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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW: Final week of football sees relief for a pair of teams with long playoff droughts

By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter

 

At least for one season, there is a changing of the guard when it comes to the area football teams. Three programs who have been accustomed to advancing to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs will not see a Week 11 this season while two others that have not seen the postseason in a long time will keep their seasons going.

Gahr High will not advance to the playoffs for a third season in a row while Norwalk High (11 straight seasons) and Valley Christian High (five straight seasons) will see their disappointing seasons end tonight. On the flip side, Artesia High and John Glenn High are in great shape to head back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and 2002 respectively.

Artesia (6-3 overall, 2-0 in the 605 League) @ Cerritos High (3-6, 0-2)-Artesia scored 19 points in the third quarter against Pioneer High last Friday night as part of a 46-32 win and can do no worse than a share of the first 605 League championship. As has been the case all season long, the Pioneers have been riding the arm, and legs, of senior quarterback Heder Gladden and the legs of senior running back Travys Davis. They combined for five rushing touchdowns against the Titans and Davis caught his fifth touchdown pass from Gladden. For the season, Gladden has rushed for 21 touchdowns and passed for 10 while Davis has accounted for 17 combined touchdowns. The Pioneers have scored over 30 points seven times and over 40 points six times.

For Cerritos, what began as a great start by the programs’ standards has gone the other way the past four weeks. The Dons have scored over 40 points four times but have three wins to show for it. Junior quarterback Stacy King was effective in his team’s 67-41 loss to Glenn last Friday night, accounting for over 400 yards of offense. He has many options to go to in the passing department. The ground game is led by senior running back Tye Anderson, who has eclipsed 1,000 yards and became the first Cerritos running back to eclipse 1,000 yards since LaMaar Crowder did it in 2013 (1,667 yards). Cerritos has not won three games in a season since 2010. The Dons also accomplished that feat in 2006. An upset over the Pioneers would give the program four wins for the first time since 2003 when it went 6-4.

Gahr (3-6, 2-2 in the San Gabriel Valley League) @ Downey High (4-5, 2-2)-This game was played on Oct. 25 and Gahr has lost two straight games and faced a team it has lost to at least eight straight times on the road. The Gladiators fell to Paramount High 55-45 last Friday night and while the offense is electric at times, scoring over 40 points four times, the defense is anemic, allowing an average of 32 points a game. Senior quarterback Jordan Simpson has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns while adding another six on the ground.

Glenn (5-4, 1-1) @ Pioneer High (6-3, 1-1)-This season will go down as one of the best for Glenn with probably the most explosive offense the program has ever seen. It’s no surprise to anyone that the offense centers around senior quarterback David Sanchez, senior wide receiver Tim Stevenson and junior Edwin Udengwu. The Eagles have reached 30 points six times, but the defense has surrendered over 40 points in back to back games and three other times. Glenn has also won three of its last four games and one more win will be the most Glenn has seen in over 20 years.

Pioneer’s defense has allowed 136 points this season while sacking opposing quarterbacks 25 times intercepting 10 passes. The offense is pretty much balanced, but slightly geared towards the run game where Pioneers has amassed over 1,700 yards.

La Mirada High (1-8, 1-1) in the Suburban League) @ Norwalk High (0-9, 0-2)-There’s no easy way to spin or sugarcoat Norwalk’s long, frustrating season. The Lancers, who have scored in double figures twice this season, were blanked by Bellflower High 49-0 last Friday and have been blanked the past two weeks and four of the last five. Norwalk has been outscored 375-56 this season and face a team that is on life support as far as making the playoffs. The Matadores are also struggling, scoring 113 points while yielding 331. But, they have also played the likes of Capistrano Valley High, El Toro High, Mater Dei High and Upland High just to name a few.

Whittier Christian High (0-9, 0-3 in the Olympic League) @ Valley Christian (2-7, 0-3)-Whatever slim chances the Defenders had of making the playoffs were ended with a 37-17 setback to Village Christian High last Friday night. The last time Valley Christian faced a winless team, it knocked off La Salle High 38-20 on Sept. 21. Since 1998, Valley Christian has had three losing seasons, which came from 2011-2013. In those three seasons, those teams went 4-7, 3-7, and 5-7, but made the playoff twice. Whittier Christian has scored 51 points thus far and has been blanked in back to back games. The Heralds have reached double figures just once and have less than 1,000 yards of offense. One of their losses was a forfeit to Adelanto High.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

None of the four area teams that advanced to the playoffs made it to the quarterfinals, which would have been this past Tuesday. Cerritos, the champions of the 605 League which was ranked sixth in the Division 5 poll entering the playoffs, fell to St. Anthony High 26-28, 25-14, 24-26, 19-25 last Saturday night in a second round match. The Lady Dons end the season at 24-4 overall and had won nine straight matches, all by sweeps, entering the playoffs.

Gahr was swept by Bishop Montgomery High 25-16, 25-15, 25-12 last Thursday night in a Division 4 first round game and concluded the season at 18-8. The Lady Gladiators were co-San Gabriel Valley League champions.

Also, in Division 4 action, Valley Christian took the first set against Xavier Prep 25-17 last Thursday night. But the Lady Defenders lost the next three sets, scoring a total of 50 points, and end their season at 18-13. V.C. finished in this place in the Olympic League.

Finally, the second place representative out of the 605 League, Whitney High, was swept by Heritage High last Thursday in a Division 6 first round game. The Lady Wildcats finished the season at 14-8.

PLAYOFF BRACKETS

The CIF-Southern Section will release the boys water polo playoff brackets on Saturday morning at 10:00. Cerritos began this week ranked fifth in Division 4. The playoffs will begin on Tuesday.

The football playoff brackets will be released on Sunday morning at 10:00 while the girls tennis playoff brackets will be released on Monday morning at 10:00. The football playoffs will begin on Nov. 2 while the tennis playoffs begin on Tuesday and Wednesday with wild card action.

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