Tag Archive | "freeway league"

Highlanders blank Raiders for 16th straight rivalry game

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Highlanders blank Raiders for 16th straight rivalry game

Posted on 21 October 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

The La Habra high football team claimed another City Championship, shutting out Sonora 40-0 Friday night at The Pit in La Habra.

The Highlander defense, which held Sonora to 104 yards of total offense, has been dominant for five consecutive games now.

They have outscored opponents a combined 227-17 during that stretch and have yet to allow a touchdown in Freeway League play thus far.

“When you get stops and get them off the field, it gives our offense a chance to score,” said Frank Mazzotta, La Habra head coach. “Anytime you can shut your opponent out, they have no chance of winning.”

Quarterback Zach Fogel moved the ball methodically down the field with both his legs and his arm most of the night.

For the third consecutive week, Mazzotta found spots to weave sophomore quarterback Ryan Zanelli into the Highlanders offense.

Zanelli again took advantage of his opportunities on the field, looking accurate from the pocket and leading the offense down the field.

Mazzotta acknowledged Fogel has been playing better than ever the past five weeks, but said he enjoys getting to see what his young quarterback can do against the opponents first teamers.  

“To me it’s fun,” he said. “I really have fun with it.”

Anyone who has been around the La Habra football program knows how much he likes to give all of his players an opportunity to shine on Friday nights.

With his fourth quarter touchdown pass to senior Steven Saucedo, Zanelli has found the end zone in all three of his appearances.

The Raiders kept the game within striking distance for most of the first half.

It was 12-0 with under two minutes remaining in the first half. That’s when Fogel scrambled left and found Mitchell Anderson in the corner of the end zone for a 25-yard score to widen the gap.

A Nate Ulloa interception late in the third quarter set up Skyler Taylor’s 70-yard touchdown run on the very next play.

Taylor finished with 130 yards and two touchdowns.

La Habra (6-2, 3-0) will host last season’s League Champs, Buena Park (1-7, 0-3), who have been scuffling next Friday.

Despite the score, Sonora (5-3, 1-2) has vastly improved from a season ago, in which they were winless. The Raiders will take on Sunny Hills (6-2, 1-2) in a pivotal game for both schools next week at Buena Park High School.

“The thing I love is that these kids now give themselves a chance to compete with a team of [La Habra’s] caliber,” said Daniel Morales, Sonora head coach. “I’m proud of the work they put in all year to get bigger and stronger.”

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Phillips shines as La Habra spoils Colony homecoming

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Phillips shines as La Habra spoils Colony homecoming

Posted on 23 September 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Sophomore cornerback Clark Phillips III returned three interceptions for touchdowns to key La Habra’s 49-14 blowout victory over Colony High School in Ontario Friday night.

“I ate a lot [for breakfast] today, eggs, bacon, grits, sausage and I just prayed for a good game,” Phillips said, when asked how he prepared for his breakout game. “I just want to thank god for this awesome opportunity and the coaches for giving me the opportunity.”

Photo by Paul Luna – La Habra sophomore cornerback Clark Phillips III with one of his three interceptions against Colony Friday.


Phillips also feasted on fellow sophomore, quarterback Marco Gonzalez, who entered the game midway through the Titans opening drive after starter Joseph Tesimale left with an apparent knee injury.

After Gonzalez lead the Titans the rest of the way down the field and inched over the goal line on 4th down to take an early lead, the Titan offense appeared to not skip a beat.

But Phillips intercepted Gonzalez on the Titans next possession and returned it 38 yards down the sideline to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the first quarter.

After the Highlanders took a narrow 21-14 lead into halftime, Phillips spurred a 28-point third quarter surge with two more interception returns.

Quarterback Zack Fogel lead the Highlanders down the field on the opening drive of the half connecting with Deavyn Woullard, who made a diving catch in the back of the end zone for a 45-yard score– the first of their two touchdowns in the quarter.

Photo By Paul Luna -Highlander Quarterback Zack Fogel throws a pass in La Habra’s road win Friday against Colony High School.

Phillips followed with his most miraculous play of the night, leaping up to grab an Gonzalez’s overthrown pass with one hand and streaking down the sideline 42 yards for the score to make it 35-14 just three minutes into the third quarter.

Phillips said afterwards that his ball skills and return ability come from playing offense his whole life. He has only been playing cornerback since coming to high school. Prior to that, he had always played running back.

Head coach Frank Mazzotta has taken notice, finding ways to get Phillips increasingly involved on the offensive side of the ball as the season goes on as well.

After Fogel found Woullard again for a 17-yard touchdown, Phillips pulled a pick-six hat-trick with a 60-yard touchdown, again streaking down the La Habra sideline–this time waving bye as he accelerated past the Titans 6’5” wide receiver Michael Ezeike.

Fogel’s night was far more impressive than his modest 92 yards and two touchdowns suggest.

The senior quarterback was accurate all night, but the Highlander receivers had a case of the drops early on, including three in a row that stalled the opening drive of the game.

“I’m telling you right now, [Fogel] has struggled throwing the ball in the past,” Mazzotta said. “But Zack has gotten a lot better and you saw that tonight, this is a culmination of 18 games starting now and the ball is in the right places, he threw it with some velocity and hit people in the hands–that’s what I’m most happy about honestly.”

“Obviously the time helps, experience makes everyone better especially at the quarterback position,” Fogel said. “The coaching is just superb, we watch a lot of film and honestly you don’t want to be your best week-one, we want to be our best in the playoffs, so we’re just trying to get closer to that each week.”

Photo by Paul Luna – a Habra sophomore cornerback Clark Phillips III runs back one of his three interceptions for a touchdown.

Skyler Taylor kept his scoring streak intact, leaping over the pile for a 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Despite giving way to other running backs for much of the second half in each of the Highlanders three lopsided victories, Taylor impressively has 11 rushing touchdowns and at least one in each game this season.

The loss drops Colony to 3-2 this season. The Titans struggled without Tesimale and the extent of his injury is unknown. Head coach Steve Randall said he will know more on Monday or Tuesday.

Perhaps the most shocking stat line was the penalty disparity between the two teams. Colony finished the game without an official penalty enforced against them. They were called for holding in the third quarter, however it came on the heels of Gonzalez being sacked, so the penalty was declined by La Habra.

While it’s unclear how long he will be sidelined, fortunately Randall will have two weeks to either get his quarterback healthy or prepare for their first league game against Chaffey without him since the Titans have a bye week coming up.

La Habra improved its record to 3-2 heading into league play. Their two losses came against Upland, the top team in CIF Division 2, and Mission Viejo, the No. 2 team in Division 1.

The Highlanders open league against a much improved Sunny Hills (4-0) at Buena Park High School Oct. 6. The Lancers feature one of the top rushers in Orange County, Alex Jung.

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Rebuilt Raiders look to reap their redemption

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Rebuilt Raiders look to reap their redemption

Posted on 02 August 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

To say last season was rough for the Sonora Raiders might be an understatement. It was a new coach with a new system working with a team that lost the majority of its veteran and skilled players.
However, second year Head Coach Daniel Morales is optimistic for this season.
“This season, we have a lot to prove,” Morales said. “We’re still a young team and staff, but I’m happy with how hard the guys have worked. We are a lot stronger and bigger this year.”
Morales noted that he has some veterans coming back, but likes what he sees in the younger players that are continuing to build their skills.
Senior Ryan Martinez will be the Raider starter at quarterback.
He will have a host of Raiders to throw to, including senior tight end Troy McDonald and receivers Josh Gonzalez and Derek Cole. He will also have Cal-committed Chigozie Anusiem who will spend time on both sides of the ball as receiver and corner.
Running back Chandler Thompson will head up the Raider ground attack, along with sophomore Ryan Loudon.
On defense, Morales said senior Tommy Mendrin should have a big year at safety. Edward Medina, Alan Huerta and Anusiem will help round out the Raider secondary.
Morales said he likes what he is seeing in his linebacking corps. Thompson and Trent Rodriguez are set to start, with others rotating in.
Morales said the Raider line is shaping up well on both sides of the ball. Anchored by Calvin Chuayiuso, Jose Lopez and all league lineman Sebastian Perez, Sonora should have an imposing front.
The Raiders will be hungry for their first win since their first-round CIF victory over Tustin in 2015.
Morales noted the Freeway League is on a different spot this year with new coaching staffs at Troy and Buena Park and a second-year coach at Sunny Hills. He said Sonora will play hard and, as long as they stay healthy, they will battle for a playoff spot.
The Raiders open up at home against Whittier High School on August 25.
Sonora looks to avenge last year’s opening-day 16-0 loss against the Cardinals (5-5,2-3). Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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Lady Highlanders look for redemption

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Lady Highlanders look for redemption

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Unfinished business. That’s exactly what the Lady Highlanders softball team has collectively had on their minds since a crushing loss in the 2016 CIF semifinals derailed La Habra’s championship bid and snapped their school record 26-game winning streak.

Photo courtesy Paula Luna
Ready for the season: The Lady Highlander softball team looks to continue where they finished last year by recapturing the league title and competing for a CIF title. With a number of seniors and returning players, La Habra looks to improve on its 29-2 record from last year.

Despite ending on a sour note, the Lady Highlanders finished with a 29-2 record and have plenty to be optimistic about in 2017. The girls finished a perfect 10-0 in league and will be returning all but three starting position players.
First and foremost, they return a pair of aces in the circle. Seniors Hannah Johnson and Janelle Rodriguez might be the best pitching tandem in the county. Both girls are coming off back-to-back dominant seasons. According to head coach Steve Harrington, Rodriguez is back at full strength after suffering through a shoulder injury late last season.
La Habra will also have All-CIF outfielder Kira Cauley back to spark the offense again. Cauley is a legitimate five-tool talent. In addition, seniors Billie Jean Wells, Alyssa Palacios and Alyssa Rios are all returning starters and major contributors from last season.
La Habra will have some big shoes to fill at a couple key positions though.
Shortstop Frankie Mendoza and catcher Nikki Butler both moved on to play collegiately. Last year’s captains were heart of the order batters and equally valuable on the defensive end. That said, replacing their leadership could prove to be the most difficult hurdle this year.
Although the Lady Highlanders lost a few key starters from a year ago, they are still far and away the favorite to win another Freeway League title.

Photo courtesy Paula Luna Sparking the offense: All-CIF Outfielder Kira Cauley is one of the many seniors that look to help lead the Lady Highlanders this season. La Habra is looking to recapture the league title and run for CIF title.

Sonora (13-11, 6-4) finished in second, while Sunny Hills (16-10, 5-5) and Fullerton (18-12, 5-5) were right behind.
The Raiders are lead by senior captain Claudia Kim, who pitches and plays middle-infield for Sonora.
Harrington is excited about having a lot of returning players and believes a couple girls stepping up from the junior varsity team, as well as a couple freshman will make significant contributions right away.
“A beautiful surprise this year, has been Alexis Riley,” Harrington said.
Riley is a senior, but played junior varsity last season. Harrington admitted her talent has always been there, but praised her on her maturity during the offseason.
La Habra’s success during Harrington’s first season at the helm didn’t go unnoticed. The Lady Highlanders were bumped up to a Division 1 team this year for the first time in school history.
“I don’t care what division we’re in, I’ve been in that division,” Harrington said. “I’ve been down that road many times, heck last year’s team beat the Division 1 champion.”
Harrington added a gauntlet of tough out of league games to the schedule this year to better prepare the girls for the rigors of CIF. After getting his first full offseason with his team, Harrington believes they have what it takes to beat anybody regardless of division.
“This is a tight knit group,” he concluded, “and in my experience, the tighter the group the better the team.

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Coyotes bring Highlanders streak to halt with big second half

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Coyotes bring Highlanders streak to halt with big second half

Posted on 22 October 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

The Buena Park High School football team had been steadily climbing the ranks the past six seasons under Head Coach Anthony White, but one task had still bedeviled the Coyotes—unseating La Habra as the team to beat in the Freeway League, until Friday night.

By Miguel Pola/La Habra Journal La Habra's Senior Eli Anderson scores from 2 yards out with 3 min left in the first half. La Habra HS leads 13-0 at the half.

By Miguel Pola/La Habra Journal
La Habra’s Senior Eli Anderson scores from 2 yards out with 3 min left in the first half. La Habra HS leads 13-0 at the half.

Heading to the locker room down 13-0 at the half, it appeared the Coyotes were once again going to be disappointed. However, Buena Park exploded for four unanswered scores in the second half to end the Highlanders league winning streak at 47 with a 27-13 victory at home.

“I got them fired up [at halftime] and told them to believe in the program, believe in the system and do your job,” White said. “I think everyone was trying to do too much wanting to make us win, so I told them to be accountable and just do your 1-of-11.”

The tides began to turn early in the third quarter.

Much like the first half, La Habra stuffed the Coyotes opening drive.

On the ensuing punt, returner Madison Wheeler got caught in between a couple Coyotes and the ball grazed his leg, allowing the coverage team to pounce on it.

“We made a mistake that was costly, we were beating them around and we stopped them at the half, it was our best player, what are you going to do, sometimes your best player does something that is uncharacteristic,” said Highlander Head Coach Frank Mazzotta. “I don’t know that there is any such thing as momentum though, good teams make more plays than the ones that lose and they made more plays than we did.”

After Wheeler broke up three consecutive passes near the goal line, Buena Park quarterback James Rafkin finally connected with A.J. Allen on a crucial fourth-and-long play to put the ball inside the 5 yard line. A couple plays later sophomore running back Jamiel Henning punched it in from a yard out to cut the lead in half.

The Coyotes took their first lead on the next possession when Allen made a picture perfect over the shoulder grab in the back of the end zone just before the end of the quarter.

By Miguel Pola/ La Habra Journal La Habra's senior Derrick Corso's interception sets up La Habra's 2nd and of the first half. — at Buena Park High School Football.

By Miguel Pola/ La Habra Journal La Habra’s senior Derrick Corso’s interception sets up La Habra’s 2nd and of the first half. — at Buena Park High School Football.

The dagger came early in the fourth quarter on a 30-yard catch-and-run by Henning, who caught the ball in the flat near the Highlander sideline, made a couple La Habra defenders miss, then accelerated and completely ran over the safety en route to his second score of the night.

Neither team moved the ball particularly well throughout most of the game.

La Habra got on the board in the second quarter on perhaps the catch of the night. Quarterback Zach Fogel lofted the ball to his favorite target, Prince Ross, who laid out to make the diving grab across the goal line for a 35-yard touchdown. Fogel’s only other completion to that point was a 36-yard pass to Eli Anderson, which set up the score

Anderson carried it in from the 1-yard-line to give the Highlanders a two score lead heading into the break. The touchdown was set up by cornerback Derrick Corso’s 42-yard interception return, that gave the Highlander offense the ball inside the 5.

Anderson showed off his hands late in the fourth, catching a pair of passes out of the backfield to set up a red zone opportunity for the Highlanders with about two minutes to play. However, Devon Cooley picked Fogel off in the end zone to dash any hopes of a late Highlander comeback.

The Coyote defense was stifling all night long. Their leading tackler, safety Niguy Simms was once again all over the field and came up with an interception in the fourth quarter that set up Buena Park’s final score.

“Defense is our motto, it’s what we live by,” White said. “I’m a defensive coach, the defensive coordinator and we have a great defensive staff, everyone takes accountability for their own positions, their own guys and everyone did their jobs tonight.”

Cedric Dashiell III entered the evening as one of the leading pass-rushers in Orange County with 11.5 sacks. Dashiell brought down Fogel five times on the night to add to his total.

Dashiell gave credit to his coaches and fellow defensive lineman for calling and executing stunts late in the game to free him up to closeout with three sacks on the Highlanders final drive.

The Highlanders (4-4, 2-1) will try to bounce back against Fullerton at home next Friday. The Coyotes (7-1, 3-0) will look to remain perfect in league when they take on Sunny Hills Friday at Spalding Stadium, although it will technically be an away game for them.

“We go back to work tomorrow, that’s 100 percent, we have to finish what we started,” White said.

Mazzotta added, “Nothing goes on forever, streaks were meant to be broken.”

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Highlanders wear down Warriors in Freeway League opener

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Highlanders wear down Warriors in Freeway League opener

Posted on 07 October 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal


FULLERTON— Behind a efficient ground attack, La Habra began Freeway League play with a 24-10 victory over Troy on Friday night at Fullerton stadium.

Photo by Miguel Pola  La Habra quarterback Zack Fogel sprints toward the sidelines in the third quarter to gain a first down.

Photo by Miguel Pola
La Habra quarterback Zack Fogel sprints toward the sidelines in the third quarter to gain a first down.

The Highlanders opened the game just with a picture perfect 70-yard drive, capped by a Zach Fogel touchdown run from the 6-yard-line.

“I noticed that they were really chasing our athletes, so I told coach that I could find a lane and he gave me some chances.”

Eli Anderson had three runs of over 9 yards on the drive. Fogel connected with Prince Ross for 28 yards on the lone pass he attempted to set up the score.

“It’s a big confidence booster when you are getting eight or nine yards on first down carries,” Fogel said. “The coaches put together a great scheme, I give all the credit to the coaches and the offensive line tonight.”

The Warriors ground game appeared to be working on all cylinders as well the first couple offensive series against the stout Highlander defense, but both drives stalled out after costly penalties.

Troy managed to salvage a 28-yard field goal though, to make it 7-3 heading into the second quarter.

The Highlanders ran into similar fate on both second quarter possessions, taking it all the way down inside the 1-yard-line, before a false start on third-down forced a chip shot field goal.

Photo by Miguel Pola  La Habra Senior Eli Anderson scoots around the outside for a 12-yard gain.

Photo by Miguel Pola
La Habra Senior Eli Anderson scoots around the outside for a 12-yard gain. Anderson finished the night with 82 yards.

The Highlanders would get the ball right back after Derick Corso intercepted Josiah Norwood’s pass and returned it 33 yards to the Highlander 49-yard-line.

A couple penalties late in the ensuing drive caused La Habra to turn the ball over on downs and put up another score before the end of the half.

The Highlanders began second half with Madison Wheeler helming the pistol, but went nowhere and wound up giving Warriors great field position at the Highlander 49.

The Warriors capitalized a few plays later with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Norwood to Mikale Hill to bring them even 10-10.

La Habra responded on next series and pulled away for good.

Wheeler and Jakobah Fuamatu took turns carrying the ball inside, moving the drive all the way down inside the 10. Fogel finished the drive by connecting with Ross on a slant for a 9-yard touchdown.

The Highlanders added another score on a 2-yard run by Wheeler in the fourth quarter. Wheeler set up his touchdown when he took a fake punt 11 yards for a first down to keep the drive alive.

The Highlander defense locked down Troy’s offense the rest of the way to secure the two-score victory.

Corso had a standout defensive performance for the second consecutive game. He finished with an interception and batted down four more passes.

“[Corso] is one of the best at playing the ball in the air, he has a knack for it,” Head Coach Frank Mazzotta said.

Photo by Miguel Pola

Photo by Miguel Pola

“Preparation during the week really gives you confidence when you come out here, so you just have to be confident and know what you are doing, that’s really what it is,” Corso said.

La Habra pounded the ball inside with four different ball carriers, totaling 230 yards on the ground. Anderson dominated the first half carries and finished with 82 yards.

Mazzotta turned to Fuamatu and Wheeler to close out the game. Fuamatu didn’t have a carry in the first half, but finished with 54 yards. Most of which came in the final quarter. Wheeler finished with 51 yards and a touchdown.

The Warriors ran the ball well in stretches, but were unable to finish several drives due to penalties and a sporadic passing game. Norwood led the rushing attack for Troy with 54 yards. Skyler Taylor had 41 yards on the ground.

“We are inching our way into being a good football team, but we are not there yet,” Mazzotta said.

The Highlanders will look to make it three straight against cross town rival Sonora (0-6) at home next Friday.


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La Habra  hitting the links with first girls golf team

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La Habra hitting the links with first girls golf team

Posted on 20 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Shanin Thomas
La Habra Journal

The La Habra High School Highlanders will field their first women’s golf team for the 2015 season.
Last year, La Habra High School created a women’s golf club in preparation of creating a competitive team for this upcoming fall season.

2015 LHHS Girls Golf Team

2015 LHHS Girls Golf Team

About 15 girls joined the club with little to no experience but lots of enthusiasm and interest.
Head Coach Cody Verdugo said that most of the girls had never played before. “Only three girls had golf clubs, but at least 10 took a liking to golf. I am very pleased with the growth we have seen,” he said.
The golf club at La Habra High School included instructions for the basics of the sport. Not only did the girls in the club learn to hit a plastic golf ball in the football stadium, Coach Verdugo also taught the girls golf etiquette.
“Golf is like an onion. There are layers to the sport. It is not just about hitting the golf ball,” Verdugo said.

Interest in girls golf has not only sparked at La Habra High School but in other Freeway League schools as well.
Fullerton, Sunny Hills and Buena Park have decided to field a girls golf team this season. They will join Troy, which already had a team in place.

Troy High School will be the most competitive women’s golf team this upcoming season because they previously fielded a girls’ golf team and have competitive returners.

Mandy Arriola finishes a swing during practice.  The lefty looks to help lead the Lady Highlanders during their inaugural season.

Mandy Arriola finishes a swing during practice. The lefty looks to help lead the Lady Highlanders during their inaugural season.

In fact, last season Troy’s women’s team ranked No. 1 in Orange County, No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section, and No. 5 in the state of California.

Preseason will begin in late August and league competition will start on Sept. 13.
For Verdugo, the decision to move from being on the coaching staff of La Habra Football to take up the challenge of starting a girls golf team was to follow his passion.

Verdugo fell in love with the sport of golf in his senior year of college at Chapman University. Although he has played football his entire life, golf has become a sport he has become passionate about.
Additionally, Verdugo’s son and three daughters have also taken a liking to the sport and participate competitively as golfers.

Coach Verdugo proved his coaching ability last season as the La Habra men’s golf team finished eighth in the Southern division, the best finish in the school’s history. The Whittier Daily News honored Verdugo as 2015 Coach of the Year.

The amount of money invested in women’s golf college scholarships is another reason Coach Verdugo has created a women’s golf team to accompany the men’s team.

Although the growth rate of participation of women has almost tripled men in the last few years, women still make up less than 25 percent of golfers, according to athleticscholarships.net.

According to scholarshipstats.com, in 2014 the number of male high school golfers is double the amount of female golfers. However, Division I universities offer six scholarships to female golfers as opposed to the four and a half to male golfers.

Alyssa Heidrich takes a swing during practice.

Alyssa Heidrich takes a swing during practice.

That growth rate was shown during the first day of La Habra’s women’s golf tryouts Wednesday afternoon at Westridge Golf Club.

Twelve returners from the golf club were present as well as eight additional girls. The additional girls who showed up at tryouts did not know much golf etiquette, but they were athletic, Coach Verdugo said.

“It would be rare for someone to show up and be completely ready,” Verdugo said.

Coach Verdugo is looking to field a team between 15 and 20 girls. Although only seven players compete in a match for both varsity and junior varsity, 20 girls is a good number to manage girls who are still developing their skills as golfers, he said.

“Returners will be the foundation of the varsity team,” Coach Verdugo said.

The Lady Highlanders hit the links for the first time on September 9 against Empire League champion Valencia at Alta Vista Country Club in Placentia at 4 p.m.


2015 Lady Highlander Golf Team Roster

Mandy Arriola
Alex Barber
Nikki Chamberlain
Kira Cauley
Alyssa Enriquez
Haylee Enriquez
Alyssa Heidrich
Aurora Heuermann
Charlotte Irirzarry
Samantha Parr
Janet Romero
Julia Sanchez
Jena Schuh
Dominique Tosunian
Galina Tressler
Frankie Valencia

LHJ LHHS Girls Golf 2015

Coach Cody Verdugo gets the team ready for its first season.

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Raiders bounce Indians

Posted on 09 February 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

The Sonora Raiders battled with the Fullerton Indians before finally breaking through in the second half to secure a victory, winning 73-58.LHJ LHHS vs SHHS Girls Basketball 2015

The two teams were neck and neck after two quarters, with the Raiders leading 32-31.

The referees called an unusually tight game which forced both teams to spend more time shooting free throws than anything else.

“Those guys were calling a foul every possession, I thought it was the tightest of any game we’ve played in a couple of years, every touch was a foul, on both teams,” head coach Mike Murphy said.

Of the Raiders 32 first half points, half of them came from free throws, making 16-21. Fullerton meanwhile took 18 free throw shots and made 14 of them.

The Raiders struggled to shoot the ball, which made the free throws an ally for them to weather through their shooting slump.

“We haven’t been shooting the ball, I mean we can’t make shots, we finally started making shots in the second half and we were able to pull away,” Murphy said.

While the free throws kept the two teams close in terms of the scoreboard, there was a significant difference in bench depth. The Raiders carry 14 players compared to Fullerton’s 10.LHJ LHHS vs SHHS Girls Basketball 2015

The Raiders depth helped them survive foul trouble, while the Indians bench struggled as the game went longer.

Ben Rico had the hottest hand scoring 14 of his 24 points in the second half.

“He played his best defense that he’s played in a while, and he was really going after the ball, Murphy said, “I think that just got him fired up and the defense and the rebounding carried over into his offense and he had a nice game,” Murphy said.

Before the game, Rico was concerned with how his ankle would respond, but the it never appeared to be a factor.

“Once I got in the game, I think the adrenaline kicked in, I was feeling okay and totally forgot about it,” Rico said.

The third quarter was the best for the Raiders who outscored the Indians 26-12 to create an insurmountable gap.

“Some we come out as a team defending a little harder than others, but today I really made it my priority to play defense and guard my guy,” Rico said.

Josh Rodriguez finished the night with 20 points and 12-14 from the free throw line.LHJ LHHS vs SHHS Girls Basketball 2015

The Indians had a balanced scoring effort led by David Sandoval’s 11 points and 10 points from Gerritt Beetstra and Jacob Wirtzer.

Similar to the first game between Fullerton and Sonora, the game became very physical by the end.

Ashaad Womack left the first meeting with a dislocated knee, but played in his second game since returning from the injury.

“I told our guys, they do some things that shouldn’t be done, when you’re going to the basket and they’re pushing guys in the back, I just told our guys to keep their poise and just play through all of that,” Murphy said.

The Raiders will travel to Buena Park for their next game before finishing on Thursday against La Habra at home.

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Highlanders roll past Indians

Posted on 17 October 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal


La Habra continued its Freeway League winning streak by beating Fullerton, 42-7, at home Friday night.


The Highlanders (4-3,2-0) came off a big win in their season opener against Buena Park with a goal of improving against Fullerton (3-4, 0-2).


“We wanted to keep pushing to get better,” said La Habra head coach Frank Mazzotta. “That’s all we try to do every week, get a little better and improve the things we had some trouble with and eventually you end up being a really good team.”

La Habra's Carlos Martin breaks to the outside.  Martin rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns Friday.

La Habra’s Carlos Martin breaks to the outside. Martin rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns Friday.


The spotlight was on the Highlanders’ offense, which scored five touchdowns in the first half.


La Habra’s offensive leaders again were Eric Barriere, who threw two touchdown passes, and Carlos Martin, who scored three touchdowns and rushed for 156 yards.


“We just wanted to go out there and do the same thing we did last week,” Barriere said. “We didn’t want to slow down, we wanted to keep on going. It was a really good win tonight. Everyone put in a good team effort to get the win.”


La Habra’s defense had a solid game a made some big plays to hold the Indians to only one touchdown.


The Highlanders’ defense held the Indians and forced them to punt on their first possession of the game.


La Habra started it off by making its way down the field and scored off a pass from Barriere to give the Highlanders the lead over Fullerton, 7-0.

La Habra Quarterback Eric Barriere looks for an open receiver.  He passed for two touchdowns Friday.

La Habra Quarterback Eric Barriere looks for an open receiver. He passed for two touchdowns Friday.


Minutes into the second quarter, Barriere faked a handoff and ran 12 yards into the end zone to put the Highlanders up 14-0.


Fullerton scored its first points of the game off a touchdown pass with a little over seven minutes remaining in the first half.


La Habra responded with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Barriere to Martin to advance their score to 28-7.


With less than 30 seconds remaining in the first half, Barriere connected his second touchdown pass of the night to Amon Fellows, advancing their lead to 35-7 going into halftime.

Rylie school Carnival 2014. Eastside Christian

“There’s always little minor adjustments that we try to make at halftime but no matter what the score is, the whole point is to try to get better,” Mazzotta said about his halftime speech.


Late in the third quarter Martin scored the final touchdown of the game off a 53-yard run into the end zone.


“They absolutely played the way I wanted them to,” Mazzotta said. “We’ve been playing the way I want them to play a lot. The mistakes are really starting to be cut down and that’s the important thing.”


La Habra will be at home again next week for their homecoming game against Sunny Hills on Friday.






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Highlanders hold off Coyotes in league opener

Posted on 11 October 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Sarah Fenton
La Habra Jourmal

Buena Park couldn’t stop La Habra’s Freeway League winning streak, as the Highlanders beat the Coyotes 42-35 on the road in their season opener Friday night.

La Habra's MikeWheeler takes down Buena Park quarterback Zach Taylor Friday during the Highlander's 42-35 victory.

La Habra’s MikeWheeler takes down Buena Park quarterback Zach Taylor Friday during the Highlander’s 42-35 victory.


The Highlanders haven’t lost a league game since 2006, but the Coyotes weren’t going down without a fight.


Being one of the biggest matchups of the season for both teams, this was the first time La Habra (3-3, 1-0) and Buena Park (5-1,0-1) played each other in a season opener.


“We’re 1-0 in the freeway league,” said La Habra Head Coach Frank Mazzotta. “That was a 5-0 team and we got our first league victory. Coming off of a bye you never know, but I think the kids came out and performed well. I can’t argue with a league win.”


La Habra’s defense came out strong and forced Buena Park to punt on the first possession of the game.


The Highlanders made their way down the field and on fourth down quarterback Eric Barriere ran 22 yards, untouched, into the end zone. La Habra led 7-0 with less than 7 minutes remaining in the first quarter.


Seconds later, Buena Park responded with a 52-yard touchdown run from Marcus Loudon to tie the game at 7.


The game remained tied at 7 going into the second quarter.


Six seconds into the second quarter, La Habra’s Carlos Martin scored off an 11-yard run to regain the lead over Buena Park, 14-7.

La Habra running back Carlos Martin pushes through Buena Park defenders to score one of his four touchdowns Friday night.

La Habra running back Carlos Martin pushes through Buena Park defenders to score one of his four touchdowns Friday night.


Buena Park came back and tied it at 14, but La Habra fired back with a 74-yard touchdown run from Martin to regain the lead, 21-14.


The Highlanders’ defense forced the Coyotes to punt on their next possession. On third and 12 from their own 7-yard line, La Habra’s Barriere connected a pass to CJ Taylor who ran 92 yards into the end zone, giving them their biggest lead of the night.


La Habra’s two-touchdown lead didn’t last long. With a little over 20 second left in the first half, the Coyotes scored off a 5-yard pass from quarterback Zach Taylor.


La Habra led, 28-21, going into halftime.


“I think the defense had two key stops in the second half,” Mazzotta said about the turning point in the game. “We have to get stops on defense, that’s ultimately it.”


After stopping La Habra on its first possession of the third quarter, Buena Park scored once more to tie the game at 28.


With a few minutes remaining in the third quarter, La Habra was faced with a fourth and four on their own 44-yard line. After both teams took a timeout, a penalty was called against the Coyotes for illegal substitution, giving the Highlanders the first down on Buena Park’s 39-yard line.


With 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Highlanders scored off a run from Martin, giving them a 35-28 lead over Buena Park. La Habra carried that lead into the fourth quarter.


After a back-and-forth start to the fourth quarter, La Habra scored to regain its two-touchdown lead over Buena Park, 42-28.


With 53 seconds remaining, Buena Park scored the last touchdown of the game. The Coyotes’ attempt at an onside kick to regain possession of the ball didn’t work, giving La Habra its 36th consecutive league win.


Carlos Martin led the Highlanders with four touchdowns and 155 rushing yards.


“It was a great game and it was a great opportunity to go against a 5-0 team,” Martin said. “We played hard and came out with a victory.”


The Highlanders’ will next host Fullerton for its homecoming game Friday night.

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