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News and Notes from Press Row-League play begins for girls volleyball while La Mirada football faces Mater Dei


September 8, 2022

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

The season is not even one month old, but seven of the eight area teams will begin league play in the upcoming week. Valley Christian High, which had begun Olympic League play on Aug. 29 with a four-set win at Heritage Christian High, will visit Village Christian High on Wednesday. The Defenders, who have lost three straight four-set matches, were 7-6 as they visited St. Anthony High on Sept. 8.

Artesia High has been off since Aug. 30 but will open 605 League action today when the 2-4 Pioneers host Cerritos High. All six matches have been decided in three sets. Artesia will also be home to Whitney High on Tuesday.

Cerritos, seeking its fourth straight 605 League title, is 5-3 and will host Pioneer High on Tuesday while John Glenn High entertains Whitney today and will welcome Oxford Academy on Tuesday.

La Mirada High, in its first season in the lower league of the Suburban Valley Conference, hosted California High on Sept. 8 and will take part in the Whittier Tournament on Saturday before visiting Norwalk High and Lynwood High on Tuesday and Thursday respectively to open league play. The Matadores are 3-2.


Cerritos, Norwalk and Whitney braved the unusually hot September temperatures last Saturday morning during the 15th annual Great Cow Run, held at Artesia High. The three schools were among 17 boys’ teams and 18 girls’ teams that completed the three-mile flat course. 

The Norwalk boys, led by freshman Leonardo Diaz (17:42.3) finished in 12th place with 354 points. Senior Anderson Medrano (17:49.4) and sophomore Erick Gallardo (18:08.9) also finished in the top 100. Right behind Norwalk was Cerritos with 363 points as two runners, juniors Mattson Laraneta (17:48.9) and Ben Giordano (18:20.9) finished in the top 100.

Even though Whitney came in 16th place with 420 points, seniors Colin Choi (17:56.2), Yash Zumale (18:13.6) and Agam Makkar (18:31.1) were top 100 finishers. In all, there were 217 boys’ runners.

For the girls, Cerritos finished in sixth place with 217 points as junior Tatianna Chavez came in 31st place with a time of 20:50.3. Seven spots later was sophomore Anna Field (21:15.9) while senior Sydney Romero came in 48th place at 21:42.3.

Norwalk finished in eighth place with 270 points as junior Vanessa Felix was the area’s top runner with an 18th place finish and a time of 19:53.2. Seniors Evelyn Mejia (25th, 20:17.9) and Diana Raya Perez (42nd, 21:23.2) were other top runners for the Lancers.

Whitney senior Dalia Luckhardt finished in 36th place with a time of 21:06.6 while two others finished in the top 100-seniors Ella Centeno (23:29.6) and Megan Nguyen (24:02.5).

Cerritos and Whitney, along with the other four 605 League schools, will race in the first cluster meet on Wednesday. The Oxford Academy boys are favored to win the league behind a trio of runners who had times under 17 minutes last season. Cerritos graduated a good chunk of their team last season but should keep pace with Oxford at the top of the league. For the girls it’s Cerritos and Whitney at the top while the others will vie for the final spot that will get them to the CIF-Southern Section preliminaries.


Marquez High (2-1) @ Artesia (0-2)-The Pioneers were roughed up by Santa Paula High last Friday, 42-0, as the offense is still trying to get going. Artesia has scored just one defensive touchdown this season as it hosts the Gladiators from the CIF-Los Angeles City Section. Marquez, which whitewashed Artesia 35-0 last season, is coming off a 28-7 win against Arleta High last time out.

Prediction: Marquez 38, Artesia 10.

Cerritos (0-3) @ Ocean View High (1-2)-For the third straight game, Cerritos was close to its opponent at halftime, but couldn’t generate much in the second half as the Dons fell to Portola High 35-21 last Friday. In the first half, Cerritos has been outscored 65-43, but has scored 15 points in the second half opposite 58 points. The Seahawks edged University High 8-6 last Friday but has struggled to score as they have found the endzone four times in three games. Haston Allen, who has accounted for three of those scores, leads Ocean View in rushing (34 carries, 140 yards). The Dons defeated the Seahawks 14-6 last season after losing the previous two meetings.

Prediction: Cerritos 28, Ocean View 20.

Garden Grove High (2-0) @ Gahr High (0-2)-This game has the makings of a blowout by the time the first quarter is over. Gahr fell to Heritage Christian High 24-13 last Friday night as the Gladiators led the Warriors 7-2 at the half, then trailed 10-7 going into the fourth quarter. It was the second straight game Gahr had faced a team from the new Ironwood League. The previous week, Gahr was blasted by Valley Christian 42-9.

Garden Grove’s bruising rushing attack will pose problems for the Gladiators, who yielded 230 yards on the ground against Heritage Christian. 

The Argonauts defeated winless Santa Ana High 19-7 last Thursday and have racked up 679 yards on the ground, led by Malachi Bey (31 carries, 390 yards, four touchdowns) and Branden Roth (11 carries, 109 yards, one touchdown). Roth has also passed for 232 yards and four touchdowns.

Prediction: Garden Grove 48, Gahr 7.

Bellflower High (3-0) @ John Glenn (1-2)-See Glenn’s game story against Cabrillo High.

Prediction: Bellflower 56, Glenn 7.

La Mirada (1-2) @ Mater Dei High (3-0)-La Mirada was on the short end of a 10-7 decision to Servite High last Friday night in which the halftime score was 3-0. The lone score for the Matadores came in the third quarter when senior C.J. Zackery caught a seven-yard pass from senior quarterback Nehuel Garcia. Servite would score the game-winner early in the fourth quarter. Garcia was nine of 13 for 90 yards while Zackery gained 108 yards on 18 carries and caught two passes for 11 yards.

The Matadores make their yearly trip to the Santa Ana Bowl to face the nation’s second-ranked team, according to MaxPreps. Mater Dei, coming off a 43-20 win over Corona Centennial High, has already scored 109 points. Last season, the Monarchs easily defeated La Mirada 58-7 and has won all five meetings since 2015 by a combined score of 239-14.

Prediction: Mater Dei 48, La Mirada 7. 

South East High (1-2) @ Norwalk (3-0)-This probably won’t be the last time you’ll hear this for the 2022 season, but so far, there’s no stopping Norwalk’s offense. The Lancers slammed El Monte High 55-6 last Friday night and has scored 159 points thus far. The vaunted rushing attack has already gained over 1,000 yards, led by seniors David Herrera and Michael Mueller.

The Lancers should roll to their fourth straight victory as they face the Jaguars out of the CIF-L.A. City Section’s Eastern League. South East won a 41-38 slugfest over Fremont High last Thursday, but has yielded 95 points this season. 

Prediction: Norwalk 63, South East 7.

Chino High (0-3) @ Valley Christian (1-2)-The Defenders fell to Aliso Niguel High 35-14 last Friday as that was also the score at the half. V.C.’s two-headed monster, according to first-year head coach Nick Walker, of senior Major Brown and sophomore Josiah Apisala should be able to carve though the Chino defense on the ground. Heading into last Friday’s game, senior quarterback Kaden Struiksma and sophomore quarterback Keiran Edmundson have combined to throw to six players. 

The Cowboys lost to Baldwin Park High 27-13 and have scored 20 points this season while allowing 96.

Prediction: V.C. 38, Chino 10.

Last week’s predictions: 3-4

Season to date: 11-6