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Mounties hoops off to a great start; beat Cerritos again in conference play

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mt sac vs Cerritos

Mt. SAC's Corey Allen squares off against a Cerritos defender during Wednesday night's home game at Mt. SAC

coach freeman

Mt. SAC coach Criss Freeman gathers with his team to talk strategy Wednesday night against Cerritos

Ariel Carmona Jr


Both Mt. SAC’s men’s and women’s basketball team have been having success in the winter season thus far. The women’s team (21-2, 10-0) opened up the month of November as champions of the Tip off tournament and followed up that early success with a second place finish in the Ventura tournament and a third place spot in the Sequoias tourney.
More recently they swept through the Fullerton tournament over Santa Monica, Moorpark and Cerritos.

In the new year, the team has looked impressive in South Coast Conference play with convincing wins over Pasadena, Compton and Cerritos. They are also ranked No.2 in the state by the California Community College Athletic Association.

The Mounties faced off against Cerritos again on Wednesday night and the outcome didn’t look as favorable early as the Falcons took an early 11-2 lead following great outside shooting by Cerritos’ sophomore guard Adrina Rendon.

Mt. SAC at first looked tentative with their outside jumpers, but climbed back into the game thanks to Ashley Burchfield’s 8 points, and the hot three point shooting of Leticia Galarza who contributed 9 points from beyond the arc, including back to back threes. Mt. SAC led at halftime 29-27 en route to a 59-48 win, their third of the season over the rival Falcons.

After Cerritos nearly tied the game, the Mounties took over with five minutes left in the contest. They outscored the Falcons 14-6, utilizing their defense to clamp down on the Cerritos attack which through the first 23 games of the season had posted an 8-2 conference record and a mark of 18-5 overall.

“I thought we played hard for 40 minutes, I thought the team stuck to the game plan for a large part of it and when we made adjustments they were able to make it work in our favor,” said coach Brian Chrichlow.

Defensively, Chrichlow said the team knew what they had to do. “We put more pressure on the ball, which made it difficult for those girls to get wide open looks and made it difficult for the passers to make those passes. We forced them to put the ball on the ground. We knew they could shoot, but we were able to close them out. We had to stop going for steals and leaving people wide open.”

The men’s team for their part seemed to have an easier time with a 27 point win, as they defeated Cerritos 85-58. The Falcons were coming in after their first conference win four days prior, but the Mounties were true on 48 percent of their field goals in the first half, led by Sophomore Lavelle McDade and freshman Garret Nevels, who combined for 23 points in the first half of play.

Mt. SAC was up 45-27 to start the second half and led by as much as 51-35 at the 7:20 mark of the period. The Falcons struggled from the field all night, sinking a mere 31 percent while Mt. SAC shot 50 percent, including eight 3 pointers. With the win the Mounties improved to 16-5 overall and 7-0 in the conference.

“They came out and played hard, they came out and played like I expected them to come out and play,” said coach Criss Freeman. “We usually do a good job at home, there are things we need to fix if we want to get to the next level and get in the top 5 and put up one of these banners like the women have. They work hard, they are a great group of guys, you can’t ask much more from them, they come out and put the game plan I put out on the board onto the floor for the most part. They play hard, that’s what gets our wins. That goes a long way in basketball.”

Freeman says despite injuries throughout the year, Mt.SAC’s reserves come out and practice hard and he said he was happy to be able to give some of them some time on the court. “To get them as much experience is great, it feels good for their confidence to give them some extended minutes.”

Both teams are on the road again this weekend. They tip off tonight against Southwest at 5 P.M. and 7 P.M. respectively.


Written by sgvsports

January 27, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Running Back Matthew Botello A Key to Mt. SAC’s Bid for a Three-peat

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Mt.SAC running back Matt Botello

Mt. SAC Running back Matt Botello

What a difference a week makes.

The defending state and national champion Mounties may have been down last week after having their 26-winning streak snapped 29-26 at Riverside, but you can’t keep a team loaded with talent down for long, especially one like Mt. SAC that has a big weapon in the backfield in running back Matthew Botello.

Saturday night against the visiting Bakersfield Renegades, Botello finished with 86 yards on 20 carries and helped lead the Mounties to a 41-27 win with touchdown runs of 12 and 2 yards.

“He’s the heart of our football team,” said Mt. SAC Coach Robert Jastrab about the five-foot-seven-inch back from Pioneer High School. “He’s our most consistent player.”

Jastrab added, “He’s the ideal role model. I just can’t say enough about Matt. He’s an example for all our players. He comes ready to work hard every day.”

Botello said that the level of competition at the Division 2 level and playing in the Southern California Football Association Conference for three years has helped mold him into a better player.

“It’s a lot different than high school,” he said.  “In high school I didn’t go through much competition. My senior year my only competition was my brother who was a freshman, so I had no competition until I got here.”

He added his brother Tony, one of two younger siblings and a senior running back at Pioneer High School in Whittier, has been influenced by watching him play, to the point of having developed a friendly family competition.

“He’s broken my team rushing record. I had 254 yards one game and he broke it with 286 last year as a junior. He also broke my season record. I had 1100 and he beat me with 1200 yards.”

This year’s version of the Mounties is a team replete with young players, still trying to learn the complexities of the Mt. SAC offense, but Botello said he relishes his new role as a team leader.

“I don’t mind the leadership role,” he said.  “I know how to lead a team. I know how to be a captain, and how to push them to be better.”

Bounce back quarterback Deen Cameron is still trying to achieve the rhythm needed to consistently perform with his young receivers, something Botello said will improve as the season progresses.

“He’s definitely the team leader,” said Cameron about Botello’s play, “He’s like another quarterback on the team. He runs hard every time.”

Botello said his experience is a big asset.

“It goes beyond learning the playbook,” he said. “A lot of new running backs that came in this year, I have been helping them out a lot. That’s one of the reasons I am also a starter.  I know the receivers. I know what my line is doing. Helping them out has helped them to learn the system.”

Botello is focused on the field and off.

“A lot of the guys who are leaders to me are the guys who got scholarships,” he said. “They are the guys who got the good grades in class. If they can get the good grades and get a scholarship, then I can too. I work just as hard as they do day in and out of practice, just the way they did when they were here.”

He is majoring in kinesiology but said he might become a nutritionist because he wants to work in hospitals helping adults and young obese kids lose weight.

His dream school is Oregon, but Botello said he will consider going to other schools out of state if he gets the opportunity.

“I want to see how many offers I get, and which are best for me and for my family, and that is what I am going to go with,” he said.

Botello said when he is not working out, playing football, or away from the practice field, he likes to spend time with his girlfriend and his family, watching movies on Netflix, bowling, or generally doing what young couples do.

On the field, it’s all about maintaining the level of play the Mounties have grown accustomed to, he said.

“We are Mt SAC and we are known for hard-nosed football, and that’s how we gotta play, fast and hard and strong every play.”

Written by sgvsports

October 3, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Mt SAC Holds on to Beat College of the Desert 27-24

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mounties against COD

The Mounties prepare to play College of the Desert Saturday

Things were not looking very good for the Mt. SAC Football team’s 25 consecutive game winning streak late in their contest against visiting College of the Desert Saturday.

The Mounties (3-0) easily handled the Roadrunners (2-1) last season with a 36-10 road win at College of the Desert. But in this year’s contest, after falling behind 21-20, the Mounties found themselves staring at a four-point deficit after Desert tacked on another three points on the strength of kicker Brett Symonds’ 28-yard field goal with 4:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Despite outscoring Desert 17-7 through the first two quarters of play, the Mounties were on the short end of the scoreboard, even with quarterback Cameron Deen having another solid performance under center.

Deen, a sophomore bounceback transfer from Northern Colorado and former South Hills standout, hooked up with wide reciever Alonzo Agwuenu twice in the first half on touchdowns of 15 and 26 yards after College of the Desert had scored first on Jai Steib’s two-yard run.

Following the field goal that gave Desert a 24-20 lead, the Mounties were the beneficiaries of a great kick-off return and found themselves near midfield with less than five minutes to save their winning streak and the game.

Sophomore running back Matthew Botello gave Mt. SAC the big offensive play they needed, picking up 19 yards and taking the ball inside the 30 yard line.

Two consecutive passes to Agwuenu from Deen resulted in a first and goal situation on the three yard line for Mt. SAC with about 2:38 left in the game. Twelve seconds later, Mark Larmie rumbled three yards up the middle through the heart of Desert’s defense for the go-ahead and eventual game winning score.

The Roadrunners, who were 4-6 overall last season, had one more shot at winning the game after freshman running back Nephi Garcia gave them good field position.  But Mt. SAC’s defense rose to the challenge, sacking Desert’s quarterback Charles Fortis twice with the clock winding down to preserve the 27-24 victory.

“We are a good team, we have a lot of talent and we were very confident,” said Deen following the game, adding he wasn’t surprised with the defensive effort shown by the visiting team.

“They bring pressure every play,” he said.  “They played great in the second half.”

Deen said there is really no proper way to prepare against a good defense.

“You see it on film, but on the field it’s a little different,” he said.  “We made a lot of mistakes, but we still came back, we came together as a team.”

Mt. SAC Coach Bob Jastrab, whose Mounties have now won 26 consecutive games and are 29-1 over the past two seasons, praised the play of College of the Desert, as well as that of his defense.

“I can’t say enough for the team. They stepped up and got it done,” Jastrab said.  “It could have gone either way. That’s a great football team, and they did a great job.  We were fortunate again to have a found a way to win in the end.”

Larmie said he wasn’t surprised his team hung tough at the end of the game.

“It was a matter of the defense coming together,” he said. “It feels wonderful to walk away with the W, but we still have a lot of work to do. But with God’s help, anything is possible.”


School Name      1           2      3            4          Final
     3 14      3 7 27
     7 0     14 3 24

Scoring summary:

1st 6:40 MSAC- Torres, Abraham 37 yd FG

4:39 COD- Steib, Jai 2 yd run (Symonds, Brett kick)

2nd 7:46 MSAC- Agweunu, Alonzo 15 yd pass from Deen, Cameron (Coons Travis kick)

3:10 MSAC- Agweunu, Alonzon 26 yd pass from Deen (Coons kick)

3rd 13:07 COD- Brewer, Jordan 53 yd pass from Fortis, Charles (Symonds kick)

5:44 MSAC- Torres, Abraham 26 yd field goal

1:01 COD- Steib, Jai 6 yd run (Symonds kick)

4th 4:27 COD- Symonds, 28-yd field goal

2:26 MSAC- Larmie, Mark 4 yd run (Coons kick)

Written by sgvsports

September 19, 2011 at 4:30 am

Mt SAC Football Opens Up Strong With 51-21 Win Over Victor Valley

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Mt SAC running back making a play

Running back Mark Larmie(34) breaks away for a run against the visiting Rams on Saturday's season opener at Mt. SAC

The defending National Champion Mounties wasted no time in finding their offensive rhythm Saturday as they posted 35 first half points en route to a 30 point win over visiting Victor Valley College at Hilmer Lodge Stadium.

Under the guidance of new quarterbacks Cameron Deen and Ted Launders, Mt. SAC rolled up 626 yards of total offense in a 51-21 season opening victory in front of their home fans.

Deen, a former standout at South Hills High School, finished 23 of 31 for 348 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62 yarder, while Launders completed 14 of 18 for 193 yards and a 27-yard score.

Sophomore receiver Alonzo Agwuenu caught touchdown passes of 62 and 27 yards in the first half on his way to ammassing 149 receiving yards while Finau Lomu out of Cottonwood Utah added returns of 41 and 53 yards.

Mt. SAC coach Robert Jastrab said despite starting both Deen and Launders, there was no quarterback controversy in the land of the Mounties.

“They both battled all the way ’till the end and they are both great quarterbacks,” said Jastrab, adding “it was going to be a battle for the position all the way throughout the season.”

Launders said he did not mind sharing signal calling duties with Deen, as long as both were being productive offensively. He added he had no idea if a permanent starter would be named later in the season.

“Right now it’s up to the coaches,” he said.

Launders said the team produced an all around win in their first outing.

“We came out strong,” he said.  “The offensive line did a good job. We played really strong overall on offense. The defense did a good job as well.”

After trailing by 35 points at halftime, Victor Valley, who belong to the American Division Mountain Conference and are coming off a 2-8 2010 season, finally got on the scoreboard.

The Rams’ Jemeryn Jenkins hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback JaQuorrey Williams, the first of two receiving scores on the day for Jenkins, who finished with 82 yards.

The Mounties displayed flashes of the defensive toughness that brought them back to back championships. Most notably, after coughing up the football on another potential scoring drive in the third quarter, Richard Thorpe recorded a safety.

Overall Jastrab said the team did a decent job.

“The most imporant thing we wanted to do is win the football game, but we gotta clean up the mistakes the turnovers and the penaltie,” he said.  “It’s a young football team and we knew that there was going to be a learning curve. We’ll just play from here and hopefully we get better each week.”

Even though Mt. SAC gave up three scores in the second half including a 34-yard pass with 6:06 to play in the final quarter, Jastrab said he would like to see the team learn to finish out games.

“I warned them at halftime, it’s always tough,” he said. “You gotta finish a team off when you have the chance. It’s probably good for us. Everything is a learning experience for them, hopefully they’ll learn from this situation and learn that we have to finish the two halfs, 60 minutes.”

Next week the Mounties will be on the road against Canyons. That game is scheduled for a 6 P.M. start.

Written by sgvsports

September 6, 2011 at 6:46 pm