Tag Archive | "La Habra"

LHCSD looks to go TK-6

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LHCSD looks to go TK-6

Posted on 20 April 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The La Habra City School District is opening up the discussion on the future of the district, including changing the structure of the nine schools.
According to Superintendent Dr. Joanne Culverhouse, a task force is being created to study the feasibility of changing seven of the schools to a transitional kindergarten-sixth-grade configuration.  The two middle schools would then become traditional junior high schools.
The idea was presented for discussion at the School Board meeting last Thursday.  Culverhouse explained that she had presented the idea to the teachers and classified staff unions as well as the board.
She added that the district has an opportunity to rethink teaching and learning and that this is an opportunity that may never come around again.
“It is beyond exciting, but more importantly a moral imperative that we owe our students and their future,” she said.
It was explained that the TK-6 structure would match the education structures of all neighboring school districts.
The board echoed the importance of Culverhouse’s suggestion of incorporating the community in this process.  They explained while the possibility of the new TK-6 structure is being discussed, it would take a similar configuration as the search for a superintendent. Surveys and focus groups of parents and community members will be conducted.
Board member John Dobson stressed the community involvement is vital.

LHCSD Superintendent Joanne Culverhouse

Culverhouse shared a comment from one of the school administrators that said the change could enable the district to create an “academic powerhouse from TK to 6.”
Further, that  “raising and mentoring students and teachers for six consecutive years. Ensuring every student, parent and teacher are provided with the very best.”
Culverhouse explained that it is very likely that the current boundaries will be able to be maintained.  She added that some schools could have a specialized focus, like the current dual immersion program, but all schools will maintain the same quality education. Earlier in the meeting, the board adopted a standardized language arts program for the various grades in the district. This ensures the same training is being conducted across the district.
Board President Ofelia Hanson said that something like this restructuring could help with enrollment.  She added that the district has been losing an average of 200 students each year.  She is hopeful that, if implemented well, this TK-6 structure might make the school district a “destination district” for parents.
Board member Sandi Baltes, who was a teacher and administrator in the district prior to k-6 to its current structure, stressed how the new structure can help with the creation of a “family” environment at the schools.  The new configuration  would eliminate transitions at third and sixth grades.  She explained how students would be able to build a greater feeling of comfort staying at the same school for six years.
The ability of teachers to better collaborate in order to provide consistent, quality instruction for the students.
Baltes added that the new structure would help parents by only having to go to one school to pick up their children and not having to race to another to pick up older or younger siblings.
The next step, according to Culverhouse, is for the 15-member task force to get started on determining the feasibility of this new structure (facilities, teacher assignments, bell schedules, etc.).  In addition, surveys will be going out to parents in both English and Spanish.  Focus groups will be scheduled and help for parents to share their thoughts and insight regarding this structure.
If the restructuring is officially approved, according to Culverhouse, the earliest it could be implemented would be fall 2018.
Parents and the community are encouraged to share their thoughts and input with the district.  More information about the focus groups and surveys will be coming soon.
Culverhouse added that “it is important to challenge ourselves as educators to create excellent institutions  of learning to instill hope and positive change in future generations in the La Habra community.”

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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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WCHS student remembered after being killed by object on 57

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WCHS student remembered after being killed by object on 57

Posted on 02 December 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

He was dedicated and someone who was always cracking jokes.
That’s how friends and coaches described Ethan Hawks, a junior at Whittier Christian who died Thursday morning after a unique accident.varsity-75_web
Hawks, 17, and his mother, Kat, were traveling south on the 57 Freeway south of Katella Avenue on the afternoon of  Nov. 19 when a metal object crashed through their windshield and struck Ethan on the right side of his face.
The piece of metal was roughly 7 to 10 pounds and severed his carotid artery. He also suffered extensive damage to his jaw and cheekbone.
His mother, who was driving and had picked him up from an event where he was volunteering, attempted to stop the bleeding as she drove to St. Joseph’s Hospital.  He was then transported to UCI Medical Center.
After being treated, he was placed into an induced coma to help him heal.  He had a bad reaction to medication he was given Wednesday night and was stabilized after going into septic shock.
However, Ethan died Thursday morning just after 5 a.m.
The Yorba Linda teen was known as a character and a fun kid to his friends at Whittier Christian.
The school established a GoFundMe page after the accident. More than $29,000 has been raised through donations by people who were touched by Ethan’s accident.
The Hawks family has shared they have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love they have received for Ethan.
“The overwhelming response of support for the Hawks family over the last few days is a testament to just how much Ethan was loved by his family and friends and how his story touched so many lives,” said Whittier Christian’s Head of School Carl Martinez.
“The Whittier Christian High School community is heavy-hearted today after losing Ethan Hawks to complications from the terrible accident that happened to him this past Saturday,” said WCHS Athletic Direcctor Rolland Essinger   “The Heralds stand in support of the Hawks family and will be there with them in the tough days, weeks and months ahead.”
Hawks was known as a fighter on the Heralds football team.
Last season, the junior suffered what many thought was a season ending leg fracture against Maranatha. However, after a rehabilitation, Hawks was back on the team practicing in spring.
Regarding Hawks tenacity and determination to rejoin his team, WCHS Head Football coach  Sergio Gradilla  described Hawks as a “tough young man.”
“His determination was amazing to watch,” Essinger said. “Most people thought he would never play again, but Ethan never wavered from his goal to come back.”
Gradilla shared that Hawks was loved by his teammates  and enjoyed making them laugh.
Nicknamed “Boom Stick” by his Herald teammates, Hawks had his whole team supporting him after the accident.
Whittier Christian Quarterback Quinn Commans wrote in a Twitter post, “Ethan, you were the craziest and happiest kid I’ve ever met and yet still couldn’t catch a break. It’s way too soon to see you go, but I wouldn’t want anyone else creating all the crazy memories, always asking about my day, reminding me how bad I was at football and most importantly telling me that you love me every single day. You wouldn’t stop hugging me until I said it back because you knew how much I hated being touched. I promise I will make you so proud.”
Essinger added that Hawks fought hard and he was supported by an amazing family.
“Ethan’s mom, dad, sister and uncle came alongside Ethan in such an incredible way,” Essinger said.  “The doctors and nurses at the UCI Medical Center fought with Ethan every step of the way as well and are certainly appreciated for all they did for him.”
The WCHS community held a gathering in honor of Hawks Friday at Herald Hall. Grief counselors and pastors were on campus Monday.
“Ethan will always be remembered as a free-spirited young man who would not let anything stand in the way of him achieving his goals,” Essinger said.  “We will certainly miss Ethan, and we are thankful for the time we had with him. God blessed us with Ethan Hawks.”
A “Celebration of Ethan’s Life” will be held Saturday, December 3, at 10 a.m. at Whittier Christian.

Click here to help support the Hawks family: https://www.gofundme.com/ethan-hawks-recovery-expenses

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Highlanders outgunned by Nighthawks arsenal

Posted on 26 November 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

La Habra’s Cinderella CIF run came to end Friday night at home, as the Highlanders dropped a wild shootout to Murrieta Valley 62-43 in the semifinal matchup.

The Highlanders came out fired up for the CIF-SS semifinal game Friday. Photo by Matt Brown.

The normally stout Highlander defense was undone by the precision right arm of Nighthawk quarterback Hank Bachmeier and the explosive legs of running back Olita Palmer.

La Habra’s Giron and Casillias put a hit on Murrieta Valley’s Olita Palmer during Friday’s’ semifinals loss. Photo by Matt Brown.

Palmer, who began the game with just under 2000 yards on the season, carried the ball 37 times for 290 yards and reached the end zone four times. Palmer credited his offensive line and said he was just following them all night.

“This was just an emotional game, we went into the locker room like we didn’t want the season to end,” Palmer said. “We like going to practice, I like being surrounded by this group of guys and I’ll do anything for them.”

Bachmeier’s accuracy was on full display, as the sophomore completed 23-27 passes for 306 yards and five touchdowns. He also added 56 yards rushing.

“That’s a really good offense, they have everything,” said La Habra Head Coach Frank Mazzotta. “They have a good quarterback-check, running back-check, receivers-check and offensive line-check.”

Mazzotta added that there was so much talent on the field tonight that it felt like a college game, and the score reflected that.

The Highlanders actually got on the board first. On the opening drive, quarterback Zach Fogel quickly moved the offense down the field 61 yards on six plays before Madison Wheeler punched it in from three yards out.

La Habra Quarterback Zach Fogel looks for Henderson during the semifinal game. Fogel passed for 220 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for two others. Photo by Matt Brown.

Murrieta Valley answered back right away. After each team had a pair of possessions the score was knotted at 14.

The Highlanders finally stumbled on their third possession, going three-and-out after being hit with their fourth false start penalty of the first quarter.

The Nighthawks took the lead on the next possession when Bachmeier connected with Marquis Spiker from 18 yards out for the duo’s second of three scores of the night.

The Highlanders listen to their coaches as they watch video during the CIF-SS semifinal loss to Murrieta Valley Friday. Photo by Matt Brown.

The Highlanders successfully slowed down and beat two high powered offenses, in Oaks Christian and Redlands East Valley, in the first two rounds of CIF, but had no answer for Murrieta Valley all night.

After forcing five interceptions and making key stops in critical situations the previous two weeks, the Highlanders failed to stop the Nighthawks from scoring on a single possession until they fumbled the ball with 3:09 left in the game. However, by then the game was already out of reach.

La Habra Linebacker Cameron Rivas tried to fire up the team before Friday’s game. Photo by Matt Brown.

“We took ourselves out of our element,” said linebacker and leading tackler Camron Rivas. “It’s not all about X’s and O’s, it’s about who wants it more and they wanted it more tonight.”

Rivas had double digit tackles in all three playoff games this season, picking up right where he left off in 2015, when Rivas was named the divisional Defensive Player of the Year in CIF Southern Section.

“I would never point the finger at our defense at all,” Fogel said. “They are playing the best ball they have played in a long time, I think our

La Habra’s Zach Fogel and Madison Wheeler celebrate in the end zone after a score Friday night. Photo by Matt Brown.

defense has some great leaders and is full of fighters, but Murrieta just had more playmakers tonight.”

La Habra’s offensive unit was impressive as well, scoring on six of the first eight possessions.

Fogel threw for 220 yards with two touchdowns and added 92 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, including a 44-yard keeper that he took into the end zone untouched that tied the game at 21 early in the second quarter.

Prince Ross caught three passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Ross also broke free for an 80 yard touchdown run a few minutes before halftime to bring the Highlanders within a score. But the Nighthawks wound up adding another score with just :18 left in the second quarter to make it 42-28 at the half. La Habra kept pace, but couldn’t cut it below two scores the rest of the way.

Wheeler ran the ball effectively for the third consecutive week, but because La Habra was playing from behind the entire second half, Mazzotta

La Habra’s hard-fought season comes to an end with a 62-43 loss to Murrieta Valley in the CIF-SS semifinal game Friday. Photo by Matt Brown.

couldn’t stick with the running game as much as he would have liked to. Wheeler collected 91 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries, and added 27 yards receiving.

“I’m so proud of how much we improved this year,” Mazzotta said. “This team was so much fun, they came to practice everyday and worked their asses off, they were really a lot of fun to be around.”

The Highlanders end the season at 8-5, one game shy of a rematch with San Clemente for the chance at back-to-back CIF titles, so they were understandably downtrodden afterwards. However coming in to the playoffs as the No. 14 seed, the 2016 Highlander football team far-exceeded expectations in the CIF tournament.

“It’s a bitter-sweet moment right now, I’m blessed that I had an opportunity to do this for four years and to do it at the level I did it at,” Rivas said afterwards reflecting on his final game. “I just want thank my coaches, thank my teammates and thank God most importantly, I’m truly grateful and truly blessed, I can’t even say how much I love this place.”

“The hardest thing about this is seeing my guys and knowing how hard we fought, but I couldn’t be more proud of my guys,” Fogel added. “I think we really grew as a brotherhood this year.”

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Highlanders tame Wildcats to advance to semifinal game

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Highlanders tame Wildcats to advance to semifinal game

Posted on 19 November 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Highlighted by a stifling first half and a pair of late interceptions, the La Habra defense

La Habra's Madison Wheeler brushes off a Wildcat defender during the Higlanders' 31-21 victory at home Friday.

Photo by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal                   La Habra’s Madison Wheeler brushes off a Wildcat defender during the Higlanders’ 31-21 victory at home Friday.

frustrated another prolific offense Friday night, defeating Redlands East Valley 31-21 to advance to the CIF semifinals.

La Habra took the lead on the opening drive and never relinquished it, thanks to a suffocating defense that forced REV to a three-and-out on all-but two drives in the first half.

The Highlanders took a commanding 24-7 lead into the break, after limiting the Wildcats to just 15 yards on the ground and quarterback Armando Herrera to just 87 yards and one touchdown through the air in the first half.

“We have the best defensive coordinators in the nation, I really believe that,” said linebacker Camron Rivas, the Highlanders leading tackler. “Every week he puts together a great gameplan.”

Just six plays into the game, quarterback Zach Fogel tossed a zero screen to Pervis Henderson, who made one man miss and blazed down the sideline for a 69-yard score.

Photo by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal          La Habra Quarterback Zach Fogel throws downfield to a receiver.

Photo by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal                                                  La Habra Quarterback Zach Fogel throws downfield to a receiver.

The next possession saw Fogel toss another zero screen for a big gain. This time it was Derrick Corso taking one 35 yards to set up his eventual score from 11 yards out.

Scoring on the first two drives of the game was all attributed to my coaching, and their ability to come out with a plan that works,” Fogel said. “That’s what our coaches are so good at, they know exactly what to do at what time.”

Fogel to executed an intelligent game plan with quick passes and a lot of read option plays to neutralize two of the best pass rushers in the country, Jaelan Phillips and Aaron House.

“We have a motto, it’s not about who you are playing, it’s about who you are,” Fogel said.

Phillips and House entered the game with a combined 34 sacks. House notched the only sack for the duo all night, but the play was negated by a facemask penalty.

Head coach Frank Mazzotta said afterward that he knew coming into the season that Fogel was a tough kid with a great work ethic, but he has seen his quarterback’s decision making and intelligence on the field steadily improve throughout the season.

Photo by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal       La Habra sophomore cornerback Kalani Washington launches as Wildcat defender in La Habra's 31-21 win Friday.

Photo by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal        La Habra sophomore cornerback Kalani Washington launches as Wildcat defender in La Habra’s 31-21 win Friday.

The Highlander defense put the game away for good after forcing turnovers on three consecutive series.

“La Habra always has a good defense, but this team is doing something special,” Fogel said.

Alan Giron sealed the victory with a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown with just under three minutes to play in the third quarter.

Marcus Carrasco blocked a 38-yard field goal attempt and for good measure, Isaiah Alcocer picked off Herrera in the back of the end zone on the Wildcats next two possessions.

Fogel finished the game with 204 yards(190 coming in the first half), and two touchdowns.

Madison Wheeler rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown, while the entire Wildcat team only gained 46 yards on the ground.

Photo by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal.  La Habra runningback Madison Wheeler pushes off Wildcat defender in La Habra's 31-21 victory over Redlands East Vallet Firday.

Photo by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal.                  La Habra runningback Madison Wheeler pushes off Wildcat defender in La Habra’s 31-21 victory over Redlands East Valley Firday.

Following the tough loss to Buena Park, Mazzotta pointed out how the team would learn from their defeat and get better. Since then, the Highlanders have played by far their best football of the season.

“A loss doesn’t define us,” Mazzotta added. “One thing the kids do is show up everyday, they work hard and try to get better every day.”

La Habra (8-4) will host the semifinal matchup against Murrieta Valley next Friday at 7 p.m. No. 2 Murrieta Valley (10-2) is coming off 63-34 blowout over St. Bonaventure. No. 14 La Habra is the lowest seed to make the semifinal round in all of CIF.

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Highlanders battle, check Lions off the list

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Highlanders battle, check Lions off the list

Posted on 12 November 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Photo by Paul Luna

Photo by Paul Luna — La Habra’s Madison Wheeler pushes through a Lions defender as the Highlanders beat Oaks Christian in CIF playoffs Friday night on the road. Wheeler had 233 yards on 37 carries.

The La Habra football team entered the opening round of CIF in an unfamiliar position, as an underdog on the road, but that didn’t stop the Highlanders from doing what they have done for 18 years under Frank Mazzotta, win CIF playoff games.


The Highlanders saved their best showing of the season for when in counted, upsetting No. 3 Oaks Christian 35-28 at Westlake Village Friday night.

In a game that had been blow-for-blow from the onset La Habra found itself on the road, down a score with under four minutes to go.

Trailing 28-21 and facing a 4th-and-7, quarterback Zach Fogel scrambled out of the pocket and made an Aaron Rogers-like jump throw across his body, connecting with Derrick Corso who cut all the way back across the field for a 17-yard score to tie the game with 3:18 to play.

Alex Alcocer continued turning the tide in La Habra’s favor when he picked off Matt Corral on the following possession, setting up the game winning score.

Photo by Paul Luna

Photo by Paul Luna — La Habra Quarterback Zach Fogel looks for an open receiver. The Highlanders beat Oaks Christian on the road Friday in the first round of CIF playoffs.

Fogel took the first snap, read the triple-option perfectly and found Prince Ross wide open in the back of the end zone from 21 yards out to give La Habra the lead with a couple minutes left.

Despite the one score lead, there was still plenty of time left for a Corral led passing attack that had already burned the Highlanders on big plays all game long.

Enter Mr. Corso. Already owning a pair of touchdown catches on offense, the senior shifted his playmaking skills to the defensive side for his third act. On the Lions ensuing drive, Corso picked off Corral at midfield with :45 left to seal the hardfought victory for the Highlanders some 67 miles away from home.

The Highlanders picked off the Corral three times Friday night, which is newsworthy considering the USC commit had only thrown three all season coming into the game. Isaac Soto Morales’ interception just before halftime set up the Highlanders third score.

Madison Wheeler carried the Highlander offense on his back to the tune of 160 yards and a touchdown in the first half. The Lions knew Wheeler was going to get the ball, but just couldn’t stop the two-way workhorse.

Photo by Paul Launa

Photo by Paul Launa — Senior Receiver Prince Ross pulls down a Zach Fogel pass in the end zone for the Highlanders’ go-ahead score against Oaks Christian Friday in Westlake Village.

Wheeler’s dominance running the ball early allowed Fogel to pick the Lions apart in critical situations the rest of the way. He finished with a whopping 233 yards on 37 carries.

Fogel finished with four touchdowns on the night (3 pass, 1 rush), and seemed to make the right decisions all night long.

For the past three weeks, Mazzotta has talked about his quarterback’s steady improvement, pointing out Fogel’s 4.8 GPA and toughness.

Even when the junior quarterback made a mistake, it helped the Highlanders. Fogel’s lone interception came on a 4th-and-long play with nobody open downfield, so it basically amounted to a 20-yard punt instead of a sack or incomplete pass.

Prince Ross caught the go-ahead touchdown pass and had 136 total yards.

La Habra (7-4) will travel about the same distance, but in the opposite direction to play Redlands East Valley (9-2), next Friday at 7:30 p.m. Redlands is coming off a 41-30 opening round win over Great Oak.

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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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A look at La Habra City Council Candidates

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A look at La Habra City Council Candidates

Posted on 19 October 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

*Click on the candidate’s names to watch the interview with them*
After canceling the last two city council elections, residents of La Habra will be voting to fill three positions in November.
Six people, including the three incumbents, are vying for the three four-year positions.council-candidates
Tim Shaw, Tom Beamish and Rose Espinoza are the three current councilmembers who are running to retain their seats.  Jess Badillo, Ida MacMurray and Dawn Holthouser are three new candidates that are looking to become new council members.
We were able to chat with the candidates to get to know a little more about them.
Rose Espinoza was first elected to city council in 2000 after four tries to get elected to the council.  She said that after establishing Rosie’s Garage, an after school tutoring center for students, she felt like she could make a difference in the community and ran for city council.
“I’m running again because there are still things on my platform that I want to get done,” Espinoza said. She added that the revitalization of La Habra Boulevard is one of her interests.  “I think we are really turning a corner with it.”
Tom Beamish has been on the council since 2004.  He started out as a community service commissioner in 1997 and then the planning commission in 2000.
“I have a passion still and an eagerness to serve,” Beamish said.  “I feel like I have a lot to offer with my experience and background. “
Tim Shaw, the current mayor pro tem, has been on the council since 2008.  “I think we have come a long way in the last eight years,” he said. “I’d like to keep the momentum moving forward.”
Shaw is on the board of directors for the Orange County Transportation Authority. “I’m really proud of where La Habra is, and I believe we can continue to make it better,” Shaw said.
All three candidates were reappointed in 2012 when they ran unopposed in the election cycle.
The individuals challenging for the seats are Ida MacMurray, Dawn Hold Houser and Jess Badillo.
MacMurray is a current member of the La Habra City School District Board.  The former teacher has also been active in the community
“I love being a public servant,” MaMurry said. “ I enjoy it and I am passionate about it.”
Dawn Holthouser is a current planning commissioner and former member of the Beautification Committee.
“I’ve always been a volunteer in the community, whether it’s been through  the schools, Lions Club, or my church,: she said. “I’ve really gotten to know a lot of the residents and their needs.”
Jess Badillo is the final candidate running for city council.  Badillo has been in the community for 31 years.  He’s been serving as a community services commissioner and with the city for 10 years, and he was active in helping create the annual Tamale Festival.
“I’m heavily invested in the city of La Habra,” Badillo said. “I believe in La Habra and love the quality of life in La Habra. Running for council is the right thing to do. “
All six candidates spoke of La Habra’s future and that it is headed in a positive direction.  They cited the development of new homes and apartments in the city.  The three incumbents mentioned the completion of the general plan and in particular, the rezoning of areas in the city.  They explained that this can entice new growth.
From Page 7
Espinoza noted that the mixed use zoning can help encourage growth and development along La Habra Boulevard.  In addition, she suggested her hope is for some al fresco dining on the corner of Harbor and La Habra Boulevard.
“This can keep the downtown vibrant,” Espinoza said. “I’m hoping that with the rezoning we can attract more people and businesses to the area.”
Espinoza and Shaw noted that the loss of Redevelopment Agencies within California cities a few years ago continues to hinder what cities can do when it comes to binging in new businesses, but the development of the general plan will continue to help.
In addition to the rezoning, some of the candidates noted that it is the growth of housing that will bring in more businesses and spark greater economic development
Beamish and Shaw noted that the new Black Bear Diner on Beach Boulevard is an example of this.  The restaurant came into the city specifically because of the new apartment project being built across the street.
The non-incumbent candidates spoke enthusiastically about the potential of the city.
Badillo, MacMurray and Holthouser all pointed out that La Habra could work harder to showcase the community to businesses, letting them know that it is a smart investment to open a business in the city.
MacMurry noted that the city should be active in retail industry conventions and letting them know about the community.
Badillo took it a step further.
“We have to go after businesses and not wait for them to come to us. That way we can be selective.” he said. “It’s important for the city to have a clear vision of what we want.”
Holthouser noted that “we want to make sure the right businesses come to La Habra.” She noted further that we might also have to rethink how we see businesses today. “Businesses function differently than they  did years ago,” she explained. “The brick and mortar stores are for customers to touch the products, but many buy online.”
On the topic of public safety, all six candidates complimented the hard work of the La Habra Police Department.
Shaw and Espinoza noted the decrease in overall crime in the city over the last few decades.  Shaw noted that the serious crimes in La Habra have gone way down over the years.
However, as noted there has been a slight increase in property crime.  Many of the candidates noted how Prop 47, which, when passed, reduced certain drug possession felonies to misdemeanors and also made misdemeanor sentencing for petty theft, receiving stolen property and forgery.
All candidates commended the LHPD on its community outreach to raise awareness.  The Coffee with a Cop program and the annual open house were examples given of the outreach.
Almost all candidates noted that more active and engaged residents can help reduce crime.  Holthouser encouraged residents to take part in the LHPD’s Citizen’s Police Academy program.  Shaw and Beamish addressed officer staffing levels should be examined and where they could be increased if possible.  Badillo noted greater communication with police to the business community and greater outreach to community members in Spanish.  MacMurry added a continued and increased education effort by the police department to help residents become aware of  potential crime.
All candidates share their love and dedication to the La Habra community.  They all explained in various ways that is what makes them want to run.  They all have varying ideas of how to help La Habra continue to grow and prosper, but they all agreed that La Habra’s future looks bright.

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Lady Highlanders sweep rivalry series with four-set win

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Lady Highlanders sweep rivalry series with four-set win

Posted on 14 October 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

La Habra traveled across town to Sonora High School to conclude the season series in volleyball and walked away with a

La Habra's Marina Pilkington tries to his a shot past Sonora's Sophia Kane and Kyra Sims Thursday at Sonora.

La Habra’s Marina Pilkington tries to hit a shot past Sonora’s Sophia Kane and Kyra Sims Thursday at Sonora.

nearly identical performance as the previous meeting, taking three-of-four sets in convincing fashion Thursday night.



Senior Marina Pilkington wasn’t available a couple weeks ago when the two teams met at La Habra, but she certainly made her presence felt with 10 kills and a host of blocks, including an emphatic spike for match point and the 25-16 victory.

La Habra Head Coach Adrianne Spear said she was really pleased with the way the girls responded after a tough five-set loss to Troy.

“We came off a tough loss to Troy, we took them to five and I was hoping that wouldn’t affect us, but take all that energy from the previous game and carry it over to tonight,” Spear said. “I think the girls saw their capability from that game, came out and said we can do this.”

La Habra's Carly Richter helps lead the Lady Highlanders on the court during their 3-1 win over Sonora Thursday.

La Habra setter Carly Richter helps lead the Lady Highlanders on the court during their 3-1 win over Sonora Thursday.

Spear had high-praise for Pilkington and freshman Carly Richter, who she said are the catalysts for the team.

“Marina for sure gets us going when she is out there, and so does Carly Richter,” Spear said. “With those two paired together, it’s what keeps us going.”

Richter’s maturity and understanding of the game at such a young age has impressed her coach this season.

“Carly sees the game really well, and she has a really high volleyball IQ, she sees things that a lot of people don’t see, so we coach her up, but we also let her do her own thing out there,” Spear said. “It was funny, even the referee said, ‘wow, she really runs the show out there doesn’t she.’”

Carly Richter finished with 17 digs on the night.

Junior Taylor Richter lead the Lady Highlanders with 11 kills.

The Lady Highlanders (10-11, 4-3) took the first set 25-14 and looked to be cruising along in the second set with a 16-12 lead midway through.

However, Sonora (13-10, 3-4) roared back to tie it at 18, and then took their first lead on the next serve. La Habra fought back to tie it 22-22, but the Raiders closed out the set with three straight winners to bring the sets even.

Lad Highlander Kimberely Gamez fires one at Sonora's Sophia Kane and Arianna Gonzalez.

Lady Highlander Kimberely Gamez fires one at Sonora’s Sophia Kane and Arianna Gonzalez.

“Sometimes we let teams sneak back up and take us,” Spear said. “We still need to learn how to overcome that.”

The third set was a total back-and-forth battle. Neither team could extend more than a three-point lead until La Habra closed out the set exactly like Sonora did in the second, scoring the sets final three points for the 25-19 win.

Both teams next game will be on Tuesday. Sonora will be at Sunny Hills (14-14, 5-2) while La Habra will be back home to take on Buena Park (2-10, 0-7).

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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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