second straight year after leading the Wildcats to their second straight title.


Offensive player of the year: RB Alex Tayco (senior, Rio Hondo Prep)
Defensive player of the year: LB Jake Holguin (junior, Rio Hondo Prep)
Coach of the year: Ken Drain (Rio Hondo Prep)

Thoughts: A deserved sweep for the divisional-champion Kares. Holguin, a 6-foot-3 linebacker who led a defense that allowed just over 10 points per game last season, returns next year.


Offensive player of the year: RB Chris Solomon (senior, West Covina)
Defensive player of the year: LB Dorrin Turner (senior, West Covina)
Coach of the year: Mike Maggiore (West Covina)

Thoughts: The back-to-back divisional champs swept for the second straight year, with Maggiore and Solomon repeating in their respective slots. Backup tailback Jimmy Frazier, who had more yards and touchdowns than Solomon in less carries, could have easily shared the offensive player of the year award. Solomon, who is being recruited as a defensive back, recently took an official visit to Colorado.

CIF-SS playoffs: Mid-Valley Division

November, 13, 2011
The Covina Colts received the top seeding Sunday, a mere formality considering that they'd been the division's top-ranked squad for quite some time. Valle Vista League winner Covina (9-1) opened the season with a six-point loss to rival and defending Southeast Division champion West Covina but rolled the rest of the way. Coach Darryl Thomas has his group in good position. Here’s a breakdown of the division:

The seeds: No. 1 Covina, No. 2 Arroyo, No. 3 San Dimas, No. 4 Monrovia.

Best first-round matchup: Pomona (6-4) at Monrovia (7-3) -- Pomona, which lost to the top seed by only two points, could very well leave Monrovia with a victory if the Wildcats don't play inspired.

Toughest road: Monrovia (7-3) -- It appears as if defending Mid-Valley champion Monrovia will have to go through top-seeded Covina in the third round. That's a lofty task.

Potential shocker: Maranatha (8-2) at San Gabriel (6-4), first round -- The possibility for an upset is there any time an elite-level quarterback is involved. The Maranatha Minutemen have that in junior Andrew Elffers.

Darkhorse: Azusa (7-3) -- The Montview League champion Aztecs have won seven straight and have already seen their potential second-round opponent, San Dimas.

Final analysis: It's hard to imagine anyone beating the Colts, especially if quarterback Billy Livingston stays healthy. They will likely have to go through defending champion Monrovia but the Wildcats, despite the presence of top lineman Ellis McCarthy, have been very beatable in 2011. Second-seeded Arroyo, behind record-setting signal caller Steven Rivera, should have no problem advancing out of the lower bracket.

Championship prediction: Arroyo vs. Covina -- The Colts will sneak past Monrovia in one semifinal and ride that momentum. Arroyo's high-powered attack will find difficulty against Covina's tough defensive front. Final score: 31-20, Covina.

Link to the Mid-Valley Division bracket on CalPreps.com

L.A. South: Thursday's top games

November, 9, 2011
League championships are up for grabs across the region this week. Here are Thursday night's top five games in south Los Angeles County:

Cabrillo vs. No. 5 Long Beach Poly at Veterans Stadium, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- As the Jackrabbits take the final turn toward a second consecutive Moore League title, it's only fitting that ESPN High School will recognize the defending national champion Long Beach Poly girls' track team during halftime Thursday. Football coach Raul Lara, meanwhile, can only hope that his team -- specifically the defense -- sprints through the finish line. A win would give Poly (8-1, 5-0) sole possession of first place and likely secure a high seeding in the Pac-5 Division bracket. Upset-minded Cabrillo (7-2, 4-1) has the division's leading passer, senior Derek Stewart (2,116 yards, 19 touchdowns).

Diamond Ranch at West Covina, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- When West Covina coach Mike Maggiore had his team take on Loyola earlier this season, it was with games like this in mind. West Covina (8-1, 5-0) will stay home this time but the hungry Diamond Ranch Panthers (5-4, 4-1) will try everything to unseat the defending Hacienda League champions. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 1 in the Southeast Division, can go perfect in league play for the second straight year.

La Puente vs. Azusa at Citrus College, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- The Mid-Valley Division poll that the CIF-Southern Section released before the season didn't include the La Puente Warriors (9-0, 6-0). Well, look at the Warriors now. They have a chance to finish with an unblemished mark and their first Montview League title since 2007. It won't be an easy task against Azusa (6-3, 6-0), the three-time defending league titlist.

El Monte at Arroyo, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- El Monte, coming off a thrilling win against crosstown rival South El Monte, has plenty of momentum. The Lions (7-2, 4-0) scored two touchdowns in the final 43 seconds to remain in contention to win its first league championship since 1979. Two-time defending champ Arroyo (8-1, 4-0) is potent behind quarterback Steven Rivera (2,512 passing yards, 33 total touchdowns).

Schurr at San Gabriel, Thursday, 7 pm. -- The San Gabriel Matadors (5-4, 4-0) can win the Almont League outright with a victory against visiting Schurr (3-6, 3-1). A Schurr win, combined with an Alhambra win at Bell Gardens, would create a three-way tie atop the standings.

Top returning QBs in south L.A. County

August, 18, 2011
With the start of the high school football season less than two weeks away, we give you a list of the top 15 returning quarterbacks in south Los Angeles County, sorted by last year's passing totals. Andrew Elffers, a junior at Maranatha in Pasadena, headlines the list. Arcadia's Myles Carr, No. 13 on this list of leaders, is the top-rated senior quarterback in the southern part of the county, according to ESPNU recruiting rankings.

Rank / Name (Year, School) / Yards / Touchdowns-interceptions

1. Andrew Elffers (Junior, Maranatha): 3,328 yards, 37-10
2. Billy Livingston (Senior, Covina): 2,838 yards, 25-8
3. Hank Trumbull (Senior, Chadwick): 2,829 yards, 31-19
4. Troy Williams (Junior, Narbonne): 2,597 yards, 23-9
5. Travis Santiago (Senior, Charter Oak): 2,418 yards, 21-10

6. Hayden Rettig (Junior, L.A. Cathedral): 2,217 yards, 17-20
7. Christian Smith (Senior, St. Bernard): 2,171 yards, 24-3
8. Rio Ruiz (Senior, Bishop Amat): 2,000 yards, 19-7
9. Steven Rivera (Senior, Arroyo): 1,963 yards, 21-4
10. Dallas Lopez (Senior, Downey): 1,940 yards, 16-4

11. Jihad Vercher (Junior, Salesian): 1,937 yards, 26-5
12. Manuel Santa Cruz (Senior, El Monte): 1,924 yards, 14-19
13. Myles Carr (Senior, Arcadia): 1,872 yards, 26-4
14. Justin Lewis (Junior, L.A. Jordan): 1,868 yards, 16-17
15. Garren Edwards (Senior, View Park): 1,858 yards, 23-7

Here is Elffers' nearly eight-minute long sophomore highlight tape:

LA South: Five things from the weekend

November, 22, 2010
1. The announcement of Long Beach Poly's 26-10 loss to Mater Deicreated an uproar at the Lakewood High bleachers on Friday night. It was hard to tell if fans there were happier that Moore League rival Poly had lost in the first round, or that Lakewood would be moving on. Clearly, the rivalry has grown into something special. You couldn't walk up and down the Lakewood sideline without hearing fans asking others for updates on Poly-Mater Dei. "Poly's losing at the half," one fan said to another. The response: "Let's head over to that one."

2. Those concerned, or more interested, with what was going on at Veterans Stadium might have missed the intricacies of Lakewood's dominant win against visiting San Clemente. Coach Thadd MacNeal knows his offense gets most of the publicity. Quarterback Tyler Schultz's consistency, Allie Long's shiftiness and Rashad Wadood's versatility warrant the notoriety. But MacNeal mentioned something that was particularly astounding: Lakewood's defense doesn't get any of the headlines. Ever. Following a win at St. John Bosco back in September, MacNeal said he believed he had the defense to compete for a Pac-5 title. So how does a defensive unit anchored by four-star defensive tackle Todd Barr go overlooked? Big Red was good all season, surrendering more than 14 points just twice.

3. Poly wasn't the only Pac-5 team to flounder and fall flat on Friday. Bishop Amat was also eliminated at home, losing to Tesoro 31-21. Remember, Amat had won nine straight before losing the Serra League finale to Alemany. The Lancers will be back next year, perhaps better than they were this season. Two important pieces are in place -- unless quarterback Rio Ruiz makes a full-time switch to baseball. Tailback Jalen Moore is the other cornerstone. He might be the best back in the San Gabriel Valley next fall.

4. The Mid-Valley Division's top seed is out. Previously-unbeaten Azusa, which allowed just 30 points allseason, was upset at home by Sun Valley Village Christian, 31-24. The Aztecs sealed their fate by allowing two fourth-quarter touchdowns and failing on a fake punt late. Elsewhere in the Mid-Valley, San Dimas scored a last-minute touchdown to knock off No. 3-seeded Arroyo. Covina, ranked No. 10 in last week's L.A. South rankings, moved on with an easy 42-14 win over La Canada.

5. With the exclusion of Pac-5 Division flops Bishop Amat and Long Beach Poly, the eight other teams in last week's L.A. South top 10 rankings fared extremely well. Serra, the region's top-ranked team according to ESPNLA.com, blew past Beverly Hills, 48-7. In the City Section, top-seeded Carson beat Sylmar, 42-6, No. 2 Crenshaw cruised to a 44-0 win against Granada Hills and No. 4 Dorsey disposed of Gardena, 37-7. Compton Dominguez escaped with a 28-25 win over St. Francis.

LA South: Games of the week

November, 18, 2010
San Clemente (8-2) at Lakewood (9-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
This is only the third true test for Lakewood, so you have to wonder if the Lancers are ready for the Pac-5 playoffs. Lakewood beat St. John Bosco (Trinity League) behind a stout defensive performance, but lost to Moore League champion Long Beach Poly thanks to a second-half breakdown. Quarterback Tyler Schultz is as gutsy as they come, but don't be shocked if Lakewood falls at home.

Mater Dei (6-4) vs. Long Beach Poly (8-2) at Veterans Stadium, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Long Beach Poly coach Raul Lara remained calm when he was drenched by his team following its win against Lakewood on Oct. 8. It was as if he expected the Gatorade bath and didn't want to appear blindsided. Well, the Jackrabbits will need similar composure Friday against Mater Dei in perhaps the most attractive first-round matchup in the state. Lara can only hope he gets wet again.

San Dimas (6-4) at Arroyo (9-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
As the defending Mid-Valley champion, San Dimas has been here before. But not on the road and definitely not as an underdog. Still, the Saints might very well pull off the upset over No. 3-seeded Arroyo, which fell in the first round last year. Arroyo played one challenging nonleague opponent this season -- Newhall Hart (5-5) -- and lost 44-3 at home.

Diamond Ranch (5-5) at Mayfair (6-4), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Here's an interesting note: Both teams began the year with a dreadful 0-3 mark. Another interesting note: Both teams bounced back to win the next five. The two sides played tough schedules to start and are too similar for it not to be a good game. Diamond Ranch, the Hacienda League's third-place team, has history on its side after reaching the division championship game the last two years.