Archive | October, 2015

Raiders secure playoff spot with win over Indians

Raiders secure playoff spot with win over Indians

Posted on 31 October 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

The Raiders’ offense got off to a slow start, at home against the Indians, but pulled away in the second half for a 35-20 victory and a berth into CIF.

LHJ SHS vs Troy FB

The Fullerton Indians came in fighting for their playoff lives and riding an emotional high after the loss of coach Takkinen.

“We knew that they were going to come out hyped up, emotional, ready to play hard, and we knew that we had to come out more emotional than they did and fight them,” Sonora’ Dakota Eckheart said.

The Raiders’ offense struggled to get started, but the defense played tough and physical, allowing the Raiders enough time to gain traction.

“We got physical, we made some key hits out there, head coach Paul Chiotti said, “Our kids always play great in the second half.”

Sonora held the Indians in their first drive, but fumbled the ball on the first play. The Indians regained possession and capitalized with a field goal.

Again the Raiders went three and out on their next possession and punted the possession after that.

After the Indians added a second field goal, extending their lead to six, the Raider offense showed a glimmer of hope.

“It was important for us to kind of hold our ground early, when they’re playing with the emotion,” Chiotti said.

“It was honestly really big for us, it kept us in the game, kept our mentality and it kept our positivity up,” Cole McDonald said.

The Raiders’ passing attack started to work, connecting on two straight passes to Landon Williams.

LHJ LHHS vs Sonora FB 2015

The Raiders marched down the field and put an exclamation point on the drive with a three yard run by Jacob Fimbres.

Trailing 7-6, the Indians were able to regain the lead on a 37 yard scramble by Jordan Lawton for a touchdown.

The play was a designed pass, but as Lawton looked for open receivers, he found a lane downfield, then danced around tacklers all the way to the end zone.

The Raiders kept the pressure on with a touchdown before the end of the half. McDonald dropped a dime to Steven Riley who made a one handed grab in the back left corner of the end zone.

“That touchdown before the half really settled us down,” Chiotti said.

With a 14-13 lead coming out of halftime, the Raiders received the ball to start the second half, where their momentum started to translate to points.

“Once we get started, you can’t stop us,” McDonald said.

The Raiders were able to balance their rushing efforts between Fimbres and McDonald, scoring on a three yard run to give them a 21-13 lead, then a nine yard run by McDonald for a 28-13 lead.

“With that lead, I think we just wanted to make sure that we took a comfort lead,” Riley said.

Fimbres and McDonald combined for more than 250 yards on the ground, and McDonald added 150 through the air.

“Jake has just been a workhorse for us all year, but then we talk about being dynamic and Cole brings that at the quarterback position, whether he is running or throwing,” Chiotti said.

As the Indians drove closer to the end zone, the Raiders got a break as the ball came loose on a snap. The Raiders fell on the ball ending the Indians’ scoring chance.

From there the Raiders drove down, and capped the drive off with a 30 yard touchdown run to give the Raiders a 35-13 lead.

With a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter, some of the reserves got a chance to shine.

“It was really fun, I kept telling the coach, ‘I’m going to go get a sack, I’m going to go get a sack,’ so he put me in there, and I had a good move, I just didn’t get there in time,” Riley said.

The Indians scored a passing touchdown but the Raiders secured a victory winning 35-20.

“We’ve been waiting for these kids the last couple of years, to kind of grow up and mature. We knew they were going to be special as Seniors, and I’m just happy for the kids, as they’re able to showcase their hard work,” Chiotti said.

The Raiders win secures a berth into CIF.

“That was one of our key goals, I’m just happy for these kids to reach one of their key goals that they set at the beginning of the year,” Chiotti said.

“This has been brewing for a whole year, that we lost to them last year and didn’t get into CIF, so to come back and beat them and clinch our CIF berth, it’s huge,” Eckheart said.

The Raiders will travel to Buena Park in a battle for second place. Both teams have 3-1 records and have secured a spot in the CIF playoffs.

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Highlanders blank Lancers

Highlanders blank Lancers

Posted on 31 October 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

The Highlanders extended their Freeway League dominance with a shutout victory over Sunny Hills Friday night at Spalding Stadium.

LHJ LHHS vs. BPHS FB
With the defense refusing to give an inch all game long, the Highlanders 35-0 lead before halftime was more than enough to put the game out of reach.
La Habra got major contributions from all three phases of the game early on.
Eric Lancaster-Garcia sparked the Highlanders before the crowd at Spalding Stadium could take their seats, returning the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.
The senior wide receiver added a another score in the second quarter when quarterback Eric Barriere rolled out to the right, avoiding pressure and threw a 22-yard strike to Lancaster-Garcia on a seam route into the end zone.
The Highlander defense showed up early and often, taking up residence in the Lancers backfield regularly. La Habra set the tone in the first quarter, holding the Lancer offense to a total of three yards on six plays through their first two series.
The Highlander defense remained relentless all night and confined Sunny Hills to 135 total yards in the game.
Defensive back Eli Anderson had an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown negated by an illegal block in the back.   The net of the play was still a 60-yard return, which setup a 5-yard touchdown run by Barriere.
Barriere spread the ball around to six different receivers in the first half and finished the night with 204 yards passing, 53 yards rushing and four total touchdowns. With a big lead, Barriere and the first team offense only played one series in the second half.

LHJ LHHS vs. BPHS FB
C.J. Taylor had a light workload again this week, but made big plays when he got the opportunity. Taylor finished with six touches for a total of 148 yards with one touchdown.
Highlanders Head Coach Frank Mazzotta said that Taylor is looking faster than ever and explained why.
“Running backs have to get into a rhythm, we don’t run the ball all summer it’s all passing league, so it takes him a couple games to get into a rhythm and I think he’s finding his rhythm.”
Taylor was instrumental during the Highlanders final scoring drive, breaking three consecutive plays of over 25 yards. His big plays setup a 5-yard touchdown from Barriere to Prince Ross.
“I am starting to understand my [running plays] a lot better and that helps me hit the hole faster so that I can get to the next level,” Taylor said. “It’s like second nature now.”
The Lancer defense found some success pressuring the quarterback by mixing in blitz packages. Linebacker David Cabral got to Barriere for three sacks.
Lancer quarterback Malcom Dixon finished the game with 103 total yards, accounting for nearly 75 percent of the Lancers yards from scrimmage.
Sunny Hills best chance to score came in the second quarter, when they had first and goal from the 9-yard-line. However, they failed to advance the ball on four consecutive plays and turned the ball over on downs.

LHJ LHHS vs. BPHS FB
Despite the big night, one area the Highlanders struggled with again was catching the ball consistently. They dropped a handful passes on plays that potentially would have been uncontested scores.
Mazzotta said that it’s something they work on every day at practice and a lot of times it comes down to guys getting so wide open that they start thinking touchdown before they secure the football.
The Highlanders are riding an unprecedented Freeway League winning streak that spans all the way back to 2006.
“I’ve been very, very fortunate— I’m very grateful for all the boys that have played here,” Mazzotta said. “The kids work really hard and I’ve got great coaches working with them.”
La Habra (8-1, 4-0) will play its final regular season game at their Homecoming game against Troy (4-5, 2-2) next Friday at 6 p.m.

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Raiders hold off Warriors

Raiders hold off Warriors

Posted on 26 October 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The Sonora Raiders held off the Troy Warriors at home winning 41-26.

The Raiders got out to a big lead in the first quarter, up 20-0, but the resilient Warriors chipped away at the Sonora lead to come within three points.LHJ SHS vs Troy FB

“I loved the way we came out, our kids were playing physical, they were getting after it, you know but Troy is a good team, head coach Paul Chiotti said, “I said ‘guys, can’t let em off the ropes, they’re going to fight back.'”

But after five straight scoreless possessions, the Raiders needed a touchdown and a jolt of energy.  They knew just who to go to.

Jason Clayton was in the midst of his return from a broken collarbone. He’d played in scattered series throughout the evening, but with the Raiders in need of a touchdown on third down, they called his number.

“It’s just an amazing feeling, and it’s just terrible to be out and miss most of your senior year, but I made a promise to myself that when I come back, I’d come back stronger than ever,” Clayton said.

Clayton sprinted down the right sideline, breaking loose from the coverage, and laid out for a ball in the end zone. Clayton made the grab just before he was mobbed by his teammates.LHJ SHS vs Troy FB

“To lay out on that touchdown catch, that’s huge, because not only did it make a play that turned the tide in the game, his teammates are glad to see him back,” Chiotti said.

With their lead now stretched to 10 points, the Raiders were in the driver’s seat with a quarter left to play.

“It taught us one major thing, and that’s teamwork,” Cole McDonald said.

“Right after that, we got electric,” Clayton said.

From there, the Raiders continued to hand the ball to Jacob Fimbres who’d been doing the heavy lifting for the Raiders with 32 carries for the Raiders.

“Running behind my lineman, I can always trust them, and if they give me a one second gap to pop, I can score,” Fimbres said.

Fimbres didn’t fail to disappoint, putting the game on ice with two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. His strong showing brought his rushing total to 320 yards and 5 touchdowns.

“He works hard, the line responds to that, they see him working hard and they work hard,” Chiotti said.

LHJ SHS vs Troy FB

The Warriors did their work in the second and third quarters. With Sonora out to a big lead, the Warriors first touchdown came on a 57 yard scramble from Josiah Norwood.

The Warriors were able to find open space through the air in the middle of the field, as a result of their success running sideline to sideline by Dray Shaw and Norwood.

Ryan Scotti was the biggest threat on the outside, and was double covered most of the game by Clayton and Ben Kim. Scotti was limited to just 80 yards through the air, but most of that came when he broke a tackle by Kim and ran down the sideline. That 32 yard pass would set up the Warriors second touchdown, a one yard run by Shaw.

Midway through the third quarter, the Warriors recovered a fumble on an errant snap to McDonald. The Warriors picked it up with plenty of blocking ahead, but were called back for a penalty.

The penalty would eventually force the Warriors to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown which could have put them ahead of the Raiders.

This was the closest the Warriors came, as the Raiders regained their composure and ran away with the game.

LHJ SHS vs Troy FB

The Raiders spent some of their pregame preparation thinking about their attitude at this point in the season.

“When we faced tons of adversity, we pointed fingers,” McDonald said, “We just made it a big point not to say that stuff. Gain confidence, build each other up, and we did and it really helped us out a lot.”

The Raiders have played in a few close games this season, and those games are helping them gain confidence and stay resilient.

“Sunny Hills just really opened our eyes, and we realized we had to come together as a team if we wanted to pull away with a win,” McDonald said.

The Raiders next game will be against Fullerton and will again be at home at La Habra Stadium.

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Highlanders route Indians

Highlanders route Indians

Posted on 24 October 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

A monster first half from quarterback Eric Barriere was more than enough for La Habra, as the Highlanders coasted to a 62-13 victory over the Indians at Fullerton District Stadium Friday night. LHJ LHHS vs Sonora FB 2015

Barriere led the Highlanders on seven consecutive scoring drives to open the game, racking up 351 yards passing and seven touchdowns before halftime. The seven touchdowns tied a personal best, a feat he matched last season against Sonora.

“We wanted to establish the pass and show everybody that we can throw the ball,” Barriere said. “Part of the game plan was to get our receivers involved early.”

After four dropped passes to start the game, Barriere got into a rhythm, connecting on a 14-yard touchdown to Cortlin Taylor. Taylor and receiver Justin Sun each caught a pair of touchdown passes to help the Highlanders jump out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter.

“We started really slow, but I just kept feeding my receivers the ball and they picked it up for me,” Barriere said.

The Highlanders defense was equally impressive in the opening quarter, holding the Indians under 25 yards total offense.
Prince Ross had a big second quarter, catching touchdown passes of 36 and 54 yards. Ross finished with 119 yards, leading all receivers.

Amon Fellows finished with 77 yards receiving. Sun had 74 yards, all of them coming in the first quarter.

LHJ LHHS vs Sonora FB 2015

After eclipsing 200 yards on the ground the previous two weeks, La Habra Head Coach Frank Mazzotta said the team put a lot of work into preparing a game plan focused on passing this week.

“In practice we prepared for a seven-man front, which tells us to throw the ball, so that’s what the game plan was,” Mazzotta said. “[Fullerton] actually lined up with a pass defense, but we ended up coming out with our game plan and we wanted to keep going to it.”

With a 49-0 lead heading into the half, La Habra Head Coach Frank Mazzotta decided to sit his starters the rest of the way.

Sophomore quarterback Zach Fogel made the most of the opportunity, connecting on a 44-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Steven Gomez.

Dylan Nicholson ended the Indians scoring drought when he returned the second-half kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.

The Highlanders (7-1, 3-0) will take on Sunny Hills (4-4, 0-3) next Friday at Spalding Stadium in Buena Park.

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Highlanders run off another Freeway League foe

Highlanders run off another Freeway League foe

Posted on 17 October 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

La Habra football remains the power of the Freeway league, after running through Buena Park 48-14 at home Friday night.

LHJ LHHS vs. BPHS FB

La Habra’s Cortlin Taylor rushes through the Coyote defense Friday night.

The Highlanders jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and held the Coyotes explosive offense in check most of the night.

The first score came on a 24-yard pass from quarterback Eric Barriere to tight end Chris Brown. Not long after, Barriere hit a wide-open Amon Fellows on a crossing route for a 51-yard touchdown.

Fellows had three catches for 71 yards and added two carries for 21 yards.
Barriere gave way to the running game, finishing with 102 yards passing and two scores.

Much like last week, Cortlin Taylor carried the bulk of the load for the Highlanders, rushing for 191 yards and three touchdowns.

Taylor also setup the Highlanders third touchdown in the second quarter with runs of 44 and 22 yards on consecutive carries.

The Coyotes defense looked good in stretches, but they played with nine or 10 men in the box the entire game. Inevitably, the Highlanders got past the stacked line-of-scrimmage frequently for big plays.

“[The Coyotes] defense allows you to break runs and throws because they have everybody up at the line of scrimmage,” said Frank Mazzotta, Highlanders head coach. “You just have to be willing to take a chance and beat somebody, that’s all you got to do.”

LHJ LHHS vs. BPHS FB

La Habra Quarter Eric Barriere

Madison Wheeler had a big night on both sides of the football. Early in the first quarter, Wheeler picked off quarterback Zach Taylor. Offensively he made his presence felt spelling Taylor in the backfield, finishing with 70 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

The Coyotes entered the contest averaging nearly 42 points-per-game, but could not get into rhythm on offense against the Highlanders swarming defense.

The Coyotes playmakers showed flashes, but Taylor failed to stretch the field with any deep or intermediate passes, which allowed the Highlanders to clamp down on the run and short passing game.

The Coyotes finally got on the board with only 40 seconds remaining in the first half when junior wide receiver Elijah Gates caught a screen pass at the Coyotes 15-yard line, made two cuts and raced past the Highlanders defense for the 85-yard touchdown. The lightning fast score offered a glimpse at the Coyotes reputed high-powered offense.

The Highlanders defense did an excellent job containing the Coyotes speed at the skilled positions, holding the Coyotes backs and receivers to just four plays over 10 yards the entire game.

“I have six championships on my wall over there and all six of them played great defense, you cannot win championships without a great defense,” Mazzotta said.

The Highlanders have now dismantled their top-two league competitors by a combined score of 83-21 in consecutive weeks, putting them in the driver’s seat for another run at the Freeway League title.

The Highlanders (6-1, 2-0) will be on the road next Friday taking on the Fullerton Indians (4-3, 0-2).

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Heralds outmatched by Crusaders, Ditmer hurt

Heralds outmatched by Crusaders, Ditmer hurt

Posted on 17 October 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Bryant Freese
La Habra Journal

Whittier Christian was unable to get much offense going against a larger Valley Christian team, losing 48-14 Friday night at Whittier College.

The Crusaders started off strong, scoring on their first three possession of the football game.

LHJ WCHS vs Duarte FB

Herald Quarterback Quinn Commons was 14-26 for 123 yards, with one touchdown an two interceptions Friday against Valley Christian.

It didn’t matter what Whittier Christian tried on the offense, the Heralds couldn’t get anything going against the Valley Christian defense.  The size of both the offensive and defensive lines of that Crusaders created a challenge for Whittier Christian.

Herald Head Coach Sergio Gradialla noted that Whittier Christian lines were getting “over powered” by the larger Crusaders.

Whittier Christian was down 0-13 with 8:06 still left in first quarter.

However, the Herald’s didn’t let the size difference get to them.  On Whittier’s fourth drive of the game Quarterback Quinn Commans put together a 73-yard drive, finishing it off with a six-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Ditmar. Cutting the Crusader lead to 13-6, with 5:33 left in the first quarter.

Commans finished the game with 14-26 for 123 yard with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Valley Christian answered back and went on to score on the very next possession, with a 60 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jesse Smith to Michael Polk.

LHJ WCHS vs Duarte FB

Thomas Ditmer was injured during Whittier Christian’s loss Friday night art Whittier College.

But it was right before the end of the first quarter, that the whole mood of the Heralds changed. On an interception thrown by Commans,  Ditmar was hit on a crack-back block, leaving leaving him on the ground. Within minutes the Whittier Fire Department and ambulance were on the field attending to Ditmar and he was taken off on a stretcher.

According to coach Gradilla, Ditmar was taken to a local hospital where he would get an MRI. Gradilla said Ditmer was in good spirits, and explained “his parents said he was joking around with doctors.”

After the injury the game resumed, but with a different feel. The energy of the crowd and the Whittier Christian team seemed to be deflated. Valley Christian went on a 95-yard scoring drive to increase their lead. The Crusaders scored four straight touchdowns after the injury.

Whittier Christian trailed Valley Christian 48-6 at the half.

The Heralds scored late in the second half on a fumble returned for a touchdown by linebacker Chris Almeda.

Whittier Christian will play Village Christian next week at Occidental College.

 

 

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Taylor and defense lead Highlanders to city championship

Taylor and defense lead Highlanders to city championship

Posted on 10 October 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Behind a stifling defensive effort and Cortlin Taylor’s impressive night running the ball, La Habra stretched its rivalry-game winning streak over Sonora with a 35-7 victory Friday night.

La Habra Quarterback Eric Barriere hurdles a Raider defender. While acrobatic, the Highlanders received a 15 -yard penalty for it. La Habra won the city championship game 35-7.

La Habra Quarterback Eric Barriere hurdles a Raider defender. While acrobatic, the Highlanders received a 15 -yard penalty for it. La Habra won the city championship game 35-7.

The Highlanders stingy defense more than compensated for a mistake prone offensive effort, by keeping the Raiders off the scoreboard until late in the third quarter.
Taylor was the workhorse for the Highlanders tonight finishing with 162 yards rushing— four touchdowns. His best performance so far this year picked up the slack for an uncharacteristic poor passing night for the Highlanders.
“This was probably my best game yet, but there are more games to go,” Taylor said. “My offensive line was opening up some big holes tonight I have to give all my thanks to them.”
Despite cruising to victory, the Highlanders struggled throwing the ball the entire game. Highlander receivers dropped seven passes in the first half, three of which would have been uncontested touchdowns.
Highlanders Head Coach Frank Mazzotta was not as thrilled as one might think with such a lopsided victory. Mazzota gave credit to his defense and the running game, but was displeased with the overall performance tonight, especially when talking about the dropped passes.

Sonora's Landon Williams pushes a way a Highlander defender.

Sonora’s Landon Williams pushes a way a Highlander defender.

“It’s embarrassing, it’s not championship level,” Mazzotta said. “I don’t know if the bye week had something to do with it, but our timing was just a little off tonight.”
The second half proved no better for the passing game, as quarterback Eric Barriere finished with just 60 yards passing on the night. The only passing touchdown for the Highlanders came early in the second quarter on an 11-yard pass from Barriere to Logan Gomez into the end zone.
The Raiders lone score came with 2:02 remaining in the third quarter on a Jacob Fimbres 9-yard touchdown run. Up to that point, the Highlanders defense thwarted every Raider drive by interception, fumble recovery or forcing a turnover-on-downs.
The Highlanders defense recovered two fumbles and intercepted Raiders quarterback Cole McDonald three times— two of which by corner back Khailand Johnson.

Sonora's Cole McDonald scrambles to avoid a tackle Friday night.

Sonora’s Cole McDonald scrambles to avoid a tackle Friday night.

The Raiders attempted and recovered two onside kicks in the second half. The second one recovered by Steve Riley setup their only scoring drive.
McDonald led the Raiders offensively with 107 yards rushing and 81 yards passing, but had three interceptions and a lost fumble. Fimbres, the Raiders leading rusher this season finished with just 76 yards on the ground, over 100 yards short of his average.
Raiders Head Coach Paul Chiotti was happy with the way his team battled, knowing they were up against.

 

La Habra hosts Buena Park next week and Sonora travels to Buena Park to play Sunny Hills.

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Raiders take it to Highlanders

Raiders take it to Highlanders

Posted on 07 October 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal
The Sonora boys water polo team jumped ahead of La Habra early and kept the pressure on until the game was out of reach going into the fourth quarter en route to a 16-8 victory at neutral Fullerton High School on Wednesday night.sonora_mascot

The Raiders opened up their first Freeway League contest of the season strong, putting 5 goals on the board in each of the first and second quarters.

“Sonora has some strong shooters, a couple of those [shots] almost ripped the goal in two,” said Micah Klausman, Highlanders head coach.

An undermanned Highlanders squad, short two of their starting-seven struggled to contain the Raiders relentless wing attack for much of the contest.

The most impactful player missing for the Raiders tonight was set defender Matthew Cipes, who is out with a broken nose and will not be back until the final week of Freeway League play. The team was also without Nathan Daraban, but he will be back for the next game.

Klausman was quick to point out that the outcome tonight had nothing to do with who was not in the pool.

“Missing a couple guys is not why we lost tonight, Sonora is a really good team and just played phenomenal,” said Klausman.

The Raiders leading goal scorers tonight were juniors Conrad Napier with 6 and Benjamin Angulo with 4.

Despite the high score, junior goalkeeper Nick Venegas played a solid game under constant fire from the Raiders offense, finishing with 17 saves.

Under constant attack, the Highlanders couldn’t string together offensive sets with any consistency until the fourth period.

The Highlanders finally started to find success with a late surge in the fourth period, scoring 4 goals– doubling their total for the game, but it was simply too little, too late.

Justin Chen and Logan Robles led the way for the Highlanders offensively, scoring a pair of goals each.

The win tonight made it two impressive victories in as many days for the Raiders, after blowing out Don Lugo High 20-3 at home on Tuesday. The back-to-back wins was a nice turnaround for the Raiders, coming on the heels of a disappointing performance that saw them drop three straight in the inaugural Bull Run Tournament, which they hosted over the weekend.

“We played very well yesterday against Don Lugo and we played really well for three quarters today,” said Jim Sprague, Raiders head coach.

The Raiders (12-6, 1-0) will try to make it three straight when they travel south to take on Sunny Hills (1-3, 0-0) next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

The Highlanders (2-4,0-1) will be back in action again next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. taking on Buena Park (0-1, 0-1) at home.

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Lady Raiders sweep La Habra at home

Lady Raiders sweep La Habra at home

Posted on 07 October 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

The Raiders girls’ volleyball team got off to a good start for the season, sweeping La Habra in their first meeting of the season.

LHJ Sonora vs LHHS Volleyball

Freeway League opened with the Raiders hosting the Highlanders. The Raiders took the match winning three straight games for the sweep. The Highlanders pushed the Raiders in a very competitive first set, but Sonora controlled the match the rest of the way.

“We set the tone today, for the whole season, and I couldn’t be more proud of how we played, everything worked well,” Nicole Fraga said.

The two teams finished second and third last year, with La Habra (8-2) winning both games against Sonora (6-4). This year however, the Raiders reversed the results.

“I remember last year talking to you at La Habra after a real disappointing three set sweep where they really just beat us in every facet of the game, and that wasn’t really lost by me or the girls,” Sonora head coach Andrew Johnson said referencing a prior conversation we shared.

Meanwhile for the Highlanders, they are a team in transition, having graduated much of their proven firepower last year. The Highlanders have also seen injuries take a toll to their team.

LHJ Sonora vs LHHS Volleyball

“It’s been a rough preseason,” La Habra head coach Adrianne Spear said, “we haven’t really gotten a true starting lineup out there yet.”

Meanwhile, Sonora has been able to test themselves with a challenging preseason schedule while their roster is coming together.

“We want to keep pace with Troy, that’s really our goal, for that to happen, we have to take care of business,” Johnson said “I’ll trade losses in the early season to prepare us for league, because I really feel like we’re gelling at the right time and really kind of learning how to play under pressure and still compete.”

The two differing preseason results showed as the match progressed. Sonora battled back, while La Habra petered out.

“I think the first game they were kind of nervous, but then they weren’t. Then they realized, oh we can do this,” Spear said, describing her team’s mental approach.

The two teams went back and forth in the first set, with no team able to seize significant momentum. Sonora led 18-15 at one point, and La Habra led 22-20. As the teams traded points, Sonora took control winning 30-28.

LHJ Sonora vs LHHS Volleyball

“We didn’t finish when we should have, and when you toy around and give the momentum away, it’s going to bite you,” Spear said.

Sonora’s victory in the first game became a springboard for them into game two, meanwhile the Highlanders looked drained from the long series.

“The momentum definitely shifted to our side, and I knew that the rest of the games, either they were going to lay down or they were going to come back stronger, and I’m glad that we kept and maintained our momentum throughout the game, regardless of how they reacted,” Fraga said.

Sonora in contrast to their first game jumped out to a strong start, leading 9-3 early. The Raiders would stretch their lead 23-8 before letting some of their bench get some game action.

La Habra was able to chip away at Sonora’s lead in the second game, but fell 25-14.

Sonora kept the pressure on winning the third game 25-17 maintaining a steady lead to complete the sweep.

The Raiders were paced by their senior leaders Allie Beattie, and Fraga. Beattie anchored the Raiders outside and defense, and Fraga was able to shift between middle and outside.

They’re a six rotation girl, they can serve, they can pass, they can do it all, it’s fun to watch and it’s fun to watch them lead the rest of the girls,” Johnson said.

LHJ Sonora vs LHHS Volleyball

The versatility that these two players bring for Sonora allow them to stay balanced and ease the pressure off from their supporting cast and bench.

The Highlanders have needed to turn to unproven talent early this season and are still working on finding a consistent lineup  and rotation.

“They’re young and inexperienced, and if that’s what young and inexperienced looks like, I’m not too worried,” Spear said.

The Highlanders’ strength to this point is their athleticism in the middle

They have seen encouraging production from two sisters, Freshman Amanda Gamez and her older sister, junior Kimberly Gamez. With the Highlanders looking for opportunities to develop their young talent, Spear is using two freshman on this year’s team.

“They’re talented, for sure they’re talented and we just have to find the right fit,” Spear said.

Sonora travels to Sunny Hills (10/5) and then hosts Troy on Wednesday (10/7) while La Habra hosts Buena park (10/5) travels to Fullerton (10/7).

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West Nile concerns reach LH

West Nile concerns reach LH

Posted on 01 October 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Taylor Engle
La Habra Journal

The California drought is an ongoing issue that has affected citizens’ lifestyles significantly.  La Habra residents are well aware that this drought causes brown lawns and dirty vehicles, but it is now known to cause an increase in risk of getting sick.AA-West-Nile-Mosquito
The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District treated four cases of the West Nile Virus in La Habra this year.  The virus, transmitted by mosquitoes, birds, and humans, is much more likely to spread with our lack of rain.  Last year, there were 19 deaths in OC due to this virus.
The West Nile Virus was first discovered in America in New York in 1999.  It slowly made its way westward and was discovered in Orange County in 2004.  Since then, there have been 534 reported cases of the virus in Orange County, 280 of which were discovered last year alone.
While mosquitoes are attracted to water sources, the lack of rain to clean out the underground water systems is causing the dirty water to build up and attract the virus.
“This is a problem happening under people’s feet, which makes it extremely difficult to treat,” said OCVCD Director of Communications Jared Dever.
The governing body of vector control in La Habra, the OCVCD routinely checks for breeding sources around the city, but there is no telling where a person can be bitten.
“The Orange County Health Care Agency reports human cases,” said Dever. “An OCVCD team then goes in and checks for overlooked breeding sources like ponds or green pools, but ultimately there are no safe places.”
In order to lower risk of the West Nile Virus, the Orange County Vector Control Board took three major precautions: doing an aerial surveillance of the pools in La Habra to detect the ones in need of upkeep, treating storm drain and creek areas, and educating the public.
“We detected pools that were at risk and inserted mosquito fish, which help kill the bacteria,” said La Habra Councilman James Gomez.
The OCVCD encourages citizens to take precautions as well.  Citizens should make sure to do a weekly property inspection of their home to check for water sources and tears in window/door screens.
“The mosquito most commonly found in Orange County is the Southern House mosquito, whose name should be a hint,” said Dever. “They do most of their feeding indoors and at night, so we encourage exclusion.”
Dever said citizens should also remain as covered up as possible when outdoors and apply mosquito repellent.
Detailed information on precaution can be found on both the City of La Habra website and the OCVCD website.
The city has also put up signs in all community parks warning people of the dangers of the West Nile Virus.
To increase awareness, the Board organized a “Clean-Up Day” September 19 with citizen participation.  Members of OCVCD handed out information on the virus.  Additionally, they have gone door-to-door in areas considered “at risk” and provided information for the residents.
The City of La Habra also posts information on social media to keep the public informed and up to date.
“An important thing for the citizens to do would be to call us when they find a dead bird,” said Gomez. “That way we can immediately check for the virus and get to the source before it becomes a problem.”

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