Los Angeles Preps: Whittier Christian

Mid-Valley Division: Monrovia 38, Whittier Christian 8

December, 11, 2010

ARCADIA -- The 10th time was the charm.

Monrovia finally got the monkey off its back, edging Whittier Christian, 38-8, Saturday night to claim the CIF Mid-Valley Division championship -- the program's first in 10 trips to the finals. Third-year coach Ryan Maddox checked one thing off his to-do list.

He'll set his sights on his next objective: Getting wideout Jay Henderson a scholarship to play collegiate football.

"He had an incredible game," Maddox said. "He's a gifted athlete. We're going to do everything we can to get him playing at the next level -- he's got that kind of talent."

Henderson did it all for the Wildcats (12-2), scoring four touchdowns and piling up 229 yards of total offense. His 69-yard punt return for a touchdown broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter. Monrovia never looked back.

"I was just thinking about scoring and getting my team pumped," Henderson said. "It was about getting the energy up."

The electric punt return did the trick, as the Wildcats scored the game's first 31 points. Henderson followed his return by catching a 28-yard touchdown pass from Nick Bueno, then added scoring receptions of 63 and 46 yards midway through the third quarter.

"I was in the zone," Henderson said. "The coaches talked about being in the zone the whole week, so I just had that mindset."

Monrovia's defense was in the zone too, just like in the previous 10 games. Whittier Christian quarterback Stephen Anderson wasn't given the chance to get going offensively, as the lefty completed just four of his first 15 pass attempts -- much of that a product of 6-foot-5 Ellis McCarthy's pressure up front.

Anderson was picked off three times and finished with 134 yards on 15-for-38 passing. Backfield mate Grant Escobar had 115 yards rushing, though a bulk of that came when the game was decided. The Heralds (12-2) did have a good look when both teams were scoreless early in the second quarter. But an Escobar fumble at the Monrovia 18 ended a promising drive.

Monrovia's defense proved too fast, too hungry for a Whittier Christian team that did not score less than 21 points in any game this season.

"Our defense is so fast to the football," Maddox said. "They're aggressive, they're physical. I thought last year's defense was excellent; this one was better. They stepped it up."

The Wildcats did not allow more than 14 points in any of their last 10 games.

"It feels great to be a CIF champion," said Henderson, a senior. "I hope they get it next year."

Perhaps the 11th time will be a charm, too.

LA South: CIF championships previews

December, 9, 2010
Western Division: Arroyo Grande (11-2) at Gardena Serra (13-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
If there's any hope for Arroyo Grande in this one, it's that Chaminade -- the team it beat 52-19 last week -- hung tough against top-seeded Serra this season, actually leading in the fourth quarter. Top prospects George Farmer, Marqise Lee and Jason Gibson look to make their final home game a successful one.

Division II: Chatsworth (11-2) vs. Fairfax (9-3-1) at East Los Angeles College, Friday, 7 p.m.
Chatsworth touts a seven-game winning streak, but each of the last two have been by just a touchdown. Don't be fooled by Lions' record, either: Fairfax sacrificed its mark for the greater good, losing to Venice and West Hills Chaminade. Perhaps this is when playing better competition becomes a factor.

Mid-Valley Division: Whittier Christian (12-1) vs. Monrovia (11-2) at Arcadia High, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
The Mid-Valley Division has already been wild; Whittier Christian hopes to make it whacky. No. 2-seeded Monrovia has breezed through the bottom half of the bracket. The top half, though, has been out of control. Top-seeded Azusa lost the opener, Whitter Christian upset No. 4-seeded Covina a week later, then pulled off a 43-42 overtime win against Village Christian.

LA South: Games of the week

November, 25, 2010
Lakewood will have the services of Allie Long when it hosts No. 3-seeded Alemany in the second round of the Pac-5 Division playoffs on Friday night. The senior tailback left last week's 24-7 home win over San Clemente holding his left wrist and watched the final three quarters with a bag of ice on his hand.

Rashad Wadood picked up the slack, fighting through a sprained ankle that held him out of No. 11 Lakewood's final three Moore League games. He rushed for 201 yards after Long left the game. Lancers coach Thadd MacNeal said Wadood's ankle has improved, which should be a good sign for Lakewood (10-1) fans.

But will two good ankles -- plus Long's participation -- be enough to upset No. 5 Alemany (11-0)? Can Lakewood's stingy defense contain Warriors quarterback Vernon Adams?

"Adams is a dynamic guy," MacNeal said. "He throws the ball as well as he runs the ball, makes a lot of plays. When things break down he seems to have an answer."

Things seem to break down more often than not when Lakewood's Todd Barr has his way up front. The highly touted defensive tackle missed the second half of last week's game after receiving a crunching helmet-to-helmet hit while playing tight end. Barr sat out practice early this week, MacNeal said he has recovered fully. He has 17 1/2 sacks this season.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Follow the action at twitter.com/bangulo for periodic updates.

Three more to see:

City Section Div. I: Taft (8-3) vs. No. 4 Dorsey (10-1) at Rancho Cienega Park, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Taft hopes its season doesn't end the way it began: with a loss at Dorsey. The Dons scored the game's first 20 points back on Sept. 9, getting three touchdown passes from quarterback Joseph Gray on their way to a 37-24 win. The 24 points were a season-low for the Toreadors, who have won six straight.

Western Division: Inglewood (9-2) vs. No. 4 Paso Robles (9-2) at Flamson Middle School, Friday 7 p.m.

Will Inglewood take Interstate 5 or the more scenic Route 101 to Paso Robles? Regardless, it will take more than four hours and 200 miles to get there. Barring a wild, multi-overtime thriller, Inglewood will spend more time on the bus than it will playing the game. Paso Robles, winners of eight straight, will welcome them with open arms.

Mid-Valley Division: No. 4 Covina (10-1) vs. Whittier Christian (10-1) at Whittier College, Friday, 7 p.m.

Valle Vista League champion Covina made easy work of La Canada last week, but faces stiffer competition this week. Whittier Christian has only once allowed 27 points this season -- and that came in a 35-28 loss at Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart. Reason for concern? Half of Covina's wins have come when scoring 27 or less.