Archive | August, 2014

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La Habra gets zapped by Chargers in season openier

Posted on 30 August 2014 by La Habra Journal

Football: La Habra vs. El Toro

The Highlanders faced a tough challenge Friday night, dropping the season opener to El Toro 51-35 at home.

La Habra's Carlos Martin looks to break to the outside in Friday's loss at home against El Toro Friday night .

La Habra’s Carlos Martin looks to break to the outside in Friday’s loss at home against El Toro Friday night .


The Highlanders started the game strong on defense, forcing El Toro to kick a 26-yard field goal with 11 minutes left in the first quarter.


Down by 3, the Highlanders made their way down the field as they attempted to gain the lead. With a little over nine minutes left in the first quarter, quarterback Eric Barriere threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Carlos Martin. The PAT was good and La Habra took a 7-3 lead.


With just over two minutes left in the first quarter, Barriere juked defenders on a critical third down play and ran up the sideline for the first down. On the next play Barriere completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Fellows. The PAT was missed and La Habra pulled ahead 13-3.


La Habra’s kickoff was returned to their own 43 by El Toro’s Kaleb Fossum. On the first play of the drive, Trey Tinsley threw to Brendan Lane who completed the 43-yard touchdown play. The Chargers’ point after attempt was blocked and La Habra led 13-9.


With 14 seconds left in the quarter, El Toro regained the lead, 16-13, after a 66-yard touchdown run by Marcus DeSantis.


Shortly after La Habra regained possession, El Toro’s Tony Mercado was ejected for intentional helmet to helmet contact. The Highlanders scored on the last play of the quarter on a 38-yard run from Barriere.


La Habra led 19-16 going into the second quarter.


It was all Chargers in the second quarter. El Toro scored twice as the Highlanders were unable to put points on the board. El Toro jumped out to a 30-19 lead going into halftime.


The start of the second half brought trouble to the Highlanders as they fumbled the kickoff allowing El Toro to recover the ball.


The Chargers quickly scored and advanced their lead to 37-19.


With less than eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, La Habra’s Martin ran the ball through defenders on first and goal for the touchdown. The Highlanders went for the two-point conversion and Martin ran the ball in again to make it a 10-point game.


El Toro answered back with a 55-yard touchdown run from DeSantis, advancing their lead, 44-27, over La Habra.


With a little over four minutes in the third quarter, La Habra’s Garcia returned the Charger’s kickoff with a 95-yard touchdown run. La Habra went for the two-point conversion and Martin ran the ball in to make it a nine-point game.


El Toro led 44-35, going into the fourth quarter.


“They’re a good football team,” said La Habra Head Coach Frank Mazzotta. “We gave up the fumble on the opening kickoff in the second half and the touchdown right before halftime and that makes a difference in a football game. You can’t do that stuff and we need to learn those lessons. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.”


The Chargers scored the final points of the game early in the fourth quarter and sealing the lead at 51-35.


The heat affected both teams toward the end of the game as multiple players went down with leg cramps.


“I thought the kids played hard and that’s ultimately it,” Mazzotta said.


La Habra will be on the road next Friday as they take on South Hills in West Covina.






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Raiders take season opener against Whittier

Posted on 30 August 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Marcus
La Habra Journal

Sonora got out to a running start to begin the season with a 41-15 victory over Whittier.

The victory helps the Raiders shake off their two-win 2013 season and start this season fresh.sonora logo

“Last year’s behind us they’ve worked hard and they wanted to come out here and get this and so its great for the kids, it gets them excited gets us ready for the season,” Head coach Paul Chiotti said

The Raider’s dominated on the offensive line holding out the Cardinal defense

“We’ve got a great offensive line coming back from last year, the guys up front, they’re going to be physical,” Chiotti said.

With the line holding, the Raiders’ offense controlled the tempo behind the rushing of quarterback Cole McDonald and running back Jacob Frimbres

“They’re going to let those two guys showcase their skills,”

Chiotti added, “it’s a nice duo of McDonald and Fimbres in the backfield, and I think it makes it tough to look at just one guy.”

Between McDonald and Fimbres, the two accounted for five Raider touchdowns.

The Raiders’ defense also had a strong showing holding the Cardinals to only three points in the first half and 15 points total.

“We were physical at the point, we were getting off the field, and then once our offense started going and we started making those big plays, they definitely put the other team in a bind where now they had to do some things that they didn’t want to do and we were able to take advantage of that and make them a little one dimensional,” Chiotti said.

Senior Cornerback Jonathan Rodriguez took an interception back for the score with the game well in hand.

With seconds left in the game the Raiders collected another interception before running out the clock.

“Coming off to a slow start, we didn’t score that much in the first half and you know you just got to get the boys riled up,” McDonald said.

With the clock running down in the first quarter, Fimbres set up the Raiders first scoring drive when he hurdled the defense to get to the one yard line. From there he punched it in to start the second quarter to give the R aiders a 7-0 lead.

The Raider defense forced a three and out which set up Cole McDonald for a 47 yard touchdown run.

On third and 8 Cole McDonald looked to bury the Cardinals.

Under pressure from the Cardinals’ pass rush, McDonald escaped a sack, but threw an interception that would lead to a 21 yard field goal to end the first half.

In the second half the Raiders maintained the momentum on offense as McDonald and Fimbres seemed to run down the field with ease.

“We kept playing no matter what the scoreboard was halftime 0-0 again, new game” Fimbres said about his approach.

With the ball on the goal line McDonald overthrew a pass into the end zone. The Cardinals field goal coverage stiffened, blocking the kick and picking up the ball on the Raider 41 yard line.

One of McDonald’s season goals is to fine tune his passing and have a better understanding of the offense.

“Getting my fundamentals down working with my quarterback coach, my offensive coordinator just really knowing the offense, getting my reads down and hitting the right guys at the right time,” McDonald said.

With six minutes left in the third quarter, Fimbres added his second touchdown on a 19-yard run.

Cole McDonald followed Fimbres’ impressive rushing effort with a 72-yard scamper down the sideline for his second touchdown to give the Raiders a commanding 28-3 lead.

As McDonald was running down the sideline, it looked like he nearly lost the football.

“I had my sleeve on, and I switched (the ball), and it just slipped out and I grabbed it in the air and almost fumbled it,” McDonaldl added in relief.

The Cardinals finally found the end zone when Luis Valero caught a pass out of the backfield. After the catch he eluded the initial tacklers breaking into the open field and running in for the touchdown.

The Cardinals failed to convert the two-point conversion, as they could feel the pressure to score in bunches.

Fimbres added his third score of the game with a one-yard run which gave the Raiders a 34-9 lead after a missed extra point.

Rodriguez intercepted the ball on the 23-yard line with plenty of room to run scoring on the play.

The Cardinals added a passing touchdown by Dylan Salcid to to bring the final score to 41-15.

The Raiders will welcome Brea Olinda High School into La Habra Stadium next Friday as they look to build off of this performance

“Tonight was a step in the right direction,” Chiotti said. “I think they are going to represent the school and this community in a wonderful way. I kind of challenge everybody in the city of La Habra to come out and watch some Sonora football. See what these boys who are from La Habra and how hard they work and all the great things they’re going to accomplish. , they’ve worked hard, and I think the whole city will be pretty surprised at this group and what they’re going to accomplish this year.”


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Heralds hold off Bishop at home

Posted on 30 August 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

The Whittier Christian Heralds started their season off on the right foot with a 33-25 win over the Bishop Broncos, Friday at Whittier College.WCHS FB-2952_web

Things did not start of well for the Heralds and the Broncos jumped on them early. There were three different possessions in the first half where Whittier Christian had the ball inside the Bishop 10-yard line and did not score. They missed two field goals.

“The way I look at it, we left 24 points off of the board,” said Herald head coach Sergio Gradilla, “We need to cut that out going forward.”

Bishop’s quarterback, Ryan Graves, had it going early and threw two touchdown passes in the first half to put Bishop up 12-7. Graves finished with 210 yards on 8-16 throwing and four touchdowns. Then Whittier Christian woke up.

“For whatever reason we came out flat,” Gradilla said. “They woke up and responded well and I was glad to come away with the win.”

The big difference for the Heralds was sophomore running back Justin Osborn. He only saw the endzone once, but was a consistent work horse for Whittier Christian. He finished the game with 213 rushing yards.

“It felt good to go out and do that on my first varsity game,” Osborn said. “I was nervous at first but when the game started I got my head into it and went out and delivered.”

Nick Watase was also big for the Heralds and saw the end zone three times. He had a 39-yard receiving touchdown and rushing touchdowns from five and six yards. He had 148 receiving yards and 33 rushing yards.

Whittier Christian’s Cooper Hughes went 20-37 passing for 274 yards. He threw two touchdowns and an interception.

“I thought that we played well overall today but the defense needs some tightening up and we need a better understanding of our formations,” Gradilla said. “I think we are in a pretty good place going forward though.”

The Heralds (1-0) will look to improve to 2-0 against Brethren Christian, Thursday at 7 p.m. at Ocean View High School in Huntington Beach.


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Unstoppable Hope

Posted on 13 August 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra’s Hope Moreno looks  toward success on the next level

By Luke Wilson
La Habra Journal

Hope Moreno is one of the most dedicated softball players to have come through La Habra High School.LHHS_SHS Moreno_1 copy
However, if you ask anyone who has seen her play, or better yet heard her, then you’ll know that she is undoubtedly one of the best leaders and communicators that the Lady Highlanders’ Field has ever seen.
When asked how she got to where she is now in the world of softball, she quickly answered, “Practice.”
Unlike most softball and baseball players, who talk about their regime of how to get better at the plate, Moreno gets the most excited about a different facet of the game.

Player Spotlight: Hope Moreno Video

“I could seriously take ground balls all day,” she explained.
That sort of attention to the tough and oft-ignored defensive side of the ball describes Hope in more ways than one.
To be a defensive specialist at second base and at the position fondly dubbed, “the Hot Corner,” is no simple task.
Another reason that she loves defense, is the communication involved with it. Here communication on the field is something she became known for at La Habra.
“I have to talk,” Moreno said. “People are like, ‘If you don’t talk, it’s kind of weird seeing you play.’”
That sort of on-field communication is something that you’ll hear coaches stress in every sport on a daily basis, but its importance is sometimes missed due to a greater attention to improving stats.
As a four-year varsity starter, and a two-year captain, Hope knows that the other girls listen and watch her, and when she’s as vocal as she is, it helps keep their unit even more cohesive.LHHS_SHS Moreno_2 copy
“Being a leader to me is where I feel like you can always have the younger girls come to you,” she explained. “You’re always keeping people in the game, you’re talking constantly with everyone, making sure the team is together. It’s a hard job honestly.”
That ability to stand out in a game, and have her presence not only heard, but felt allowed her to get recruited by some of the nation’s top softball programs. However, not as quickly as Hope might have liked.
An unspoken part of the recruitment process from high school to college is that it is all about who you know, and playing for a top caliber school. Moreno explained that she had to work for the attention that she received.
“I didn’t get recruited until my junior year,” she explained. “A lot of people were getting recruited their freshman and sophomore years.”
The first school that managed to bring her in for a visit was Portland State.
“I saw them at a tournament in Vegas. I had never heard of them,” she admitted. “I talked to the coach, then she came out and saw me play. It all happened really quick.”
After visiting the campus, Hope said she fell in love with the Portland area campus. In January of her junior year she verbally committed to play there.
However, things took a different twist later that year.  Hope received some startling news.
“I got a call in April, saying that the head coach and the assistant. coach are going to UTEP [the University of Texas at El Paso],” she said. “I was kind of scared.”
After receiving reassurances from the new coaches at each school that they still wanted her talents, Hope decided to give UTEP a visit.
West Texas is vastly different from the Pacific Northwest.  In addition, UTEP played in a more competitive conference, so the level of play would be higher from day one.
She compared everything from schooling possibilities, to coaches, to campuses.
Her desire to study nursing was a large part of her decision on what school to attend. It also helps explain her desire to help others on and off the field.
After some consideration, her decision was very clear. LHJ Hope Moreno__31
“Times ten,” she explained how much she loved UTEP. Not long after, she was officially a UTEP Miner.
What was it like for Moreno to sign after such an arduous process?
“It was a sigh of relief,” she said. “I was extremely excited. I was like, ‘Can I do it already? Can I tell them?’”
However, despite all the excitement of the decision, taking the next step and playing at a higher level at a place  far from where she has spent 18 years of her life is a big step.
This will be Hope’s first time living away from La Habra. She explained that she knows that she will get a little homesick. Luckily, she will have plenty to keep her busy in El Paso.
Hope is looking forward to the new challenge and excited about playing with her new team mates.
With her dedication to the game and her drive to help others, there is no doubt that she will quickly become an integral part of UTEP team   and help lead the Miners to success.

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Sonora looks to successful season

Posted on 13 August 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Marcus
La Habra Journal

Entering into his third year with Sonora Volleyball, head coach Andy Johnson has a lot to be excited for. IMG_5247
The Lady Raiders season did not get off to the start they wanted last year, but finished with plenty of momentum.
“The season ended too short,” Johnson said.
The Raiders captured three wins in a row sweeping them in three sets to finish the season 9-15 with an even 5-5 record in the Freeway League.
This year the future looks bright. The Raiders return 10 players from last years squad headlined by this years captains, Senior Shannon Kakuk, and Juniors Emily Sonny and Nicole Fraga.
Joining this years team is a transfer from league champion Troy High school Allie Beattie.
“She’s an outside hitter, I think of all the players in the North County or even in the Orange County area … I wouldn’t want any other player.
With Frags and Beattie, the Raiders will have two of the top outside hitters in the league
“This is (Frags’) third year outside, so we have two girls who can really put the ball away and are really explosive.
So far the team’s high expectations are producing results. The Lady Raiders went 8-2 in the El Dorado summer league.
With the progress he has seen, Johnson sets his sight on a league title.
“The success we saw over the summer is an indication that with hard work, that’s something that is possible.” Johnson said.
Due to Beattie’s transfer she will be forced to sit out the first 30 days of the season, but Johnson expects to see her make an impact just as league play begins.
This summer coach Johnson wanted to see his middle blockers improve and has seen improvements for Vadia Metchkoff, Alexandra Spolsdoff, and Erin Murphy.
“Those three girls not only filled the role, but they showed us that they can provide offense and definitely their role on defense was huge.
The Lady Raider bench should be improved since 10 players are returning with prior Varsity experience.Web_SonoraVball_5439
Last year’s experience has also helped these ladies develop mentally.
“The girls are tough as nails,” Johnson said, “They have a great demeanor; their work ethic is top notch.”
Johnson has seen his veteran leaders provide leadership and a positive example for anyone new to varsity.
“It’s the returning girls that lead the way with how hard they work, and then the new girls come in, and really have no choice but to follow their lead,” Johnson said.
As Johnson reflected on some of the differences between the girls this year and those same ones the year before he was confident they are more prepared to deal with the season’s rigors.
“A lot of these girls were quiet at the start of last year, coming from JV to varsity is a big jump, the pace of play, expectations, communicating everything,” he added.
“We had three matches least year where we were leading two games to none or to two games to one and end up losing in five,” He explained. “So it was the last step, and I really think experiencing these heartbreaks and setbacks will now benefit us this year.
With huge improvements in sight, Johnson encourages fans to come out and watch them play. He said fans can join the Rowdy Raiders section and make sure not to miss games against La Habra and Troy.

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Hardened Highlanders ready for season

Posted on 13 August 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Sarah FentonPrint_LHJ LHHS Preview__47
La Habra Journal

The start of football season is quickly approaching and the La Habra High School football team is giving it their all in hopes of going deep in the playoffs this year.
With another Freeway League title under their belt, the Highlanders are coming off a 10-2 season after losing a close game to Newport Harbor in the second round of playoffs. That post-season sting will serve as motivation for the Highlanders this upcoming season.

La Habra Highlander Football preview video


“We left a little disappointed last year and [this year] we’re looking for more,” said Frank Mazzotta, La Habra head coach.
This season brings new challenges for La Habra, but one thing that will stay the same is tradition.
“I expect them to play hard,” Mazzotta said. “Our number one goal is always to play hard no matter what. I expect that tradition to not change. La Habra kids play hard and we’re going to play tough.”
As the summer practices are coming to an end, Mazzotta plans to see some skilled players, on both offense and defense, stepping foot on the field this fall.
“I expect to see some kids with some skill,” Mazzotta said. “We’ve got some good wides out and some good running backs.”
With a mixture of rookies and experienced players, a young offensive and defensive line won’t stop the Highlanders from going hard and giving it their all this season.
“Our quarterback is returning with a lot of experience and he can get the ball to all of them,” Mazzotta said. “I expect to see some defensive kids who are aggressive and athletic. We have two really good corners and three really good linebackers as well. I expect to see us play at our normal level of toughness, effort, and total consistency.”
The Highlanders return eight starters this season, including Junior quarterback Eric Barriere. Last season Barriere threw for 2,401 yards and 29 touchdowns.
With a full year of varsity experience under his belt, the sky is the limit on what this young quarterback will bring to the field this season.
“I think I have more experience this year from last year,” Barriere said. “Now I have another year under my belt so I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing. I’m looking forward to playing some good teams. I want to have a good season and make it to the championship this year.”
Along with a solid quarterback, the Highlander’s running back, Carlos Martin, and wide receivers are projected to have a solid season.
“I’m looking forward to playing with my teammates, having fun, winning some games and having a good year because it’s my senior year,” Martin said. “I’m looking forward to my first game and hopefully my last will be the CIF championship at Anaheim Stadium.”
Defensively, La Habra’s corners and linebackers are ready to come out strong and challenge teams this year.
With an interesting preseason schedule, the Highlanders plan to use those games to enhance their skills and prepare for league.
La Habra’s first preseason game will be at home against El Toro High School on August 29.
“It’s going to be a challenge and that’s what our kids want, that’s what we want, that’s what our fans expect, and it does make you better,” Mazzotta said. “The tougher teams you play early is like hardening that steel.”


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Sonora Raiders Football ready for redemption

Posted on 13 August 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Marcus
La Habra Journal

When looking back, the Sonora Raiders 2013 football season would not be characterized by the term excitement. The Raiders were a team which started few seniors and ended the season led by a sophomore quarterback and tailback. The Raiders dropped all but one game during freeway league play, and ended with a 2-8 record.
A victory against Sunny Hills to finish off the season left a glimmer of hope for the Raiders.
“Playing as many young guys as we did, we knew it was going to be a tough year, but we knew we were also building for the future,” Raider Head Coach Paul Chiotti said.
However, the 2014 season could be a different story. The Raiders will return 9 of 11 starters on offense, and 8 of 11 defensive starters.
The Raiders have seen their team grow not only physically with another year of growth and weight training, but have been able to grow mentally increasing their understanding of the game and the playbook.
“This is an exciting year for us, I think our kids definitely want to go out there and have something to prove,” Chiotti said. “They’ve been working hard and I think they want to show everybody that we were a young squad last year.”
Last season, the Raiders picked up their only league victory with a win over Sunny Hills in the season finale.
Sophomore Jacob Fimbres ran for 233 all purpose yards en route to being named First Team All League. He finished the year with 858 yards on the ground and 254 yards receiving. This year he will transition to a role as the primary tail back after starting last year as the team’s starting safety.
Cole McDonald will start the year at quarterback with his entire starting offensive linemen returning with at least three games experience.
Jorge Bernabe will look to follow up his second team all-league selection as the team’s top offensive tackle and defensive end.
“He’s put on the size and he’s one of our hardest workers and gets after it, and I think he’s going to have a breakout year for us,” Chiotti said about Bernabe.
Brandon Ahrndt will be moved to receiver after losing his starting quarterback spot to McDonald.
Ahrndt’s season was cut short due to injuries and will be joined by Jason Clayton at receiver.
“(Clayton’s) had a tremendous summer and is really emerging as a brave wide receiver and playmaker for us.
With camp ahead for the Raiders, they will look to develop some depth amongst the younger players.
“We’re hoping a couple of the younger guys who maybe didn’t get the playing time last year can step up and give us the depth that we need,” Chiotti said.
With greater depth the Raiders hope to be able to endure a long season.
“Our league is pretty physical so it’s nice to sometimes get some other kids to step in and help keep each other accountable,” Chiotti said.
With a handful of seniors ready to step into leadership roles, they have set their sights high.
The Raiders will look to compete for a league title, win a CIF playoff game, and if everything breaks right, come away with a CIF title.
The Raiders open the season up with three home games before traveling to play Don Lugo High School.
Sonora returns to host Whittier Christian for the first time.
The Raiders will play most of their  Freeway League games on the road, including ending the season against perennial powerhouse La Habra.
“If they want to achieve these goals,”  Chiotti said, “they have got to compete on every play, every second, and every game.”

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