Los Angeles Preps: Monrovia

Arcadia Invitational to showcase talent

April, 5, 2012
4/05/12
8:27
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Many of the top high school track and field athletes from across the country will converge in Arcadia this weekend for one of the most anticipated meets of the season.

The two-day Arcadia Invitational at Arcadia High School begins on Friday. Here is a look at some of the races and events featuring some of the top high school athletes from the L.A. North area and Southern California.

The men's 4x100 seeded relay will pit Chaminade against Rio Mesa and Oaks Christian. The women's 4x100 seeded relay will feature Simi Valley, Woodland Hills Taft, Westlake and Monrovia.

The men's 110-meter seeded hurdles has Elijah Jolt from Arroyo Grande against James Knowles from St. Francis and Marquis Norris from Concord De La Salle.

The women's 1-mile seeded race has Chelsey Totten from Golden Valley running against Rebecca Mehra from Palos Verdes and Emily Taylor from Marina.

The men's 100-meter seeded race is packed with Michael Davis from Glendale, Vinnie Saucer from Oaks Christian and Philip Johnson from Bishop Amat.

The women's 4x400 seeded relay will include teams from Oaks Christian, El Camino Real, Mater Dei and Summit.

The meet begins on Friday afternoon with the women's seeded 4x800 relay featuring 26 teams including Valencia, Harvard-Westlake, Arroyo Grande, Palos Verdes, Palisades and San Marcos.

L.A. South: Thirteen for '13

February, 7, 2012
2/07/12
9:54
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With national signing day behind us, we take an early look at 13 rising senior football recruits from south Los Angeles County to keep tabs on for the 2012 prep season:

QB Troy Williams, Harbor City Narbonne -- At this point, any given prospect list is incomplete without Williams, the dual-threat signal caller who already holds offers from UCLA, Arizona State, Nevada, Southern Methodist and Washington. He was the CIF Los Angeles City Section player of the year last season, guiding Narbonne to the Division I championship by passing for 3,247 yards and 34 touchdowns, and running for 11 more scores. Depending on how the summer goes, Williams can become a national-level prospect.

QB Hayden Rettig, Los Angeles Cathedral - The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Rettig had a spectacular start to the 2011 season, passing for 508 yards and six touchdowns in Cathedral's opener, and another 294 yards the next week. But that was it for the highly touted quarterback, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and was forced to sit out the remainder of his junior season. Rettig, the younger brother of Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig, holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boston College, Purdue and Vanderbilt, but will have to prove that his right knee has fully recovered.

WR John Ross, Long Beach Jordan -- The 5-foot-10 Ross was named the Moore League co-player of the year last season after accumulating 994 receiving yards and returning six kickoffs for touchdowns. On defense he intercepted five passes, returning two for scores. Ross has offers from UCLA and Washington, but many more are expected to follow suit.

ATH Sebastian Larue, Santa Monica -- On film, Larue looks like the Bryce Treggs of the 2013 class. Fast and shifty -- the 5-foot-11 receiver/cornerback/returner boasts a 4.42 time in the 40-yard dash -- Larue is lethal in open space. He had 17 total touchdowns as a junior, and already has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Idaho and nearby UCLA.

RB DaVonte Young, Bellflower St. John Bosco -- Young rushed for at least 100 yards in five games last season and, really, would have had more had he not shared carries with departing senior Royce Moore. With Bosco losing standout receivers Bryce Treggs (Cal), Justin Johnson (Fresno State) and Dalis Bruce (Eastern Washington) to graduation, Young will be counted on to supply the offensive firepower.

RB Anterio Bateman, Gardena Serra -- Bateman, an early ESPNU 150 watch list member, figures to be Serra's top weapon next season. An ankle injury forced him to miss action late in 2011, yet he still surpassed the 900-yard plateau and averaged more than nine yards per carry. Health will be key for a successful campaign this fall.

OL Nico Falah, Bellflower St. John Bosco -- The Braves averaged more than 400 yards of offense per game and the 6-foot-4 Falah was in the middle of it. He has scholarship offers from UCLA, Oregon State, Utah State and San Jose State, but it surely won't end there. The Trinity League will be loaded with a bevy of premier offensive lineman next season, and Falah is among that group.

QB Brandon Cox, Pasadena -- Cox passed for nearly 2,700 yards and 26 touchdowns, and rushed for over 500 yards -- stellar stats that helped him punch a ticket to the prestigious U.S. Army All-American underclassmen combine in San Antonio. He has reportedly garnered interest from the likes of Auburn and Oregon, as well as other Pac-12 schools.

RB Gerard Wicks, Long Beach Poly -- Wicks shares the carries with Manusamoa Luuga, so his numbers may not be as flashy as those of other running backs. He could emerge as the go-to guy for the Jackrabbits, especially with the departures of Arizona State-bound receivers Richard Smith and Josiah Blandin. UCLA appears to be the early front-runner in Wicks' recruitment.

DT R.J. Coleman, Mira Costa -- Last season Coleman had the task of filling the void left by the graduation of J.R. Tavai (USC) and he didn't disappoint. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Coleman is on the ESPNU 150 early watch list, and promises to be one of the top players in the South Bay.

LB George Frazier, Monrovia -- Much of the publicity surrounding Monrovia's back-to-back CIF championship run centered on mammoth defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (UCLA), but Frazier deserves his share of credit. The ESPNU 150 early watch list member was the perfect complement to McCarthy's havoc up front, making play after play for the Wildcats. Frazier is an intriguing prospect who should garner plenty of attention.

DB David Price, Long Beach Poly -- The 6-foot-1 safety is expected to spearhead a solid Poly defense that loses lineman Alonzo Williams (Texas A&M) and linebackers Salamo Fiso (ASU) and Matthew Rowe (ASU) to graduation. Price, an ESPNU 150 early watch list member, holds an offer from Southern Methodist.

WR A.J. Richardson, Harbor City Narbonne -- As the favorite target of Troy Williams, Richardson should get his share of opportunities every week. Gauchos coach Manual Douglas also finds other ways to get the ball in Richardson's hands -- and for good reason. He averaged more than 15 yards per reception last season.

South: Football All-CIF honors

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
9:20
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A list of players and coaches from south Los Angeles County who garnered top honors on All-CIF teams, sorted by division:

MID-VALLEY 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.

NORTHEAST DIVISION

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.

SOUTHEAST DIVISION

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.

McCarthy commits to UCLA

January, 16, 2012
1/16/12
9:31
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In somewhat of a surprise move, Ellis McCarthy from Monrovia (Calif.) verbally committed to UCLA on Monday night, according to his father, Ed McCarthy.

The 6-foot-4 and 305-pound defensive lineman and member of the ESPN150 recently pledged to Cal during the U.S Army All-American Bowl a couple of short weeks ago. All signs point to his decision to join the Bruins being a direct result of Golden Bears defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi leaving his position Monday morning to join the staff at Washington.

Seemingly with the window of opportunity open, UCLA defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin reportedly had the chance to visit with McCarthy and his family on Monday night. Martin's strong ties to Southern California likely played a role in McCarthy changing his mind.

“Coach Jim Mora came to UCLA and started doing all the right things, hiring all the right people, that's what made the decision to commit to the Bruins easy for Ellis,'' Ed McCarthy said. “We're happy he is staying close to home, we get to see him play in college. As a family, we always wanted him to go to UCLA. Once he wanted to go there, things fell into place.''

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Monrovia's McCarthy commits to Cal

January, 7, 2012
1/07/12
12:28
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Monrovia defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, the fifth-ranked player in the state, verbally committed to Cal on Saturday at the U.S Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.

He is ranked No. 43 among all national prospects, according to ESPNU Recruiting. McCarthy led Monrovia to its second consecutive CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship last season. The 6-foot-5, 311-pound McCarthy considered USC and Oregon.

"I like the program a lot," McCarthy said during an in-game interview. "I built a relationship with the team. ... We'll try to get a BCS bowl berth or make it to the Rose Bowl."

Oaks Christian receiver Jordan Payton, a former USC pledge, also committed to Cal during the game.

"We're going to do great things up there," Payton said.

Payton joins local receivers Bryce Treggs (Bellflower/St. John Bosco) and Darius Powe (Lakewood) among those committed to play their collegiate ball in Berkeley.

National signing day is Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.

Two Oaks Christian players on West roster for U.S. Army All-American Bowl

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
12:02
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The U.S. Army All-American Bowl has 16 players from California on the West roster.

Two players, seniors Jordan Payton and Ishmael Adams, are from Oaks Christian.

Payton is a 6-feet-2 wide receiver who is expected to announce where he will play in college after the game on Saturday. His choices have been whittled down to three: Notre Dame, Cal and UCLA.

Adams was a two-way player in high school, at cornerback and running back, and is headed to UCLA as a defensive back.

Other players from California on the West roster include Crespi offensive lineman Jordan Simmons, Dominguez cornerback Brandon Beaver, Monrovia defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy and Muir defensive back Kevon Seymour.

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be televised from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday at 10 a.m. on NBC.

L.A. South: List of bowl game participants

December, 30, 2011
12/30/11
2:17
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Here's a list of the south Los Angeles County senior football players participating in All-American bowl games.

THE U.S. MARINE CORPS SEMPER FIDELIS ALL-AMERICAN BOWL GAME
Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.
Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 3 p.m. PT

LB Jeremiah Allison (Dorsey)
WR Malik Gilmore (Lakewood/verbal to Oregon State)
WR Jaydon Mickens (Dorsey)
WR Bryce Treggs (St. John Bosco/verbal to Cal)
K/P Conrad Ukropina (Loyola)

UNDER ARMOUR ALL-AMERICAN GAME
Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Thursday, Jan. 5 at 4:30 p.m. PT
TV: ESPN

WR Darius Powe (Lakewood/verbal to Cal)

U.S. ARMY ALL-AMERICAN BOWL
The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas
Saturday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. PT
TV: NBC

DB Brandon Beaver (Dominguez)
DT Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia)
LB Jabari Ruffin (Downey/verbal to USC)
DB Kevon Seymour (Muir)
WR Derrick Woods (Inglewood/verbal to Oklahoma)

L.A. South: All-region football teams

December, 20, 2011
12/20/11
5:55
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Here’s an all-encompassing look at the top performers in south Los Angeles County for the 2011 prep football season.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Troy Williams, Narbonne, Junior -– Williams was superb in managing Narbonne's no-huddle spread attack. He did it with his arm (3,247 passing yards, 34 touchdowns), he did it with his legs (587 yards, 11 scores), and he made the right decisions with the football. The junior quarterback guided the Gauchos to the City Section Division I title.

OFFENSIVE MVP

Robert Lewis, South East, Senior -– Opposing coaches schemed to stop Lewis but the electrifying tailback still averaged 10 yards per carry and amassed 2,023 yards and 30 touchdowns for the City Section Division II champs. Coach Derwin Henderson pegged him as the city's best all-around talent. Lewis has verbally committed to Southern Methodist.

DEFENSIVE MVP

Ellis McCarthy, Monrovia, Senior -– The mind-boggling numbers aren't quite there because the big guy faced double- and triple-teams on a weekly basis. Coach Ryan Maddox built his defense around the 305-pound defensive tackle and it paid off with Monrovia capturing its second straight Mid-Valley Division championship. McCarthy has offers from all over, including Cal, USC, Florida, Oregon and Washington.

SPECIAL TEAMS MVP

Jack Schneider, Charter Oak, Junior -– With 89 total points, Schneider was the region's top scorer among kickers. In 12 games he made 65 extra points for the Sierra League champions.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Manual Douglas, Narbonne –- By the end of the season, Douglas had his Gauchos playing as well as any team in the area. Narbonne finished 11-3 and reached its third City Section title game in the last four years. Douglas scheduled tough with games at Long Beach Poly and Tesoro, and the strategy paid dividends.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB – Steven Rivera, Arroyo, Sr. –- Rivera capped his stellar four-year stay at Arroyo by passing for 3,408 yards and 38 touchdowns, leading the Knights to the Mission Valley League title.

RB – Tray Boone, Narbonne, Sr. –- The shifty back rushed for six touchdowns in the City Section Division I title game to finish with 1,400 yards and 22 touchdowns. He did all of this in an offense that primarily throws the ball.

RB – Marquise Bias, Monrovia, Sr. -– The powerful Bias pounded his way to 260 yards and three touchdowns in the Mid-Valley Division title game, and finished with more than 1,500 yards for the season.

WR – Bryce Treggs, St. John Bosco, Sr. –- The Cal commit made Trinity League defenses look foolish, hauling in 11 touchdowns to go along with 1,377 receiving yards.

WR – Darreus Rogers, Carson, Sr. –- Rogers, a USC commit, was the City Section's leading receiver with 1,251 yards. He had a monster performance in the title game but it wasn't enough for the Colts.

WR – Alex Villalobos, San Gabriel, Sr. -– The slot-type Villalobos was the state leader with 2,001 receiving yards. He added 21 touchdowns for the Mid-Valley Division runner-up Matadors.

OL - Beau Leati, Narbonne, Sr. -- City Section coaches selected Leati as the lineman of the year and for good reason. He anchored a line that opened gaping holes for Boone and protected Williams.

OL – Lacy Westbrook, Dominguez, Sr. -– The UCLA commit was out when the Dons started the season with two losses, but his added a major spark to their ground attack.

OL – Beau Boyster, St. John Bosco, Sr. -– The Braves averaged more than 400 yards of offense per game and the Arizona commit was in the middle of it, with his protection of strong-armed Rene Medina.

OL – Gerrad Kough, Pomona, Sr. -– The Colorado commit spearheaded a Pomona running game that averaged more than 215 yards per game.

OL – George Castro, West Covina, Sr. -– West Covina was 25th in the state in rushing yards per game (332) and Castro was a big reason why.

PK – Mason Bryant, Monrovia, Jr. -– Bryant did it all for the back-to-back champion Wildcats as a receiver, defensive back and kicker, totaling 117 total points.

P - Conrad Ukropina, Loyola, Sr. –- Six of Ukropina's 25 punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, and he averaged 43 yards per punt, the best in the Pac-5 Division.

SECOND TEAM

QB – Travis Santiago, Charter Oak, Sr.
RB – Jimmy Frazier, West Covina, Sr.
RB – Kurt Scoby, Charter Oak, So.
WR – Richard Smith, Long Beach Poly, Sr.
WR - Antoine Anderson, Narbonne, Sr.
WR – Hunter Duran, Arroyo, Sr.
OL – Chase Eldredge, Palos Verdes, Sr.
OL – Chad Wheeler, Santa Monica, Sr.
OL – Justin Johnson, Dorsey, Sr.
OL – Alec Zenner, San Dimas, Sr.
OL – Nico Falah, St. John Bosco, Jr.
PK - Ret Tilman, Culver City, Sr.
P – Hayden Hunt, Long Beach Poly, Sr.

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DL – Demetric McKinney, West Adams, Sr. -– McKinney recorded a state-leading 26 sacks in only 12 games.

DL – Jeremiah Allison, Dorsey, Sr. -– Allison will be used as a linebacker in college but he was fierce coming off the three-point stance for Dorsey. Allison had 14 sacks for the Coliseum League champions, giving him 34 over his last two seasons.

DL – Jesse Ojeda, San Dimas, Sr. -– He only measures 5-feet, 7-inches but Ojeda was a force for the Saints, getting to the quarterback 17 times.

LB – Brett Walsh, Monrovia, Jr. -– Walsh was second in the entire Southern Section with 192 tackles, thriving behind McCarthy's havoc up front. He added eight sacks, and figures to garner attention during the offseason.

LB – Sergio Gonzalez, Ganesha, Jr. -– The outside linebacker led the Mid-Valley Division with 17 sacks.

LB – Nuoye Clemmons III, West Adams, Sr. -– Clemmons ranked second in the City Section with 146 tackles.

LB – Salamo Fiso, Long Beach Poly, Sr. -– The Arizona State commit spearheaded a strong Jackrabbits defense with 117 tackles.

DB – Kevin Page, Dorsey, Sr. -– Page intercepted six passes, including a big one on the road to clinch a victory at Alemany.

DB – Tyrone Taylor, Torrance, Sr. -– The Cal State Fullerton baseball signee had 190 tackles from the safety position.

DB – Shane Baumann, St. John Bosco, Sr. -– Baumann was in the middle of every defensive play, it seemed. He ranked fifth in the Pac-5 Division with 126 tackles and also had five interceptions.

DB – Mark Wright, Rolling Hills Prep, Sr. –- Wright had 10 interceptions in nine games, good for a tie for second place in the state.

SECOND TEAM

DL – Alonzo Williams, Long Beach Poly, Sr.
DL – Robbie Haines, Arcadia, Sr.
DL – Daniel Rios, Rosemead, Jr.
LB – Keishawn Haley, Culver City, Jr.
LB – Matt Rowe, Long Beach Poly, Sr.
LB – Jabari Ruffin, Downey, Sr.
LB – Thomas Brown, Gardena Serra, Sr.
DB – Trayvon Watson, West Adams, Sr.
DB – Gabriel Marks, Venice, Sr.
DB – Naijel Hale, Lakewood, So.
DB – Chris Solomon, West Covina, Sr.

L.A. South: The final Top 10

December, 19, 2011
12/19/11
12:19
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There were no south Los Angeles County schools involved in the state bowls, so the rankings remain as they did last week. The area's sectional champions were Narbonne (City Section Division I), West Covina (Southeast Division), Monrovia (Mid-Valley Division) and South East (City Section Division II). The final top 10 rankings:

1. (1) Narbonne (11-3)
The City Section Division I champions are favored to repeat in 2012, if only because they’ve got the section’s leading passer in Troy Williams (3,247 yards and 34 touchdowns).

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (10-2)
The Jackrabbits got their second straight Moore League championship but will have a lot of offensive talent to replace.

3. (3) St. John Bosco (8-4)
The third-place team from the Trinity League made its first playoff appearance since 2006, and leading running back DaVonte Young returns next season.

4. (4) Charter Oak (10-2)
The Chargers won the Sierra League and have a dynamic talent in tailback Kurt Scoby for the next two years.

5. (5) Carson (8-6)
The Colts lost in the City Section Division I title game for the second straight year. And, according to reports, they’ll have to replace energetic coach Elijah Asante.

(Read full post)

L.A. South: The Top 10

December, 11, 2011
12/11/11
11:45
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With no south Los Angeles County schools heading to the state bowls, we can label this a collective down year in the region. Narbonne (City Section Division I), West Covina (Southeast Division), Monrovia (Mid-Valley Division) and South East (City Section Division II) are champions. The top 10 rankings heading into the final week of play:

1. (1) Narbonne (11-3)
Emotional leader Tray Boone usually talks the talk, but he backed it up Friday with six touchdown runs and 316 total yards to lead the Gauchos to the City Section Division I title. Last week: Beat Carson, 48-32.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (10-2)
A quick exit from the Pac-5 bracket but at least order appears to have been restored for the back-to-back Moore League champions.

3. (3) St. John Bosco (8-4)
The third-place team from the Trinity League made its first playoff appearance since 2006, and leading running back DaVonte Young returns next season.

4. (4) Charter Oak (10-2)
The Chargers won the Sierra League and have a dynamic talent in tailback Kurt Scoby for the next two years.

5. (5) Carson (8-6)
For the second straight year, the Colts stumbled in the City Section Division I title game when mistakes turned costly. Last week: Lost to Narbonne, 48-32.

(Read full post)

Mid-Valley: Monrovia 53, San Gabriel 14

December, 11, 2011
12/11/11
12:00
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MONROVIA -- Marquise Bias swung the flag pole feverishly as the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard. Back and forth, back and forth he swayed until the flag wrapped around itself and became tangled, the large Monrovia logo no longer readable.

It was about the only thing Bias did wrong Saturday night.

The senior running back rushed for 260 yards and three touchdowns, propelling Monrovia to its second straight CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship with a 53-14 drubbing of San Gabriel. After falling short in their previous eight finals appearances, the Wildcats have gone back to back.

"Marquise has done that all year," coach Ryan Maddox said. "He keeps his feet moving and doesn't stop."

Like at every Monrovia home game, ceramic fire pots aligned in the shape of the letter M flickered high on a hill adjacent to the renovated field. On this night, it could have very well stood for Marquise.

Bias' six-yard touchdown run on a gutsy fourth-and-1 call early in the second half was the go-ahead score. The fourth-seeded Wildcats (11-3) scored 39 unanswered after the break and capped their season by winning 10 in a row.

"Coach gave a little speech," Bias said. "He told us to pick it up and play the way we've been playing."

Versatile back De'Shawn Ramirez added 150 total yards and three touchdowns, including a 66-yard romp in the final minutes that was the exclamation point on a game that got out of hand quick.

Unseeded San Gabriel (9-5), which started the season 1-4, squeaked by to reach the final, beating its three opponents by a combined nine points. The Almont League champions beat Maranatha (9-3), second-seeded Arroyo (40-38) and third-seeded San Dimas (29-28). The Matadors, making only their second finals appearance in school history, were in it at halftime when receiver Alex Villalobos hauled in his second touchdown.

"They did not surprise us," Maddox said. "They did what they do well."

(Read full post)

Monrovia on the verge of repeat

December, 8, 2011
12/08/11
9:57
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Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox was in the process of explaining his team's success when he glanced over at mammoth-sized defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, who was sitting at a nearby table Monday at the annual CIF-Southern Section championships luncheon in Long Beach.

No need to say much else.

"He makes your defense, you build your defense around him," Maddox said of his highly touted player. "His presence frees up your linebackers to fly around and make plays. Ellis and our other defensive lineman demand blocks. Teams have to scheme for them."

McCarthy and the fourth-seeded Monrovia Wildcats (10-3), winners of nine straight, have allowed an average 17 points per game. They look to defend their Mid-Valley Division championship Saturday night against visiting San Gabriel (9-4) after knocking off top-seeded Covina in the semifinals.

"It's a tougher road because you become the target," Maddox said of defending the 2010 title, "but we've battled and played great football."

There's been growth, especially at the crucial quarterback position.

Junior linebacker George Frazier doubled as the team's signal caller to start the season, before Blake Heyworth was cleared to play. Heyworth has passed for 2,276 and 24 touchdowns, filling the void left by the graduation of dual-threat Nick Bueno, the reigning Mid-Valley player of the year.

"It's Blake's first year of varsity football," Maddox said. "He's a completely different player than Nick, more of a pocket quarterback who does a good job of distributing the ball to our athletes, spreading the field and creating holes for our running game."

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Preview: San Gabriel at Monrovia

December, 8, 2011
12/08/11
9:50
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MID-VALLEY DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP

San Gabriel Matadors (9-4) vs. No. 4-seeded Monrovia Wildcats (10-3)

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Monrovia High School

Broadcast: Live on FoxSportsWest.com

How they got here: Unseeded San Gabriel, the Almont League champion, beat Maranatha (9-3), second-seeded Arroyo (40-38) and third-seeded San Dimas (29-28). Defending division champion Monrovia beat Pomona (24-7), Whittier Christian (67-21) and top-seeded Covina (41-27).

School history: The Matadors are making their second finals appearance in school history. They lost in the 2003 title game. This is Monrovia's third consecutive title game appearance and 10th overall. The Wildcats finally won a championship last year after losing in their eight previous attempts.

Key players: San Gabriel has dual-threat quarterback Andy Guerrero (230 passing yards per game) and defensive back Alex Villalobos. Monrovia is led by highly touted defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy, linebacker George Frazier, quarterback Blake Heyworth and tailback Marquise Bias.

Matadors' take: "We've grown and matured with that adversity [of starting the season 1-4]. Things have changed. We're a new team. All year we've been underdogs, so I guess we're used to it by now. We're taking it just as any other game we've played this season." - offensive lineman and team captain Brian Lopez

Wildcats' take: "We have that playoff experience and it helps. The kids aren't as apt to get nervous and have been there. For some of them it's their third time at a championship game. They know what to expect and that helps calm the nerves." - coach Ryan Maddox

Prediction: Monrovia 34, San Gabriel 27

Dorsey-Narbonne: strength vs. strength

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
9:09
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DorseyBlair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comDorsey gets its chance for respect Friday when it takes on Narbonne in the City semifinals.

On a Saturday earlier this month, the Dorsey Dons were in the film room when coach Paul Knox walked in ready to share two bits of information. The good news: Dorsey had received one of four seedings for the City Section Division I football playoffs. The bad: The Dons were seeded third despite winning their league and losing just once, on the road to highly regarded Redlands East Valley.

Adding salt to the wound was the fact that Narbonne, the Marine League runner-up to top-seeded San Pedro and loser of three games, received the No. 2 seeding.

Coliseum League champion Dorsey (11-1) gets a chance to state its case under the lights Friday in Harbor City.

Allison
Allison
"We want to make skeptics believers," Dons defensive end Jeremiah Allison said.

It doesn't promise to be an easy task. Narbonne (9-3) averages 48 points per game behind dual-threat quarterback Troy Williams, one of the city's top junior prospects. Williams touts single-game highs of 385 passing yards and 124 rushing yards this year.

"I know he has a pretty good feet on him," said Allison, who has been credited with 14 sacks.

But Williams is aware of what he and the explosive Gauchos offense is up against. The Dons are quick defensively and haven't given up more than 26 points in a game this season. On average they give up only 10.

Williams
Williams
"It's the best defense we've see all year," Williams said.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Dec. 10 championship game at East L.A. College. Marine League foes San Pedro (12-0) and Carson (7-5) square off in the other semifinal.

Here are four other top third-round playoff games in south Los Angeles County on Friday (with ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings):

City: Carson (7-5) at No. 11 San Pedro (12-0), 7 p.m. -- The top-seeded Pirates won 21-0 when these two met in Carson on Oct. 28. Senior quarterback Kenny Potter looks to lead San Pedro to its first title-game appearance since 2008. The Colts, meanwhile, hope to get back to the championship game after losing to Crenshaw at the Coliseum last year.

Western: No. 20 Santa Monica (11-1) at No. 22 Culver City (9-3), 7:30 p.m. -- A chance at redemption for Culver City, which wasn't even expected to make it past Gardena Serra in the opening round. The Centaurs lost to Santa Monica, 17-14, during the regular season. The Vikings pulled that one out thanks to a pair of late-game takeaways.

Southeast: Muir (8-4) vs. La Serna (9-3) at California High, 7 p.m. -- What resolve the Muir Mustangs have shown without coach Ken Howard, who has been on administrative leave since Week 4 following an on-campus incident with a student. Muir has won its two playoff games by scores of 39-7 and 48-0.

Mid-Valley: Monrovia (9-3) vs. Covina (11-1) at Covina District Stadium, 7 p.m. -- After this one is over, either defending division champion Monrovia or top-seeded Covina will be eliminated. The Wildcats, behind big defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, have been playing their best football lately and could give the Colts a serious scare.

L.A. South: The Top 10

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
10:50
PM PT
Long Beach Poly fell out of the region's top spot for the first time this season following its second-round loss to Santa Margarita. Last week's second- and third-ranked teams -- St. John Bosco and Charter Oak, respectively -- also stumbled. Now, three of the region's top four squads come from the City Section. Marine League champion and top-seeded San Pedro is the only remaining undefeated team in the south Los Angeles County top 10 rankings heading into the third round of the playoffs:

1. (4) San Pedro (12-0)
The top-seeded Pirates eliminated the two-time defending City Section Division I champs Friday, securing another matchup with fifth-seeded Carson. The Marine League champs defeated the Colts 21-0 on Oct. 28. Last week: Beat Crenshaw, 31-7. Next: semifinals vs. Carson, Friday.

2. (1) Long Beach Poly (10-2)*
The lack of consistency from the quarterback positions was a season-long concern for coach Raul Lara. That turned into a nightmare Friday when the Jackrabbits were intercepted five times. The good news: Gerard Wicks returns next season. Last week: Lost to Santa Margarita, 49-16.

3. (5) Narbonne (9-3)
Junior quarterback Troy Williams had six total touchdowns, and the emerging Tray Boone had two more to propel the Gauchos to their third straight 50-point performance. They now face perhaps the city's top defense. Last week: Beat West Adams, 59-20. Next: semifinals vs. Dorsey, Friday.

4. (6) Dorsey (11-1)
The fast and talented Dons defense had six takeaways Friday, and USC-bound receiver Jaydon Mickens had four total touchdowns to go along with six receptions and 82 yards. Last week: Beat Birmingham, 45-13. Next: semifinals at Narbonne, Friday.

5. (2) St. John Bosco (8-4)*
Bosco twice cut its deficit to four on Friday but the defense couldn't come up with stops. Still, the Braves made their first playoff appearance since 2006, so they've got nothing to hang their heads about. Last week: Lost to San Clemente, 42-24.

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