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Archive for November 2011

Mt. SAC Captures Another Football Championship

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five straight football titles

Members of Mt. SAC's football team celebrate playoff win against Cerritos on Nov. 26 photo by James Choy


City by the Bay, the state champion Mounties are coming for a visit.

It wasn’t easy, but the Mt. SAC football team, two time defending state champions, captured an unprecedented 5th consecutive Southern California championship with a 17-14 victory over Cerritos Saturday at Hilmer Lodge Stadium.

In a rematch of last year’s SCFA championship game, the Mounties (11-1) hosted the Falcons, champions of the Northern Division in the SCFA, but the game figured to be closer than last year’s result when Mt. SAC crushed Cerritos 51-0 en route to an undefeated season and the state title.

Down 17-7 by halftime after Mt. SAC’s Abraham Torres connected on a 30 yard field goal, Cerritos (8-4) fought back in the second half and regained momentum in the game when quarterback Brandon Denker escaped from defensive pressure and rolled out to throw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Lavulo, cutting Mt. SAC’s lead to three points.

Cerritos had scoring opportunities throughout the final quarter, but the Mounties, as they have done throughout the season, came up big on defense when they needed to most as they held the Falcons scoreless through the 4th quarter and just 270 total yards on offense, while also benefiting from two second half interceptions by defensive back Ashtun Williams.

Cerritos faced a 4th and 18 on the Mt. SAC 33 yard line with only 1:50 left in the game, but Williams picked off Denker for the second time in the game and returned the ball into Cerritos territory to close out the Falcons’ final scoring threat. Williams finished with 65 yards on kick returns.

Last week Cerritos dominated Palomar College in the Southern California Football Association Bowl, 45-28, but against Mt. SAC, Denker was limited to 11 of 22 passing and 148 yards, two touchdowns and the two interceptions.

Since suffering their only setback of the season, a 29-26 loss to Riverside on Sept. 24, the Mounties have won eight in a row, including a 34-7 win over El Camino last week in the National Bowl.

Mt. SAC coach Bob Jastrab said he was proud of the way his team fought, not only this week but throughout the year.

“They found a way to win all season and I’m proud of the effort of the coaches and the players, that game could have gone either way and we thank God that we were able to hold on,” Jastrab said.

Running back Matt Botello, who reeled off 74 rushing yards, including a game long 32 yard run to open up the 4th quarter for Mt.SAC was named Most Valuable Player, while receiver Alonzo Agwuenu, who finished with 32 yards and scored Mt. SAC’s first touchdown on the day, received the Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year award.

“It’s great right now, hard work and dedication does pay off,” Agwuenu said, “we’ve been out here 9 months working hard to show them we’re the best team in the conference and the nation, so it feels good to know we’re one step closer.”

Agwuenu added he felt admiration for the Falcons’ effort, despite coming up short of the win.

“They were great, that’s the second best team in Southern California, they did what they had to do, I guess you can say that the winner prevailed on this day but I’m going to give them my own props, congratulations to them.”

Jastrab also praised the Falcons’ play and said he felt the game would be closer than last year’s blowout.

“It’s usually a close game, we knew it was going to be a battle even though we were up by 10.”

“My hat is off to their coaching staff and their players, they started off slow this season and they came on strong, they’re a great football team, I feel very fortunate to have beaten them today.”

“It’s another challenge for us,” remarked Jastrab in reference to Mt. SAC facing San Francisco City in the title game on Dec. 10. San Francisco City College defeated Fresno to advance.

“The job’s not done, we’ve got one more,” Jastrab said.



Written by sgvsports

November 28, 2011 at 11:22 pm

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Mt. SAC Football advances to regional final with 34-7 win over El Camino

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Mt SAC wins National Bowl

Mt. SAC football players celebrate first playoff win Sat. Nov. 19


The road to another potential championship is set for Mt. SAC’s football team, winners of the National Southern Conference, with a 34-7 home win over National Northern Conference Champions El Camino at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on Saturday in the 2011 National Bowl game.

Coming in with a 9-1 overall record and an unblemished 5-0 conference record, the Mounties went into Saturday’s game as the No. 1 seed, meaning they had home field advantage throughout the Community College football playoffs. El Camino came in with an 8-2 record and 3-2 in the Northern conference and ranked No. 4.

Mt SAC running back Matthew Botello carried nine times for 64 yards and touchdowns of 35 and 12 yards while quarterback Cameron Deen was 24 out of 31 on the afternoon for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns as Mt. SAC built a 20-7 halftime advantage on the visiting Warriors, despite El Camino boasting one of the top defenses in the state.

According to local reports, Deen came into the game having thrown for 2,202 yards, 17 TDs and 10 interceptions this season, but the Mounties had to prove that their young players had progressed enough to overcome a loss to Riverside earlier in the year.

After taking an early 6-0 lead on Botello’s first score, a 35 yard scamper in the first quarter, El Camino aided by a pass interference call against the Mounties took a 7-6 lead with 5:30 to play in the opening quarter. It would prove to be their only foray into the endzone.

The Mounties posted 14 unanswered points in the second quarter and held the Warriors’ offense in check throughout the second half of play.

Sophomore Linebacker Richard Thorpe (Fontana H.S.) was named conference defensive player of the year and said he had to silence his critics with his play again on Saturday. Thorpe had several big sacks and an interception to lead Mt. SAC defensively.

“There was some talk about how I shouldn’t have been conference defensive MVP so I had to show them how it was,” said Thorpe, adding Saturday’s win was just the first step in a detailed plan, “We are just trying to get to Dec. 10 and go up North and beat whoever wins up there because we are trying to get another championship here.”

Deen’s 43 yard scoring pass to Finau Lomu in the fourth quarter was the final dagger as the Mounties rolled.

Mt. SAC coach Bob Jastrab said that Mt. SAC worked on minimizing the mistakes and penalties which plagued the team earlier in the year. “We’ve been stressing not to do anything that will cost you a championship or a football game, because if it does, you’re done.”

Jastrab said his younger players have made strides quickly. “They are not young anymore, they’ve got 10 games underneath their belts and they are playing well. I am proud of them, I am proud of how they’ve progressed and I think they understand the importance of being perfect and not making the same mistakes.”

The National Bowl serves as the semifinals for the Southern California Regionals with the winner facing off against the Cerritos-Palomar winner next week. Jastrab said he was not concerned about which school the Mounties play next, and would concentrate on preparing the team to continue to play well.

“We got them at home, at 1 o’clock, that’s to our advantage there, but they’re still great football teams and we gotta show and play well or go home.”

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on Nov. 26 in the second round game against Cerritos or Palomar, whom the Mounties already beat 27-14 earlier this year.

-Ariel Carmona Jr.

Written by sgvsports

November 21, 2011 at 4:51 am

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Memories and thoughts on the season that was

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Ariel Carmona Jr

I peered through my front window through the gray clods of a threatening storm on my way to cover the Baseline League football finale the other night, and there they were, piercing through the traffic on Grand and Route 66, the lights, the fabled Friday night lights.

It was to be the final home football game of the season at Citrus College and in the distance I could hear the familiar sounds of drums and the band gearing up for one last gridiron contest.

As I conclude another season covering prep football in the San Gabriel Valley for and the San Gabriel Tribune and Pasadena Star News, I take away with me not only the recollections of seeing the play of some of the area’s great athletes showcased for us on a weekly basis, but other fond memories of the fall season that was.

Athletes like Charter Oak’s phenomenal starting quarterback Travis Santiago, Covina’s Billy Livingston and Gevontray Ainsworth out of the backfield weaving through would be tacklers, and Walnut’s Cody Lepp, hauling in passes and touchdowns for the Walnut Mustangs in the Hacienda League.

Some of the area teams did not fare as well as they had hoped, be it because of injuries, inexperience or other factors. Perhaps they didn’t end up with the ultimate prize, a playoff birth or a CIF championship under their belts, but as fans made their way to stadiums across the valley this past weekend, it wasn’t just about the championship games and the league titles they were coming out to see. Some were there to support the kids and players they cheered on not just this season, but throughout their athletic High School careers.

Walnut High’s varsity football team got off to a rough start to the season losing their first four games, and they never seemed to recover in time to make an impact in league play. However, I remember standing in the sidelines during their homecoming game against Los Altos, when on a slightly rainy night, the Mustangs shocked visiting Los Altos and scored their first win. You would have thought they had won a title following the elation that ensued after the 31-14 result.

If they fell short of their championship dreams, it sure as hell wasn’t for lack of trying. As first year Glendora Coach Todd Quinsey told me after Glendora’s final game against Etiwanda, his team was fighting until the final whistle blew, despite being on the short end of the scoreboard. “All we can ask from them is that they compete,” said Quinsey, “And this team did that, fighting to score a touchdown at the end of the game.”

This season, if possible, there appeared to be more of the boosters, fans and faithful making their way to the school bleachers to cheer on their school. It wasn’t just football either, I won’t soon forget sitting in the Diamond Bar High gymnasium for a late season volleyball match between the Brahmas and Bonita.

I had one teacher to the right of where I was sitting, informing me about the team’s achievements throughout the season, and to the left of me: The entire contingency of the Diamond Bar student body supporters, clad in purple, cheering on their team and banging their feet on the bleachers. It was as thunderous and as rowdy as any college game I have been to, with the Bonita faithful returning their challenges from the other side.

On another occasion, I was sitting in the press box covering a game at Arroyo High in El Monte and a little boy, I am assuming related to the coaches or the team in some way, sat next to me calling out the plays and strategy. The refs blew a play and he called them out on it, he wasn’t the only one, the entire stadium could be heard groaning in unison at the obvious mistake.

I was reminded then that sport has that unique position in our culture. It has, and always has had, the power to make us transcend ourselves and to unify as one common element in society. Football and volleyball may just be games we play, but the lessons and the memories learned from being on a team are memories and skills we keep for a life time. Alumni and former players all come out to cheer on their alma matters. For less than what one pays for the typical movie outing, one can enjoy several hours of entertainment at one of these athletic events.

Playoffs are just around the corner, so it isn’t too late to partake in some of the fun and to see some of the area’s best under the lights.

Written by sgvsports

November 15, 2011 at 2:28 am

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