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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Basketball, soccer seasons begin while pair of area football teams advance to quarterfinals

November 9, 2023

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

As the postseason continues for the fall sports, the winter season begins with a handful of basketball and soccer games on tap for the first week of the season, which begins on Monday. While that is going on, two area football teams remain alive in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs cross country preliminaries begin on Friday.



#13 Cerritos High (6-5) @ #12 Western Christian High (7-4)-For the first time since 2001, and the third time in school history, the Dons are in the quarterfinals. Cerritos, which is now 3-7 all-time in the playoffs, upset fourth-ranked Fillmore High 24-12 last Friday in the Santa Clarita River Valley of Ventura County.  Junior running back Dikshanta Adhikari was a workhorse as he gained a game-high 179 yards on 23 carries and scored on a 57-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. As a team, Cerritos rushed 51 times for 390 yards and scored three touchdowns. Senior Moises Mendoza booted a 36-yard field goal in the fourth quarter as the Dons were up 14-12 entering the final stanza. Junior linebacker Nathaniel Crawford led the way on defense with 13 tackles. It’s the fourth straight game the Dons have allowed less than 20 points.

Western Christian, based in Upland, finished fourth in the Mesquite League, which houses teams from Redlands, Riverside, San Juan Capistrano, Temecula and Riverside. The Lancers began the season on a four-game winning streak and won five of their first six games. The offense will be the most explosive the Dons have seen all season as Western Christian has scored 437 points, including 34 points or more in all seven victories. Last Friday, the Lancers edged fifth-seeded Victor Valley High 50-48 as they were training 28-24 after three quarters. The lead changed hands seven times in the final stanza with the winning score coming with less than a minute to play.

Quarterback Jared Doolittle completed 21 of 45 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns but was picked off twice. For the season, Doolittle has thrown for nearly 2,900 yards with 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His favorite target are Elijah Vasquez (63 receptions, 1,007 yards, 12 touchdowns), J.J. Hooper (47 receptions, 857 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Darryl Booker (41 receptions, 811 yards, 10 touchdowns).

Defensively, the Lancers have allowed an average of 29 points per game and have been involved in a pair of one-possession games decided by a total of three points. In three of its losses, Western Christian yielded 58, 42, and 44 points. Booker has six of the team’s 11 interceptions.

The winner of this game faces either top-seeded Coachella Valley High or Don Lugo High on Nov. 17.

Prediction: Cerritos 48, Western Christian 42


# 1 Artesia High (7-4) @ #8 Santa Rosa Academy (7-4)-There were no upsets in the upper half of the bracket, which included Artesia’s 56-23 victory over Temecula Prep last Friday. The Pioneers built a 42-13 halftime lead and cruised to their second highest point production in 2023. Artesia blasted Workman High 68-6 in the season opener and the win over Temecula Prep marked the sixth time the Pioneers have scored at least 35 points in a game this season. After first round exits in 2019 and 2021, the Pioneers return to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2018 when they advanced to the Division 12 finals and overall, they are 9-21 in the playoffs.

Against Temecula Prep, junior running back Julius Padilla had career-highs in yards (249) on 18 carries and touchdowns (four) while junior quarterback Charlie Lopez added another 180 yards on the ground and scored three times out of his 14 carries. Senior Chase Adams, normally a center and a linebacker, even added a four-yard touchdown run. 

Santa Rosa Academy can also put up the points, scoring 413 so far, including over 40 points in its six regular season victories. The Rangers got past Rancho Alamitos High 24-20 last Friday as the Vaqueros were stopped at the five-yard line with half a minute remaining in the game. Quarterback Daniel Joseph Marlow completed nine of 12 passes for 155 yards and rushed fir 110 yards on 15 carries while scoring once. For the season, he has thrown for over 1,600 yards with 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Like Lopez, he is also the team’s leading rusher with 941 yards and 18 touchdowns and as a team, the Rangers have rushed for 2,600 yards.

The winner of this game will face either fifth-ranked Bell Gardens High or fourth-ranked Ocean View High.

Prediction: Artesia 42, Santa Rosa Academy 35

Last week’s predictions: 1-2

Season to date: 50-16


The CIF-SS boys and girls preliminaries take place on Friday and Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College and nine area teams will begin their journey towards a divisional championship and/or a trip to the state championships.

In Division 2 action, the Cerritos boys will run on Friday at 8:42 a.m., followed by the Norwalk  High boys at 8:54, the Cerritos girls at 9:14 and the Norwalk girls at 9:28. In Division 3 action, the Gahr High girls race at 11:00 while on Saturday, the Valley Christian High boys get started at 8:13 while the girls go at 8:42. In Division 4 action, the Whitney High boys start at 11:34 and 20 minutes later, it will be the Whitney girls running.


In a Division 2 second round match last Friday, Whitney fell to San Clemente High 11-7 while in Division 3, third-ranked Cerritos defeated Millikan High 11-7, then knocked off Torrance High 10-8 this past Monday before falling to second-ranked Cate High 10-8 this past Wednesday in the semifinals. It’s the eighth time since 2005 that the Dons have reached the semifinals, advancing to the finals in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In Division 5 action, sixth-ranked V.C. eliminated Rim of the World High 11-7 last Friday before edging third-ranked Citrus Hill High this past Monday. The match was tied 9-9 and 66-66 in games played before the Defenders won 11-7 in another tiebreaker, which was resumed the next day due to darkness. But V.C.’s dream season ended this past Wednesday with a 12-6 loss to seventh-ranked Immaculate Heart High in the semifinals.


One of the top early preseason events begins on Monday with the 6th Annual “Rumble for Rosecrans Ave.” Tournament as La Mirada and V.C. are part of the 32-field that takes place at four different sites. V.C., which went 17-12 last season, takes on Quartz Hill High in the first of four games to be played at Santa Fe High. Later in the evening, La Mirada, coming off a sensational 25-10 campaign, will face Torrance, also at Sante Fe. 

The Defenders will face either El Modena High or Los Altos High on Tuesday while the Matadores will take on either El Segundo High or Santa Fe on Tuesday. Regional games will continue Wednesday and Friday with the last day on Saturday. The last two days will see games played at either Fullerton High or Sunny Hills High.

Also on Monday, John Glenn High will visit Magnolia Science Academy while on Tuesday, Artesia visits Calvary Chapel Downey High, Cerritos goes to Cypress High and Loara High travels to Whitney.

On Wednesday, Glenn entertains Vista Meridian Global Academy and Norwalk goes to Rancho Alamitos High.


On Monday, Gahr hosts Lawndale High, Glenn visits Magnolia Science Academy, Norwalk goes to Millikan and V.C. host Santa Fe while on Wednesday, Glenn is home to South El Monte High, Norwalk travels to Wiseburn-Da Vinci High and Whitney goes to Walnut High. On Thursday, Gahr welcomes Compton High, Glenn goes to Gardena High and Norwalk makes the trek to Western High.


Gahr visits V.C. on Monday while the next day, Glenn hosts Mark Keppel High, Norwalk travels to Long Beach Jordan High and Whitney visits Chadwick High. On Thursday, Gahr goes to Oxford Academy while Glenn visits V.C.


Norwalk entertains Pioneer High on Tuesday while two days later, Gahr hosts Chadwick, Glenn welcomes Rancho Alamitos and Norwalk goes to Bell Gardens.