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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Girls volleyball underway while Week Zero football, other fall sports to begin

By Loren Kopff

The 2023-2024 school year began for Artesia High, Cerritos High, Gahr High, Valley Christian High and Whitney High this past Monday while Aug. 17 is the first day for John Glenn High, La Mirada High and Norwalk High. However, some girls volleyball matches began last Saturday, and five of the seven area football teams will play their first official games on Friday.


Artesia (1-8-1 in 2022) vs. Workman High (0-10) @ La Puente High-The Connor Crook era begins as the Pioneers try to get back to their winning ways pre-Covid. Artesia has gone 3-18-1 since 2020 but on paper, this figures to be a favorable matchup. The Lobos, who scored just 88 points last season, enter this contest on a 21-game losing streak. Of those 88 points, 34 were scored at Duarte High in the last game and 27 were scored at Mountain View High in the second game. Between that, the Lobos were shutout five times, all in succession.

Artesia also struggled offensively last season, scoring 79 points, and its lone win came at Glenn in the second to the last game (33-15). Junior Julius Padilla, last season’s quarterback, should feast on the Workman defense as he is being converted into a running back.

Prediction: Artesia 28, Workman 6

Buena Park High (3-7) @ Cerritos (5-6)-The Dons, and first-year head coach Demel Franklin, will be seeking to avenge last season’s 48-21 loss to Buena Park. The Coyotes jumped to a 26-14 halftime lead and put the game out of reach with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns. Buena Park enters the game on a five-game losing streak, all coming in the Freeway League where it was outscored 208-30.

Cerritos ended a second straight 5-6 campaign with another heartbreaking first round playoff loss. The three-time defending 605 League champions were stunned by Colton High 42-41 after yielding 22 points in the fourth quarter.

Prediction: Cerritos 35, Buena Park 14

Bassett High (5-8) @ Glenn (2-7)-The first big test for new head coach Elijhaa Penny comes in the season opener as the Olympians were two points away from advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division 14 championship game. Instead, they fell to Lynwood High in the semifinals 28-27. Bassett graduated a good chunk of its offense from last season, but the Eagles may find a hard time flying their wings in this game. The last time these teams faced each other was in 2012, a 26-12 Bassett win.

After going 17-15 from 2017-2019 with a 605 League title and two straight playoff appearances, Glenn has won five games since with a third place and a fourth place finish in league. This figures to be Glenn’s toughest opponent until it hosts Norwalk on Sept. 8.

Prediction: Bassett 42, Glenn 13

Cypress High (13-1) vs. La Mirada (4-6) @ Norwalk-If there was ever a season opener for a first-year head coach of a team that missed the playoffs for the first time in over four decades, it would be this one. La Mirada’s Lucas Mealy will begin his new head coaching gig against last season’s Division 4 finalists. The Centurions scored over 500 points last season, but in the last two games, put up 17 and seven points respectively. Aidan Houston, who passed for 3,000 yards and threw 29 touchdowns, returns as the team’s quarterback. He was also the leading rusher with 1,145 yards and 19 touchdowns.

La Mirada lost at least 30 players from last season’s squad of 54 players and will face four opponents who went to either the semifinals or the finals in their respective divisions, and the first two teams La Mirada will face in 2023 each lost one game last season.

Prediction: Cypress 38, La Mirada 14

Valley Christian (6-8) @ El Dorado High (7-4)-The fifth and final first-year head coach in the area has big shoes to fill as the Defenders survived a three-win regular season, tripled that in the playoffs and played for the Division 12 championship. Brendan Chambers will face a team that scored nearly twice as many points as it allowed. The Golden Hawks scored at least 35 points and yielded no more than 14 points in any of their first five games last season, all victories. Quarterback Nate Bento, who threw for nearly 1,600 yards, is back along with Isaiah Quintero, who caught 167 passes for 1,252 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Chambers shouldn’t be too concerned about his first game with V.C. because the Defenders return nearly all their impact players, both on offense and defense. Last season, the Golden Hawks blanked V.C. in the opener 35-0.

Prediction: El Dorado 30, V.C. 24

Last season’s predictions: 47-19-1


A trio of area teams participated in the annual Tae Kim Lakewood/Molten Classic last Saturday, kicking off the fall sports season. In Division 2 action, V.C. lost to Schurr High 25-22, 24-26, 22-25, 22-25 before sweeping Quartz Hill High. The Defenders hosted St. Joseph High this past Tuesday and went to Downey High on Aug. 17 before playing two more matches in the Tae Kim Classic on Saturday. Next week, the Defenders will host California High and Whitney on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

Artesia swept Bell Gardens High in the first of two matches in the tournament in Division 3 action and faced Malibu High late last Saturday night. The Pioneers then hosted Whittier High this past Tuesday before resuming action in the tournament with two more matches on Saturday. After that, Artesia’s next scheduled match won’t be until its 605 League opener on Sept. 8.

Also, in Division 3 action of the tournament, Norwalk defeated Monrovia High 25-17, 12-25, 25-20, 22-25, 15-8 and Camarillo High 11-25, 25-14, 25-12, 25-15 to win its pool. Following a road match against Pioneer High this past Tuesday and another one on Aug. 17 against Gahr, the Lancers will have two more matches in the tournament on Saturday, then visit Bell Gardens High and Santa Fe High on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

Cerritos visited Bellflower High on Aug. 17 for its season opener and will go to St. Joseph on Tuesday before hosting Gahr on Thursday. The Gladiators began their season this past Tuesday against Pomona Catholic High and will participate in the Avalon Tournament on Saturday before going to El Rancho High on Monday and Immaculate Heart High on Tuesday.

Glenn went to Calvary Chapel Downey High this past Tuesday for its season opener and will host Bellflower on Friday, go to Anaheim High on Monday, and entertain Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High on Tuesday.

La Mirada hosted Diamond Bar High on Aug. 17 for its season opener and will welcome Oxford Academy on Tuesday and Mayfair High on Thursday while Whitney visited Katella High this past Tuesday and was home to Calvary Chapel High on Aug. 17. The Wildcats will also host the California Academy of Math and Sciences on Tuesday.